Every Day is Earth Day in Arlington

Published on April 18, 2017

Earth Day returns April 22 for its 47th year of raising public consciousness about the environment. Arlington will celebrate this Saturday as the County — through fundamental programs and events - continues to work toward a sustainable planet year-round.

[caption id="attachment_11815" align="alignright" width="300"] Four Mile Run at Mount Vernon Bridge.[/caption]

"The County and the community work together constantly to preserve natural space, protect native plants and animals and build a balanced future," said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. "This year's theme of "Every Day is Earth Day' encourages residents to take action in protecting what we have and in making Arlington even a bit more green and sustainable for ourselves, our children and their children."

Recent County achievements in its long-term strategic plan toward sustainability include:

Promoting recycling:

  • In Fiscal Year 2016, we collected 73.42 tons of e-waste for recycling through our ECRC and E-CARE events.

  • Year-round yard waste services began April 1, 2016 and in the last year the program diverted approximately 6,821 tons of compostable material from the waste stream. That is 26 percent higher than our goal of capturing 50 percent of the 9,000 tons during the first year.

  • Over half of all the material managed by our Household Hazardous Materials program in FY 16 (160 tons) were recycled (56.3 percent).

  • The County continues to work toward Zero Waste, which aims to divert 90 percent of the County's waste away from landfills or waste to energy facilities by 2038.

Preserving nature:

  • The County continues to protect its wildlife habitats that are home to 755,400 trees of at least 122 species. The annual benefits include reducing storm and floodwater runoff by 10,730,168 cubic feet, removing about 1,235 tons of air pollution, storing about 30,900 cars worth of carbon emissions and adding 1,500 more cars worth of carbon every year while preventing more than $1 million in avoided energy costs through shade and reflected heat.

  • The County started construction last fall on the Four Mile Run restoration project, which will create living shorelines, new native plantings and restored wildlife habitat along the Four Mile Run stream.

Saving energy, saving money:

  • The Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) is partnering with VA SUN and Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) to launch a 2017 solar co-op for Arlington, along with other Northern Virginia residents. The group will use a competitive bidding process to select a single company that will install solar power systems that members will buy together to save money and share knowledge.

  • As a semi-finalist in Georgetown University Energy Prize, Arlington County is competing against communities across the country to save the most energy and take home the $5 million dollar prize.

  • Arlington County is competing in the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge to reduce municipal building energy usage by 20 percent by the year 2020.

Sustaining a bicycle friendly community:

  • More than one hundred miles of multi-use trails, on-street bike lanes and designated bike routes make it easy for cyclists to get where they need to go in Arlington.

  • So far this year, there are 1,031,564 bicycles counted on Arlington County streets.

  • In 2016, Capital Bikeshare bikes made over 264,000 trips in Arlington, which is a 4 percent increase from the previous year.

  • Over 2,500 riders registered for the 2016 Bike to Work Day stops in Arlington and we hope to see even more participation in this year's event on Friday, May 19.

  • There are now 39 Bicycle Friendly Businesses recognized by the League of American Bicyclists in Arlington.

Earth Day events in Arlington

Earth Day events happen in Arlington almost every day in the month of April — but really just about every day of the year.

Happy Earth Day to all.