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Posts from the ‘2019’ Category

Welcome Christopher Thomas!

Christopher Thomas joined the SLCgreen team in November 2019.

SLCgreen is excited to welcome Christopher Thomas to our team as the new Senior Energy & Climate Program Manager!

Christopher brings with him a unique blend of experience in clean energy policy, regulatory engagement, advocacy, non-profit leadership, energy efficiency, data science, and more.

He previously worked with the Sierra Club, HEAL Utah, the energy efficiency firm ETC Group, Salt Lake County, and more. He holds a B.A. in English and Biology from Grinnell College and a Master’s Degree in Information Systems from the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business.

His is an important role for the Sustainability Department and the City as a whole, as the lead staffer (see our farewell post to his predecessor Tyler Poulson) on many of Salt Lake City’s climate initiatives. Learn more by visiting the Climate Positive SLC plan.

Christopher has already hit the ground running and we’re thrilled to put his expertise to work!

His main responsibilities include:

  • Bringing new clean energy projects online to meet Salt Lake City’s municipal power needs
  • Collaborating with our electric utility Rocky Mountain Power, other 100% clean energy communities, state leaders, businesses, and regulatory authorities to move forward Salt Lake City’s community-wide clean energy goals
  • Partnering with city departments and divisions to reduce municipal energy use and pollution through cleaner fleets, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects
  • Creating programs and partnerships to reduce the City’s fossil fuel footprint

Welcome Christopher!

Get Ready to Eat Local this Winter

Our eating habits can contribute a lot to our carbon footprint. The process of growing, harvesting, transporting, processing, and packaging food all emits CO2. And the farther away from the farms we live, the bigger our environmental impact becomes. By eating more locally, we support the local economy and protect the environment by cutting down on the time and resources spent producing our food.

But what about in winter?!

Eating fresh and local produce can be harder depending on the season. Indeed, if you look at this seasonal food guide, you can see how the produce availability changes from month to month even in Utah.

Luckily, there are many ways to extend the harvest season and enjoy local food all year round.

Preserving the Fall Harvest

It may feel a little old fashioned, but making your own jams, marmalades, and jellies is a great way to make your local fruit last and reduce your food waste. Preserved fruit can be done in several ways, but a simple jam just requires high pectin fruit and sugar.

If you’re not into sweets, try pickling! You can get started with almost any vegetable with the basic (and delicious!) refrigerator pickle approach.

Preserving fruits and veggies doesn’t have to be as simple as jams and pickles. Depending on your recipe, you can make soups and sauces and other delicious meals from your fresh fall harvest and freeze them until you need a taste of summer to lighten the midwinter mood.

Downtown Winter Farmers Market Logo

Find Seasonal Treats at the Winter Farmers Market

Thanks to the local farmers with greenhouses, cold storage, and hydroponic systems, Utah’s harvest season is a lot longer.  The Downtown Farmers Market is helping extend the season with the Winter Farmers Market!

With many of our favorite farmers from the summer Downtown Farmers Market, the Winter Farmers Market will run from November 9th to April 18th on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm at the Rio Grande Depot.

As we approach the winter, don’t give up on eating fresh, locally grown food!

November’s Ghoulish Garbage: A Curbside Guide

As we know, there can be some scary finds in the Salt Lake City curbside recycling bins! There are also many tricks! (Both of these links are to recent Instagram stories done by our Recycling Education team. Pretty interesting, right?)

So now that Halloween is over, don’t give our waste management teams a fright! Here’s a quick guide to where your Halloween waste should go.

Help stop monstrous non-recyclable things from ending up in your recycling bin!

Compost: Your Jack-O’-Lantern’s Final Resting Place

If you’re an extra resourceful pumpkin carver, you may have decided to roast up your pumpkin seeds for a delicious Halloween snack! In fact, there are many fun ways to put your pumpkin’s guts to use.

But once you’ve used up your pumpkin and the jack-o’-lantern’s smile is fading, you have an important choice to make: where does the pumpkin go?

The combination of yard waste like leaves and sticks and kitchen scraps including eggshells and coffee grounds makes nutrient-rich dirt that promotes plant and soil health. Indeed, about 30% of what’s thrown away as garbage in the United States — including your perfect pumpkin — could be composted.

So instead of letting the great pumpkin take up space in the landfill (where it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas), put your pumpkin into the compost bin!

(Remember to only put pumpkins without paint, wax, glitter or other non-organic decorations in the brown bin).

Image of a cute wrinkly pumpkin ready to compost!

Garbage vs. Recycling?

Unless a helpful witch or wizard was able to transform all those candy wrappers into clean cardboard or aluminum, or if you send materials to a recycling program like TerraCycle, candy wrappers should always be put into the garbage can.

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Salt Lake City Reaffirms Items Accepted in City’s Curbside Recycling Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 1, 2019

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Salt Lake City Reaffirms Items Accepted in City’s Curbside Recycling Program

With recent news that some Wasatch Front cities and towns are changing what is accepted in recycling bins, Salt Lake City reiterates that these changes do not affect our residents.

Draper, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, South Jordan and West Jordan recently announced that they are no longer accepting paper in residential bins, including “paper bags, paper, newspaper, magazines, junk mail, and cereal boxes,” according to Midvale City’s website

Salt Lake City continues to accept all clean paper products—except shredded paper.

Additionally, the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District (WFWRD), which serves over a dozen other cities in Salt Lake County is not changing the materials accepted in their cans. In total there are 14 municipalities in Salt Lake County that are not changing: Salt Lake City and the 13 cities in the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District, according to Pam Roberts, Executive Director of WFWRD.

In addition to paper, Salt Lake City accepts plastic containers, metal cans, and cardboard for recycling. Items should be clean and free from food residue, oils, or liquids.

“We have not made any new restrictions on what is accepted for recycling in Salt Lake City’s curbside program since early 2018,” said Lance Allen, Salt Lake City Waste & Recycling Division Director. “At that time, when China’s National Sword policy went into effect, we only restricted plastic bags and films, Styrofoam, and shredded paper. We also reiterated that recyclables should be clean. Residents should continue to recycle paper, plastic containers, cardboard, and cans as they normally would, and take pride in the beneficial impact they’re having on the environment.”

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Go Batty for Bats this Halloween!

Halloween is here and things are getting extra spooky. Whether you’re out trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, or just enjoying the fall weather, take a minute to celebrate some of Halloween’s most iconic creatures: Bats!

While bats may seem scary, like spiders they are an important part of our ecosystems. Not only do they help control insect populations, reducing the need for pesticides, they are also major pollinators.

It just so happens that Halloween marks the last day of International Bat Week. So in honor of our winged friends, here are some fun facts about bats.

Bats of Utah Poster from www.wildawareutah.org

Insatiable Insectivores

There are eighteen species of bats in Utah, and over 1,300 species world wide. Bugs make up the primary diet of most bats. And a single bat can eat thousands of insects each night! For smaller bats, that can mean eating close to their body weight in insects!

By controlling insect populations, bats help reduce the need for toxic pesticides. As a result, bats also help farmers save money by serving as natural defenses against insect damage to crops. Moreover, by diminishing our dependence on pesticides, bats also help protect our food and health.

Pollinating by Night

While most bats are insectivores, many species consume nectar and fruit – and are important pollinators! Indeed, bats are responsible for pollinating over 300 species of fruit including bananas and mangoes. They also help pollinate the plants that are used to make different kinds of medicine.

Keeping Bats and Humans Safe

One common misconception about bats is they are blood-suckers. Although the vampire bat does consume the blood of other animals, bats don’t attack humans. Bats can carry rabies and other diseases, so it is important to remember that handling bats isn’t safe for you or the bat.

Besides habitat destruction, one of the biggest threats to bats is White-Nose Syndrome, a fungus that is causing mass deaths of hibernating bats. You can lower their chances of exposure by avoiding caves where there may be hibernating bat colonies.

Bats are wonderful animals who play an important role as pollinators and insectivores. By giving bats space and protecting their habitats, we can keep humans and bats safe!

Please join us in celebrating the role of bats in our ecosystem by commemorating Bat Week! Share this blog or Bat Week’s page on your social media pages.

Or perhaps you have your costume dilemma solved for Halloween? . . .

Whatever it is– let’s show the bats in our environment some love!

Calling Small Businesses! Enroll in the wattsmart Energy Efficiency Program

Commercial buildings require a lot of energy to operate. If you’re a small business owner, electrical bills can threaten your business’ success. Indeed, lighting alone represents between 20 – 50% of the typical energy consumption of a small business.  

Improving energy efficiency is more sustainable and cost-effective. By switching to energy efficient LED light bulbs, businesses lower their energy consumption, conserve resources, reduce emissions, and save money. LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs!

In an effort to improve energy efficiency opportunities for their customers, Rocky Mountain Power began the wattsmart Small Business Direct program to offer discounts and financing to eligible businesses that switch to LED energy efficient lighting.

Businesses can enroll from now until December 18th to benefit from Rocky Mountain Power’s program.

wattsmart Small Business Direct

The wattsmart Small Business Direct Program

Through the Small Business Direct Program, Rocky Mountain Power provides lighting system upgrades for eligible businesses. Businesses receive an energy assessment, retrofit options, and assistance with energy efficient lighting installation.

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Clearing the air is easier than ever

Winter is coming. And along with it, inversion season. As temperature and pressure changes trap pollutants in the Salt Lake Valley, it is an important time to recommit to reducing our impact.

Air pollution in general is extremely costly in terms of public health and our economy. In the U.S., we spend $131 billion in air quality-related damages each year. The costs to our well-being are enormous. Bad air is linked to asthma, pneumonia, pregnancy loss, and premature death.

Luckily, expansions to our public transportation infrastructure are making it even easier to leave your car at home and help clear the air.

Idle Free sign near City and County Building

Public Transit Expansions

One way to avoid driving is to make use of public transit.

In July, Salt Lake City and the Utah Transit Authority expanded services on three essential routes, the 2, 9, and 21 bus. The expansions are critical steps towards improving air quality because they allow more riders to take advantage of the public system.

The bus route expansions are among several enhancements made possible through the Funding our Futures income (comprised of a sales tax increase, passed by the City Council, and a bond, approved by Salt Lake City voters, in 2018.)

The results are already starting to come in!

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