Greening the Prison System
The PPS has already taken some important steps and some baby steps to ensure that PPS is on its way to becoming one the most environmentally sound correctional facilities in the nation. We face many challenges in the pursuit of becoming one of “Greenest” Correctional facility in the nation. With dedicated staff we will be able to reach our goals in becoming the most environmentally friendly municipal correctional in the United States.
*Solar Hot Water at RCF
The Philadelphia Prison System’s Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF) is the first large urban jail in the country to install such a system. With leadership from facilities maintenance contractor US Facilities, Inc. and the full support of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, PPS brought the project from concept to completion in less than 13 months. With 45 solar panels heating 15 storage tanks, the new system provides domestic hot water for 768 inmates. It will provide energy savings of 20-25% annually over the anticipated 25-year life of the system, saving an estimated $1.1 million and one million pounds of carbon emissions.
Recycling saves money, conserves resources and reduces the amount of waste that gets plowed into landfills. Since October of 2008 PPS staff recycled 200 tons of paper, plastic and glass, yielding almost $ 12,000 in reduced landfill fees, and savings comparable to over 7,000 gallons of gasoline.
*City Harvest Program
Over the past 4 years, the Prison System has collaborated with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to develop an increasingly productive organic garden – The roots to Reentry Garden – on the grounds behind the House of Correction. Thousands of seedlings are started and distributed to community gardeners across Philadelphia to give them an early start to their growing season; and hundreds of pounds of fresh, local produce are distributed to area food cupboards.
All PPS facilities have bicycle racks installed. Bicycle commuting is a growing trend in the City and nationally. It saves lots of gas, but it also reduces surface parking and makes you feel better and gives you an excellent way to burn off chips and stress.
*Recycling Cell Phone Program:
PPS has a cell phone recycling program. Drop boxes are located in the lobbies of all of our faculties where employees can recycle their old cells phones. The old cell phones are rehabbed, reprogrammed and donated to charities, to be used for emergencies. If the phone can not be rehabbed it is disposed in an environmentally approved manner by the EPA. If the phone has any monetary value the City of Philadelphia will receive the proceeds, to be donated to the general fund. Thus far, we have collected over 400 phones. The program is ongoing.
*Green Expo and Educational Initiatives:
PPS held its first Green Expo fall in the fall 2009, presented by the PPS Green Committee (a volunteer employee committee). Over 500 employees attended the Expo. The purpose of the Expo was to educate our employees on green issues here at PPS and in their communities. The PPS Green Committee has a mission to provide education to our employees on “GREEN ISSUES” The Committee plans to hold another Expo in the fall of 2010. The committee is constantly exploring avenues to educate our employee’s n the importance of recycling, and other issues that effect our environment. Education is the key to sustainable Philadelphia. Look for educational video’s to produced and distributed in the near future to our employees and inmates