Hoboken, N.J., is partnering with the Community Compost Company of New Paltz, N.Y., to provide a residential food scrap collection service. On Saturdays beginning in June, residents can bring their separated food scraps and organic materials to one of three drop spot locations throughout the city. The collected food scraps will then be taken to a farm where they are recycled into compost, which is used as a soil amendment.
The EPA estimates that 20 percent of a household’s waste stream is comprised of food scraps. Garbage from Hoboken is transported to a landfill in West Virginia, and tipping fees are $100 per ton of waste. The city believes composting organic material will be an easy way to divert waste from the landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help save money by cutting down on landfill fees as well as the volume and frequency of garbage collection.
In April 2014, Elk Grove, Calif., opened the Special Waste Collection Center, a state-of-the-art facility that allows residents and businesses to dispose of household hazardous waste locally.
The $4.6 million Special Waste Collection Center was the first of its kind in the nation powered by solar energy. The facility accepts typical household hazardous wastes and recyclables like antifreeze, batteries, cooking oil, used motor oil, fluorescent light bulbs, gasoline and electronic waste.
The facility also allows for disposal of hard-to-recycle items such as rigid plastics, cardboard boxes, metal and appliances at no fee.
Built on a dilapidated industrial site, the city redeveloped the area, and 100 percent of the previous concrete, asphalt and steel buildings were recycled for future reuse. The city believe the facility will qualify for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification for the project.
In recognition of Water Conservation Month in April, the North Port Utilities Department hosted an art contest for local youth (kindergarten- 5th grade). The city asked students to design art to be featured in a 2016 North Port Water Conservation and Protection Calendar. Additionally, the city partnered with the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program to host an art contest for 6th – 12th graders to create designs that would be placed on rain barrels.
The city received many designs from North Port students of all ages. Designs were voted on by the community, and each elementary school winner’s design will be featured in the conservation calendar. Each middle and high school winner’s received a barrel to bring their design to life. The winning designs will be displayed at City Hall.
North Point is pleased to see the participation and awareness that the contests have brought to the community. The city works hard to get the word out about water conservation and protection.
In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Park City, Utah, is installing its 7th major solar project on a municipal building. The Park City Municipal Athletic and Recreation Center, or MARC, has outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and workout facilities. The facility’s energy needs are great, so the city is investing $450,000 to transition it from traditional energy to solar, according to local television news sources. The solar array will be made up of 755 panels and will cover about 20 percent of the facility’s energy needs. The city’s Municipal Environmental Project manager estimates the installation will pay for itself by 2021.
The city has seen success with solar power in the past – there are six other municipal arrays, including ones at city hall and at the public works department.
Improper disposal of hazardous materials and electronics can endanger human health and harm wildlife. The new Prince William County, Va., Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Recycling Facility provides a safe and easy way for county residents to properly dispose of household chemicals and electronics.
The facility includes a covered drop-off area for residents and facility workers. It also includes a smooth surface to operate materials handling equipment such as forklifts, pallet jacks, drum dollies, etc. It features four loading docks for large trucks that pick up the materials. The old facility was outdoors, which made it difficult for users to control spills and clean up broken electronics.
In addition to the usual computer equipment, audio and visual tools and household electronics, the county now lists approximately 40 different types of materials it will accept.
At the April ribbon cutting, attended by state and county officials, community members, public works staff and neighboring county solid waste and environmental professionals, Prince William County Solid Waste Division Chief Tom Smith noted the facility was designed and built to meet the county’s needs for 30-40 years or more.
Sustainability is an admirable goal, and communities across the country are doing their best to protect the environment. Here are several projects illustrating the various ways cities and counties are going green.
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