solar trash compactor
Solar powered trash compactors encourage recycling and reduce heavy-duty vehicle mileage.

Los Gatos has instituted several programs that help employees and residents reduce waste and lower energy, water and gasoline use.

Waste Reduction

  • Large Capacity Solar Powered Trash Compactors: The Town has introduced a solar powered trash pilot a program in the Downtown shopping district. The compactors hold far more waste than the standard receptacle, ultimately reducing vehicle pick up trips, and include a recycling component.
  • Community Outreach: Every April, the Town celebrates Keep Los Gatos Beautiful Month with events and campaigns as tools to promote community-wide sustainability. The events include celebrating National Arbor Day and Earth Day, hosting a Tree City USA tree planting, organizing clean-up events, thermometer exchanges, composting presentations and education, e-waste recycling events, recycling education and reusable bag giveaways.
  • Reusable Water Bottles: The Town gave all employees reusable water bottles and has installed water coolers throughout main work areas to reduce waste from disposable plastic water bottles.

Energy and Water Use

  • Classes and Assistance: As a member of the Silicon Valley Energy Program, a joint project of Pacific Gas and Electric and the City of San Jose, Los Gatos offers rebates, classes, energy audits and technical assistance to businesses and city organizations.
  • Water and Energy Efficiency:
    • Town facilities use low flow toilets and other fixtures to lower water use.
    • Los Gatos Library offers the Kill-A-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor so residents can see how much energy is used by household electronics.

Clean Vehicles

Los Gatos has put in place several policies and programs that enable local government adoption of clean and efficient vehicles. The Town government views these steps as an expression of its commitment to reducing vehicle emissions and of its leadership within the community.

  • Vehicle Fleet: The Town has a large fleet of compressed natural gas vehicles which have extremely low CO2 emissions and have lower fuel costs. As of Fall 2006, all of the Town’s heavy-duty diesel-fueled trucks and equipment run on biodiesel which reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, sulfates, hydrocarbons and other air pollutants.
  • Purchasing Policy: As new vehicles are needed by local government departments, the Town evaluates whether the existing vehicles can be replaced with a hybrid. For example, the Building Department recently added a Ford Escape hybrid vehicle to its fleet.
  • Alternative Transportation: The Employee Commute Emissions Reduction Program includes bicycle accommodations and loaners, telecommuting opportunities, a carpool program, and public transportation alternatives to help reduce the level of emission generated when employees commute to and from work.
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