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Other Initiatives

In response to City Council mission directives, as well as the pressing need for environmental protection, City staff has been involved in a variety of efforts to alter city operations and strategies to be more environmentally friendly.

Green Energy Programs
The City implemented several lighting upgrades throughout the City. The old lighting fixtures were replaced with the latest lighting technologies available and are reducing average energy consumption by 35%. More importantly: Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) saved reduces the need to produce this energy, thus reducing the carbon emissions and carbon footprint for the Monterey peninsula. The City of Monterey also purchases 100% of its power from a renewable energy provider. To learn more, visit the Green Energy Programs page.

Climate Action Plan
The City of Monterey Climate Action Plan (CAP) is our local effort to address environmental problems that, although global in scope, affect our future as a community. The CAP consists of an audit of 2005 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and GHG emissions reduction strategies for both the community (emissions within our City borders) and government operations (emission resulting from the activities associated with managing the City). The CAP also incorporates achievements made to meet the goals of the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and the Urban Environmental Accords, which the City became a signatory to in 2007. DRAFT Climate Action Plan

disposable food service ware & Single-Use Carry out Bags
In February 2009, the City of Monterey adopted an ordinance prohibiting the use of polystyrene materials to be used for take out food applications within city limits. The City of Monterey has seen first-hand the impact of polystyrene foam and plastic litter in our storm drains, in our fields, on our roadways and highways, in our rivers, in the ocean and on our beaches. Banning polystyrene foam take-out packaging locally helps address marine pollution by requiring the use of environmentally preferable alternatives, while helping to educate business owners and citizens on the positive impact their packaging choices can make. Unlike some other types of packaging, littered polystyrene foam remains permanently in the environment where it breaks into tiny pieces that disperse widely.

In December 2011, the City of Monterey switched to reusable bags. The ordinance prohibits all Monterey retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout bags, including those advertised as compostable, biodegradable, photo-degradable, etc. To read more about the plastic bag ban, visit the Choose to Reuse Single Use Carry Out Bags page

In April 2019, the City of Monterey adopted a new disposable food service ware ordinance contained in Monterey City Code Chapter 14, Article 3. Food providers in the City of Monterey are prohibited from:
  • Using or distributing plastic straws, except when a consumer self-identifying as a person with a disability making the use of a plastic straw necessary, specifically requests a plastic straw.
  • Using or distributing any disposable food service ware when providing dine-in services.
  • Using or distributing disposable food service ware that is not compostable or recyclable for dine-out services.
Bans may not be a cure-all, but they are steps in the right direction. Packaging regulation gets people thinking about the far-reaching consequences of the simple decisions made everyday. Consider the life cycle of the purchased products - what they are made from, the energy that goes into the production, emissions from transport, and what happens after the garbage truck hauls them away. More information can be found on the Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging page.

Food Scrap Collection Program
Monterey City Disposal Service and the City of Monterey coordinated to create the commercial food scrap collection and residential organic waste recycling programs. The purpose of these programs is to make it simple and convenient to for businesses and residents to compost. Much like with mixed recyclables, the food scrap collection and organic waste recycling programs allow you to add additional containers for separating food scraps from other types of waste. More information is available on the Organic Waste Recycling page.

Green Business Certification
In February 2011, City of Monterey offices and service centers were recognized as Green Business certified.

The City Council of Monterey continues to encourage businesses to adopt more sustainable behaviors for themselves and their employees and, in the process, save money. One ideal way to do that is to become Green Business Program certified.

The Monterey Bay Green Business Program is a multi-faceted (soil, water, and air) pollution prevention effort that creates a positive relationship between government, the public, and business community. It is an incentive-based program designed to encourage businesses to meet or exceed environmental standards targeting four areas of performance within each business: Waste Reduction, Pollution Prevention, Water and Energy Conservation.

The City of Monterey hopes to inspire other businesses to follow its example. These programs prove businesses can be environmentally conscious, profitable, and responsible members of our community. To learn more about the program and start your Green Business application, visit the Green Business Certification page.

Urban Environmental Accords
In July, 2007 the City of Monterey solidified its support for a sustainable and healthy community by signing the Urban Environmental Accords, which offer 21 actions across seven focus areas that are ecologically sustainable, economically dynamic, and socially equitable. Salinas, Pacific Grove and Marina also have signed the Environmental Accords.

The signing of this agreement represents a turning point for the City of Monterey, one which brings environmental planning to the forefront of City efforts. Achievements to date include energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades at major facilities, a city-wide recycling outreach campaign, passage of a Green Building Ordinance, an integrated pest management system, B20 biodiesel for the City fleet and fire trucks, and much more. United Nations Urban Environmental Accords