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Glass Recycling: Providing Possibility

by Tera Clausen

There is no such thing as away when it comes to waste. It is out of sight out of mind, but it is never truly gone. When things are thrown away, they go to a landfill to pile up in a heap. Some of the items will eventually break down, while many others will not. The reality of the trash heap can be summed up in a word: hopelessness. It is the end of the road, and the possibilities of re-creation and re-purposing are gone. However, recycling brings back possibility.

As the newest intern at SLC Green, my first official order of business was to tour some of the recycling facilities for Salt Lake City. This tour was a front row seat to possibility. One of the stops for the SLCgreen crew was Momentum Recycling. Momentum was founded in 2008, and in 2012 became the exclusive glass recycler for Salt Lake City.

In 2012, Momentum was bringing in about 200 tons of recycled glass. In the past four years, since expanding their curbside services, they now bring in approximately 1,000 tons per month! I will be honest, it was overwhelming to see how many glass bottles were waiting to be sorted and recycled, but the beauty of possibilities also struck me. Instead of hopelessly ending in a landfill, these items could become something new and useful.

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Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power reach agreement on ambitious clean energy goals for city

IMG_5453 (1)Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski sent to the Salt Lake City Council for their consideration the franchise agreement between Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power, the City’s electricity provider. The franchise agreement has been under negotiation for more than a year, and complements a Clean Energy Cooperation Statement that the Administration and utility signed a few weeks ago.

The Clean Energy Cooperation Statement between Rocky Mountain Power and Salt Lake City lays out how the utility and the City will work together to reach ambitious clean energy goals, and pave the way for the adoption of the new five-year Franchise Agreement between Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power. The previous 25-year Franchise Agreement expired in January 2016. Read more

Normal curbside waste collection on Monday, September 5th

RENEWABLE ENERGY (1)

A Visit to the Urban Greens Market

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Words and photos by Kyle Strayer

“We Grow Gardeners” is painted inside the vividly decorated and modified school bus that houses the mobile Urban Greens Market part of the time. This slogan is apt for the market, considering the intentions of the organizations which have allowed it to prosper.

I took a visit to the Market last week, to learn more about the organizations that run it and where all this great food is coming from.  (Reminder, you can find the weekly schedule here),

The Urban Greens Market is program overseen by Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department in partnership with the local non-profits Green Urban Lunch Box, Real Food Rising, (a project of Utah Community Action), and Utahns Against Hunger.

Its goal is to provide affordable, fresh produce in areas along the west side of Salt Lake City, which are classified as food deserts by the USDA.

Each of the non-profit partners have slightly different missions but are coming together to rejuvenate farming for the next generation, and provide access to healthy food for more people.

For The Green Urban Lunch Box, the issue is our dwindling supply of farmers. With only 9 percent of farmers in Utah under the age of 35, the need for new farmers is greater than ever. Read more

U.S. Senator Visits SLC to Discuss Climate Change Action

 

This week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, visited with SLCgreen staff, Mayor Jackie Biskupski and community members to discuss collective action on climate change.

Senator Whitehouse is a leading advocate for climate action in the Senate.  As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and co-founder of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, he is at the heart of the policy discussions being had on this issue at our nation’s capital.  He’s also promoting solutions.

He introduced legislation to put a fee on carbon, establishing a market incentive to reduce emissions while generating substantial revenue to be returned to the American people.

This week, Sen. Whitehouse came to Utah to see how climate change is affecting our environment and economy, impacting everything from our water supply to our $1 billion ski industry. At a round table on Tuesday, he met with City  leaders to learn more, as well as to discuss SLC’s recent Climate Positive initiative and Joint Resolution which was introduced on July 12, 2016.

Sen. Whitehouse talks with Salt Lake City Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett

Sen. Whitehouse meets with Salt Lake City Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett. Photo credit: Jeri Gravlin

“Salt Lake City’s leaders get that climate change is real and already having an effect on their city,” said Sen. Whitehouse. 

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Taking Action on Toxic Chemicals

 

Salt Lake City recently hosted a visit with a program director from the Healthy Babies, Bright Futures (HBBF) program to continue our work as a member of the “Bright Cities” cohort.

Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities National Program Director, joined us in mid-July to meet with Mayor Jackie Biskupski, department heads, and several community organizations & agencies, to begin assessing the current risks, priorities and opportunities related to neurotoxic chemical exposures in our City.

Mayor Biskupski meets with Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities National Program Director.

Mayor Biskupski meets with Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities National Program Director.

Next steps include engaging in a public process to educate the community, as well as creating a final plan to reduce or eliminate the impact of these dangerous chemicals on babies’ brains.

This work can’t come soon enough.

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Fall Internship Available with SLCgreen!

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SLCgreen is looking for several motivated, passionate students to join our Fall 2016 internship program. Interested in learning how local government plays an important role in ensuring the environmental health of our community?

Find out more information and how to apply:

2016 Fall Internship Description