The Top U.S. Cities for Sustainability
Written by Paul Flanagan
Over the past decade, more than 50 major U.S cities have taken significant steps to becoming more sustainable,OurGreenCities.com reports. There's been a focused effort to maintain and grow healthy local economies through smart growth and climate protection, and city leaders are increasingly doing business in a manner that promotes, guides and manages growth. They're improving energy efficiency, helping the environment and raising the quality of life for residents.
These cities are making strong, admirable strides toward sustainability:
Half of Portland’s energy comes from renewable resources, enabling it to replace dirty energy resources with clean energy. Portland created the Clean Energy Works initiative, a program designed to give homeowners free energy assessments and provide $2,000 rebates and loans for home retrofitting.
A curbside composting program was launched in 2011 that resulted in a 38 percent dropin the city’s trash output, city officials reported. Portland is also considered the most bikeable city in the United States, with 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes. This, of course, minimizes dependency on gas-powered vehicles and helps reduce the output of toxins and pollutants.
Cambridge implemented a major climate protection plan in 2002, and currently a majority of city vehicles are powered by B20 biodiesel or electricity. Named the “best walking city” by Prevention Magazine in 2008, all new construction and major renovation must meet LEED standards. Cambridge also created a project called “Compost That Stuff,’ in which organic waste from residents, hotels and restaurants is collected for compost. Forward-thinking Cambridge also provides its residents with free Wi-Fi via the Cambridge Public Internet project, enabling users of mobile devices like the 16GB Nexus 4 phone to surf the Web quickly and conveniently.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco created mandatory recycling and composting ordinances that required citizens to not only separate recyclables, but also to separate their packing items and compostable food. City officials announced in October 2012 that 80 percent of its city waste was going to recycling and composting facilities, making it the leader in sustainable waste disposal. San Francisco was the nation's first city to ban plastic grocery bags, and in 2010 Mayor Gavin Newsom declared the city America’s leader in solar energy use.
Eugene receives 88 percent of its energy from renewable sources, and the city's Sustainability Commission oversees green infrastructure and development. The city's Wayne L. Morse Courthouse made it onto the American Institute of Architects' list of the top 10 green buildings in the U.S., and the city's public transit system was nominated for an International Sustainability award for being one of the first diesel-electric hybrid systems to operate in the nation. Cycling is the preferred mode of transportation in Eugene, made possible by 150 miles of smog-free travel throughout the main metro area.
Oakland receives 17 percent of its energy from renewable resources, and there's a plan in place to have zero waste and become oil-independent by the year 2020. The city boasts a hydrogen-powered public transit system, the cleanest tap water in the country and a plethora of farmers markets that offer locally sourced, organic food. It's also home to the nation's oldest wildlife refuge.
Seattle was the first city in America to have a major utility company go carbon neutral. City Light uses hydroelectric dams, which reduce dependency on dirty energy resources. Seattle pledged not to invest its money into fossil fuel companies, a positive green action effort. Twenty percent of Seattle's buildings are LEED-certified or under construction for LEED certification, and residents are encouraged through an incentive program to install solar panels on their homes.
Boston's “Green By 2015” initiative includes replacing taxicabs with hybrid vehicles and recycling trash to power homes. The city has pledged to increase its use of solar panels and support use of electric motor bikes. Boston holds regular conferences to educate citizens on living the most sustainable life possible.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.