What Is Sustainable Norcross?

Do you recycle, compost, xeriscape, use rain barrels? Would you like to learn how? Are you interested in organic and locally grown produce but cannot find it? Do you admire the fabulous tree canopy in Norcross? Ever wondered how to certify your yard as a Wildlife Habitat? Are you concerned about the quantity and quality of our water? Is it better to use paper or plastic bags at the grocery? What natural products are safe but effective? Ever considered sustainable alternatives for flooring, clothing and other products? Where can you discard old electronics?

Well, let’s learn together.

Starting a new organization can be a daunting task. Then an online training manual advised:

"Don’t wait - Get started without funding, expertise, or fear of adverse consequences.

Seek useful resources - Information on the web, in literature, in the community, in person, from experts.

Seek ways to scale up - Transform successful solutions into a movement of local significance.

Have fun projects – enjoy doing. Your efforts can result in important benefits, and you can have a good time while you’re at it!"

And that is exactly what a group of like minded citizens did. The organizational meeting was held June 1, 2008 and we've been busy ever since.

Learn more about us here on our blog or contact us now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Join Us For Art Fest

As October rolls in to town, so does Art Fest and hopefully so do you. This year you may need to take a slightly different route due to the wash out of Holcomb Bridge Road (see map and directions below). But a foot or so of rain cannot dampen the volunteer spirit and community pride that brings folks together, especially for the premier event of the year, Art Fest.

Join your neighbors and make new friends by volunteering with Sustainable Norcross. Choices include:

Friday October 2, 5 – 7 PM – Assist in setting up the Art Fest Hospitality Suite recycling stations.

Saturday October 3, 7 AM - Set up informational tent for Sustainable Norcross at Art Fest at Thrasher Park, place recycle containers throughout venue.

10 AM – 6 PM Man informational tent (chat with public about Sustainable Norcross, hand out info), refresh recycle containers prior to free concert at 7:30 PM (collect full bags, replace with fresh bags, and tally contents).

Sunday October 4, 9 AM – Art Fest - Refresh recycle containers after concert from previous night.

11 AM – 5 PM - Man informational tent for Sustainable Norcross

5 PM - about 7 PM - Pack up tent, etc., collect all recycle containers, tally and store.

Sign up NOW sustainablenorcross@gmail.com

Click on article below to enlarge for details of detour around Holcomb Bridge Road to Art Fest in Historic Downtown Norcross.

How To Get To Historic Downtown Norcross

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Barrel of …

Raindrops. Just like pennies make dollars, raindrops make gallons – gallons of precious, life giving water. Free from Mother Nature. If only I could collect the raindrops and save them until I need them.

Raindrops that fall on my house produce 600 gallons of water for every 1,000 square feet of roof during a 1 inch rain. While I may not be able to harvest it all, I surely would like to capture enough to water my container plants, window boxes and shrubs. I could really put those raindrops to good use, save on my water bill, maybe get a credit on my storm water utility fee and protect the environment while I’m at it. Well that’s worth looking in to.

And thus began a quest to find affordable, practical rain barrels for my personal home use. What I found is an idea worth sharing. In fact we will be doing just that with a class at 9:30 AM Saturday September 19. We will show you how to make your very own rain barrel and by so doing will help to achieve several of the goals of Sustainable Norcross: Water Conservation, Education and Volunteerism.

If you miss this class or you are not a Do-It-Yourself kind of person, no worries. Put your name on the list here to be notified of the next class. Or order your completed rain barrel here. You can pick up your rain barrel(s) at the Sustainable Norcross tent at The Whistle Stop Farmers Market any Tuesday through October from 4 – 8 PM. Purchase several for yourself. (I have four linked together off one down spout.) And it is not too early to be thinking about gift ideas.

It is taking a village to make this possible. Well, a small army anyway. Thanks to each and every one of you for being our partner:

The Coca-Cola Company Live Positively Community Water Partnership
Bonny Putney, The Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (UCR)
Kevin Smith, Keep Forsyth County Beautiful
Karen Alexander, Raindrops Rain Barrels
Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center
Barbara and Jim Renz
Ernie Jones
City of Norcross

Sign up now for Sustainable Norcross Rain Barrel ClassSaturday

September 19
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Lawrenceville St at Mitchell Rd beside the Fire Truck Museum

Cost $50 per barrel – Assemble your own from materials provided


Order a completed rain barrel ready to install - $60 each

Join us for a barrel of fun and take home a barrel for your rain drops.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Take

This was a twofer week. The City of Norcross had two fun, free, back–to-back city wide events. Both were well attended, assisted in part by marvelous fall weather, but mostly because of their first class content. Where else can you go on a Friday night with your honey, spread a blanket under the stars and enjoy music, a refreshing beverage or two and a little alfresco dining?

And this was followed on Saturday with an international event right up the street. Locals and visitors to historic downtown got to view some classy and classic British motor vehicles, chat up their proud owners, get a spot of tea while strolling (and shopping) and catch a bite. Kudos all around, thanks to the staff and volunteers who make these magic moments for all of us to enjoy.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, whether it is an annual affair or a routine event. It takes the coordinated effort of many to see after all the details that ensure an enjoyable experience. And if you never really thought about it, that is in part because folks have done such a good job that you don’t have to.

But if you did stop to think about it, would you wonder what’s up with those blue contraptions with clear plastic bags and dangling signs scattered around at every event? How do they get there, what goes in them, what comes out, what happens to the contents? Inquisitive minds want to know.

All together now: “Away From Home Special Events Recycling Grant”. The turn key kit came from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs as a grant to the City via an application prepared by Sustainable Norcross. The containers and trailer to transport them are for use at public events so folks can continue their recycling habit while away from home. Volunteers managed by Sustainable Norcross place the containers at the events, retrieve them and report the contents which are then recycled with the city waste vendor, Advanced Disposal.

So what was the take this week end? The 12 recycle containers netted about 87 pounds of beverage containers. About 53 pounds were glass with the balance aluminum and plastic. There were about seven additional pounds of cardboard. Eleven different volunteers (see September 13th posting) participated at three different times over the weekend to ensure the valuable recyclables stayed out of the land fill.

This would not be possible without each of you pitching in. Thanks for tossing your empties in the recycle containers and your garbage and food scraps in the trash. It takes all of us.

If you would like to do more than Pitch In, volunteer today.

Interact Caught in the Act

Current (and future) members of Norcross High School Interact Club are caught in the act recently on Fall Planting Day at Norcross Charity Garden (see their Facebook page). They joined garden founder, Laura Laszlo and adult volunteers to harvest tomatoes, peppers, squash and pumpkins, then remove spent plants and weeds and finally, prepare and sow new beds. All produce is donated weekly to a local charity for homeless families who prepare and eat the fresh vegetables.

Norcross High School Interact Club President is Ezra Mohd Zaid and faculty sponsor is physics teacher, Mr. Robert Katz. Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 14 to 18 and their call to action is “Lead, Connect, Serve”. Locally the club is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Peachtree Corners that meets weekly in Norcross. Over the past year the Interact Club and Sustainable Norcross have worked together on several environmental initiatives that benefit the community while maintaining separate active schedules.

Seven Interact Club members distributed the special Away From Home Event Recycle containers for the Concert in the Park on Friday. A dedicated group met at 7 AM Saturday and re-located the recycle containers managed by Sustainable Norcross to historic downtown for the British Car Fayre. After the popular event another team retrieved the containers, collected data on “the take” and stored the units for the next city wide free activity.

That is The Whistle Stop Farmers Market on Tuesday from 4 – 8 PM. The festive fresh market continues through October on the street between Thrasher Park and the railroad. The Interact Club hopes to provide volunteer assistance to market vendors for unloading, setting up and packing up along with the ongoing market recycling project. And they are discussing additional volunteer opportunities in partnership with Sustainable Norcross.

Don’t let these dedicated community service oriented young people have all the fun! Join Norcross High School Interact Club and Sustainable Norcross in one of the many local volunteer opportunities this year. Imagine yourself interacting for the good of our community.