In The Emerald City, Sustainability Is Second Nature
I just returned from a quick vacation in Jet City, as they also call it, where I visited a good friend and native Seattlelite. Jen did a stint in Philadelphia: Law School, law firm, then high-tailed it out of here and back to Seattle as soon as she could. Who could blame her, it’s a gorgeous and breathtaking city. Waterways everywhere, great restaurants, a dozen neighborhoods with charm and character, the REI flagship store…
Seattle is now in a statewide drought emergency. And, abnormally high temperatures have only made the problem worse.
Yet, I saw lots of ‘greening’ in that town. It’s a city where long-standing sustainable practices are a way of life. Here are 5 examples that really stood out.
Bicycles Between all the bikes, waterways and legalized marijuana, you might think you’re in Amsterdam! Seattle launched its bike share program earlier this year and almost everyone has a commuter bike it seems. There’s designated bike lanes, bike paths and there’s too many bike shops to count.
Composting In 2014, Seattle passed a mandatory Composting Ordinance wherein homes and businesses can no longer put food items in the trash. Did you know that 33 million tons of food makes its way into landfill each year? “Every ton of food wasted results in 3.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.” endfoodwastenow.org. You can see why my friend says they take this very seriously, policing and ticketing without a second thought. In addition, only 2 bags of regular garbage is allowed per household per week.
Parks and Recreation Seattle boasts 400 parks and open areas for sport, entertainment and good old picnics! For a city known for its rainy days and chilly months, there’s certainly a lot of outdoor activity going on.
Grasscycling Yep. Nothing escapes this city’s composting craze. Not even the blades of grass! Recycled grass turns into natural fertilizer. Homeowners use modern mulching lawn mowers and the city utilizes massive mulching techniques to keep those 400 parks thriving. Sustainable reasons for promoting this practice include reducing the need for pesticides, as grass is a natural fertilizer, and cutting back on the growing grass’s watering needs.
No Plastic Bags Allowed I love this law! Why oh why don’t we do this in Philadelphia? Seattle’s plastic bag ban was enacted in 2012. In addition, retail stores must charge 5 cents for every fully recycled paper bag they give to you. This prohibition makes so much sense and hopefully other ‘one-use’ items will follow suit.
Have you visited Seattle and noticed its progressive and sustainable ways? Let me know your 5 if I haven’t highlighted them here!