Environment

Interested in Community Solar?

 

Do you want to support solar energy, but don’t think you can because you are a renter or live in a condo and don’t own your roof? Maybe your home has too much shade on the roof? Or maybe you’ve been buying Pepco’s “clean energy mix” but want to support something more concrete?”Community Solar” is the concept of investing into a local, community-based, solar project on property other than your own – such as brownfield or parking lot.  The electricity that is produced by these solar fields is then shared back into the grid for public usage. The members of the community that have a share in that solar field will then get credit towards their energy bill because they are subscribing to the energy-producing solar field.Under the system, individuals can sign up to purchase solar electricity through a new entity known as a “subscriber organization,” which manages the apportionment of electricity from a specific solar project to all of the subscribers and coordinates with the utilities.

SIGN UP FOR COMMUNITY SOLAR Unless you want to start your own community solar project (see below), the way to participate is to sign up with a “subscriber organization” that will connect you with a specific project.Our friends at Solar United Neighbors are compiling community solar projects that you can sign up for. Find the list of projects here and a sign-up form to learn about new projects that are in development in your area is available here.Neighborhood Sun is up and running with at least three projects you can sign up for, and other organizations like Arcadia Power and Clean Choice Energy are getting set up.

WISE is not endorsing any specific company or gaining any financial benefit from promoting companies. We are promoting community solar because we believe it will be a game changer for residential clean energy.  Most projects guarantee 5% below market rate, but they also require a long term (usually 5 year) commitment. But the Maryland program is a pilot, so everyone should read the fine print and be comfortable with the details of each project.Find projects in Maryland via our friends at Solar United Neighbors  Thanks for all you do to support the environment and we look forward to working with you to grow solarenergy in Maryland!

About Neighborhood Sun Founded by the former leader of Clean Currents, the area’s first exclusively green energy company, brought together thousands of people, businesses and organizations to switch to wind and solar power.   For us, solar is about creating strong communities.  NS is a B Corp, which by definition means we are a social enterprise, for-profit company certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Signing up is fairly simple – we run an instant credit check, then ask for banking/credit card info for payments, plus of course we need your Utility Acct#.  The 2 BGE products offered are awesome.  One is a 25 year contract for long tern reliability, and the other is a 3 year contract for short term flexibility.  Both are a guaranteed 5% discount below BGE’s rate for contract term, if subscriber is LMI qualified, (low moderate income,) then it becomes 10% below the utility rate for the 25 year term and 15% below the utility rate for the 3 year term.  There are no downsides. If you move from the territory, you can cancel free and clear. If you move within your utility’s area and still need power, you can take the contract with you!  Call Carolyn Ricketts for more information at 410-956-0382  Or Sign Up Today!   https://bit.ly/2Jta3Ix

Neighborhood Sun’s current specials are:Westminster Project – BGE 3 yr term:– $25 Visa gift card for first 100 customers (we’re at 90!) Owings Mills Project – BGE 25 yr term & DPL Projects 25 yr terms:– $75 Visa gift card for first 75 subscribers.  This will end October 15th. Panorama Project – Pepco 5 yr term:Halfway there campaign!   We’re raffling off an electric bike, 5 solar hiking backpacks, and possibly 20 solar-powered watches (this is still to be determined as we are trying to get watches from the UK)https://neighborhoodsun.solar/halfway-there/

Below is also a short video encouraging those who started to sign up but did not get all the way there.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MzdmYXrh2c&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

Good Neighbor’s Group & Maryland Wise Women Collaborate

These wallet cards are available upon request to help spread the message about reducing straw use – just a first step in efforts to reduce over use of environmentally hazardous disposable items like plastic bags &  foam take out containers. So far 20 restaurants in Severna Park, Arnold, and the Broadneck Peninsula have joined our campaign.  Many provide paper or pasta straws now, too.  You will see our flyer in the window or tent cards on bars and tables.  Please support these responsible establishments and thank them for their efforts to help reduce our trash.  Reduce…Reuse…REFUSE…Refresh. 

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Recycling Tidbits

Small items like straws or bottle tops get lost in recycling machinery. Keep the tops on bottles, jugs and cartons. Straws inside containers are more likely to get recycled. Otherwise they end up in the trash.  Same is true for small bits of paper like receipts and shredding.

Heat sensitive receipts are coated with BPA, so it is best to throw them away rather than recycling them. This way they won’t continue to contaminate the recycling. Avoid handling them much and if given the option turn down getting  a receipt you don’t need.

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AA County Council voted to pass a ban on single use EPS foam containers. Restaurant owner Schuh vetoed EPS foam ban. Conflict of Interest?

Small items like straws or bottle tops get lost in recycling machinery. Keep the tops on bottles, jugs and cartons. Straws inside containers are more likely to get recycled. Otherwise they end up in the trash.  Same is true for small bits of paper like receipts and shredding.

Heat sensitive receipts are coated with BPA, so it is best to throw them away rather than recycling them. This way they won’t continue to contaminate the recycling. Avoid handling them much and if given the option turn down getting  a receipt you don’t need.

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AA County Council voted to pass a ban on single use EPS foam containers. Restaurant owner Schuh – AA County Executive vetoed EPS foam ban. Conflict of Interest?

Steve Schuh is happy to take thanks from AA County Recycling and Waste. Reduction Division with a cute video about recycling. “We can do better” says Schuh and yet he vetoed Bill 49-18 that would ban foam containers in restaurants.

When it comes to single use EPS foam containers Styrofoam Steve says:

By no measure — human health risks, FDA approval status, environmental impact, recycling potential, landfill impact and cost to the community — does the proposed ban on foam food containers warrant the exercise of the coercive power of government as contemplated by bill 49-18,”  

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/government/ac-cn-foam-veto-0627-story.html

What does Waste Management say?

Styrofoam/Polystyrene

Although Styrofoam can be recycled, it is currently not accepted within the County’s recycling program.  Styrofoam is a very light material and because of this it tends to contaminate other recyclables when collected in a mixed stream.  To ensure that we receive the highest value for all other recyclables that the County currently accepts in the program, Styrofoam is excluded from the list of materials we ask residents to recycle.

https://www.aacounty.org/departments/public-works/waste-management/Materials_Accepted/styrofoam-peanuts–blocks

While the Schuh administration argues that litter is a problem there is no will to focus on foam.

“We did not find health risks with polystyrene,” said Bernie Marcyzk, county director of Government Affairs. “We agree with you 100 percent, all pollution is bad. We feel we shouldn’t be drafting legislation narrowly and wonder what comes next. Litter is litter and shouldn’t be tolerated in the county.” http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/government/ac-cn-county-council-0605-story.html

Instead, the administration has added a $50k line item for foam recycling without any study. The densifier cost $50K – that leaves no revenue for collection, washing, and finding a buyer for single use foam containers. According to Trash Free Maryland – a statewide leading organization on trash policy Recycling post consumer foam is an expensive endeavor that is even less viable when considering food-contaminated foam. It is not an economical, ecological, or realistic solution to the waste stream, and even the best case scenario ignores the dangerous implications of foam litter in marine environments..

https://trashfreemaryland.org/2018/08/06/eps-foam-bans-in-anne-arundel-county-and-the-city-of-annapolis-recap/

This seems like an inefficient way of using county money for a  “fiscally conservative “county executive. Although many independent restaurants have or are willing to switch out foam containers in favor of recyclable one, lobbyists for the restaurant and chemical Industry are happy with the veto. “It’s too bad Mr. Schuh used his executive power to overturn a bipartisan environmental bill,” (Councilman) Trumbauer said. “He sided with industry lobbyists over the voices of students, local restaurateurs and concerned citizens. What a shame.” http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/government/ac-cn-foam-veto-0627-story.html

#Styrofoam Steve