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 a dockless bike share program to provide the community with a green transportation option that is easy to use and affordable. The City’s one-year pilot program was successful with 43,000 trips taken and 8,900 unique riders within the first 9 months. As a result the City has continued to work with its bike share provider, Lime to provide 300 bikes throughout White Plains with no added cost to taxpayers. Lime has most recently introduced Pedal Assist bikes to its White Plains fleet in late spring of 2019. Bike White Plains
In 2017 White Plains was designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in recognition of its leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs, and driving clean energy locally. The designation gave the City an opportunity to apply for up to $250,000 to be used for additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share. The City received approval to use that funding for a project to retrofit the lighting in four city-owned garages to energy efficient LEDs. This project is now underway in the Chester-Maple, Hamilton-Main, Library, and TransCenter Garages.
In total, over 2,700 light fixtures will be changed from 175 watt high intensity discharge bulbs to 35 watt LEDs. This change is expected to result in a significant reduction in energy use as well as cost savings of approximately $500,000 annually to the City, as the vast majority of the lights in these facilities are on 24/7. This project comes on the heels of a project that replaced all of the streetlights in the city with LEDs a couple of years ago.
White Plains currently has 4.7 miles of designated bike lanes and 2.2 miles of shared bicycle/pedestrian paths throughout the city. The portion of the Westchester County-owned Bronx River Parkway pathway in White Plains provides an additional 1.7 miles of protected bike paths for safer recreational and commuting access to the downtown. The City of White Plains is now in the process of planning additional lanes that will provide more East-West connections between existing bike lanes. Bike White Plains
The City of White Plains currently offers twenty five publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, the most in Westchester County. The EV charging stations are located in parking structures and lots throughout the City. EV Charging
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 40,000 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 harmful to the environment. #6 fuel was phased out in 2016 and #4 fuel is to be phased out by June 30, 2020. Fuel Oil Conversion
In January 2014, the City adopted the NYS Unified Solar Permit, an expedited solar permitting process aimed at residential-sized solar arrays. White Plains was one of the first municipalities in the state to utilize the Unified Solar Permit. To date, the Building Dept. has issued 318 permits for solar install which equates to a total of 3,700 Kilowatts or is equivalent to powering approximately 300 homes.
The City is working with The New York Power Authority (NYPA) to accept proposals for a Community Solar Project which would utilize city properties to install solar panels and provide an opportunity to City residents to reduce their energy bills utilizing clean, renewable energy.
White Plains also began piloting Big Belly Solar garbage receptacles in the downtown area in the spring of 2016. Working with the White Plains Business Improvement District (BID) we are adding these solar-powered, self-compacting units to high trash locations. The units are capable of holding five days of litter and send an email to inform City staff when they are full, making for more efficient and environmentally friendly garbage pick up.
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, the default option for replacement will be an electric or alternate fuel vehicle. Gas-powered cars will only be used as replacement vehicles if there is a definitive reason an electric or alternate fuel vehicle could not be used.
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.
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 Street and Sterling Avenue, as well as a small greenhouse at 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.
The City has made significant progress replacing approximately 10,000 residential and commercial water meters as a part of a comprehensive replacement program. In the past, most residents were billed based on a water reading or estimates of their water usage, where readings could not be performed. The new meters provide for accurate water readings on a daily basis and when there is a change in water usage (i.e. due to leaks) the City can inform residents in a timely manner.