The Library strives to give users the inspiration and information for living a greener life, including enlightening public events, reading lists and resources for sustainability, and real-world examples from practices in our own eco-friendly libraries. Green Stacks is a partnership of San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco Environment and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, and is created in conjunction with the Library’s Wallace Stegner Environmental Center.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
So many things can be done to improve the health of the planet, all of which start with you! You can make a positive impact on the earth. Here are some ways to get started.
- Volunteer with local organizations like these to make change and meet like-minded community members
- Compost. Composting is one of the easiest green things you can do. Too stinky and messy? Store your compost in the freezer until it's ready to take out.
- Refuse Plastic Bags. These single use items kill, pollute and put chemicals into our bodies and our earth. 50% of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
- Recycle your worn-out clothing and textiles at a drop-off near you. San Franciscans send 4,500 pounds of textiles to the landfill every hour.
- Eat Sustainable Seafood with help from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch
- Use green cleaning products such as castile soap, vinegar and baking soda
- Stop Junk Mail and Unwanted Phonebooks by registering at DMAchoice.org and reading this government fact sheet on what you can do to reduce unwanted mail.
- Educate yourself by reading environmental classics
See the full Environmental Classics list
San Francisco Public Library’s Environmental Efforts
- On the Road: Green Bookmobile
- Growing Green: Gardens, Seed Lending Library, Living Roof
- Signed Up: Our Green Design Virtual Tour
- Gold & Silver & Green: LEED Certified Libraries
- Climate Action Plan
Coming Soon: Phenol-Free (BPA & BPS Free) Thermal Receipt Paper
Because we care about your health, we are searching for a receipt paper that is toxic free. As soon as we find it, we will make it available to our users.
The greenest option for library users is to forgo receipts. You can always check your library record online to learn when your items are due. You can also ask any library worker to help you look this up in person, over the phone or using the Library's live chat online.
Coming Soon: Battery Recycling At All Library Locations
Batteries contain toxic metals and it is illegal to dispose of them in the trash. We want to help you keep batteries out of landfills, where heavy metals may leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes, causing soil and water pollution. If batteries are incinerated with household waste, the heavy metals in them may cause air pollution.
San Francisco residents will soon be able drop off household batteries at any Library location for recycling. We've teamed up with SF Environment and Recology to provide this program to you. We will be able to accept most types of household batteries for recycling (i.e. dry cell, alkaline, Ni-Cad, button, lithium, and rechargeable batteries from laptops and cell phones). Lead acid, wet cell, and automotive type batteries are not accepted.