Don’t trash talk San Francisco; the city beats everyone at waste diversion

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.

The side of a Recology truck makes the point that "Recycling changes everything." In San Francisco, it has dramatically changed how much trash goes to waste. (Photo: Recology)

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 sues mortgage companies over PACE loans

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 plugs in to the EV movement

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.

California leaders positioned to green U.S. policy

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.

Green Artists Come Together, In Houston And Online

By Julie Bonnin Artists are in a unique position to comment on the state of the world and environmental concerns. Using found objects is one well-known mode of artistic expression that reinforces the idea of finding beauty all around us, while imbuing value in...

Fighting to save the bees and other pollinators

By Barbara Kessler

If you’ve been wondering about all the buzz over honeybees, here is some food for thought – or rather some thought about food: Bees play a role in one out of every three bites of food Americans eat.

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).