City continues ‘green’ efforts

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In its continuing effort to “go green,” Suffolk will cease printing City Council agenda information for staff and members of the public. The change is intended to help reduce paper consumption and save money.

City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn told City Council members in a letter last month of the changes.

“Our goal is to initially reduce the amount of paper that we’re using and the amount of copying that’s being done,” city Chief of Staff Sherry Hunt said Tuesday. “In order to do that, we’re transmitting a lot of documents electronically.”

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Among the biggest changes are a move away from printing the agenda package and PowerPoint presentations that accompany City Council meetings.

The agenda package includes information such as proposed resolutions to accompany council meetings. It was previously distributed on paper to city department heads and media, but that practice was discontinued last year. Instead, the package now is emailed to those who need it. Council members still receive a printed package at their seat in chambers, and that will continue, Hunt said.

PowerPoint presentations given by staff members at City Council meetings will no longer be printed. Previously, they were given to staff members and others to reference later. The presentations will be sent via email to anyone who requests.

The steps are the first part of a strategy to reduce the amount of resources used and save taxpayer dollars, Hunt said.

“Those were some steps that we’re taking to be a little more environmentally conscious, reduce waste and reduce the amount of paper being used,” Hunt said. “We’re going to continue to evaluate ways to save costs and to be a little bit more environmentally conscious.”

The city manager’s letter to council members was accompanied by a presentation on Hampton’s efforts to reduce waste. That city is considering purchasing iPads or other digital readers for City Council members to use during meetings.

“We just wanted to make council aware of what other cities were doing,” Hunt said.

The new steps for Suffolk follow the city’s participation in a “Cans for Cash” recycling contest. The city also is currently taking part in a plastic bag recycling challenge.