Green Efforts: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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Recycling reduces the demand on our natural resources, reduces air and water pollution, saves energy, and saves valuable landfill space.

The Purchasing Department supports and encourages programs and products that benefit the environment by preserving natural resources, reducing waste, and reducing our environmental footprint.   The City is increasing its efforts to reduce consumption, reuse products before throwing them away, and to recycle what we can to keep trash out of the landfill.  Some of our efforts include:

 

 

Copy Paper:  We buy recycled-content paper for use in all copy machines, printers, fax machines.  The majority of the copy paper we use contains 100% post-consumer content. The other papers contain 30%-50% post-consumer content.  In order to reduce our consumption, departments are encouraged to make more information available on-line instead of printing hard copies; and to print on both sides of the paper when printing multiple page documents.  In 2007, the City’s use of recycled paper saved:

124 trees
21,248 kilowatt hours of electricity
36,277 gallons of water
And prevented 310 pounds of air pollution from entering our skies

Stationary: The City’s letterhead, envelopes and business cards are made from 100% recycled content paper, and also qualified for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.  FSC certification means that every step of the paper production process meets very stringent environmental criteria for sustainability, conservation and reduced environmental impact (from land-owners to forest management activities, to product tracking and chain-of-custody (COC).  COC is the path taken by raw materials harvested from an FSC certified source, through processing, manufacturing, distribution, printing and sales.

Waste Paper:  We make scratch pads from waste paper that would otherwise be thrown away

Toner Cartridges:  City departments buy remanufactured toner cartridges (instead of new ones) for their printers, and we return the used ones to the vendor rather than send them to the landfill.  In 2007, the City’s use of remanufactured cartridges saved 45 gallons of oil that would have been used to manufacture new cartridges.

Surplus Property:  Any property declared ‘surplus’ by one department is offered to other departments for re-use before being considered for disposal.  Surplus City property that is no longer needed, is sold or donated instead of being sent to a landfill

Janitorial Products:  we buy various recycled-content janitorial papers, and various chemicals that are “Green Seal” certified.

Electricity:

  • some City offices are equipped with automatic shut-off devices that turn the lights out when no one is there, which saves electricity
  • the heating and ventilation systems in all City buildings are programmed to turn off during non-working hours in order to save electricity
  • Light bulbs in all City offices have been switched to florescent bulbs to save electricity

Fuel: City departments are encouraged to drive conservatively to reduce fuel consumption in City vehicles.  The City is currently researching the benefits of leasing alternative fuel vehicles.

Recycling Containers
City work areas are equipped with special ‘recycling’ containers, so that all waste paper, cans, and bottles can be recycled.   All of the automated trash cans throughout the City are made from recycled materials.

Tires
The Equipment Maintenance Division occasionally purchases re-tread tires for use on City vehicles, when it is determined safe to do so.  When the tread wears out, a new tread can sometimes be adhered to prolong the life of the tire.

Streets
Some of the City streets have been paved with asphalt made from recycled rubber.

Wastewater
The City’s Wastewater Compliance staff ensures that nothing goes down the storm drains that would have a negative impact on our oceans or water supply.

Metal Waste
City staff takes all metal scraps and waste to a local recycler for disposal.

Furniture
All of the furniture in the City parks is made from recycled materials.

Household Hazardous Waste
The City participates in a program that allows residents to safely dispose of household hazardous waste (batteries, motor oil, paint, chemicals, etc) that would otherwise end up in landfills or flushed down the sewer system.

Tree Trimmings
When City forces trim trees around the City, the scrap is sold for use as firewood or mulch, preventing it from going to the landfill.

Definitions

  • Recycled content products are products manufactured with waste material that has been recovered or diverted from solid waster.  These products may be derived from post-consumer waste (material that has served its intended end-use and been discarded by the final consumer), industrial scrap, manufacturing waste, or other waste that would otherwise be directed to a landfill or other final waste site.
  • Environmentally preferable products usually refer to products that are manufactured with less toxic chemicals and/or processes, are less polluting, and/or are more energy efficient than their standard counterparts.  The end result is that they produce less waste.
  • Remanufactured products are those that have been diverted from the trash by refurbishing and marketing the product, without substantially changing its original form or function.
  • “Green Seal” is an independent, non-profit environmental labeling organization.  Green Seal standards for products and services meet the U.S. EPA’s criteria for third party certifiers.  The Green Seal is a registered certifications mark that may appear only on certified products.