City invites green thinking

January 26, 2009
By

DAVID TABER

The City of Boston is looking to residents for some new ideas about sustainability.

Pitch the City, a contest put on by Mayor Thomas Menino in conjunction Down:2:Earth (D:2:E), a company that hosts regular expositions featuring eco-friendly businesses, seeks new green and preferably cost-saving ideas from residents and business owners.

Four contest finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel including Menino at D:2:E’s April 5 exposition at the Hynes Convention Center.

Jim Hunt, Chief of the city’s Department of Environment and Energy Services, said the contest is an ef-fort to build on a growing tradition of citizen-inspired sustainability initiatives. “Periodically, we get ideas from residents and businesses for improving environmental equality and the efficiency of services,” he said.

Hunt cited the installation of BigBelly solar-powered compacting trashcans in city neighborhoods as one example. The trashcans hold more trash than traditional cans and do not need to be emptied as often, saving gas.

Another initiative, recommended by a group of elementary school students, inspired the city to change the default margins on its word processors from 1.25 inches to 0.7 inches. Implementation of that suggestion—part of a national “Change the Margins” campaign—reduced municipal paper use by 5 percent, he said.

In these tough economic times, “The priority is to save the city money.” Hunt said, but the right idea may inspire a search for public or private implementation funding.

“The main goal of the contest is to bring community citizens into the conversation,” he said.

“The Pitch the City contest is the ideal way for anyone to help us turn Beantown into Greentown,” Menino said in a press statement.

Contest entries are due Feb. 2. For more information, see www.d2eboston.com/contest/.

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