According to the CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group) Foundation, “Colorado is not moving fast enough to improve recycling and composting. In the fifth year of the ‘State of Recycling & Composting in Colorado Report,’ Eco-Cycle and CoPIRG found Colorado is failing to meet its recycling and composting goals and remains one of the 20 most wasteful states.

“In 2020, Colorado’s statewide recycling and composting rate was just 15 percent, which is less than half the national recycling and composting rate of 32 percent. The recycling rate for plastics was even worse than the state average, with only 9 percent of plastic containers and packaging recycled statewide.

“In total, Coloradans buried over 5,900,000 tons of materials in the state’s landfills in 2020.”

I received this article from the Pikes Peak Leaders in Sustainability group, since we focus on critical sustainability issues affecting the Pikes Peak region. The timing couldn’t have been better — or worse, depending on how each one of us will swallow this bitter pill right before the holidays!

What does this say about Manitou Springs? Is Manitou one of the “leading Colorado communities recovering more than 50 percent of their discarded materials, demonstrating that recycling and composting can be successful solutions for Colorado to reduce climate emissions, create green jobs, and conserve natural resources”?

Since we are approaching the end of 2022 and preparing to enter 2023, this article challenges me to step back and take a deeper assessment of Manitou’s sustainability goals as outlined in Resolution 1919.

Have we met our own goals? Have we reassessed the timeline for this initiative to be accomplished according to the dire warnings just issued at the Egypt Climate Crisis talks?

Resolution 1919 is a “resolution establishing the commitment to have a sustainable environment and an ambitious response to climate change for the city of Manitou Springs.”

Resolution 1919 contains 17 lifesaving, responsible and ethical initiatives or directives Manitou Springs must take action on to take care of our own little Rocky Mountain town! To take and do on behalf of our future leaders and future generations.

Initiative No. 4: Reduce waste through the elimination of single-use plastic and polystyrene and reduce community litter and trash by the end of 2020.

Initiative No. 5: Establish a hazardous waste safe disposal program by 2020.

Samantha Bailey, sustainability coordinator of the city of Colorado Springs, created this definition for Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and City Council to learn that: “Sustainability is defined as ‘Living or acting in a manner that balances improving quality of life, a healthy vibrant community, a mindful stewardship of the natural resources and environment while protecting the ability of future generations to do the same.’”

In my humble opinion, after reading this article, Manitou Springs needs to join forces with Colorado Springs to work toward being leaders in the sustainability movement to meet climate crisis goals … that still appear to be denied, ignored, lost or simply trashed.

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