Fruita’s green initiatives are ever evolving | PostIndependent.com

Fruita’s green initiatives are ever evolving

Brittany Markert
bmarkert@gjfreepress.com
Fruita recently completed its Xeric Garden at the Fruita Bike Park so the community can learn about using water wisely.
Brittany Markert / bmarkert@gjfreepress.com | Free Press

GO&DO

WHAT: Electronics recycling event

WHEN: April 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: Fruita City Hall, 325 E. Aspen Ave.

COST: Free for cell phones, laptops, cords/cables, speakers, mice and keyboards; computer monitors, $12; desktop printers/copiers, $5; TVs, $1/inch; all other electronics $3 and under

INFO: www.fruita.org

From recycling to replacing light bulbs, Fruita continues to be at the forefront of energy-saving actions in Mesa County.

“What makes Fruita stand out is the size of the community,” said Mike Bennett, Fruita’s city manager. “We are small enough, but when new ideas come up we can implement them pretty quickly.”

One project recently introduced to town on suggestion of a resident is placing recycling bins downtown.

“It shows how much pride is in the community,” Bennett said. “It stands out how much residents care about the city.”

Other Earth-friendly initiatives currently going on in Fruita include replacing light fixtures and street lights, and wastewater reclamation facility upgrades. Plus, the city continues to plan for development and future recycling efforts.

FUN RECYCLING FACTS

The City of Fruita currently offers free, curb-side recycling, which encourages visitors and residents to recycle rather than throw away certain items. This is meant to decrease the amount of solid waste heading to the local landfill. In 2014, the city diverted more than nine percent (or 533.6 tons) of solid waste through its recycling efforts.

According to Waste Management, a national company that operates locally, Fruita residents have recycled 534 tons of aluminum, cardboard/paper, scrap metals, glass and plastics 1-7. Those efforts saved more than 4,300 mature trees (which would have produced 53.8 million sheets of newspaper), 1,778 cubic yards of landfill airspace (enough airspace to fulfill municipal waste disposal of 2,283 people for one year), more than 1.9 million kilowatt hours of electricity (enough power to fulfill the annual electricity needs of 160 homes), and more than 2.5 million gallons of water (enough fresh water to meet the daily fresh-water needs of 33,815 people).

Curb-side recycling done by Fruita residents equates to savings for the city, Bennett noted, adding: “We are very proud of the recycling efforts.”

Mayor Lori Buck challenges Fruita residents to recycle even more in 2015, however.

“I know we can do better,” she said. “The service is included in our waste disposal fee and recycling containers can be obtained at no cost from the Fruita Civic Center.”

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT PLANS?

According to Bennett, the City of Fruita encourages all future development — residential or commercial — to incorporate environmental efficiencies. Developers must also incorporate shade trees in parking lots to “reduce heat island effects” and offer a bonus density when using Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

One current Fruita project is a new public works and parks department facility called City Shops. More than 23,000 square feet of building is going up to house offices for the parks department, equipment (like lawn mowers and police cars), and maintenance facilities.

City officials explained the $2.6-million building was created with skylights to reduce need for electric lighting. It also was designed with more insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs.

The Fruita Community Center was built with green practices in mind, too, including solar panels, solar tubes for natural light, plus updated HVAC and pump systems.

Fruita additionally installed a Xeric garden at the Fruita bike park as a way to educate students and the public about responsible water use.

For more information, visit http://www.fruita.org.


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