Climate action starts with you! Here are five simple actions you can take today to begin reducing your climate impact.
1. Use Cold Water Detergent and Cold Water Setting for Clothes Washer
Pounds of CO2 Reduced Annually: 1,270
Annual Savings: $92
Heating water consumes a lot of energy – 90% of the total needed to wash your clothes – always use a cold-water setting and detergent.
2. Replace Your Furnace Filter and Manage Your Thermostat
Pounds of CO2 Reduced Annually: 1,800
Annual Savings: $124
Every degree F saves 3% on cooling / heating – set to 60 at night or unoccupied during winter and 78 in summer. Dirty furnace filters waste energy and should be changed every three months.
3. Properly Inflate Your Tires and Ride with Hive
Pounds of CO2 Reduced Annually: 400 (tires only)
Annual Savings: $95 (tires only)
Regularly check and inflate your tires to improve MPGs by 3% – more tips to save fuel at FuelEconomy.gov.
SLC residents, visit RideWithHive.com for details on the City’s discounted transit pass. Just $42 / month, a 50% discount, gets you unlimited rides on the bus, TRAX and S-Line.
4. Replace at Least Five Lights with LEDs
Pounds of CO2 Reduced Annually: 500 (per five lights)
Annual Savings: $40 (per five lights)
90% of the energy used lighting an incandescent bulb goes towards generating heat, not light. LED lighting is the cheapest lifecycle cost option – purchasing plus operating costs – and Rocky Mountain Power offers great incentives for homes and businesses.
5. Use Reusable Water Bottles and Mugs – Plus, Downsize Your Garbage Can
Pounds of CO2 Reduced Annually: 580 (Reusable Drink Containers Only)
Manufacturing bottles, cans and other drink containers takes energy and creates emissions. Reduce your footprint and save cash by using reusables. SLC residents should Google SLCgreen for many more waste tips and additional ways to save, like downsizing your garbage can. Moving from a 90-gallon bin to a 40-gallon bin will save you $87 / year on your trash bill. There is also a 60-gallon option that will save you money.
Are you wondering what you can do to reduce your impact this Earth Day — and every day?
More than 1,300 tons of garbage is buried in the Salt Lake Valley Landfill every day. Here are a few simple things you can do to limit your impact.
Ditch the disposables! Embrace reusable bags when you go to the grocery store.
Say goodbye to expensive and wasteful plastic water bottles. Instead, swap in a reusable glass or stainless steel bottle. You can even purchase an insulated version to keep your drinks cool on hot summer days. Salt Lake City’s TapIt program boasts a network of businesses that will refill your bottle with fresh water, too!
And speaking of drinks, bring a reusable coffee mug to your local coffee shop. You’ll even get a discount on your next latte!
Sure, those individually packaged mini carrots may save you a few seconds when you are packing lunches in the morning, but is that worth the extra money and wasted material?
Save some green and reduce your weekly waste by buying a large package instead, and placing them in reusable containers each day. More tips to green your lunch.
Reduce Junk Mail
We all get it, and we all hate it.
GlobalStewards.org has some tips to reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive. In a few simple steps, you can cut out mass marketing mailers, catalogs and credit card offers!
You can also reduce your impact by going “paperless” for your monthly credit card, bank and utility statements.
The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and SLCgreen staff have a few tips for residents who want to make their celebrations a little greener.
Use durable goods instead of disposable. Please, just say “no” to disposable plates, cups and utensils. Instead, bring out the readily available dishes from your very own kitchen! Sure, they require more cleanup, but you’ll be saving money and reducing waste. If you need to use disposables:
Provide drinks in large dispensers. It’s going to be a steamy Fourth of July this year, but instead of offering bottled water (and all of the plastic waste that comes along with it), put out drink dispensers that can be used to fill up your guests reusable water bottles or recyclable cups. This concept can also apply to any other beverages offered at your celebration – fewer bottles means less waste!
Skip the personal fireworks. A controversial suggestion, we know. But the air pollution from fireworks can be tough on our valley’s air quality. Even sparklers have high concentrations of air pollution (read the scientific study). Consider air-friendly decorations that can be stored and reused next year instead. Need inspiration? The Daily Green has some great ideas.
Choose air-friendly transportation. Can you bike or walk to your 4th of July celebration, or your yearly neighborhood fireworks show? Many homes in Salt Lake City offer a nice view from the convenience of your very own roof! We suggest that you skip the headache of parking and help reduce air pollution on a holiday that is especially prone to it. At the very least – carpool!
Recycle, of course! When the party is over, be sure to recycle plastics, cardboard, cans and glass in the appropriate containers. Salt Lake City residents can put most recyclable materials into their blue curbside bin, and residents that subscribe to curbside glass service have an easy way to get the job done. Glass dropoff sites are also located throughout Salt Lake City.
Did you know that over 1,300 tons of garbage is buried in the Salt Lake Valley Landfill every day?
Salt Lake City residents already have access to no less than four waste bins (garbage, mixed recycling, compost/yard waste and glass). Proper use of these bins is crucial to waste diversion, which is a technical term that basically means that the more waste we recycle in one form or another, the less garbage fills up the landfill.
But before recycling comes reduce and reuse. Everyone can reduce waste by incorporating some simple choices in their everyday shopping patterns.
Reusing items more frequently
Buying items that last longer (skip the disposables)
Not buying items you don’t need (save waste AND money)
Paying attention to excessive packaging on items
We have some great tips on reusable products like water bottles and tote bags, reducing junk mail and environmentally preferable purchasing on our SLCGreen website.
If you’ve been looking for the sign to finally make the change, now is the perfect time to drop those pesky single-use plastics once and for all – Plastic Free July is here!
Plastic Free July began as a small project based in Australia but has turned into a global movement of people who are committed to cutting out single-use plastics from their lives to stop plastic pollution and save the planet. “Plastics” refers to a wide range of synthetic materials that can be molded and shaped into a variety of flexible and stiff byproducts. Believe it or not, there’s plastics in our chewing gum, skin care products, and even our clothes!
Since 2011, Plastic Free July has empowered consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics by sharing educational resources and encouraging people to come up with creative ways to reduce plastic usage at the source, reuse any plastics that can be used more than once, and properly recycle what can be recycled!
Why is Plastic Free July Important?
In 2021, the planet reached a total estimated number of 363,762,732,605 pounds of plastics across all the oceans. Plastics are one of the most prevalent pollutants across the globe, polluting waterways, habitats, and damaging the health of ecosystems and humans alike. Many durable plastics will take up to 400 years before they will breakdown.
While recycling has helped make a dent in our plastic waste, the overarching goal is to reduce consumption.
Some plastics, like laundry detergent containers and milk jugs, are highly-desirable plastic products for recycling. However, other items like straws, plastic bags, and other flexible packaging, are harder to recycle, and often end up being a burden to consumers trying to properly dispose of them. Making some easy switches to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste at the source is an amazing way to start building a world without plastic waste and practice sustainability.
(We recognize that the problem of plastic waste is not just a consumer issue; in fact — it’s much more systemic and related to the way corporations make products and the laws governing those practices. This is why Salt Lake City has signed on as an activator to the U.S. Plastics Pact. But while we work for larger, systemic change, we can also take matters into our own hands as consumers and reduce single-use plastics, where possible, in our own lives).
How Can I Participate in Plastic Free July?
One of the easiest ways to get involved is to take the Plastic Free July Challenge! By registering for the challenge, you’re joining a community of people who are committed to reducing plastic pollution. You will also receive email updates with tips, tricks, and stories to help you keep your plastic free promise.
If you love garbage trucks as much as we do (and we definitely do!), then you’ve probably noticed the different designs we have on the sides of our trucks. Every time the City purchases a set of new refuse trucks, SLCgreen designs an informational decal to help keep our community up to date about waste & recycling. Whether it’s a reminder to not put plastic bags in your recycling bin, or quotes from famous conservationists to inspire recycling, our truck wraps give us a chance to have some fun and help educate Salt Lake City residents about the importance of proper recycling.
Your inner child will love our latest truck wraps, which playfully remind everyone why recycling is the way to go!
In 2018, China’s National Sword policy forced the United States to stop sending recyclable materials to China. The limitations have led to changes to the recycling process in the U.S., and changes in the market for recycled materials, which has affected the overall financial cost of recycling.
While some materials had been sent to other countries, plastic pollution, as well as improper recycling practices, have caused some recyclers to rethink their approach.
In October of last year, Waste Management, Salt Lake City’s recycling processor,made the announcement that they will not export residential plastic waste. Rather than rely on sending materials to countries outside of China for processing, Waste Management is keeping plastic recycling domestic. Several other companies have adopted similar policies. That means that the plastics you recycle at home will be processed in North America.
By focusing on building domestic markets, Waste Management’s policy will help ensure plastics are properly recycled and that they don’t end up polluting the environment through inadequate processing, containment, or disposal overseas.
Plastics make up 11% of Salt Lake City’s waste stream (by weight). Luckily, Salt Lake City recycles a lot. In June of 2019, we recycled 585 tons of cans, bottles, paper, and cardboard! The city recycles or composts 42% of the waste collected from residents. Recycling is crucial to protecting the environment. Indeed, recycling on this scale helps save trees, water, and energy. Moreover, proper recycling helps prevent greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste Management’s shift to keeping plastic recycling domestic will help make recycling even better. Waste Management acknowledges the specific threat plastic pollution poses to our waterways, explaining that out of all countries, the U.S. is the twentieth highest contributor of marine debris.
Recycling residential plastic domestically helps to reduce the likelihood of this kind of pollution.
Salt Lake City’s waste & recycling survey closed earlier this month. We are grateful for all of the feedback– we received nearly 6,200 responses, which is a record!
Now our team is busily combing through over 12,000 of your comments. We plan to compile these into a feedback summary in the new year. Stay tuned!
Waste & Recycling Tips
In the meantime, we’ve been reading a lot of questions about Salt Lake City’s waste & recycling services. So we thought this would be a good opportunity to share some answers, links, and helpful resources:
Go even further with waste diversion when you use the brown compost can for yard trimmings AND kitchen scraps. This includes veggie and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and paper filters, tea bags (no staples or string), and eggshells.
Does recycling even matter?
Yes! It absolutely makes a difference. For example, in June 2019, Salt Lake City residents 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 2,027 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. You are making a difference–thank you!
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!
Did you know that Earth Day was celebrated by over a BILLION people last year?
That is an incredible number, right?
It’s been celebrated since 1970 and has since become the world’s largest day for environmental awareness and the world’s largest service project. It is often marked by planting trees, doing litter cleanups, or engaging in other volunteer projects.
In honor of Earth Day 2019, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do personally to reduce your impact on the planet, as well as some fun upcoming events to help you choose how you want to celebrate Earth Day!