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Green Holiday Guide

Adobe Spark (8)

SLCgreen’s “Green Holiday Guide.” It’s snow bunny approved.

 

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!

Christmas Trees

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.

No matter what you do, do not burn your tree. Burning anything during the winter is horrible for our air quality (Burning during “air action” days is also against State regulation and violates Salt Lake County Health Department rules).

Energy efficiency

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!)

Y_Christmas_Tree_2

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

Halloween Decorating! SLCgreen Style

Sustainability Decorations- plastic bag ghosts, trash bag spider webs, sunflowers.

Halloween is right around the corner! Have you finished your decorations yet?

The City & County Building is having a door decorating competition between departments (never mind that the building itself might be haunted….!)

Of course, here at the Sustainability Department we know it’s important to “walk our talk” in terms of decorating with reused, compostable, and recyclable goods to keep material out of the landfill.

In the process, we had a fun time using our creativity (and Google) to come up with some cool ways to spookishly decorate. Here are some tips for your home or office: Read more

“Leave your Leaves!” This Fall, try mulching your leaves at home

shred-leaves1

 

In the fall, when autumn brings a chill to the air, and Salt Lake’s oaks and elms and other deciduous trees drop their leaves, many of us turn on the blowers, haul out the rakes, and get ready for some serious work.

But—have you considered an alternative?  Using some or all of your leaves to mulch your yard or garden? Read more

“Leave your Leaves!” This Fall, try mulching your leaves at home

shred-leaves

Recycling? Check!

Bringing your reusable bag?  Double-check!

Proudly displaying your idle-free sticker? Yup!

Mulching at home?  Huh??

Did you know that one of sustainability’s best practices is to “leave leaves alone”?   

In the fall, when autumn brings a chill to the air, and Salt Lake’s oaks and elms and other deciduous trees drop their leaves, many of us turn on the blowers, haul out the rakes, and get ready for some serious work.

But—have you considered an alternative?  Using some or all of your leaves to mulch your yard or garden?

We’d like to invite you to do just that.

Feeding leaves back into your soil is a cost-effective and natural way to enrich your yard, as well as to protect fall plants and vegetables from the cold.

Curious?  Here are some tips for making the most of our autumnal deluge:

Read more

Waste Less, Save More! SLCgreen Encourages You To Downsize Your Garbage

Truck Wraps Collage

Have you noticed the new truck wraps driving around Salt Lake City?

We’ve outfitted all of our Sanitation vehicles with bright new wrappers promoting downsizing options available to all city residents. So keep your eyes open on garbage day!

Every month, you pay one fee for your garbage can – that’s it. Your recycling and compost can service is included in that fee. There are three garbage can sizes, and if you downsize your can you also downsize your monthly waste fee!

Can Size Monthly Fee per Can
90-gallon Garbage $21.00
60-gallon Garbage $17.75
40-gallon Garbage $13.75

Call (801) 535-6999 to downsize your garbage can today.

Fall is here, keep your street gutters clear!

Street-Gutters-Promo

Look for these signs on Salt Lake City street sweepers this fall

This fall, Salt Lake City is reminding residents to please keep their street gutters clear of leaves and debris.

Our street sweepers are hard at work, but they need your help! By clearing your street gutter of leaves and debris, you will help prevent stormwater drains from clogging, which can result in street flooding, protect water quality and minimize the burden on the sewer system from surface debris.

Salt Lake City residents can also request an extra can for leaves by calling (801) 535-6999 or emailing slcsanitation@SLCgov.com (please include your name, address and phone number).

**Leaf cans are in high demand! If you are done with yours, please call (801) 535-6999 so someone else can use it. Thanks! **

Eat Local Week

Eat Local Week is quickly approaching!  The week of September 12th-19th will be filled with local food events where your participation is strongly encouraged!  A significant part of Eat Local week is the Eat Local Challenge, a fun and exciting way to get a better understanding of where your food comes from. The Challenge is simple, eat as local as you can.

What is local? Try for food within 250 miles from your home. Why?  There are a myriad of reasons.  Eating locally enhances the local economy. Every dollar spent at a locally generates $2.80 of economic activity for our community.  Supporting local farmers has a multiplier effect throughout the local economy as a whole. Local farms generate jobs for the community, farmers’ markets bring customers to surrounding businesses, and they support farmers who are likely to spend money locally on agricultural supplies. (1)  In our conventional food system, farmers receive an average of 20 cents of each dollar spent on food. In a direct-to-consumer market like a farmers’ market or CSA (community supported agriculture share), the farmer receives the direct profit. (2)

Smaller family farms are often more sustainably run than large industrial or factory farms.  “Industrial farming negatively impacts the environment in myriad ways (e.g., by polluting the air, surface water, and groundwater, over-consuming fossil fuel and water resources, degrading soil quality, inducing erosion, and accelerating the loss of biodiversity).  Many small-scale, local farms attempt to ameliorate the environmental damage done via industrial farming by focusing on sustainable practices, such as minimized pesticide use, no-till agriculture and composting, minimized transport to consumers, and minimal to no packaging for their farm products.” (1) Small farms typically grow a variety of crops, adding variation to protect biodiversity and preserve a larger agricultural gene pool. (2)  Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. There is an accountability piece with buying locally produced food, where you can talk directly to farmers and ask about sustainable practices used to grow and harvest the crops.

Fresh food and food that is in season tastes better!  Local food is often more fresh and harvested closer to peak ripeness, with packing, shipping, and shelf-life stages removed.  This contributes to quality and flavor.  On average, in the United States, food travels about 1500 miles from farm to plate.  “Fresh food tends to have more nutrients than food that was picked days or weeks ago,” says Michael Pollan, author of “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.” (1) Enjoy Utah’s local food this Eat Local Week!

To learn more about eating locally, visit Eat Local Week Utah’s website.

(1) Grace Communications Foundation.  Local and Regional Food Systems. http://www.sustainabletable.org/254/local-regional-food-systems Accessed Sept. 2, 2015.

(2) Project Open Hand. The Benefits of Eating Locally Grown Foods. http://www.openhand.org/2011/07/20/the-benefits-of-eating-locally-grown-foods/ July 20, 2011.