San Francisco tops the list of the 27 U.S. and Canadian cities ranked for their green performance. San Fran, which has a long history of being progressive on environmental issues, earned its top spot by implementing some bold initiatives not found elsewhere — the city recycled 72% of its waste in 2009.
It also helped that San Fran put in place a pay-as-you-throw program for non-recyclable garbage — that would certainly have you thinking twice before you tossed something out. The City by the Bay took it even further and mandated separation of compostable garbage, resulting in 600 tons of compost produced each day.
You would think that having to sort through their trash for food scraps for composting would annoy San Franciscans, but not so. By December of last year, not a single individual or business had required a fine for noncompliance, which is monitored by city officials.
San Francisco wasn’t the only city to take some strong initiatives to go green. New York leads the way in green space, and is aggressively trying to improve on that status. The city’s MillionTreesNYC program has been going strong and since 2007, 430,000 trees have been planted.
Across the border, Calgary is leading the way in reducing water consumption. The city now requires all residences to have water meters and expects to install about 10,000 per year, finishing the project in 2014. And having a water meter does make a difference to the tune of reducing average household water consumption by 60%, according to local studies.
How does your city rank?