Philly Green Guide Part II: Philly Throws (and Stores) Green

The “City of Brotherly Love” has plenty of affection for the green movement.  Besides earning 5th place in Walk Score’s “Most Walkable Places to Live” listing and promoting a lifestyle a piedi, the city is filled with bicyclists. According to the 2008 American Community Survey, Philadelphia has the most bike commuters per capita among the nations ten largest cities (cited from BicycleCoalition.org). Bike racks are crowded and any available parking meter post is coupled with a cruiser. So if you’re visiting and looking for an active way to explore the city, check out the bike and moped tours available through Philadelphia Bike Tours.

While you’re taking in the sights, keep an eye out for the latest in eco-friendly trash collecting – Philadelphia’s solar-powered trash compactors, which are part of the city’s Philly Throws Green program.  Designed and created by Big Belly, these high-tech trash and recycling bins hold up to five times the amount that fits in a typical trash can.  The solar-powered receptacles use 1,200 pounds of force to compound the trash, thereby requiring 1/5 the number of usual trash pickups and saving the city about 80 percent in greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants in managing public waste.  The bins enable on-the-go recycling in busy areas and send out a signal when they need to be emptied.  To get a closer look at these efficient bins, watch the video below from GOOD.

And as Yes! Magazine recently reported, Philadelphia’s Water Department has proposed a green stormwater engineering plan that will incorporate landscaping efforts such as green roofs, rain gardens and porous pavements to absorb excess rainwater, thereby putting the excess water to good use and preventing the flooding of city sewage systems that create toxic runoff and spillover.  The $1.6 billion plan still needs to be built and approved by the EPA, but this earth-friendly way of thinking is certainly putting Philly on the fast track to becoming one of the greenest cities in America.

**For more info on Philadelphia’s bike culture, read Mother Nature Network’s recent “U.S. cities spur bike use for climate, health.”

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