Only a year into her new role, Buncombe County’s Recycling Coordinator Casi Lohmeyer is wasting no time getting some vital community projects off the ground and bringing recognition to Buncombe County Solid Waste.
At their March Annual Conference, Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) recognized Solid Waste with an award highlighting Casi’s work and our outstanding recycling and waste diversion programming.
As Recycling Coordinator Casi has gone above and beyond demonstrating environmental leadership not only throughout the organization, but also at the community and regional levels. Channeling expertise, creativity, hard work and dedication, Buncombe County Solid Waste has been able to champion much-needed community projects such as compost drop-off, increased education and outreach, construction & demolition (C&D) recycling improvements, litter sweeps, and other waste reduction initiatives.
“This is an exciting award for Buncombe County Solid Waste,” notes Solid Waste Manager Kristy Smith. “Highlighting Casi as our first ever recycling coordinator this award illustrates her passion and commitment to waste reduction and recycling in our community. I’m looking forward to all the great work ahead as we continue to expand our award-winning recycling programs to all residents of the county as well as our own county campus.”
Whether she’s convincing coworkers to compost in our breakrooms, sharing her knowledge through employee Lunch & Learns, or coordinating waste-reductions efforts with the City Casi is dedicated to helping the County reach our Strategic Plan goals. “We’re excited to be recognized for our efforts and will continue to work toward being on the cutting edge when it comes to waste diversion programming,” says Casi. “I’d also like to give a shoutout to my team, who has been incredibly supportive of every initiative. Their help and encouragement has not only radiated outward into the County and the community, but made the work that much more fun. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Check out a few of Solid Waste’s recent projects and don’t hesitate to ask Casi how to reuse, reduce, or recycle almost anything.
Buncombe County’s First Compost Drop-Off
Through facilitating important partnerships with local organizations, the County and City have been able to open the first municipal compost drop-off sites in Buncombe County. Two drop off locations, have diverted 11.5 tons of organic waste from being landfilled in the first four months of operations, with over 1,200 households in the County registering for this program. This initiative is bolstered by strong education and outreach, with plentiful composting resources available on the Solid Waste website as well as compost kitchen tote giveaways, brochures and handouts, and informational videos available for residents to utilize. Buncombe County Solid Waste plans to expand this program even further in 2022, adding up to 4 more drop-off sites pending grant funding.
County Compost Ambassadors
Solid Waste conducted a waste audit of the County administrative building in August to help establish a baseline for how much and what types of waste were accumulated at municipal buildings on the County Campus. It was found that there was potential to reduce total waste by 67%, with 52% of waste being organic material alone. Solid Waste was quick to address this opportunity and created to County Compost Ambassadors program, a group that helps passionate and engaged employees set up compost collection in their buildings, offices, and floors.
Convenience Center Updates & Education and Outreach
The Buncombe County Landfill’s Convenience Center saw major updates in 2021. Solid Waste worked with NC DEACS to design all new signage for residential comingled recycling, battery recycling, and cooking and motor oil recycling. We were also able to update our larger educational sign to highlight to residents how their recycling efforts and participation save energy.
Like many areas in North Carolina, Buncombe County is seeing unprecedented development. With development and renovation comes and increase in construction debris at our facilities. Solid Waste designed, coordinated, and completed an in-house residential demolition project in September 2021 where 60% of the demolition debris by weight was recycled. This project was a huge first step in a greater C&D recycling effort that Solid Waste plans to pursue over the next several years.
To raise awareness about roadside litter, Solid Waste launched the “Load Warrior” campaign in Spring 2021 ahead of National Secure Your Load Month, designing and distributing handouts to customers at the Transfer Station and Landfill and installing facility signage. The informational handouts inform the public of safety and environmental issues associated with not covering your load as well as the legal repercussions.
Solid Waste coordinated two County roadside litter sweeps for Earth Month, engaging more than 10 departments and picking up 52 bags of trash.
Kudos to Casi and the entire Solid Waste team, we are incredibly proud of your accomplishments.L
Learn more at buncombecounty.org/solidwaste.