Young GV resident presses her city council in a “Call to Action” for composting

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENT REPORTER

At the start of every Greenwood Village city council meeting, citizens are permitted to address the council for three minutes on any subject that is not on the meeting agenda. 

On July 11, Julia Lace, 11, a rising sixth grader who lives in The Preserve neighborhood, appeared with her brother, Cormack Lace, 9. The first thing she wanted to know was, “Since there are two of us, can we have six minutes?” Mayor Lantz did not hesitate to oblige.

Julia Lace, 11 and her brother, Cormack Lace, 9, addressed the Greenwood Village City Council on July 11. Looking on admiringly are GV City Manager John Jackson and Parks, Trails and Recreation Manager Suzanne Moore.

We introduced Julia in the April 21, 2022 issue of The Villager as the person who brought composting to her neighborhood by personally convincing 50 families to sign up, the required minimum necessary for a woman-owned composting company that she had found, Wompost, to service the area.

She told the council, “I love the environment. I’ve lived in Greenwood Village my whole life. I’m here tonight to collaborate with you to bring composting to the Greenwood Village community. This isn’t a Girl Scout project or a project for school; this is a passion of mine and I’m here to talk with you about it.”

Cormack Lace, 9, used this compost bin and banana to demonstrate to the GV City Council how composting works. Photos by Freda Miklin

Julia talked about her experience in explaining the benefits of composting so as to get 50 families in her neighborhood to sign up for the service, summarizing with, “Anyone can compost in any location.” 

Julia next posed the rhetorical question, “Why compost?” Then she answered it, saying, “According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in a report from 2019, Americans land-filled or incinerated over 15,000,000 tons of compostable waste in 2015.” 

Next, Cormack Lace placed a banana peel into a metal canister as a demonstration and told the city council, “You can compost food scraps, sticks and other yard products, and coffee grounds. Firstly, it goes into our bin in the kitchen, then, when that gets full, it goes into our white bin, which is a little bigger, and is on our back porch. Weekly, we put it on the curb for Wompost to pick up.”

Next, Julia explained, “At my house, we have noticed much less trash. Even though our contractor, Wompost, will give you back soil…if you don’t want it, the city could get some nutrient-rich soil back and save some money on landscaping.” 

She shared that she became interested in composting while visiting her aunt in Denver where composting is offered. “I was disappointed to find out that Greenwood Village does not. After all, our name is literally Greenwood Village,” Julia noted.

Pointing to the fact that her family pays $30 per month for their composting service, Julia added that, “Wompost offers a 10% discount for first responders, military and teachers.” 

Explaining the nuts and bolts, she added, “Composting can be done in many ways. You can have someone pick it up, you can have a backyard bin, or you can set up a community site drop off. I would love if Greenwood Village could offer a citywide option for residents to start composting.” She continued, “I have brainstormed with my family many ways that composting could be brought to the City of Greenwood Village and they could start offering it to the community.” She suggested that it might be offered by GV’s current trash collection contractor or by a private contractor like the one used by her family and other neighbors. She also offered the idea that the city could provide composting receptacles to its residents and let them choose their own contractors.

Demonstrating her keen interest and the research she had done, Julia went on, “Greenwood Village has about 6,500 households. Our community values health, sustainability and green options. (The city) is debt free. By starting a citywide composting program, we would be investing in the next generation of Greenwood Village residents.”

She concluded, “In summary, as a resident of Greenwood Village, I am requesting a Call To Action.” 

Pointing to the fact that the city council will soon begin to formulate its budget for 2023, Julia proposed, “It is time for all of us who live in Greenwood Villager to have a city-sponsored composting program. Let’s be a leader in this area and promote health and sustainability. The benefits of composting definitely outweigh the cost. I look forward to continuing this discussion with you, looking at different options. Here is a business card so we can be in touch.” With that, this wise-beyond-her-years adolescent passed out business cards to each of the members of the city council and thanked them for their attention. 

Later in the meeting, Council Member Dave Bullock asked that GV staff look into whether the city can do what Ms. Lace suggested. It was decided that research will be done on the question and a study session will be held in the future to present the findings.

Julia was named a Village Hero in this month’s Greenwood Village Newsletter for her efforts in the area of composting. 

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com