IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT WITH
GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS, AND ACADEMIA.
Bruce Wood, President
Bring Urban Recycling to Nashville Today (“BURNT”) is a not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded in December 1988 and dedicated to environmental advocacy in Tennessee, specifically concerning landfills, solid waste disposal, pesticides, and multiple chemicals.
In addition to constantly petitioning local and state elected officials about these issues, we also educate citizens, businesses and governments on how to manage waste as a raw material for jobs and business.
History—The Incinerator An Example of Winning Strategy…For Nashville
BURNT was founded in December 1988 at a meeting at the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services to discuss the $200 million expansion of the downtown Nashville incinerator. This was also the first major neighborhood issue in Nashville–East Nashville residents were concerned about noxious fumes from the incinerator and Germantown residents concerned because the incinerator ash trucks ran through Germantown.
From December 1988 to 1990, BURNT developed sequential arguments to stop the $200 million expansion. The value of recycling solid waste versus burning emphasized the energy consumed by burning solid waste and re-manufacturing goods did not persuade decision makers. Next, BURNT focused on the air pollution caused by the incinerator. BURNT collected complaints from area residents who stated that cars were coated with ash and residue. However, the air pollution argument did not resonate with decision makers. Finally, BURNT shifted it’s strategy a third time to focus on land use. The incinerator was on the river to service large power customers. However, the Broadway area of downtown Nashville was being revitalized. BURNT developed statistics regarding that expanding the incinerator would result in 250 garbage trucks making round trips through downtown Nashville every day. BURNT’s focus on land use, and most notably for other more financially prosperous options for the area ultimately led to victory for the city. Downtown Nashville is now a popular tourist attraction and a center for art, music and commerce.
Since the victory over the expansion of the downtown incinerator, BURNT was a leader in other key land use issues which proved right for Nashville development
–A $100 million garbage separator on Rolling Mill Hill (Rutledge Hill),
–An existing, noxious rendering plant in North Nashville,
–An operating Liquid Hazardous Waste Processor in Cockrill Bend,
–A permitted incinerator in Madison, TN.
–a proposed incinerator in Cockrill Bend
–a proposed landfill in Bell’s Bend
—a construction waste landfill in West Nashville permitted by the Davidson County
Regional Solid Waste board
These issues are unique among citizen environmental groups. BURNT worked through government agencies, Boards, and the Metro Council with a shifting alliance of small business and neighborhood groups. This work demonstrated BURNT’s
- a high degree of sustained skills working with government
- excellent judgment which has been proven correct and beneficial to the city,
the people, and business
C. closing operating or proposed chronic polluters is very rare
For example, development in Metro Center has grown significantly since the Rendering Plant closed in the late 1990’s. The Titans practice facility would never have located in Metro Center if the Rendering Plant continued to blanket downtown, Metro Center,
East Nashville, and SoBro with noxious meat packing odors.
BURNT’s Performance, Skills, And Results Justifies Your Support
Over the past 24 years BURNT has won significant victories over chronic polluters and has been instrumental in the future development of Nashville into the 21st century. Through the tireless efforts of it’s entirely volunteer Board and staff, BURNT has proven that individuals and grassroots organizations can make an environmental difference. BURNT hopes to build on its past successes and formula for action by making internal changes within the organization to better serve Tennessee citizens.
BURNT has been staffed exclusively with volunteers. BURNT has the management and
financial controls to administer grants. BURNT’s goal is to build the Board of Directors and functions through incremental grants which reflect our unique knowledge in Tennessee on solid waste, landfills, environmental injustice, and multiple chemicals in our water and bodies. Our ability to build a larger board with professionals will be a measure of success
Over the next year before our 25th Anniversary
An Executive Director by Summer 2013 to facilitate the day-to-day tasks of BURNT. The Executive Director will hire support staff as needed. In addition, more volunteers will be recruited to assist on BURNT projects from the various undergraduate, graduate and law schools in the middle Tennessee area. Undergraduate students will be targeted to implement BURNT’s marketing efforts, including signing up new members and generally getting the word out about BURNT. Graduate students will be targeted from the environmental studies, ecology, and business departments to work closely on BURNT programs. BURNT will be able to provide these students with academic credit for their time. Finally, BURNT is very active with Tennessee lawmakers and frequently drafts detailed legal complaints to be filed against chronic polluters. Law students from area schools will be utilized to help with legal research and drafting various lawsuits. These students will also be offered academic credit for time spent with BURNT.
An Organizer and an Educational Director by Fall 2013. Our first large funded effort will target organizing Dickson County which hosts the highly polluted Dickson County Landfill. We will build around the Dickson County Landfill organizer and established volunteers to organize incrementally in Camden and Jackson, Tennessee. The Program Director will work with business to implement recycling and composting programs and doing outreach to citizens and groups. The Educational Director will be responsible for compiling materials and scheduling and holding educational seminars for communities, businesses and governments.
BURNT will require a space to house the Executive Director, Program Director, Educational Director, staff and volunteers. An ideal space would be completely eco-friendly and would include office space for each Director and staff, a workroom for interns, a copy center, reception area, and conference room for meetings and seminars. This space should be identified in spring 2013.
Description of Services Provided
BURNT’s mission: Improving The Environment Through Citizen Involvement
With Government, Business, and Academia will be achieved in two ways. First, at its core, BURNT is an environmental advocate and it’s main focus is to change government to protect water and those who suffer from the ill effects of landfill waste. BURNT accomplishes this goal by educating State and local governments for reform in how solid waste is handled and disposed, providing affected areas with assistance and education about landfill waste, and ultimately helping citizens shut down chronic polluters.
Second, BURNT wins issues by providing economically beneficial solutions to environmental problems. Just as we won the incinerator issue by stressing land use and benefits, we have progressed on landfills by focusing on jobs and business rather than water pollution and environmental justice. BURNT’s goal is to provide government and businesses with cost saving and money making alternative methods to solid waste other than disposing of it in landfills.
Third, by organizing around landfills, solid waste, and pesticides, BURNT will achieve measurable benefits such as increased voting, school attendance, and economic growth for those on the margins of society.
Fourth, we now understand there is a basic connection of all waste—human waste, solid waste, and hazardous waste.
Finally, we believe there is significant support for what we do among affluent citizens who wish there to be a healthier society and more jobs even if they are not afflicted by landfills.
Community & Market
Over the past 24 years BURNT has serviced multiple areas of Tennessee. From metropolitan Nashville to Camden, Tennessee, BURNT will evaluate involvement in any area throughout Tennessee with a landfill or chronic pollution problem. Areas that are generally affected by landfill waste are typically poor, minority populated, and rural areas. Significantly, every individual in Tennessee creates 3—5 pounds of solid waste daily. Therefore programs to promote alternative disposal methods for solid waste will be initiated throughout Tennessee. BURNT’s base of operations is in Nashville, therefore in the following 1-3 years BURNT will focus on implementing such programs in the greater Nashville area. As these programs generate success, BURNT will strive to implement programs in other large metropolitan areas of Tennessee, specifically targeting Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
BURNT’s mission Improving The Environment through Citizen Involvement
With Government, Business, and Academia is embodied providing alternative uses for solid waste that is safe for the community and environment but that is also profitable to government and business. BURNT is solution-based – to focus less on the problem’s generated by landfills and more on how government, businesses and academia can work together to find a solution. BURNT is an advocate and resource for those in need of landfill reform. BURNT skills and knowledge can translate to other Southern states which also have significant solid waste and landfill problems
How BURNT Will Deliver Services
The primary service BURNT provides now is educating elected officials, the State Solid Waste Control Board, and citizens about highly deficient proposed solid waste rules pushed by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). BURNT participates in Solid Waste Control Board meetings. We played a key role in the defeat of a Solid Waste Reduction Rule which resulted from Public Chapter 462 (year 2007, Pg. 3-4). We are now involved in appeal of a “Waste Reduction Rule” passed by the Board in August 2012. TDEC is strangely committed to landfills and also very sloppy in permitting and regulating them
BURNT’s knowledge of state solid waste law, the General Assembly, and how to recycle and re-use waste, will make an important contribution to job creation in Tennessee. BURNT is most established at the General Assembly where elected officials have a fundamental knowledge of empty store fronts in their home districts. TDEC is committed to landfills. This is a major road block but BURNT knows the history and facts. BURNT has statistics such as landfilling 10,000 tons of solid waste creates one job and recycling and composting 10,000 tons creates 17 jobs (College of Charleston study).
Solid Waste Solutions Are Simple and Profitable
The key: is to compost food waste (14% of the waste), yard waste (13% of waste) and non-recycled paper (25%) which reduces unhealthy methane gas in landfills—a major source of green house gasses. Composting this organic waste diverts 3 million tons of waste (3,000,000 tons) creates a useful product and eliminates $400 million cost to landfill this waste. Construction waste—15% to 20% of the waste stream—is highly recyclable and reusable yet Tennessee is the only state which credits landfilled construction waste as recycled
BURNT can also work with local citizens and governments to plan for solid waste solutions. In 2011, we were called to Camden and Jackson to work on difficult
landfill permitting issues. Eventually, this is quite likely to lead to invitations to do
solid waste planning and implement solutions
BURNT is also evaluating opportunities to directly reduce solid waste by working to manage solid waste generated in large buildings or composting food waste in select residential neighborhoods.
BURNT Must Upgrade Our RESEARCH
San Francisco and Toronto have significant composting and diversion programs but what are the cost, type of containers, and procedures. We need more research on multiple chemicals in the environment and also, bio-generation of energy in homes and business from composting and larger scale is growing—what are the costs. Environmental injustice—we need more exact research on costs of ill health and poor reading among poor and minority
Although this may be a good area for graduate students, volunteers consume significant
Resources in terms of training, time, and supervision
Our web site posts information and letters. Our web site has improved markedly but we do not have a full range communication and outreach system.
Face Book Page
We must develop a greater social media communication skills. We need e-mail management software. Salesforce should be provided for free. E-mail account from Google Apps to correspond with all Board members, potential staff and volunteers.
We must communicate with Chambers of Commerce and re-join the Nashville
Pesticides, plastic, and sewer sludge are long term and near term problems for us to
Plan and to anticipate any immediate, acute problems
‘Waste Reduction Rule’
The State Solid Waste Control Disposal Board is dominated by a single member from a major landfill company. TDEC does not demonstrate any interest in waste reduction, composting, or recycling. We are now appealing to the Attorney General Solid Waste Reduction Rule which on its face did follow the procedural requirements of Public Chapter 0462 because specific research was not considered as was mandated. The ‘Solid Waste Reduction Rule’ was contains severe procedural errors and is an excellent opportunity for us to develop our solid waste profile with local officials and business across the state, the General Assembly, and TDE
How BURNT Intends to Provide Services
BURNT’s advocacy services will be provided to citizens and communities who contact the organization via phone, email or personal connections with a member of the organization. In addition, BURNT will actively seek out communities in Tennessee who are experiencing problems with landfills and chronic polluters but who do not know about BURNT
BURNT’s recycling and composting programs to minimize landfill waste will also be provided to citizens, businesses, local governments and communities who contact BURNT directly.
Finally, BURNT’s educational programs will be offered to any and all participants who wish to learn more about the dangers of landfill waste and what they can do to eradicate landfills in Tennessee.
There is a significant market for our information via film, social marketing, written, and education courses.
We are evaluating a significant change in use of technology including video, education lessons plans, face book, and fundraising based on electronic messages. We wish to have a full library of accessible leectronic addresses for elected and appointed county and state officials.
Who Will Use BURNT Services?
BURNT’s advocacy services will be used by communities in proximity to landfills and those affected by chronic polluters throughout Tennessee. Currently, BURNT is involved with two landfills in Camden, Tennessee and Jackson, Tennessee. We are contesting a “Waste Reduction Rule” passed by the Solid Waste Control Disposal Board, and working on managing solid waste as a resource for job creation. BURNT is very active at the General Assembly and the Metropolitan Nashville City Council. In the 2012 general Assembly, BURNT wrote SB /HB which led directly to a two day hearing on 10—11 July 2012 in front of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee. [to view the hearing-go to General Assembly, Senate, video, Senate Energy Committee].
BURNT’s proactive programs for recycling and composting will be targeted at individuals, businesses, local governments and communities in the greater Nashville area for the next 1-2 years. Eventually, based on the success of these programs, other large metropolitan areas throughout Tennessee, specifically targeting Knoxville, Memphis and Chattanooga
Will implement these recycling and composting programs to create jobs and business not landfill costs. Finally, BURNT’s programs will be instituted in all areas throughout Tennessee in whatever size and scale is appropriate for the area.
BURNT’s educational programs will be utilized by those seeking BURNT’s advocacy services and recycling and composting programs. BURNT will target the greater Nashville area to produce these educational programs for the next 1-2 years and eventually expand to large metropolitan areas throughout Tennessee.
We can attract significant support from affluent citizens not directly impacted by landfills who
support good government, clean water, and reducing pervasive multiple chemicals.
We seek to identify progressive companies which have effective waste diversion programs
so that we can generate support from them and offer them professional suggestions.
BURNT’s advertising plan consists of several phases. Phase I includes re-branding the organization, including a new logo, business cards, a new website, and a presence on social media outlets.
Phase II will include targeted email mailings to citizen groups, businesses, government organizations and individuals who have shown support for BURNT in the past. In addition, strategic partnerships will be formed with other environmental groups, Community Shares, and Hands On Nashville to push BURNT’s name out into the community.
BURNT is now exploring targeted e-mail fundraising based on our attractive, compelling issues of environmental justice, job creation, and protecting ground water.
Healthy schools are a major issue. We have a successful record in Metro schools with pesticides.
BURNT will create an electronic newsletter entitled the BURNT “Ember”. This newsletter will be published online and be available via the website, social media outlets, and emailed out to members, donors, volunteers and Board members. The content of the newsletter will consist of pieces written by various environmental professionals, Board members and staff of BURNT regarding landfill and solid waste issues.
Bruce Wood is a founding member of BURNT and is currently the elected President of the Board. Wood has been instrumental in BURNT’s historical success and it’s current initiatives to grow and move forward. Wood will be an active member of BURNT’s advocacy services including traveling to affected areas, educating the government and citizens about the hazards of landfill waste, and organizing an effort to help resolve the situation. Wood will be provided with a team of volunteers to help mobilize the effort in affected areas.
An Executive Director who is to be determined will be hired in summer 2013 to facilitate the administrative end of BURNT and set up an office space and hire interns and volunteers. The Executive Director will be responsible for all BURNT programs.
An Educational Director who is to be determined will be hired to run BURNT’s educational programs by 2013 BURNT plans to hire an organizer in conjunction with landfill problems
Numerous volunteers and interns from the local law schools and graduate/undergraduate programs in the Nashville area will be solicited to assist with all BURNT programs. We will hire an organizer for the Dickson County landfill and other mid-Tennessee landfills once funding is secured.
FUNDING & USE
How BURNT Plans to Raise Money
Initially, funds will be raised by approaching individuals, private foundations, universities, government groups and Nashville corporations with an interest in environmental advocacy. BURNT has identified a list of former supporters and donors that have expressed an interest in continuing to support BURNT efforts. Other potential donors will be identified through various resources such as Guidestar.org. By winter 2013 BURNT hopes to pursue foundation and grant funding. A calendar of prospective grants will be created to ensure BURNT submits grant applications by the applicable deadlines.
BURNT’s primary use of initial funds will be maintaining current operations and identifiying a consultant to develop funding and management. Mr. Wood’s efforts towards environmental advocacy have not been compensated to date. Mr. Wood will be provided with reimbursement for his time, travel and expenses. In addition, funds will be used to assist Mr. Wood in his advocacy efforts, including hiring camera and film crews to travel to and film affected areas, a geologist to produce geological surveys and reports on affected areas, etc.
Funds will also be used to hire a graphic and web designer to re-brand BURNT, specifically to produce a marketable website, logo and branding strategy. Funds will be used to purchase email management software. Salesforce should be provided for free.
BURNT will require funds to pay the salaries of the Executive Director, Organizer, and Educational Director. In addition, rent and overhead expenses for a physical location will need to be funded.
As a southern non-profit with lengthy history and values, BURNT is a strong candidate for foundation support with better focus. Other funds will be used for marketing efforts to alert the community of BURNT’s activities and generate members and volunteers
BURNT will follow generally accepted practices for non-profit accounting. BURNT has always used an independent professional for preparation of BURNT taxes, annual reports, and auditing. BURNT will use accounting software to assist with its books.
Tennessee landfills 8-9 million tons of solid waste annually. There are 32 operating Class I landfills in Tennessee. An additional 80 ‘Construction and Demolition’ Landfills are in the state. Many communities in close proximity to these landfills directly affected by the hazards they cause. Thus, these communities will be direct consumers of BURNT advocacy services, particularly for our program to divert organic food waste, yard waste, and paper from landfills which creates dangerous greenhouse gasses.
All Tennessee citizens and businesses contribute to the 9 million tons of landfill waste disposed of annually. All of Tennessee can directly benefit from 6,000 jobs which can be created if we divert 50% of the waste the landfills (College of Charleston research)
Pesticides and Multiple Chemicals
Chemicals used in business, agriculture, and consumer products have accumulated in our bodies, water, and environment. Cancer, birth defects, infertility, obesity, and diabetes
Have increased significantly. BURNT has multiple years of experience with pesticides in schools, spraying to control mosquitoes, and state legislation. BURNT’s experience with
solid waste is highly transferable to pesticides and multiple chemicals. We are connected with national groups. We can provide effective research and leadership in protecting people and water from agriculture chemicals.
According to Green Book Tennessee, which operates a listserv of all the environmental organizations operating within Tennessee, as of 2009 there were 220 environmental organizations, including BURNT. There is no other organization in the state of Tennessee specifically dedicated to addressing landfills through environmental advocacy. Many of the organizations listed are dedicated to environmental conservation. There are no other pesticide and chemical groups. BURNT has a significant advantage in extensive knowledge of solid waste regulations, past laws, and regulators. We also enjoy a positive standing at the General Assembly, Metro Council, and cities and counties which have suffered severe landfill problems. We have extensive knowledge on chemicals.
Barriers to Success
BURNT has achieved significant victories over its 23 year history but BURNT has
not achieved sustainable growth. Tennessee is a difficult environment for strong citizen groups. BURNT’s mission and message have not been adequately developed over the past two decades. In addition, BURNT does not have the corporate infrastructure to track donors, members or volunteers nor does it have a significant presence on the web. BURNT leadership has focused on changing policy through research, dogged pursuit of issues, and written communication with policy makers.
Our policy focus on managing solid waste as a raw material for jobs and business provides a method for us to re-brand our image and update our way of doing business. BURNT will be repositioned as a solution-based organization. We will present the problems that landfill waste causes in a simple, fact-based manner, and will then provide detailed plans for solutions that are driven by economic factors. BURNT will show how cleaning up landfills will make everyone more money.
We must fund staff and attract volunteers. A staff will allow us to work with business interests, package our years of experience into film, written, and education out reach.
BURNT services cut across the board because our efforts are anchored in the law. With
effective marketing, we can generate support from people who will never be threatened with a landfill but who want a better environment , clean water, and good government. We have a demonstrated record of positive involvement with real estate, business, and chronic polluters in Nashville. BURNT’s strength is with elected officials because our approach is based on laws, we put arguments in writing, we work through multiple agencies, and we provide research. Our fundamental client is the water and environment. Water is measurable, the supply is apparently threatened by changing weather, and we provide specific strategies to protect this resource. We must persuade some people that they are in fact our client. For example, the State of Tennessee is vehement in promoting landfills. We have to expand our base to include people who can develop our communication. Our track record, the need for water and jobs, and the sophistication of many of the leaders in Tennessee create a strong market for us
BURNT will support recycling and composting programs to individuals, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, businesses, and restaurants. Finally, BURNT has significant educational programs which can be provided to all Tennessee citizens via the BURNT website, film, social media, and on-site courses.
Community Support for BURNT
BURNT has spoken with past supporters and donors who have agreed to meet with BURNT representatives once materials have been prepared to present BURNT’s new position and image. BURNT has played a vital role in development of commercial real estate by opposing the downtown Thermal Plant expansion, the garbage processor on Rolling Mills Hill, stopping the Rendering Plant in North Nashville, and closing Laidlaw-OSCO in Cockrill Bend with partners Robert-Orr Sysco and united Auto Workers Ford Glass Plant. We will need assistance to make these appointments and generate support.
Goals & Objectives
Year one—Build on our success at the General Assembly creating knowledge that jobs can be created by managing solid waste as a raw material for jobs. We will establish strategic relationships with individuals, communities, governments, and businesses to locate businesses which need raw materials for their business. Begin developing educational materials to be distributed via the Web. Develop a plan for multiple chemicals, pesticides, and sewer sludge. Begin organizing specific events
- ‘Toxies’ –a national broadcast on ‘Toxic Chemicals’ awards in June 2013
- BURNT 25th Anniversary December 2013
Year Two to Five: In June 2013 evaluate our planning for large events, paid membership, and citizen involvement in solid waste, multiple chemicals, and sewer
sludge (business and human waste used for fertilizer). Re-establish recognition in the community as an advocate against landfills and to provide a viable solution to landfills. To develop our Board and group connections to business. To measure citizen involvement in multiple chemicals and sewer sludge and landfills. Evaluate our communication including web site, face book, inter-net, and telephone
How Goals & Objectives are to be Measured
BURNT can measure it’s advocacy goals by how much solid waste is diverted from landfills, how many visits to the General Assembly and other elected bodies in Tennessee, effectiveness in changing policy at the [State] Solid Waste Control Board, and out reach to business. We can measure how many jobs are created through recycling and composting with specific companies and use of specific solid waste. We measure
how much money is saved on disposing of waste through landfills, and by how much landfill waste is reduced because of these programs.
BURNT works effectively with citizens, elected officials, and business because we provide written information based on laws and research. We will measure how many participate, public meetings, working on ‘healthy schools’, and urban composting.
Our primary measure is how we grow in our management. We need additional volunteers and paid staff. We offer activities which contribution to solutions in important social problems.
How BURNT’s Services Will Affect Society
BURNT involves citizens in solutions of vital social problems. This is very rare. At the General Assembly to State Board hearings on Solid Waste Rules, very few citizens participate. BURNT offers realistic solutions. Diverting waste from landfills can reduce landfills by 50% will create 6,000 good paying jobs (according to College of Charleston research). BURNT has developed a broad range of involvement with Tennessee solid waste directors, Metro and state government administrators, elected officials, and the General Assembly. BURNT needs to develop this asset by working on pesticides, multiple chemicals, water, and sewer sludge. We can combat specific problems but most importantly we can help citizens be part of their government.