Saturday, April 22 is the 53rd anniversary of Earth Day, a day to reflect on the need to protect our natural environment. This year's Earth Day theme is “Take Action. Be a part of the green revolution."
To celebrate Earth Day, Sacramento County is exhibiting at upcoming Earth Day Events:
- Saturday, April 22, 2023: Gardeners, celebrate Earth Day and “Meet a Master Gardener" from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center located in Fair Oaks Park, at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd. Bring the Master Gardener your gardening questions or samples, and get ideas on water-efficient plants! The County SacGreenTeam will give away kitchen pails and four-quart bags of compost (made from residentially collected food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings) – while supplies last. Check out the Earth Day Fair Oaks Flyer for more information.
- Sunday, April 23, 2023: Come out and celebrate the largest Earth Day event in the Sacramento region hosted by Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Southside Park. It's free and provides valuable information on all-things sustainability! The following County offices/departments will have tables at this event:
- Sustainability Office
- Environmental Management Department
- Business Environmental Resource Center
- Waste Management and Recycling
- Voter Registration and Elections
- Department of Water Resources, Stormwater Quality
- Personnel Services
- Animal Care Services
Can't make it to either event? Learn about some of the ways Sacramento County investing in our planet below: Airports
Sacramento International Airport (SMF) is committed to sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint. In 2017, SMF launched a solar farm that provides approximately 38% of the airport's energy and is the largest on-airport solar facility in California. The facility generates nearly 15,500,000 kilowatt-hours per year, equivalent to the carbon reduction of removing nearly 2,500 cars from the road, not consuming 26,707 barrels of oil, or not burning 12,620,748 pounds of coal.
In addition to the solar farm, SMF has implemented several other sustainability initiatives. The airport's energy-efficient LED lights and low-flow toilets save significant amounts of energy and water, respectively. SMF's grass is also mowed at 4 inches instead of the standard 2-3 inches, making water usage more efficient.
Furthermore, SMF is making transportation more sustainable with its zero-emission electric passenger shuttle buses. In 2021, the airport received $4.6 million from the FAA to buy more of these buses and associated charging equipment. Currently, SMF has 18 zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) electric passenger shuttle buses in operation. Over the next several years, the entire fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles will be converted to ZEV.
So, next time you travel to SMF, know that you're doing your part to protect the environment by flying green and using the airport's sustainable amenities.Community Development
The Planning and Environmental Review (PER) Division of the Department of Community Development has been focused on climate change since 2011, when they began work on the first phase of the County's Climate Action Plan
(CAP). The CAP is the County's plan to reduce its contribution to climate change while addressing the impact climate change has already had on the area. To learn more about the CAP, visit the County's Climate Action Plan webpage
. General Services
The Department of General Services
(DGS) continues to convert lights in county buildings to LED, resulting in a significant decrease in electricity usage. So far, DGS has retrofitted more than 1,500 lights to LED, illuminating 9,000 square feet of interior office space and over 16 acres in exterior parking lots and other outdoor spaces. The lighting conversion resulted in a savings of more than 1.5 million kWh annually - which is equivalent to powering more than 200 homes for an entire year - and about 280 fewer metric tons of carbon emissions released into the air! Environmental Management Department (EMD) Redistribution of Edible Food -
Edible food recovery is a process by which edible food that would otherwise be discarded is redistributed to feed people in need. This is the highest and best use for food that would otherwise go to waste. As of 2022, CalRecycle regulations require certain business sectors to divert food from landfills and donate to food recovery organizations. EMD's Environmental Health Division performs food safety inspections at retail food businesses to protect health, prevent disease and promote health for all persons in Sacramento County.Single-Use Utensil Education -
Most households have a drawer brimming with unused plastic utensils, plastic straws, and condiments. Often, restaurants automatically add these items to takeout and delivery food orders, even though the items may be unwanted. These items eventually make their way into waterways, harming fish and wildlife, or to landfills where they may never decompose. In January 2022, Governor Newsom signed legislation that single-use food utensils items are given to consumers only upon request. EMD provides information and outreach to restaurants to keep them informed of the law and its requirements.Sacramento County Abandoned Well Program -
Sacramento County relies on groundwater to supply half of its water needs. Water runoff that flows into abandoned wells can carry bacteria, sediment, fertilizer, pesticides and other pollutants directly into our groundwater. Abandoned wells are also a safety hazard - some abandoned wells are as small as 8 inches wide and can cause injury or death to children and animals who might fall into them. Open-pit wells and large-diameter drilled wells are particularly hazardous and are often hundreds of feet deep. EMD has a dedicated team
that identifies abandoned wells throughout the County and works with property owners to properly close them.Toxic Site Cleanup Program -
provides oversight of the assessment and remediation of properties on which there has been a release of hazardous materials to soil and/or groundwater. Most of the contaminated sites in this program have been impacted by petroleum releases from leaking underground storage tanks. Other regulated contaminants of concern include lead, chromium, dry cleaning solvents, industrial degreasing agents, and pesticides.The Sacramento Environmental Commission
(SEC) provides environmental leadership, analysis and advice when called upon, to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and the City Councils of Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Sacramento and Elk Grove; and serves as the advisory body for the Environmental Management Department
(EMD). The SEC works with City and County agencies in an effort to bring forward environmental quality, conservation, public health and environmental protection, environmental justice and sustainability throughout the Sacramento region.
This past year, the Sacramento County Sustainability Manager seated members of the Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force, an advisory body with the overall mission of providing input, guidance, oversight and assistance to the Board of Supervisors and Sustainability Manager in achieving the County's carbon neutrality goal and in preparing a Climate Emergency Response Plan.
Waste Management and Recycling
The Department of Waste Management and Recycling (DWMR) works to be good stewards of our natural resources and environment on Earth Day and every day. By recycling right and learning about backyard composting, you can be a good steward of the environment, too.
Compost makes healthy soil, healthy soil makes healthy water and air, which makes healthier food and environment. It's estimated that 50% of waste making its way to California landfills is food waste and can be recycled. By diverting this waste, greenhouse gases are reduced and the recycled organic material is used locally in regenerative practices such as mulch and compost. California law, Senate Bill 138 3 (2016), requires that organic materials such as food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings are kept out of landfills. Food waste is the largest single item in our waste stream. Keeping organic material out of landfills: #1 reduces the production of methane - a potent greenhouse gas; #2 extends the capacity of our landfills; and #3 turns organic materials into beneficial mulch and compost that makes nutrient-dense, water-retaining soil. Learn about the benefits of keeping organics out of landfill.
For the last year, residents have been separating food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard trimmings to be turned into compost and kept out of the landfill. Check out DWMR's Curbside Organics Collection webpage to learn more.
Also, visit the Education Resources Learn at Home webpage for ideas on other ways you can be a good steward of our environment. On that page, check out the free SacGreenTeam app and use the “how do I get rid of …" search tool to help you sort smart and recycle right. Let's all do our part for environmental stewardship and our community.
Here are a few examples of our SacGreenTeam employees who work hard to uphold stewardship of our environment:
- Every year, the North Area Recovery Station and Kiefer Landfill recycles tens of thousands of box springs and mattresses.
- Each year, sheep and goats graze 275 acres of vegetation at Kiefer Landfill, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving taxpayer dollars.
- The energy plant at Kiefer Landfill uses renewable landfill gas to produce 65,000 megawatts of power each year, enough to power 10,000 homes daily.
- DWMR adds more native trees at Kiefer Landfill and has partnered with the Sacramento Tree Foundation to plant 10 acres of these native trees to enhance wildlife habitat restoration, and visually screen landfill operations.
- DWMR even recycles broken curbside carts that are no longer useable where they are sent to make them into new carts.
- Our SacGreenTeam also visits elementary schools with our collection trucks and attend various Farmer's Markets to spread the word about recycling right and the benefits of composting.
Short Range Transit and Zero-Emission Bus Plan - Sacramento County Department of Transportation (DOT) is undertaking a Short Range Transit Plan (SRTP) for South County and East County Transit and developing a Zero-Emission Bus rollout plan for the south County. Through the development of the SRTP, the planning team will be taking a look at the current and anticipated travel needs of residents who take transit in and around south and east Sacramento County. To learn more, visit the DOT website.
Active Transportation Plan - Sacramento County is working to create and maintain an integrated system of bikeways and walkways that are direct, safe and convenient to use for work, school, errands and recreation. The County recognizes the need to encourage and promote bicycling and walking as a viable, attractive, non-polluting form of transportation that improves physical fitness and community well-being. After a series of community meetings to learn what residents thought would improve and increase non-vehicular transportation, the 2022 Active Transportation Plan is the guiding document for achieving this goal.
Bicycle Advisory Committee - The purpose of this Sacramento County Bicycle Advisory Committee (SacBAC) is to serve as an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors and on matters relating to overseeing the implementation of the Sacramento County Bicycle Master Plan. SacBAC has one open position. Interested in learning more, visit the SacBAC website. Water Resources
The Stormwater Quality Division has a host of green programs and information on their website, including those related to reducing the use of pesticides; grants for community groups and school projects that protect, restore or enhance our creeks and rivers; and river-friendly carwash practices.
The Sacramento County Water Agency (SCWA) has rebate programs to help people save water, including the cash for grass and high-efficiency clothes washer and high-efficiency toilet rebate programs. To learn more, visit the SCWA website.
Voter Registration and Elections
Voters have the option to Go Green and opt out of receiving a paper County Voter Information Guide (CVIG). Voters who choose to opt in can view their CVIG online starting 29 days before an election. Visit the Voter Registration and Elections website to opt in/out.