The holiday season is the perfect time for communities to give their members the gift that keeps on giving: sustainability. During this time, municipalities and organizations around the country are continuing to implement sustainability programs that provide opportunities for the public to be active participants in reducing waste in their community. The 4E team has pulled together our favorite local sustainability programs with the added bonus that they help make the holidays a little greener.
Holiday Light Recycling - Westerville, OH
Tired of hanging up your old, inefficient holiday lights? Residents in Westerville, Ohio can exchange unwanted holiday lights for LED light bulbs. There is no limit to the number of strands community members can exchange for up to three bulbs per household at the city’s electric division. This swap keeps the lights out of the landfill – which helps the community reach the goals of their Zero Waste Plan – and prevents the lights from being mistakenly included in household recycling bins. This program also promotes sustainability “by removing inefficient drains on the City’s power grid.” The provision of LED light bulbs helps community members lower electrical costs by switching from incandescent lights to LED lights and decreases how often bulbs need to be replaced.
Glass Half Full NOLA - New Orleans, LA
You can turn your celebratory glass beverage bottles into sparkling gifts and sand to restore natural habitats at Glass Half Full NOLA in New Orleans. The glass recycling company plays a major role in promoting sustainability in New Orleans, as glass is not allowed in municipal recycling bins. If even just one glass bottle is accidentally added to a city recycling bin, the entire load will be sent to the landfill. Since its opening in 2020, Glass Half Full NOLA has diverted hundreds of thousands of pounds of glass from landfills, providing a cost savings to the city and taxpayers, while also converting the glass into useful materials. The company repurposes glass for a multitude of uses including coastal restoration, eco-construction, and even glass jewelry sales.
Pumpkin Composting - Meadville, PA
Once the Halloween jack-o-lanterns start grimacing and the Thanksgiving gourds start wilting, Meadville, PA residents can have their seasonal decorative vegetation turned into compost at the French Creek Valley Conservancy. This opportunity keeps pumpkins and gourds out of the landfill and turns them into rich compost, which can be used to grow the next season of decorative vegetation. The French Creek Valley Conservancy is a “non-profit land trust dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the exceptional water quality, natural habitat, biological diversity and recreational opportunities of the French Creek Watershed in Northwest Pennsylvania.” They partner with Conservation Compost, the “region's first large-scale commercial composting facility”, on the pumpkin collection effort.
Christmas Tree Recycling and Residential Composting - Pittsburgh, PA
Each year, many folks enjoy the thrill of finding the perfect Christmas tree that fills a home with a rich, piney aroma. As the pine scent fades and trees lose their luster, Pittsburgh residents can have their Christmas trees recycled and turned into compost. The city-sponsored program diverted more than 2,200 trees from the landfill during the 2021 - 2022 season. Residents can also participate in a residential composting program provided by the company with the best (and most accurate) name ever: Worm Return. Program participants receive training on what can be composted and can choose their own pickup schedule.
Realizing the benefits of sustainability efforts in your community, like those above, are not just limited to the holidays. Fourth Economy has broad experience using analysis and engagement to help communities become more equitable, strategic, and resilient. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your community or organizations' sustainability efforts today.