Every year, the Earth Day Network sets a theme to help direct engagement. This year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth,” a theme that helps focus our attention on conservation, restoration, and building sustainable and equitable communities long-term.
Even the smallest actions like recycling or walking instead of driving can have a big impact.
As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Salt Lake City organizations have rallied to fill our Earth Day calendar with plenty of fun and safe things to do. Scroll down to find out more about the upcoming Earth Day events!
Get Outside for Earth Day
If you’re the kind of person who wants to get in the dirt on Earth Day, you’re in luck. There are several opportunities this month to get outside and help the planet!
There is always a lot to do during the holidays, but before we tuck into our plant-based Thanksgiving dinners or go find the second-hand treasures to complete our holiday look, we want to take a minute to count our blessings and thank you!
Without your engagement in sustainable actions and participation in SLCgreen’s programs, we could not have the positive impact we do.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to think “What I do doesn’t matter” or “What difference is one person going to make?” But when you take that individual impact and add it up on a community scale, those little sustainability actions really do make a difference!
Take recycling. We can vouch for the impact all of you have on the thousands of tons of waste diverted from our landfill each year to recycling and compost.
So today, please join us in celebrating these aspects of our community that help us be stronger and more sustainable.
We’re always thankful for recycling!
Salt Lake City is working towards our zero waste goals.In June, we recycled 585 tons of cans, bottles, paper, and cardboard. To put this in perspective, this saved the equivalent of 5,732 mature trees, 2,238 cubic yards of landfill airspace, enough water to meet the daily needs of 41,625 people, and enough electricity to fulfill the annual needs of 175 homes! All this recycling helped us avoid 2,018 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes for cleaner air too!
Multiply those numbers by 12 and you have the average impact of Salt Lake City’s curbside recycling program over the year.
Your recycling is making a difference! Thank you!
We know that recycling has been in the news a lot lately. It’s gotten confusing. Some people are even wondering whether it’s “worth it” anymore. Numbers like the above remind us just how important it is. Thank you for continuing to recycle.
Here are some easy ways to keep up the good recycling habits this holiday season:
If you’re hosting a holiday party, consider using reusable dishes. We know that can be a challenge! Check out our small event recycling guide so that your guests know exactly what should go in the blue bin when it’s party time!
When you’re serving up the cranberry sauce or making pumpkin pie, make sure to clean your aluminum cans and put them in the recycling bin: Aluminum can be recycled over and over, and goes towards making everything from bikes to new cans!
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is #SmallBusinessSaturday. Buying locally-made goods supports our economy and is often a more sustainable way to shop. When you shop at a small local business, you support local artisans and business owners and reduce the environmental impacts associated with shipping and packaging!
One of our favorite places to find the most delicious treats is the Downtown Farmers Market. Their Winter Farmers Market is in full swing. Be sure to check out the local vendors for your holiday cooking and gift giving needs!
We want to take a minute to thank our SLCgreen team! Our readers, residents of Salt Lake City and beyond, are helping us reach our goals when it comes to reducing waste and building more sustainable communities. We hope you have a wonderful and sustainable holiday season!
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).
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.
This Halloween, we’re featuring spiders on the blog! But not to scare you. In fact, we thought Halloween would be the perfect opportunity to shed some (not-so-spooky) light on these creepy crawlies.
Our eight-legged friends (yes – you read that right) top the list of the most misunderstood helpers and are labeled as pests. Entomologists are working hard to change the public’s perception of spiders through education and outreach. After all, we are less likely to be afraid of something that we are familiar with and spiders have an important ecological role as the top invertebrate predator.
Spiders evolved 380 million years ago (long before the dinosaurs) and are believed to be the first animals to live on land. They are living fossils that evolved from an underwater ancestor that makes them closer cousins to a horseshoe crab than an insect.
Spiders are often lumped together with insects even though they are very different creatures. Spiders are in the same phylum (Arthropods) as insects, because they have a segmented body. To put that in perspective, humans are in the same phylum (Chordata) as hagfish, and obviously, other than a hollow nerve cord, we are nothing like a hagfish. The differences are that big!
Without spiders, we would be waist deep in other insects!! Spiders eat an astronomical amount of bugs – somewhere in the range of 880 million tons of bugs a year!
Fear and loathing
You can Google hundreds of news articles about car wrecks and house fires caused by people’s fear of spiders. Just a few days ago, there was a house fire in California where a man burnt down his parent’s house trying to kill a black widow. While there is research that shows some people are born with an innate fear of spiders, other people raise them as pets. Read more
As the holiday season wraps up, you may be wondering what to do with your Christmas tree when the decorations are ready to come down. Please consider not burning your tree. Burning anything during the winter is bad for our air quality (Burning during “air action” days is also against State regulation and violates Salt Lake County Health Department rules).
Residents may dispose of trees in two ways. For immediate disposal, Salt Lake City asks residents to cut their trees up into a few small pieces and place in their brown compost containers. Ornaments and lights must be removed. “Flocked” trees are not accepted in the brown containers.
“Please do not stuff your tree in the cart,” said Lance Allen Director of the Waste and Recycling Division. “This makes it extremely difficult or impossible for our operators to remove your tree. Instead, please cut your tree into four foot or smaller pieces.”
Alternatively, residents may place whole trees on their curb for disposal in January. Exact pickup depends on demand and will occur in mid-to late-January. Residents may call 801-535-6999 for more information.
During the holiday rush, sustainability may not be the first thing on your mind. Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure your festivities are more eco-friendly and sustainable.
We’ve compiled these actions into a convenient Green Holiday Guide. No matter how you celebrate, we at SLCgreen hope you find this information helpful and wish you the best of times and a very happy New Year!
One great option for your home Christmas tree is a live native potted tree. When you’re done with it, plant it after the holidays or let it live on as a house plant. As an added bonus, a live tree will absorb carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen for cleaner air.
Check with your local nursery or garden center for advice on the best type of tree, depending if you are planning to replant or keep it inside. If you can, hold off and plant it in late March or early April. This will increase the tree’s chance of surviving long term.
If you go for a cut tree, use the compost bin to dispose of it after the holidays. Make sure to cut it up so it fits in the bin and remove any tinsel or non-organic decorations (Just be sure to dispose of it before the wintertime suspension of compost bin collection, beginning the week of January 22, 2018).
If you can’t cut up your tree for the compost bin, no problem. Leave it curbside and we’ll be by during the month of January to collect it.
When stringing up lights this season, think “less is more.” For the lights you do put up, go for LED lights, which are 80-95% more efficient than traditional bulbs and will last longer. (This is a good reminder to switch out any other traditional light bulbs you may have in your home for LEDs too!)
LED lights look great on me!
Make sure you have your lights on a timer so they only are on when you want them to be. Some LED Christmas lights are even solar powered! Read more
Which means it’s time to come together with family and friends to celebrate– and what holiday celebration would be complete without delicious feasts and yummy treats?
At this time of plentiful feasting, we thought it’d be a great time to talk about food.
One of my recent tasks here at SLCgreen was to compile information for a new webpage, called Dining with Discretion. This section is a bit different than SLCgreen’s other pages, in that it discusses the big picture way our food choices have an environmental impact.
I was surprised by some of what I found:
Did you know that if every American chose to not eat meat and cheese for just one day a week, it would be the equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road?
Are you aware that rain forests are being cut at the rate of 36 football fields per minute each year to make room for cattle grazing and farming?
These are sobering and overwhelming statistics. But our goal is to empower you with information necessary to make a difference– whether that’s through a few small changes or even bigger ones.
That’s what “Dining with Discretion” means.
Discretion is the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation, so to Dine with Discretion means to make food choices with the understanding of how the food system affects our world.
Talking about Food Choices at the Office
As I discussed webpage content with my supervisor, one of my co-workers in our neighboring division overheard the idea of giving up meat and cheese one day a week. She joined the conversation and was adamant that she would never give up meat or cheese. The longer we discussed food choices, the more of our fellow SLC Corp co-workers began joining in on the conversation. When I left work that day I had no idea that this conversation would continue for several days. While many people had varying opinions, one thing became very clear – food can be a divisive topic.
However, the question remains: Do people actually want to make these choices, especially when it comes to animal products?
I decided to do a little “market research” by asking around the Public Services office whether people would be willing to alter their behaviors to Dine with Discretion. Read more
Here are some tips for a more sustainable holiday season.
Gifts Use recycled wrapping paper! Get creative and make your own with old maps, newspaper, photographs, or paper bags. Here are some more fun ideas!
Give experiences instead of material items. Think a visit to a museum, garden, or aviary, or a ski pass, a yoga or cooking class, a gift certificate to a spa or a ticket to a ballet or sporting event. Or consider donating to an organization on behalf of someone. Make gifts or buy gifts made of recycled materials. If you are going to buy gifts, support local businesses including our e2 businesses which are both local and green!
Food Make sustainable food choices like buying from local growers. Stock up on holiday staples at this weekend’s Winter Market Saturday from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Rio Grande Train Depot.
Incorporate vegan dishes into your holiday traditions. Be creative with leftovers and reduce food waste. Also, use reusable tableware and be sure to recycle glass and cans.
Decorations Here are some fun decorating ideas: String popcorn and cranberries together to make festive decor. Make paper chains with recycled newspapers or magazines and homemade ornaments out of recycled holiday cards. Cut bows from shrubs and trees in your yard and make a homemade wreath. After the holidays, if you have a tree, please put it in the brown compost can.
1. Planning your holiday menu? What better place to do your Thanksgiving shopping than at the pre-Thanksgiving edition Winter Market at the Rio Grande, Saturday, November 21st? Feature local food on your table this season. Utah growers will be selling holiday staples: onions, potatoes, carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, apples and more!
2. Try Vegducken, a delicious and beautifully layered vegetarian entrée.