Two US cities took significant steps to thwart plastic waste this month. Dallas managed to pass fees for disposable bags, while San Francisco ventured into the fraught bottled water debate.
San Francisco residents may soon be able to buy a 100 percent green power plan, for about $9 a month more on average, under a public power program approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
San Francisco knows how to not waste an opportunity. In case you missed the news, the Golden Gate city recently surpassed it’s goal of diverting 75 percent of its trash from the landfill by 2010. It’s already at 77 percent trash diversion by the city’s last estimation.
That very likely makes San Francisco the continuing leader among U.S. cities for trash diversion. San Jose, Fresno, Long Beach, New York City and Portland are close behind. According to an independent ranking, those cities were all diverting at least 60 percent of their waste in late 2007. San Francisco led the pack back then at 67 percent diversion.
California stands ready to be the first state to ban disposable plastic bags, a move that supporters say would help staunch plastic waste on land and in the ocean.
California Attorney General Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. is suing mortgage companies over their refusal to allow PACE funding for clean energy improvements on homes.
PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) money allows homeowners to finance energy efficiency projects like solar panels through their property taxes. Cities that offer the plans can sell bonds to generate the money for PACE loans, which are then attached to a homeowners’ property tax bill. The plan provides homeowners with the upfront money they need for big improvements, and allows them to stretch out their payments over 20 years, making large capital improvements like solar arrays possible.
San Francisco, the city that banned plastic bags, bottled water and Styrofoam, is taking another big step down the path to sustainable urban living. In March 2011, the City of San Francisco will begin installing more than 17,000 LED street lighting fixtures, effectively replacing most city-owned street lamps.
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
San Francisco’s pilot project for plug-in vehicles officially launched today at City Hall with the unveiling of outlet stations for electric cars in the city fleet.
The “Smartlet Networked Charging Stations” will allow plug-in fleet and car-share vehicles to recharge while their drivers are working nearby.
The city and Coluomb Technologies, maker of the plug-in stations, partnered on the two-year project to showcase how driving electric vehicles needn’t sacrifice convenience, and can maximize range, when daytime plug-in options are available.
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
For years, California has been a leader of environmental policy — writing it’s own stricter rules for pesticide controls, air pollution and waste disposal as it sees fit, regardless of whether the nation is following along.
In the 1990s, the state pushed the leading edge of a technology that many of us wish had been pursued more aggressively when it hosted a test of modern electric cars, a fairly successful experiment that was regrettably shoved into neutral by U.S. automakers.
Pollinators, mainly bees, but also butterflies, songbirds and even bats, perform such a critical function in the food chain that their absence threatens everything from the viability of vast fields of commercial corn and other crops to the tomatoes in your garden. Without the bees and other pollinators, plants can fail to produce the fruits and seeds we eat.
Which is why a San Francisco-based group called the Pollinator Partnership has dedicated itself to the survival of pollinators — from hummingbirds to small mammals to the fragile and busiest pollinators of them all, the bees. Partnership members, along with beekeepers and researchers testified before Congress last week to lobby lawmakers for more funding to research the decline of many pollinators, particularly the loss of millions of bees around the world to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).