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Posts from the ‘General Sustainability’ Category

Explore the Jordan River Parkway

by SLCgreen intern Atticus Olmedo

From Bear Lake and Antelope Island to Timpanogos and Goblin Valley, Utah is a hotbed for hiking trails and natural excursions. But for many, the Jordan River Parkway doesn’t immediately come to mind as a prime recreational destination. This may be a result of the Parkway’s location, locked between the suburban enclaves and urban centers. But don’t be fooled. People, organizations, and governments have rallied behind the Jordan River Parkway’s potential with a vision for sustainability.

And this month is all about celebrating the Jordan River with a month full of activities. Let’s dig in!

The Jordan River System

Thousands of years ago when Lake Bonneville was receding, the river wound its way through ancient sediments left by the prehistoric lake. Eventually, the river helped establish pond and wetlands. Today, the Jordan River flows approximately 50 miles from Utah Lake north towards the Great Salt Lake’s wetlands. The river is primarily fed from the creeks that travel through the Salt Lake Valley.

The ecology of the river has evolved considerably. Because the river collects water from streams throughout the valley, it also collects pollution and detritus. However, thanks to restoration efforts, the parkway and river have become more hospitable for natural and recreational use.

The river is lined with deciduous oaks, aspens, willows, and cottonwood trees. Invertebrates provide an important source of food for other river species, particularly native carp and trout. Prior to urbanization, coyotes, big-horned sheep, wolves, and mule deer made the river their home. Now, raccoons, red foxes, jackrabbits, and common muskrat can be spotted in the habitat. Birds including magpies, sparrow hawks, and even pheasants are also common.

A bike trail along the parkway

Nature in our Backyards

For the fitness and nature enthusiasts alike, The Jordan River Parkway Trail offers a low-cost fitness and natural excursion option to locals who may not have the means to access far away wildlife areas.

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Welcome Supreet Gill!

Supreet Gill is SLCgreen’s new Sustainability Program Manager.

SLCgreen is thrilled to welcome Supreet Gill to the Sustainability Department as our new Program Manager!

Supreet brings 15 years of experience in community food systems and a passion for improving urban and ecological resilience through sustainable agriculture and equitable community engagement.

Supreet has engaged in food systems on all levels — as a farmer, program manager for a refugee agriculture project, coordinator of urban farming and farm to school programs, and nutrition educator, to name a few!

In her prior position with Salt Lake County’s Urban Farming and Open Space program, she worked on numerous projects focusing on public lands management and community food systems. She also served on Salt Lake City’s Food Policy Task Force (now Food Policy Council) and has deep connections in the local food community.

As Sustainability Department program manager, Supreet will continue building our existing programs as well as developing new ones to strengthen the capacity of community residents and leaders to enhance the regional food system.

In short, her work is dedicated to improving community health and well-being, as well as making sure all residents have access to healthy, affordable, local food.

That goal entails a deep focus on community partnerships. She’ll continue making connections in the community– with farmers, local food producers, and other stakeholders. She’ll also work to ensure that communities, groups, and individuals with lower-access to resources are involved as deeply as possible in Salt Lake City’s work.

Finally, Supreet’s role will also include bridging with other government entities– within and outside of Salt Lake City– to prioritize strategies related to social and environmental justice, improving the local food system, and fostering equitable access to healthy food.

We’re thrilled to have her on the team!

Say hello when you see her at an upcoming community event . . . or a garden around town!

DIY Composting

By Salt Lake Valley Landfill Compost Marketer & Recycling Specialist, Zak Breckenridge

As we mentioned in our last post, compost is awesome! And when you put yard trimmings, leaves, vegetable and fruit scraps, and more in your curbside brown compost container, you’re engaging in one of the best forms of local recycling: Composting.

Municipal composting saves landfill space, reduces landfill greenhouse gas emissions, and maintains the local nutrient cycle.

About 30% of what we put in the trash could be turned into compost, which has a big impact on our community carbon emissions and our landfill space.

But what do you do if you don’t have access to curbside yard waste disposal?

Or, perhaps you prefer to skip the brown bin and make your own nutrient-rich compost for your vegetable, flower gardens, and lawn.

Whatever the case may be, today we’re focusing on at-home composting, which gives you the convenience of fresh compost right at home, plus all of the environmental benefits of putting your kitchen and yard waste to good use.

Of course, there isn’t only one right way to compost. While composting methods share the same basic principles, there are many factors to keep in mind. Read on to learn about the main composting techniques so you can decide what method will work best for you.

Compost bin
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Your Yard Waste Container: Get the Dirt on Compost

by Salt Lake Valley Landfill Compost Marketer & Recycling Specialist, Zak Breckenridge

It’s variably called the “yard waste bin,” the “brown can,” or the “compost container.”

Whatever name you give it, all Salt Lake City Waste & Recycling customers have the familiar brown can and use it to dispose of leaves, yard trimmings, small branches, grass, weeds, and other green waste.

It can also take your fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, and tea bags.

Salt Lake City’s compost container . . . aka “yard waste bin” aka “brown can.”

Today we’re taking a deep dive into the brown can. We’re (figuratively, not literally) getting down and dirty not only with what should and shouldn’t go in your bin, but also what happens to all of that “green waste” at its destination?

Welcome to the world of compost and why we’re so proud to have a commercial compost facility here in the Salt Lake Valley, which services Salt Lake City and many Salt Lake County curbside programs.

What exactly is Compost?

We all know that putting carrot tops and tomato stems in the compost is somehow better than putting them in the trash, but how do your food scraps and yard waste become a useful and valuable natural product that’s also better for the environment and better for our community?

Fresh compost
A BIG pile of Salt Lake Valley’s Certified Compost
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Plastic Free July is Here!

Have you been wanting to reduce the amount of plastic waste in your life, but needed a push to get started? Plastic Free July is the perfect time to cut out those unnecessary plastics.

Plastic Free July  logo.

What is Plastic Free July?

Most of us know that plastic is a big issue for the environment. Plastic pollutes our oceans, threatens wildlife, and introduces toxic chemicals into our environment. That’s where Plastic Free July comes in.

Plastic Free July is an international campaign that promotes reducing our use of single-use plastics. The movement began in Australia and has spread worldwide. Now, millions of participants are finding creative ways to substantially reduce the amount of plastic waste in their homes and communities.

Eco-friendly 4th of July

Summer is a time of celebration, picnics, and the 4th of July. Extra parties and holidays don’t have to mean extra waste. You can keep plastic out of your 4th of July festivities and all your summer celebrations!

Help make July plastic free by remembering these helpful tips:

  • Bring your own bags to the store: Whether you’re prepping your 4th of July barbecue or going on your normal grocery run, pack your reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags cannot be recycled in the blue bins, so bringing reusable bags makes a world of difference. While most people know to bring their own grocery bags, not everyone thinks to bring their own produce bags. Consider finding canvas or mesh bags for your fruits and veggies.
  • Use reusable containers/packaging: Another way to reduce your plastic use is by rethinking the packaging. You can pack meals in reusable beeswax wraps, or Tupperware containers. You can even bring your own containers when you’re shopping for bulk ingredients like nuts, trail mix, or baking supplies.
  • Bring your own reusable cutlery, glasses, and plates: Encourage guests to bring theirs from home, which saves you the dish washing.
  • Bake goods at home: Many snacks and desserts like chips, crackers, cookies, etc. come in individual plastic packaging. But remember: there’s nothing better than a homemade treat! Get creative in the kitchen and find a recipe online for tasty, homemade snacks for your gathering.
  • Make more eco-friendly swaps: Once you start to notice it, there are many plastic-free alternatives to the products we buy. For example, you can bring soda in cans instead of bottles or buy in bulk instead of individual packaging. If disposable plates/cups are an absolute must, use paper instead of plastic or Styrofoam.

Sustainable SLC

Going plastic free can seem daunting, especially when everything we buy seems to be wrapped in the stuff. It can be difficult to find places that accommodate a plastic free lifestyle. Thankfully, Salt Lake City has some great resources for your plastic free journey.

Hello! Bulk Markets

Hello Bulk is a package free grocery store where you bring your own containers and fill up on a variety of bulk goods. They carry the widest variety of bulk foods and household products in the area. They offer several options for baking goods, herbs and spices, beans and nuts, tea and coffee body care, cleaning supplies and a lot more. When you bring in your own container, Hello! Bulk will weigh the jar and get the tare. Then you fill up on all the goods, plastic free!  

Check out Hello! Bulk Markets at 355 N 500 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84116.

Animalia

A great local shop for all things sustainable is Animalia. Animalia boasts several handmade and sustainable goods, curated with conscious thought towards transparency in business, and artisans who take pride in their products. They feature several sustainable swaps to help you refuse plastic, from glass straws, produce bags, and reusable mugs. Animalia also has a refill station for body care and house cleaning items including shampoo, lotion, deodorant, dish soap, laundry detergent, and more.

You can visit Animalia at 280 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111.

Animalia bulk items

Thrift Shops

Clothes might not seem like much of a culprit for plastic, but plastic shows up in surprising ways. Many synthetic fabrics including polyester, nylon, acrylic, faux leather, suede, and fur, are all actually plastic. Washing these fabrics releases tiny plastic fibers. These fibers can make their way into the ocean, threatening sea life and our food chain.

What’s worse is that many of these synthetic fabrics are used in fast fashion items – garments that are worn for a short amount of time and then never used again. Fast-fashion can be anything from a trendy branded sweatshirt, to a faux-leather statement bag.

While not specifically single-use, clothing still contributes to the plastic problem. Buying used from vintage and thrift stores is a great way to give old items new life, and prevent new plastics from entering the waste stream.

Your Local Grocer

There are many other grocery stores that offer items in bulk, mainly snacks, grains, and spices, including national chain stores such as Whole Foods, WinCo, Smith’s, and Sprouts. Some stores may have policies against bringing containers from home, however; so be sure to ask whether you’re allowed to bring your own container. Some people suggest bringing canvas or mesh bags instead of jars to help lighten the load.

Join the Plastic Free July Challenge

Go plastic free this month and join the millions of others dedicated to keeping our streets, oceans, and planet clean. Small actions done by many can make a huge difference in the long run.

Learn more about Plastic Free July at https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ and take on the challenge. Find stories on how others have reduced their use of single-use plastics at home and in their communities. They also feature several helpful tips on how you can go plastic free this month (and year-round)!

Salt Lake City Recognized for Climate Achievements

We’re excited to report that the United States Conference of Mayors honored Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, recognizing Salt Lake City efforts to move towards the city’s Climate Positive goals.

Check out the press release below for more details!

Salt Lake City Skyline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2019

Salt Lake City receives prestigious recognition of climate achievements at U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting

Today at its annual conference, the United States Conference of Mayors recognized Mayor Jackie Biskupski for her leadership to advance renewable energy and tackle climate change. Presented at the “Climate Luncheon,” Mayor Biskupski was recognized for Salt Lake City’s efforts to transition to net-100 percent clean electricity, which made significant strides in 2019 with the passage and enactment of HB 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act.

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Summer is Here! Review the 7 Leave No Trace Principles

Liberty Park

Summer is here and with it a nearly endless offering of entertainment options! From grilling in the park and attending concerts and festivals, to hiking, running, and biking on local trails, there are many ways to get outside.

But while you’re out there, remember to take care of our natural spaces– both in and outside of our city!

The Leave No Trace principles aren’t just for going in the backcountry. They should be applied everywhere— including our local parks, gardens, and canyons.

Using these principles helps keep human impacts to a minimum and ensures access to these places and activities will be around for many years to come.

Leave No Trace is more than just packing out trash

Leave No Trace has developed a simple platform that has helped millions of people learn how to protect and respect the outdoors. The Principles are based on respect for nature and other visitors — and they are supported by scientific research.

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