The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is no stranger to innovation. Consider it’s new EcoCHOP initiative, which aims to implement responsible practices—from recycling, building and purchasing, to more healthcare-specific areas—that ultimately care for the health of the environment.
Since 2008, Revolution Recovery has
- Kept 63000 tons out of landfills
- Added 38 green jobs to the local economy
- Completed waste management for 250 LEED projects
At Revolution Recovery, founders and co-owners Avi Golen and Jon Wybar are reinventing the construction waste recycling industry.
Do you ever wonder about napkins? I’m Tyler the Trash Guy, so I think about them constantly. Napkins are almost universally perceived as cost-free items that can be liberally obtained in any quantity, without question. Why do you need napkins? Do you spill food at every sitting? (Do people think I’m dirty for denying them any chance I get?)
In my waste-free utopia, napkins wouldn’t be provided unless asked for, with businesses in full control of how many are dispensed. Consider this: How many times have you either taken or received napkins with a meal, only to throw most or all of them, unused, in the trash when you’re finished eating? Over the last few weeks, I’ve been observing people when they get up to leave a restaurant. I notice that unused napkins almost always get trashed.
Can you hear that?
There’s a movement afoot. Building materials are being given a second life, and hundreds, if not thousands, of tons of construction and demolition waste are being diverted from landfills. And it’s all happening in our backyard.
When Tim Patton moved to Philadelphia in 2006, going into the beer business wasn’t even on his radar.
“I came up from Wilmington, where I’d started an Internet business,” he says. “I wanted to get out of the suburbs, so I moved up here to find something else to do with my life.”
"Kids will knock on our door and ask for collards for their grandmum,” says Emily Wren, one of six members of Mitten, a cooperative house of twentysomething coeds that runs an urban farming venture in Southwest Philadelphia known as Pocket Farm. What began three years ago as a household garden to grow food for Mitten and a neighboring house has quite literally blossomed into a community effort. When neighbors began noticing the vibrant colors and scents of fresh veggies, requests for produce and farming education began pouring in.
The garden needed to grow, and fast.
Rat Island: Predators in Paradise and the World’s Greatest Wildlife Rescue
by William Stolzenburg
Bloomsbury (2011), $26
For city dwellers, rats are a nuisance and a health hazard. But for isolated island species, rats are a death sentence, as William Stolzenburg demonstrates in his new book, Rat Island.
The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time
by David Sloan Wilson
Little Brown (2011), $25.99
In David Sloan Wilson’s fifth book, the evolutionary biologist chronicles his attempt to use Darwin’s theory of evolution to improve the quality of life in his town of Binghamton, N.Y. It’s an ambitious goal, especially since the concept is a bit vague and obscure. What do Darwin and evolution have to do with the well-being of cities and individuals?
Philadelphia, as the old trope goes, is a city of neighborhoods. While each has its own concerns and culture, sustainability is a key for all in establishing and maintaining a neighborhood that nurtures and uplifts those who live there. In our Sustainable Communities in Action series, GRID will highlight organizations that are working to make their neighborhoods greener, safer places that residents can feel proud of.
Residents of the east kensington, Fishtown and Port Richmond areas of the city are served by Sustainable 19125, an innovative community partnership created by the New Kensington Community Development Corp. (NKCDC) to address sustainability issues and quality-of-life concerns. The initiative’s goal is equal parts community revitalization, greening and neighbor-to-neighbor camaraderie.
Building-related construction and demolition waste totals approximately 170 million tons per year, roughly two-thirds of all non-industrial solid waste generation in the U.S.
Total annual construction and demolition waste (“C&D waste” in the biz) equates to 3.2 pounds of building-related materials per person in the U.S., per day. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 52 percent of this ends up in a landfill. Sources of building-related C&D debris in the waste stream include demolition (approximately 48 percent of the annual waste stream), renovation (44 percent) and new construction (8 percent). It is economically viable to recycle the majority of this waste, as the cost to transport and dispose of C&D waste can be more than 2 percent of a project’s cost.