Draft Sustainable Materials Management Element Update (BCCP-16-0001) of the Comprehensive Plan now available

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A team of staff from the Resource Conservation Division, the Commissioners’ Office of Sustainability, and the Land Use Department began working on the Sustainable Materials Management Element (SMME) update (Docket BCCP-16-0001) of the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan in Fall 2016. The last full update for this element (formerly known as the Solid Waste Element) was in 1987, and much has changed in the industry in the last 30 years including, for example, the advent of single stream recycling and curbside compost pick up.
Goals for the SMME update include:
•    Update and broaden the goals and policies to reflect changes in the range of programs and services provided by the Resource Conservation Division, their facilities and their partners, and to reflect changes in technology in the market
•    Eliminate redundancies and references to specific programs
•    Streamline and simplify the document narrative
•    Provide a forward-looking focus to help navigate future opportunities and challenges
The draft proposed updated SMME includes a new structure, organizing the document into goals and associated policies. This structure is similar to that used in the recently updated BCCP Open Space Element.

In the proposed update, staff sought to remove redundancies, streamline the document, and reflect new themes, such as E-Waste, Zero Waste principles, and other conceptual/philosophical shifts in the markets, methods and technologies.
One of the most notable changes is the focus on Sustainable Materials Management (SMM), which is:

“a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire lifecycles. It represents a change in how our society thinks about the use of natural resources and environmental protection. By looking at a product’s entire lifecycle we can find new opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources, and reduce costs.”
SMM encourages the use of materials throughout their full life cycle, from manufacture, to use, reuse, and end of life.
Staff also focused on creating higher-level policy language. This allows greater flexibility at the management and department level to determine the appropriate partnerships and actions for a given situation.


Documents for review


Feedback and comments requested

Staff from the Land Use Department, the Resource Conservation Department, and the Commissioners’ Office value comments from members of the public. If you’re interested, please take a moment and provide feedback on he SMME Comprehensive Plan update. Use the following link to provide your feedback on the draft Sustainable Materials Management Element Update by May 16, 2017: https://bouldercounty.wufoo.com/forms/w1t7yiqe0rortt7/


Background and next steps

The docket review process engaged stakeholders to gather feedback through various forums. A hearing was held with the Resource Conservation Advisory Board (RCAB) in August 2016 to introduce the element update and gather initial feedback and a public open house was held in January 2017. A draft of the updated SMME was presented and discussed at a joint Planning Commission – RCAB Study Session in March 2017. Going forward, staff will incorporate comments received and will present a final recommendation to RCAB and the Planning Commission in the summer of 2017.

Steven Giang
Staff Planner
2045 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302