What does it mean to Go Green? It means becoming more environmentally aware and changing your behavior and lifestyle to reduce the amount of pollution and waste you generate. The decision to Go Green is a gradual process for most people and governments. In White Plains we are committed to moving toward a greener, more sustainable future because we know that any action we take that contributes to sustainable living makes a positive impact on our environment, our residents, our businesses, and our community.
This page highlights some of the City’s green initiatives. Click the individual images for more information.
In June 2018 the City of White Plains introduced bike share. Dockless bike share is easy to use and is an affordable and green transportation option. The City's ordinance created a one-year pilot program and authorized the City to establish a permit process through which dockless bike share operators can operate within the city. The ordinance includes detailed operating standards as well as standards for the bikes themselves. The operators will be responsible for maintaining their fleet of bikes and for “rebalancing” the bikes around the city on a regular basis.
In May 2017 White Plains was designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), recognizing its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally. This initiative supports local government leaders across the State to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities if they have already completed certain high impact clean energy actions. The designation gives the City an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.
White Plains has implemented an easy way to remove textiles from the waste stream. Instead of throwing clothing and textiles in the garbage, White Plains residents can now recycle them at the Gedney Recycling Yard. Help us make textile recycling as routine as recycling plastics and paper. Textile Recycling
White Plains hosts an annual shoe recycling drive around Earth Day with the organization Soles for Souls (S4S). Working with local businesses, religious organizations, neighborhood associations and schools, the City has collected over 25,000 pairs of shoes for those in need. The shoes are diverted from the waste stream and go on to find a new life where they are greatly needed. Soles for Souls
In July 2014, White Plains passed a law phasing out the use of #6 and #4 fuel oils in all commercial and residential buildings throughout the City. These fuel oils pose a health risk to those who live in and immediately around the buildings where they are burned and are bad for the environment. Fuel Oil Conversion
White Plains is taking an innovative approach to clearing the overgrown city-owned land at Baldwin Farm: Goats. Goats are efficient munchers with a special taste for poison ivy (and there’s a lot of poison ivy at Baldwin Farm). Twenty-nine goats were given seasonal employment at Baldwin Farm in 2016 and tasked with tackling an all-you-can-eat buffet of invasive plants, vines and poison ivy. In doing so, they will be making room for native plant species, which will in turn attract more birds and butterflies and restore a sustainable ecological habitat.
The City of White Plains Department of Public Works has embarked on an LED streetlight replacement project which involves the replacement of all the old High-Pressure Sodium street lights throughout the City. This is close to 5,000 lights. In addition to the savings in electrical costs, these fixtures will result in lower maintenance costs, including zero replacement costs for 10 years, and fewer outages because of the extremely long life and durability of the new LED fixtures.
Installation began February 13th and is expected to be completed within a year. The life of the fixtures is projected to be 27 years, and the fixtures are fully guaranteed for 10 years.
10 year savings to the City is estimated to be $2,169,280.
20 year savings to the City is estimated to be $8,765,220.
The City is also replacing lighting in our facilities (including the Renaissance Sq Fountain) with LED fixtures or retrofitting existing florescent and incandescent fixtures with replacement LED bulbs. These measures significantly reduce energy consumption -- from 60 to 6-8 watts for the average 60 watt bulb and from 40 to 16 watts for the average florescent replacement bulb. Bulb life is also increased from 2,000 to 20,000-50,000 hours. These replacements make economic sense as well. They are projected to save the City hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
The City recycles over a thousand fluorescent light bulbs per year using a device called the Bulb Eater®, which safely and effectively crushes them into 55 gallon drums. When the drums are full they are sent to a recycling facility.
The City of White Plains is participating in New York State’s first Green Cities Commuter Challenge along with the Cities of New Rochelle and Yonkers, to see which city can reduce greenhouse gas emissions the most over the next two years. The cities are leading by example by promoting a reduction in driving by city employees to and from work, and helping the state meet its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. We’re encouraging everyone who comes into our city to work, live or play, to think about "greening" their commute by providing more and better information on green commutation options such as train, bus and carpool. An early success has been the installation of a TransitScreen at the corner of Main St & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The TransitScreen offers continuously updated transit information and the information on the screen is also available via mobile device.
Energy efficient upgrades at city buildings and facilities have been ongoing and include new boilers in the Library and a new energy efficient compressor at Ebersole Ice Rink.
White Plains also began piloting Big Belly Solar garbage receptacles in the downtown area in the spring of 2016. These big boys are capable of holding five times the amount of garbage as standard trash receptacles by compacting the garbage deposited inside. The compactors are solar powered.
The City of White Plains has begun to transition its fleet to electric and alternate fuel vehicles. 20% of the City's fleet, approximately 65 vehicles, currently utilizes alternate fuels. This includes Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Hybrids, and E-85 Ethanol, and 6 electric cars. Going forward, as cars reach the end of their useful life, they will be replaced with electric cars.
Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) is a New York State non-profit, local development corporation that is focused on helping property owners reduce energy waste, save money and improve the quality of their buildings through clean energy projects involving energy efficiency and renewable energy. The City of White Plains is a municipal member of EIC. EnergizeNY EIC
The City of White Plains is a member of the Community Choice Aggregation program, also known as Westchester Power. This is a community-based energy purchasing program whose mission is to give Westchester County consumers viable energy choices with stable future prices, more access to clean power and opportunities to have sustainable energy systems and programs. Westchester Power
The White Plains Farmer's Market features food sold directly by farmers to consumers. Produce sold at the market includes fruits and vegetables as well as prepared foods, baked goods, and beverages. The Market is held on Wednesdays, 8 am - 4 pm from mid-April through the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and is located on Court Street between Main St. and Martine Ave.
At the Dept of Public Works' Gedney Recycling Yard residents can recycle just about anything. The Gedney Yard is also home to the Take it or Leave it (TiLi) Shed where residents can leave their perfectly good but no longer wanted items and browse the items others have left to find something they have always wanted. The TiLi is open Sat. 9-12 PM and Wed. 2-4 PM, April-October.
DPW also collaborates with Furniture Sharehouse by providing a Furniture Drop-Off Bin at the Gedney Yard for residents to donate furniture in very good to excellent condition. The Bin is open for drop-offs when the TiLi Shed is open, and donors should check with TiLi Shed volunteers to access the Bin.
The City’s Recreation & Parks Department offers community garden plots to residents at Baldwin Farm.
The White Plains Youth Bureau’s Growing White Plains program operates two community gardens, one at NY Presbyterian Hospital and one at the corner of Prospect St. and Sterling Ave., as well as a small greenhouse in Delfino Park. The food that is grown (using organic methods) goes to feed people in need right here in White Plains. This is a volunteer effort sustained by White Plains youth from elementary through high school as well as volunteer individuals, families and groups.
In 2013, White Plains capped its landfill to prevent the possibility of contamination into the surrounding water and soil. The landfill had been used as an incinerator ash dump when the city burned garbage. At the time it was capped, it had been closed for 35 years. The completion of this project, which had languished for years, represented Mayor Roach and the Common Council's commitment to safeguarding the environment for future White Plains residents. The City achieved 100% compliance with NYS DEC requirements and continues to monitor the site on a regular basis.