Environment

As an individual, as a Councilmember and past Mayor of the City of Millbrae, I have a long record of protecting our environment.


Papan Reduces Our Carbon Footprint

As Mayor, I made it my priority to sign the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement and we established a task force to begin to identify and implement opportunities to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

During my time on the City Council, Millbrae has undertaken numerous actions by implementing a waste reduction strategy that has included:


  • Using compressed natural gas vehicles as part of the city fleet,
  • Transitioning to energy-conserving light-emitting diode (LED) technology for its traffic signals,
  • Installed energy efficient light bulbs throughout city facilities,
  • Participating in the Spare the Air program,
  • Utilizing waste restaurant grease to cleanly power the city waste-water treatment plant,
  • Joining the Climate Protection Task Force for San Mateo and Santa Clara counties,
  • Diverting waste from landfills. Millbrae has achieved the 50% State-mandated requirement and currently has a 67% waste reduction and recycling rate.

  • As Mayor in 2008, I directed staff to look into the establishment of a consortium of cities for solar panels to reduce costs and encourage instillations, seek grants from the Bay Area Quality Management District for clean air initiatives to pay for a study of our carbon footprint, look into restricting hard landscaping to reduce solar reflection and radiation.

    Ban on Polystyrene (Styrofoam)

    As part of the Millbrae City Council, I fought for and voted to implement the county’s first ban on polystyrene food service ware, Styrofoam, as its harmful solid waste that can easily be replaced with biodegradable and recyclable materials.

    Papan Starts Regional Battle Against Plastic Bags

    I have taken on the battle against the use of plastic bags because of the negative environmental impact resulting in volumes of plastic that end up in our landfills, and the fly away factor causing major litter which becomes stuck in storm drains and harms marine life in the San Francisco Bay. I am examining options to not only eliminate a portion of our waste stream and protect our marine life, but to stimulate the production of environmentally friendly substitutes such as biodegradable starch bags. The city has distributed well over 3,500 reusable bags made from recycled plastic bottles.

    Recently, I called on the cities of San Mateo County (C/CAG) to come together to reduce costs by paying for a single Environmental Impact Report for a countywide ban of plastic bags. My efforts were reported in the Mercury Times, click here to read more.

    Step one as Mayor, I advocated for the garbage contractor to include picking up plastic bags as part of our curbside-recycling program. I am championing this issue because I am committed to supporting policies that will help San Mateo County address our litter and marine pollution challenges.



    Co-generation – Turning Restaurant Grease into Clean Energy

    In a public-private partnership, Millbrae became even more environmentally friendly following construction in 2006 of a first-of-its-kind on-site energy co-generation facility. The innovative new system supplies 80% of the plant’s electricity with clean energy produced from inedible kitchen grease – a common urban waste – that would otherwise be sent to landfills and decompose into methane, a formidable greenhouse gas. The on-site energy production at the plant reduces carbon emissions by nearly 1.2 million pounds annually, having the same effect as planting 166 acres of trees or not driving 116 cars for a year.

    Papan Proposes Statewide White Pages Legislation

    I led the effort supported by Californians Against Waste, the Sierra Club, California Resource Recovery Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council to draft legislation with the State Legislature to prohibit telephone companies from delivering the white pages unless the customer opts-in to receiving them. This is common sense; the amount of waste generated every year by unused books is tragic. Ending unnecessary distribution of the white pages is a step forward that we can take at the local level to address the global issue of climate change. I am proud to have taken the lead on this issue to help save the environment and reduce local recycling costs.

    Water Conservation

    Water conservation has also been a major focus of my tenure on the Millbrae City Council. I am actively developing policies to support improved water efficiency in Millbrae. The City’s Water Resources and Conservation Program helps residents reduce water use through education and incentives, including a rebates for residents to support increased use of low-flow toilets and shower heads, distribution of lawn watering guides, sprinkler gauges, and toilet leak dye tablets. We also provide workshops on water-wise landscaping. Additionally, we use recycled water to irrigate the 101-Millbrae interchange.

    Public Private Partnership

    I have a proven track record of establishing partnerships with private corporations in order to bring better services to Millbrae. On the City Council, I worked with PG&E to improve our wastewater treatment plant.

    The City of Millbrae is building a new Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) to serve its 21,000 residents. WPCP treats the City’s wastewater to meet the stringent requirements of its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit.