Inauguration: Rolling Out the "Green" Carpet

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What do you get when you cross millions of people and an historic political event? The answer: trash! And lots of it. With millions expected to gather on the National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, the environmental impact is likely to be substantial.

For all you environmentally forward thinkers out there, don’t fret, as this year’s Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is one step ahead. The Committee has teamed up with the EPA to make sure environmental impact is minimized wherever possible. From recycle bins that will line the National Mall to recycled carpet runners, the Committee has taken great measures to reduce the environmental footprint of the event.


Surely many will still arrive to town via private jet and limousine, leaving their size-10 carbon footprint, but the PIC has made every effort to curb that print wherever possible. Here’s how they are doing it:

  • The National Mall will be filled with people - and recycle bins - for the Presidential Inauguration.

    The National Mall will be filled with people - and recycle bins - for the Presidential Inauguration.

    Recycle bins, provided by The National Parks Service and the Trust for the National Mall, will line the Mall. Over 6,000 volunteers are scheduled to pick up recycling in the days following the event.

  • For the first time, the new President will take the oath of office while standing on a recycled, solid-blue carpet. The inaugural platform carpet, as well as the carpet runners leading up the U.S. Capitol’s Rotunda steps, are made of recycled materials.
  • Inaugural Committee invitations were all printed on recycled paper.
  • Heat sheets, provided to participants who get too cold at the event, will be donated to homeless shelters after the event, rather than being landfilled.
  • Definitely not a glamorous subject: The horse manure left behind in the parade will be sold to local farms for composting.
  • All events and receptions in the House of Representatives will feature biodegradable containers, plates and utensils, many of which are made of corn resin. All plastics and Styrofoam are banned. Food scraps and containers will all be composted.

The inaugural event will likely leave a substantial carbon footprint due to the expected numbers in attendance, but efforts like these are decreasing that impact in valuable ways, and it’s a great way to start a new administration!

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Comments

  1. You mean the common people will be green? And this will make up for the gross indulgance of the wealthy, private jet owners, who we often see on TV telling us all how WE are destroying the planet.

    Sounds like business as usual.

  2. Pingback: Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Obama’s “Green” Inaugural Turns National Mall Into Trash Dump

  3. hahahaha – who has seen the pics???? I guess I can be happy that the invitations were on recycled paper and ignore that the Mall looks worse than a landfill.

    Another example of ivory tower BS that has NO meaning when the rubber hits the road. All the platitudes about tiny little things (the 4 square feet of recycled blue carpet) while completely ignoring the big picture which is FULL OF GARBAGE! literally.

    Lori, why dont you join planet Earth for a bit and see how ”green’ it really was?

    You are prob one of the people who refuses to salt the roads because it _might_ inconvenience a frog, yet you forget about the definite huge impact of the increase traffic accidents and human injury/death.

  4. Green Inauguration. What a joke. The place is a trashed mess. The vast expanse that our national monuments are built on looks like a garbage dump. This messiah that is supposed to be devoted to the environment and other liberal rhetorical issues has gathered the nation together to follow in his footsteps of caring for the environment…..well, maybe they will all start tomorrow, or maybe the day after. Yesterday was a celebration, caring for the environment can start tomorrow, we were just joking about yesterday.

    give me a break.

  5. Thanks for the report, Lori.
    The fact is that big events such as this are going to have an impact on the environment, no matter how ‘green’ the administration thinks it is. You can criticize the 200 folks with private jets, but the other 500K likey took a jet into and out of town which also had an impact. The 30K soldiers in town to keep the peace had an impact. (Why do we need 30K or even 10k soldiers for an inauguration in America?)
    And the mess left on the Mall was not left by the folks on the private jets, it was left by the common man who doesn’t give a hoot about his little piece of the environment, and besides, the Governemnt will clean it up!
    Heat sheets?? If you don’t dress properly, it’s not the governments job to take care of you!
    Our corrinations, ‘scuse me, inaugurations need to be less pompous, and that will reduce the foot print!

  6. Lori: I hope you are too busy helping to clean up the trash left behind by the Obama crowd to blog any more silly articles about how green the Obama people are…

    It’s about time you folks started living by the same rules you want to impose on everyone else.

    After the trashy spectacle we saw on the National Mall, that’s clearly not the case.

  7. Lori didn’t trash the mall, she simply wrote about the government’s plan to help keep it clean. Again, I emphasis “plan.” We can have all the recycling bins, curbside programs and environmentally friendly projects we want, but in the end, it is the consumers’ responsibility to clean up their own mess, to recycle their trash and to do the right thing with the products they buy, while it was the government’s responsibility to provide them with the outlet at the Inauguration (which they did). Rather than shifting the blame on Lori for writing about the government’s plan, why don’t we take a look at all the people that were there to witness that historic day, that didn’t do their part?

  8. Author

    Hi Marc,
    Thank you for your comment. The article was simply meant to highlight the advance efforts of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, The National Parks Service and the Trust for the National Mall. There was a greater effort to recycle waste and feature recyclable or biodegradable materials than in any previous Presidential Inauguration. It is extremely unfortunate that inauguration goers weren’t responsible with their waste that day, leaving the Mall in the condition we saw yesterday. Committees can make every effort to decrease waste and environmental impact, but in the end, it’s the responsibility of each individual to act properly. We’ve seen the same story with the Super Bowl in years past. A crowd of two million is almost unprecedented for an event- I can only imagine how much worse the impact would have been without some advance efforts.
    Lori

  9. Mike’s America’s comment:
    Lori: I hope you are too busy helping to clean up the trash left behind by the Obama crowd to blog any more silly articles about how green the Obama people are…
    It’s about time you folks started living by the same rules you want to impose on everyone else.

    I don’t think the author was trying to impose rules on anyone, she was simply bringing attention to the advance measures the event planners were trying to take. This was not meant to be a partisan issue and it is you who are silly to imply that.

  10. It is good to hear that our government is making coordinated interagency efforts to continue the greening of our government. The mall has always been cleaned after an inauguration, but this time, it didn’t all go to landfills. This should be considered before any obsessing about the brief time prior to the 6,000 volunteer cleanup.

    That’s a bit like taking a snapshot of the toilet contents when you stand up, before you have a chance to turn around and hit the handle. Does that mean that you didn’t flush?

  11. Pingback: AllMilitary.com - Official Military Blog, Military Updates » Blog Archive » The Saturday Claw 1-24-2009

  12. Yep, Great GREEN Inauguration. It would be great to see actions line up with words, instead of just taking money from pocketbooks

  13. Pingback: Homeschool Patriot Blog » Litter Free Inauguration? Yeah, right!

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