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This is a Sustainability Workshop You Don’t Want to Miss

March 21 and 22, 2019

Utah’s premiere sustainability summit is celebrating its 10th anniversary!

Over 400 sustainability professionals, engaged citizens, and emerging leaders will gather at Weber State University on March 21 and 22 for the 10th annual celebration of the Sustainability Summit. It’s also one of our favorite yearly events!

The Summit is hosted by Weber State University’s Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC) and was created to increase sustainability practices by engaging students, sustainability professionals, and the general public in topics such as clean energy infrastructure, green buildings, urban water, and other sustainability topics.

Join us for the fun!

The Intermountain Sustainability Summit features two days of events, including the main Summit day on Thursday, March 21, and workshops on Friday, March 22.

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Clear the Air by . . . Driving?

At least by driving smarter.

Hear us out: You’ve heard that a big chunk– roughly 50 percent — of Salt Lake City’s winter air pollution comes from motor vehicles.

That’s why SLCgreen promotes cleaner transportation and getting out of our cars as much as possible, particularly during February and the Clear the Air Challenge.

But, we know that taking public transit, biking, or purchasing an electric vehicle is not practical for everyone – yet! However, there are some important ways to reduce pollution even when you do drive.

We all want to take better care of our health and live in a healthy world and by planning ahead we can help our city have fewer red air days! Here’s how:

Avoid Cold Starts. Cold starts occur when we start our vehicles after they have been resting long enough for the engine to get cold.

Did you know? A majority of the air pollutants used across an entire journey are emitted in the first few minutes after you start your car.

A study from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality “found that 75 percent of combined pollutants and emissions are emitted from a car during the first three minutes after a cold start,” as described in a UCAIR’s blog post and video below.   

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Sign Up for the Clear the Air Challenge

Why participate?

Running from February 1 – 28, the Clear the Air Challenge is a statewide, month long competition that gives us the chance to reduce vehicle emissions by choosing alternative methods of transportation. 

By driving less and driving smarter, we can help improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion and conserve energy in Utah. Nearly 50% of the pollutants trapped during the inversions are caused by transportation emissions. So by simply reducing vehicle trips, we’re making a difference to our health and our quality of life.

This winter we have already had several poor air quality days in the valley. Poor air quality is unhealthy for everyone and the solution depends on each of us to take action. The health of our friends and family are all the more reason to do something about it!

We encourage you to take the Challenge and register too!

The Hype

This is the 10th year for the program that encourages participants to use alternative modes of transportation like carpooling, taking public transit, walking, biking, and trip chaining.

Since the program started in 2009, participants have:

  • eliminated 1,086,193 trips
  • saved 15,071,921 miles
  • saved 5095 tons of CO2
  • saved $6,495,470 dollars
  • burned 2,120,838 calories

That’s why Salt Lake City Corporation participates in the February Challenge. It is important for our health and commitment to air quality, and it’s a lot of fun.

Not signed up yet?

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Help Us Encourage Businesses & Apartments to Recycle

Salt Lake City prides itself in our commitment to sustainability, and recycling is the first and most basic tenet of that commitment.

This commitment to sustainability and recycling is why we have gradually increased the number of services offered to residents over the last several years from curbside recycling to compost to glass recycling. It’s also, in part, why we introduced the Call 2 Haul program last year to achieve greater diversion from the landfill.

Resident waste, however, only accounts for about 40% of the total amount of material being generated. That’s why we also have a construction and demolition recycling ordinance (targeting 9-10% of generated waste) and a business & multi-family recycling ordinance passed in December 2015 to target the rest. The latter went into effect in January 2018.

Salt Lake City businesses generate roughly half of the waste in our city, making it important for this sector to recycle. This is the intent behind Salt Lake City’s Business & Multi-Family Recycling Ordinance (9.08.200) which took effect in 2018.

The business recycling ordinance is not aimed at small properties or businesses, nor those properties which provide lower-income, Section 8 housing. Instead, it is focused on the medium- to-large properties that are creating more waste.

More specifically, a business or property in Salt Lake City that generates more than four cubic yards of waste per week is required to offer recycling. This is approximately equal to eight, 96-gallon curbside containers and is roughly what multi-family properties with 15 or more units, and businesses with 10-15 or more employees, would produce.

Spread the Word

Only 10-15% of business waste was recycled before the ordinance went into effect. That number is gradually increasing, but we’d like your help!

Are you aware of a business or multi-family property that is not offering recycling? Let us know!

Simply fill out this form or email slcrecycles@slcgov.com and we’ll contact them to follow-up.

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The 2019 Local Food Microgrant is Now Open for Farmers

Pomona Produce is one of SLC’s local food microgrant recipients and is currently growing food on one of our urban farming parcels.

Who doesn’t love getting food from our local farmers’ markets?

Shopping at local farmers’ markets is important for supporting our community as well as benefiting SLC’s surrounding environment. A few of our other favorite reasons include:

  • The fruits and vegetables you buy are the freshest and tastiest available. All of the food is grown by the seller within a short radius, picked fresh, and brought to local markets.
  • The SLC Downtown Farmers’ market only sells products that have been grown or hand raised by local farmers. This makes it easy to ask them what their farming practices are to make sure they align with your values.
  • The incredible variety of healthy fruits and veggies is inspiring. Need information or recipes for something you have never tried before? Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products and are more than happy to share their favorites.
  • We are supporting family farmers! Buying directly from farmers gives them the valuable capital they need to keep operating and providing consumers with an alternative to mass-produced foods.
  • Buying local supports the economy, keeping more of our dollars invested in the community.

Many of our local farmers are in business because they love it, but it’s a tough, physically-demanding job with tight financial margins.

Salt Lake City understands the value of healthy, local food as well as the benefit that farmers bring to our local community and economy.

That’s why we’re allocating a total of $75,000 in microgrant funding to assist local, small-scale farmers who want to expand their operations with sustainability in mind. The microgrant fund is one of SLCgreen’s Local Food programs aimed at helping achieve our goal of increasing overall access to fresh, healthy food for all members of the SLC community.

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Join us at the Sixth Annual Clean Air Solutions Fair on January 19

Interested in learning how to help clean Utah’s air while having a great time??

Come down to Catalyst Magazine’s 6th annual Clean Air Solutions Fair, Saturday, January 19th, at The Gateway. The Clean Air Solutions Fair is a community event aimed at presenting attendees with solutions to help clean Utah’s air while having a great time with friends and family.

There will be projects for kids, workshops for adults, and the chance to win some great clean air prizes like an electric snowblower or solar oven!!

Last year’s Clean Air Solutions Fair brought out over 1,000 enthusiastic Utahns. This year the Clean Air Solutions Fair’s mission is to amplify communal engagement and empowerment, spread awareness of our unique air issues, and create an environment for family fun.

So swing by! (Perhaps before or after a visit to the Winter Farmers Market down the street?)

Check out local vendors, information booths, and educational workshops. SLCgreen will be there, so stop by to say “hello!”

Where: 
The Gateway
(The former Hall of Breakfast and Urban Outfitters)
18 N. Rio Grande St

When: 
Saturday, January 19
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Cost:
Free!

Everyone is encouraged to take public transportation to the fair – can’t wait to see you there!!

Should you use “compostable” disposables?

compostable disposables (1)It’s the New Year and you may have made it a goal to waste less and recycle more. That’s great!

A common question we receive here at SLCgreen is about so-called “compostable” or “biodegradable” disposables. 

What are they? Are they better than regular disposables? Can they go in the brown curbside compost can?

At first blush, they seem to offer a great solution–the convenience of single-use bags, plates, cups, and utensils — with a supposedly more environmentally-friendly footprint.

However, the truth is more complicated.

That’s because, as it turns out, these single-use ‘bioplastic’ products are just as bad for the environment as the regular single-use plastic products they were meant to replace.

So what is bioplastic? Read more