December 11, 2009 |
City Council, in a busy session yesterday, approved a new trash fee for businesses, required periodic exterior building inspections for large buildings, and set new environmental standards for city buildings. Council's new commercial trash fee of $150 met little opposition because it represented a reduction of the $500 fee enacted in the spring as part of the 2010 budget. That fee was supposed to go into effect July 1, but objections from the sticker-shocked business community forced Council to reconsider.
June 19, 2009 |
Philly has bagged its bag ban. For now. City Council yesterday voted down a measure - two years in the making - that would have nixed carry-home plastic bags from major stores, allowing only paper, compostable plastic, and reusable bags. The 10-6 vote came after the environmental committee earlier this year withdrew a similar bill, which would have enacted a 25-cent fee on plastic bags. But the bill's supporters vowed that the battle of the bags is far from over and that they would work all the harder to, as Councilman James Kenney put it, "catch up with the world.
May 7, 2009 |
Plastic retail bags may soon be a thing of the past - or at least, a costly luxury - in Philadelphia. Under a contentious measure being brought before City Council today, shoppers would be charged 25 cents for every plastic bag they receive at any store. Businesses with more than $1 million in annual sales would give 75 percent of the fees to the city; smaller stores could keep the fees. If the measure passes - which appears likely - Philadelphia would join a growing number of cities enacting bans or fees to reduce plastic bag use, both to address environmental concerns and reduce litter.
May 4, 2009
AS WE GET into the swing of the cleaning season, it amazes many people how much trash accumulates on the streets. According to Keep America Beautiful, on average each person creates about five pounds of trash daily. In a city of 1.4 million, that's a lot of waste. A large contributor is the use of so many disposable products. It often starts with packaging: the coffee cup, the sandwich bag we package our children's lunch in, the plastic bag at a store, the water bottle. These items didn't exist in such abundance 30 years ago. Keep Philadelphia Beautiful is starting a campaign aimed at creating greater awareness of waste-reduction strategies through reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
February 6, 2009 |
Amid talk of cable contracts and plastic-bag bans at City Council's meeting yesterday, Councilmen Frank DiCicco and Jim Kenney slipped in a whopper - a $20 million tax on oil refineries. DiCicco and Kenney introduced a bill that would institute a 35-cent tax on every barrel of petroleum processed in the city, which they said would likely raise $20 million. "Oil companies saw huge profits in 2008 and the City of Philadelphia continues to struggle to meet service demands," DiCicco said in a news release.
December 29, 2008 |
It's easy to mock all the eco how-to books that the publishing industry churns out, never mind the number of trees consumed in their printing. Saving the planet is a project for the long haul, and it will be anything but easy. It will require significant technological advances, government action and international cooperation. But we peons can act immediately. The things we do may be incremental. But we're such a wasteful society that the steps we can take are as easy as turning out the lights.
July 13, 2008 |
Grocery bags - whether to use plastic or paper or have customers bring their own bags - have been a hot topic at Philadelphia supermarkets lately. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Super Fresh recently changed their policies, and rebate customers who bring their own bags. The assumption is that plastic bags are always bad. I prefer plastic; I have some good reasons (see below). So I investigated this issue further. Were stores asking more environmental responsibility of their customers than the stores themselves were willing to undertake?
July 4, 2008 |
When friends and neighbors heard the Brady family needed materials for a special craft project, plastic grocery bags magically starting appearing on their doorstep. Once they had more than 60 bags on hand, Michelle Brady and daughter Cecily went to work, recycling the bags into a hooked rug that has become quite the conversation piece. "People who've seen the rug seem to think it's cool," says Michelle Brady, 41. "One family friend decided to make her own. " Brady came across the idea on the Internet while researching creative ways to reuse Christmas cards.
February 4, 2008
Do good and feel good: Bring your own bags The millions of plastic bags we use in Philadelphia take expensive and polluting energy to produce and are wreaking havoc on the environment ("Time to Bag It?," Jan. 28). It is easy to bring your own bag, and you feel so good doing it! As little as it is, I feel I am doing something; I am contributing to the cleanup effort, not adding to the mess. I just wish it would catch on. There are some days I feel like standing at the end of grocery store registers and asking customers if they'd ever thought of bringing their own bags.