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Top 5 Most Recycle Friendly Cities in the U.S.

It’s amazing how more and more people are becoming interested in recycling. This is good for our environment because it helps reduce pollution, which will help clean the air we breathe. Recycling helps save a lot of energy and helps fight against climate change by the conservation of energy. Also, recycling is a great way to save money by simply taking bottles back to the nearest participating grocery store and getting money back, recycling clothes that are no longer used, or creating art of “old junk” and selling it to people who are interested. There are five certain cities that spend a lot of their time recycling to help improve our environment. These cities include the following:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Boston, Massachusetts
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. Denver, Colorado
  5. Portland, Oregon

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California, is rated highest for using solar energy, having the highest recycling programs, and for exhibiting a very large scale of composting. Today, San Francisco still leads the country with eco activism, green cars, and green initiatives. San Francisco has become more serious throughout the years about how things that its residents no longer use should be recycled. Residents of San Francisco are threatened to get fined up to $1,000 if they refuse to separate food from newspapers. Seventy-two percent of the 2.1 millions of waste that its residents produce every year are diverted away from landfills and into recycling and composting programs. Director of the city’s Department of the Environment, Jared Blumenfeld, said that the new ordinance will help the city toward its goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2020. Residents were issued three mandatory garbage bins: a blue one for recyclables, a green one for compost, and a black one for trash.

Acceptable Recycling Materials for:
BLUE garbage bin GREEN garbage bin BLACK garbage bin
Metal Food Scraps Ceramic dishware/ glassware
Plastic Food Soiled paper Clothing linens and rags
Corks Plants Glass mirrors and windows
Paper Pens and Pencils
Glass Plastic bags, wrappers, film
Styrofoam
Unacceptable Recycling Materials for:
BLUE garbage bin GREEN garbage bin BLACK garbage bin
Batteries Aluminum foil or trays Appliances
Dish or glassware Cooking oil Batteries
Clothing linens and rags Corks- plastic Motor oil
Electronics Diapers Paint
Food, etc. Wood, etc. Large items (furniture), etc.

Boston, Massachusetts

When it comes to using renewable compost, Boston is one of America’s leading cities. Using plants and wildlife to promote living green is the main focus for Boston. They are trying to utilize a plant that will turn 50,000 tons of leaves into reusable fertilizer or energy. This plant will use anaerobic bacteria to feed on the grass and to gather yard clippings that will help make plenty of methane to compose 1.5 megawatt hours of power.

According to SustainLane’s rankings, Boston takes the top spot in terms of land use planning and public transit. Boston has always been referred to as “America’s Walking City” by many. The city has the highest percentage of on-foot commuters of any city in the US, According to a 2003 Prevention magazine report. Almost 14% of commuters in Boston prefer to walk to work, which helps Boston be ranked higher for being eco-friendly than any other city.

The mission at Earthworm, located in Massachusetts, is to promote recycling in all work places and is accomplished by having a collection service available that is accessible for first time recyclers. They offer friendly assistance, flexible programs, and guaranteed affordability.

At Earthworm, they mainly focus on recycling paper, computers, bottles and cans, and other materials/cleanouts.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s most notable and innovative initiative to date is the Green Roof program. They have constructed, or are underway, more than 300 gardens and green roofs, covering more than 4 million square feet on public and private buildings to help conserve the water, filter rainwater, and improve energy efficiency. Chicago boasts 7,300 acres of parkland by approximately half a million trees that have been planted in the recent years. Four of Chicago’s projects have received a Platinum rating which is the highest LEED rating by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The organization in Chicago of people who also agree that recycling is effective and also want to live in a healthy environment is known as The Chicago Recycling Coalition. The Chicago Recycling Coalition mainly focuses on the following:

  • Economic Revitalization Strategy
  • Economic Incentives
  • Blue Cart Program
  • Compost Pick-Up/Organics Recycling
  • High-Density Residential & Commercial

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado, is one of the top five recycle friendly cities in the US because of their Altogether Recycling Plant, which opened for business in 2007. The facility is capable of sorting and processing up to 10,000 a month of recycling volume. The Colorado-managed entity is mainly focused on recycling glass, plastic, aluminum, tin, and steel, and paper. At Altogether Recycling there is no need for you to have to waste your time sorting the recyclable materials into separate bins. Altogether Recycling would simply like for you to put forth effort in making sure everything that you put in your bin is recyclable. The facility will be in charge of separating what you recycle to make recycling easier for you.

Altogether Program Sustainability Statistics

Resource Last Month Year-To-Date 2011 Totals
Landfill space saved (cubic yards) 11,972 80,126 167,907
Gallons of gasoline conserved 80,262 537,156 1,125,633
Kilowatt hours of electricity conserved 14,191,659 94,978,133 199,030,654
Trees Conserved 56,852 380,486 797,323
Gallons of water conserved 23,409,750 156,670,500 328,309,590
Gallons of oil conserved 1,548,388 10,362,635 21,715,334

Portland, Oregon

What makes Portland, Oregon so recycle friendly is that they focus on being a part of the Total Reclaim Environmental Services which was founded in 1990. Total Reclaim is very important to have because it is made to recycle computers and electronics especially because the uses of electronics grow more and more each day. Total Reclaim also focuses on recycling fluorescent lamps, refrigerant gases and appliances.

Did you know…?

Electronics are more than likely responsible for up to 40% of the lead found in most landfills because lead, mercury, cadmium and brominated flame retardants are found in E-waste. Mercury is found in Fluorescent lamps which can result to being harmful to wildlife and humans which is why they are regulated as hazardous waste at the Federal and state levels. Most of these materials are bio-accumulative because they have fatty tissues which could result in severe, negative issues on fetal development and nursing infants.

Total Reclaim decided to take a stand by preventing anything that can harm the environment. That is the reason why it is now illegal in Oregon to dispose of fluorescent lamps, computers, and electronics in a garbage bin or landfill. The following picture shows how a fluorescent lamp should be disposed of correctly in order to help improve our environment.

San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Portland are all amazing cities to follow in their recycling footsteps. A lot of people don’t realize how important it is to recycle, and it doesn’t take much effort to do. The littlest things could help our environment. Even if your city didn’t make the top five, don’t worry; just remember that it is never too late! Begin now and REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE.



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