Jane Laping is a member of many local organizations, including Asheville Oakley TreeKeepers, MountainTrue and Plastic-Free WNC.
What’s a local sustainability initiative that you think is going well or on a successful path?
Plastic-Free WNC has been working on a plastic bag and Styrofoam ban for the city and the county for several years and feels that we are finally making some progress. Not only are single-use plastics a disposal and litter problem, they break down into tiny pieces called microplastics in our waterways, where they create more environmental problems. The city just released a survey to measure residents’ input about the ban at avl.mx/cje.
What is one piece of environmental legislation or policy change that you would like to see Asheville/Buncombe County make?
Kudos to the city for taking steps to eliminate the use of plastic bags for disposing of leaves and brush. Now, the city needs to take the next step and implement a ban on plastic bags from retail stores and Styrofoam containers from restaurants. City Council moved forward to study the ordinance late last year, and now it is taking some time for staff to research and develop the necessary information to put it into action.
What is your organization’s preferred method for educating the community about its mission?
Plastic-Free WNC is a program of MountainTrue that uses a variety of methods for getting the word out. Media have the widest reach through print, TV and radio. MountainTrue has a large email list that targets individuals who are interested in environmental issues in Western North Carolina. Word-of-mouth can also be very effective when passionate individuals share an issue verbally, post on social media, write an op-ed, etc.
Where do you go to enjoy the outdoors?
The Mountain-to-Sea Trail is my favorite place to hike in Buncombe County, and I especially like to hike in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. The MST is very convenient and easy to get to as it follows the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have hiked all the sections in the county and like some more than others. The best sections are those that get away from the parkway so that you don’t hear the traffic.