Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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At SEPTA, Every Day is Earth Day

Earth Day will come and go at SEPTA with little fanfare. Action, however, is a different story.

On Friday, April 22, 2011 celebrations and other events will mark the 41st annual Earth Day. SEPTA, however, will carry out everyday tasks and continue work on ambitious new projects that are helping efforts to improve the environment.

SEPTA, by default, is environmentally friendly due to its status as a major public transit operator. The nearly one million riders each day who commute on SEPTA trains, trolleys and buses are reducing greenhouse gases by simply leaving their cars at home.

This alone makes SEPTA a key part of efforts to improve the environment in the Philadelphia region. But for the Authority, it's just a starting point.

In recent years, SEPTA has implemented a series of projects that are further "greening" the Authority. In addition to the environmental benefits, these efforts also help SEPTA's bottom-line, as the efficiencies achieved help control operating costs. (These efforts are part a larger Sustainability Plan, which was unveiled earlier this year. For more details on the program, click here).

One of the latest efforts has SEPTA asking for help from both employees and riders as part of an effort to extend recycling to new facilities. Under a pilot project, recycling bins have been installed at trolley stations between Center City and University City. This includes all stops between 13th Street and the 40th Street Portal.

"The pilot is just the first step in the development of a comprehensive recycling program for the entire SEPTA system," said Strategy and Sustainability Planner Erik Johanson. "It is a very important first step, providing SEPTA planners with the data and information to shape a convenient and cost-effective program that meets both employee and passenger needs."

SEPTA's efforts have earned it the status as a regional sustainability leader. The Authority is pleased to be able to share its experiences and expertise in hopes of helping others entities achieve similar goals.

One opportunity came recently during the Philadelphia Science Festival's Science Carnival, held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on April 16. SEPTA joined more than 100 organizations presenting the science, technology, mathematics and engineering behind their services. SEPTA officials explained how power is delivered to trains and trolleys through regenerative breaking, and engineers also displayed the inner-workings of the Authority's hybrid buses.

The growing emphasis on "going green" is also changing how business is done, and SEPTA is doing its part to keep potential third-party partners to be up-to speed. Recently, SEPTA's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Office recently held a seminar to provide small businesses with information about green business opportunities and sustainability trends. Representatives from more than 70 small businesses participated in the event.

A new recycling container sits next to a trash bin at a trolley station.

SEPTA is expanding reycling efforts to new stations and other facilities.

A SEPTA hybrid bus was a hit at the Philadelphia Science Festival's Science Carnival on April 16, 2011.

DBE Program Specialist Lynn Bailey; Director of DBE Program Office Lillie Claiit; and DBE Program Specialist Regina Cheely.