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Things are getting HOT!

Urban Heat Islands Increase the Effects of Climate Change

by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern

On a hot summer day, it feels like heat is coming from everywhere and anything.

We’ve had a lot of those days lately.  In fact, July of 2018 was the fifth hottest on record (July 2017 was the hottest!)

Warm July 2018

The National Weather Service, Salt Lake City office, has calculated our July 2018 temperatures as being the fifth warmest on record.

There’s no question that temperatures are climbing as a result of climate change.

In cities, however, there’s also another factor at work. Read more

Reduce Your Pesticide Intake from Food

by Sydney Boogaard, SLCgreen intern

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The spring and summer months are the perfect time to barbecue and picnic. Which means delicious fruits and veggies. Because let’s be honest, no picnic is complete without a scrumptious apple or pear. Unfortunately, our tasty produce is also a common source of consuming harmful chemicals from pesticide residue.

Fruits and vegetables that are grown conventionally are often exposed to many pesticides before they are shipped to our local grocery stores.

Luckily there are effective and natural alternatives to reduce the amount of chemicals we ingest. Join our #PesticideFreeSLC campaign and pledge to keep our bodies, yards, and ecosystems healthy, happy, and safe by going pesticide free!

Read more

Why Glass Recycling is Great

by Nayethzi Hernandez, SLCgreen intern, and Sophia Nicholas

With all the news of recycling markets changing, as we discussed in our previous post, it’s more important than ever to practice Reducing, Reusing, Refusing (single-use products) and Recycling Right.

So it’s worth thinking about how we as consumers can make a difference and shift our habits to consume different products with less packaging and more recycling-friendly materials.

That’s why we’re excited to talk about glass!

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Glass bottles ready to be turned into something new!

In Utah, we’re fortunate to have a local glass recycling facility, Momentum Recycling. In Salt Lake City, you can participate by signing up for curbside pickup! You can also take your glass to a convenient drop-off location.

With nearly 5,600 subscribed households, 78 active drop-off areas, and dozens of businesses participating in glass recycling, the Salt Lake City community is already headed in a very sustainable direction. Read more

Let’s Talk about Recycling

You may have heard that much is changing in the recycling world these days. For the last couple decades, China has accepted the majority of the world’s recycled materials– whether that’s plastic, paper, cardboard, or metal.

Our recycling programs evolved over that time to encourage more and more recycling of more and more items, with not so much attention focused on “contamination.” Contamination means that there are items in the recycling load that shouldn’t be there (like garbage or leaves or shoes or hoses . . . you get the picture). It can also mean that otherwise recyclable items are dirty and therefore unusable (oily pizza boxes for example).

Meanwhile, our society has continued to progress towards more packaging, more disposables, and more single-use items.

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There’s a lot of recycled material being processed every day in Salt Lake City! Help us minimize contamination by only putting accepted items into your blue container.

 

Globally, we produce upward of 448 million tons of plastic each year, 40% of which is destined only to be used one time. What?!?!

But if we threw those plastic plates or cups in the recycling, that was okay, right? Throwing something in the recycling bin became the equivalent of not even using it in the first place! 

But now China has effectively stopped accepting the world’s recycling and the U.S. is left with a lot of material and a system that isn’t designed to deal with newer, stricter materials standards.

Municipalities across the country are grappling with what to do. Some have had to drastically amend their recycling programs or cancel them. (See also “What the Chinese import policies mean for all 50 states”)

In Salt Lake City, disruption of our recycling program has so far been minimal. Read more

Wildfires + Fireworks + Ozone (Oh July!)

 

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Wildfire in Federal Heights, July 6th. Courtesy of the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

by Talula Pontuti, SLCgreen intern

For weeks, we have experienced wildfires across the state, primarily in the southern part of Utah, where firefighters are fighting tirelessly to protect communities and landscapes.

Those fires have not only destroyed homes, habitats, and landscapes, but the fires are contributing to poor air quality in those areas and throughout Utah.

In addition, fireworks from the Fourth of July increase particulate matter, aggravating respiratory conditions for those with preexisting respiratory and heart illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease.

Combine the fires and fireworks with ozone created by vehicle and product pollution – and we have the perfect mix for poor air quality.

Understanding what is going on and what our impacts are on air quality in our city is critical to being able to keep people healthy and having fun this summer. Read more

Say “No” to Pesticides to Protect Your Health

by Sydney Boogaard, SLCgreen intern

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Most pesticides and fertilizers used today are produced with harmful chemicals that even when used correctly can have adverse effects on human health.

Common diseases that have affected public’s health in the 21st century include asthma, autism, birth defects, reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and several types of cancer. They all have ties to pesticide exposure and there are many more that are directly connected to pesticide exposure.

Recent studies show that most homes in the United States have measurable amounts of pesticide residue in the home.

Children in particular are at a higher risk of exposure to these chemicals, due to their size and exploratory nature. They are more prone to place household items and objects that could be contaminated into their hands and mouths. Kids enjoying playing in the dirt, rolling around in the grass, and climbing trees; all potential sources for pesticide interaction. Compared to adults, children also have a proportionally higher intake of food, water, and air, further increasing their chemical exposure.

By limiting your pesticide and chemical fertilizer use you are reducing their exposures, providing a safe and healthy home for yourself and your loved ones. We hope you will go Pesticide Free this growing season and take The Pledge to be a #PesticideFreeSLC.

Read more

Summertime . . . and the Air is Nasty

By Jack Hurty, SLCgreen intern

We’re all used to winter smog here along the Wasatch Front, with brown haze moving in and obscuring the mountains. But there is another pollutant in the valley, invisible but no less dangerous — ozone.

What is Ozone?

Ozone, a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms, is created when nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mix and are heated by the sunlight.

NOx and VOCs are typically emitted by motor vehicles, but they can come from consumer products as well as industrial sources. (Read more about how ozone forms.)

Ozone is often found in the Earth’s stratosphere, where it plays a beneficial role by protecting us from damaging rays. But when ozone sits in the atmosphere where we can breathe it in, it can be very damaging to our health.

Read more