ILSR’s July 2014 report, Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting, describes successful initiatives, their benefits, tips for replication, key start-up steps, and the need for private, public, and nonprofit sector support. Produced in collaboration with the Highfields Center for Composting in Hardwick, Vermont, Growing Local Fertility profiles 31 model programs in 14 states… Continue reading
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State of Composting in the U.S., published in July 2014, is the first comprehensive review of composting basics, national and state statistics, job generation data, model programs, and policy opportunities. The report calls for a national soils strategy and for new rules and programs to grow composting, especially at the local community level: streamlined permitting… Continue reading
Even as their big competitors are awash in capital, many locally owned businesses are struggling to secure the financing they need to grow. A new ILSR analysis has found that, since 2000, bank lending to large businesses is up 36 percent, while small business loan volume has fallen 14 percent and “micro” business loans — those under $100,000 — have plummeted 33 percent. Continue reading
In March 2014, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a “value of solar” policy. It may fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities and their energy-producing customers. It may also serve as a precedent for setting a transparent, market-based price for solar energy. This report explains the origins of value of solar, the… Continue reading
Update 5/2/14: titles for Fig. 2 and 3 in the report were mistakenly switched and are now corrected. Energy storage promises to change the electricity system during the next decade, as fundamentally as distributed renewable energy has in the last decade. A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Energy Storage: The Next… Continue reading
As in much of rural America, communities in Greater Minnesota struggle with connectivity. Some areas have no choice at all, forced to rely on dial-up or slow DSL. Others have an incumbent cable provider. A few local community leaders in Minnesota, conscious of the need for broadband to save public dollars, encourage economic development, and… Continue reading
Neil Seldman summarizes presentations from the first San Diego County Zero Waste Conference that was held under the sponsorship of Zero Waste San Diego (ZWSD) and the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA). Continue reading
Santa Monica has built a fiber network called City Net that has lowered its own costs for telecommunications, helped to retain businesses, and attracted new businesses to the community. Built incrementally without debt, it offers a roadmap any community can draw lessons from. Unlike the majority of municipal fiber networks, Santa Monica does not have… Continue reading
A survey of 2,602 independent business owners across the U.S. has found that the Buy Local message is boosting customer traffic and improving the outlook on Main Street. But entrepreneurs also say policymakers need to do more to create a level playing field and ensure that small local businesses have an equal opportunity to compete. Continue reading
Today, ILSR issued a report on Walmart’s rapidly expanding climate pollution and joined with leading environmental organizations in calling for change. The new report, Walmart’s Assault on the Climate: The Truth Behind One of the Biggest Climate Polluters and Slickest Greenwashers in America, finds: Nearly a decade after launching its sustainability campaign, Walmart’s greenhouse gas… Continue reading
Keeping Energy Dollars Local
- Chattanooga, TN, is adding over $1 billion to its local economy in the next decade by implementing one of the most advanced smart grids and delivering the fastest internet service in the country with its municipal utility.
- Sonoma County, CA, has created nearly 800 local jobs retrofitting over 2,000 properties for energy savings with city-based financing.
- Babylon, NY, has re-purposed a solid waste fund to finance retrofits for 2% of the city’s homes, saving residents an average of $1,300 a year on their energy bills at minimal cost to the city.
Eight Powerful, Practical Policies
This report details eight practical energy policies cities can and have used to their economic advantage: Continue reading
Launched in 2009, Ontario’s “buy local” Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program promised to deliver hundreds of megawatts of new renewable energy and create 50,000 new jobs by the end of 2012. The program has had some notable achievements, and the province has worked hard to remedy some of the remaining roadblocks to success. The bottom line… Continue reading
Two new reports from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Composting Makes $en$e Project document the importance of expanded composting and compost use to enhance soils, protect watersheds, reduce waste, and create green jobs and a new made-in-America industrial sector. For press release, click here. With compostable material making up almost one-half of municipal solid waste, there… Continue reading
Recycling is an economic development tool as well as an environmental tool. Reuse, recycling, and waste reduction offer direct development opportunities for communities. When collected with skill and care, and upgraded with quality in mind, discarded materials are a local resource that can contribute to local revenue, job creation, business expansion, and the local economic base. Continue reading
ILSR’s annual survey has found that independent businesses experienced solid revenue growth in 2012, buoyed in part by “buy local first” initiatives. But the survey also documented challenges facing independent businesses, most notably an increase in “showrooming” and competition from online retailers, tax and subsidy policies that favor their big competitors, difficulty obtaining loans, and a customer base still reeling from the recession. Continue reading