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Posts tagged ‘environment’

Autumn is the time for yard care

 . . . Fall is an important time of year for employing organic and sustainable gardening methods.

Pesticide Free SLC!

Preparing for next year– Be Pesticide Free!

The fall is a key part of the gardening cycle because it allows us to prepare our garden for the winter and sets us up for a productive spring and summer.

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

But don’t worry– there are plenty of ways to have a healthy garden and lawn without using noxious chemicals.

Leave the Leaves

Not all leaves need to be raked up and disposed of immediately:

  • Consider that your leaves are a free fertilizer and weed suppressant! This makes them perfect for organic gardening.
  • Leaves also provide important winter habitat for butterflies, bees, and other beneficial bugs.
  • Finally, “leaving your leaves” reduces emissions associated with polluting leaf blowers. Keeping leaves out of the landfill also prevents the generation of potent methane emissions.

So how can you use leaves?

Use whole leaves around perennials, trees and bushes, or lightly layered on lawn (they may need to be shredded first). You can also create a leaf pile that will decompose into “leaf mold“– a rich, valuable compost amendment to be used in warmer months. Or– if you’re like me– simply pile your leaves on your vegetable garden bed and turn them into the soil in the spring before planting.

And if you still have too many leaves, use your curbside compost can to dispose of them (please keep them out of the gutters and storm drains). If you have a lot of leaves, give us a shout and we’ll help you get an extra container or two.

Here are a number of helpful resources on “leaving leaves”:
Xerces Foundation      National Wildlife Federation     Leave Leaves Alone

Use organic amendments to improve the health of your soil

Materials like the aforementioned leaves, as well as other compost, manure, bone meal, etc. can be used to balance the pH of your soil and will release nutrients into the soil to create a vibrant ecosystem and help your garden grow. Mulches can also be great for keeping weeds down, retaining moisture, and feeding the soil. Other organic soil enhancers, like coffee grounds, tea bags, and even newspaper can be an important tool in keeping your garden thriving. Learn more about amending your soil.
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Electrified Transportation Really is Cleaner!

by SLCgreen intern Kelbe Goupil

We talk a lot about electric vehicles at SLCgreen (seriously – check it out).

That’s because they’re one of the critical pieces of transitioning our community to a lower carbon footprint (and they’re pretty fun to drive too).

Therefore, over the last several years, SLCgreen has developed policies to promote electric vehicle adoption in the community at large and in our government fleet.

But this support is not without substantive research and justification.

While EVs are a key part of the puzzle, they’re not a panacea to climate change or our air quality problems. Other forms of transportation (biking, walking, riding the bus or train) and good urban planning are just as important.

Today, however, we are taking a deep dive on a common question regarding electric vehicles– just how clean are they?

Read on and dig in.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station
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Salt Lake City’s Mitch Davis Recognized for Innovative Waste & Recycling Work

Ever wonder how Salt Lake City successfully diverts over 32,000 tons of material annually from the landfill?

It’s a big undertaking– involving operations, education, outreach, and policy. And our amazing staff are at the heart of it!

Today we’re thrilled to announce that one of our own, Mitch Davis, is being recognized nationally for his efforts by Waste360, a recycling trade group serving 90,000 professionals.

The Waste360 “40 Under 40” awards program “recognizes inspiring and innovative professionals under the age of 40 whose work in waste, recycling and organics have made a significant contribution to the industry.“

“This award is a great honor in the waste & recycling industry,” said Lance Allen, Waste & Recycling Division Director. “We are very proud of Mitch and what he brings to our team and community.”

Mitch started his career with Salt Lake City as an intern in 2008 while finishing up his degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Utah. His passion for waste diversion and public service has been the driving force behind the success of many of our waste diversion strategies ever since.

When Mitch started with Salt Lake City he wanted to, “make a difference.” Because of his hard work and dedication, he most certainly has achieved that goal! Here’s how: Read more

Looking for a new car? Sign Up for ZOOm Go Electric through May 31

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Are you waiting for the right time to buy a low-emission vehicle? Are you interested in helping clean the air and save money?

We’re excited to let you know that a new bulk purchase program for electric vehicles is BACK! (The last one, U Drive Electric, put 127 cleaner cars on the road in three months!)

ZOOm Go Electric is the newest discount program to launch. It runs from now through May 31, so get on it soon.

According to a 2013 analysis conducted by SWEEP and Utah Clean Energy “all electric” vehicles produce 99% lower emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 95% less sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 76% less nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions as compared to a new gasoline vehicle. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles reduces emissions significantly as well. Read more

Salt Lake City Spends $804 Million on Fossil Fuels Every Year

In 2014, SLCgreen released an analysis of the average energy consumption per household in Utah. We saw that the average household burns 17 pounds of coal, 208 cubic feet of natural gas, and 3 gallons of gasoline per day!

To follow-up on that report, today, we’re unveiling a bigger-picture overview of the fossil fuel consumption for Salt Lake City as a whole. Below you will find the infographic developed by Salt Lake City and the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance.

It clearly shows the flow of money from Salt Lake City to outside states and countries that produce fossil fuels.

This information really puts into perspective the importance of managing individual consumption and reducing energy waste, while enacting the best policies and regulations to help our businesses, residents, and government entities do the same.

As an individual, these numbers can be discouraging. But there are plenty of ways you can make a difference to reduce your carbon footprint and improve air quality.

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Still, the graphic begs the questions:

Wouldn’t it be better if the $804 million we spend annually on polluting fuels stayed in Utah? Better yet, what if it was invested in clean energy? 

Investing in clean energy in Salt Lake City is exactly what the Climate Positive initiative is all about. Click here to learn more about how Salt Lake City is working to cut off its dependence on fossil fuels over the next few decades.

And stay tuned: We’re about to unveil a more detailed plan on how to achieve our 80% greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2040.

Because all of this money should stay in Utah, while we keep the pollution out!

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Natural Lands Outreach and Education Specialist

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Salt Lake City’s Open Space Lands Program seeks a highly motivated individual with background in environmental education and/or youth and outdoor leadership, to develop and administer outreach and education activities that connect diverse communities to urban natural lands.

The position is an individual placement Americorps Member position through the Utah Conservation Corps (UCC)www.usu/edu/ucc/. The individual must complete 1,700 hours of service; the position requires 30-40 hours of service work per week and terminates no later than December 31, 2017. Salt Lake City is accepting applications through November 18, 2016, and will interview candidates and hire for the position in early December 2016. Job duties will begin approximately December 31, 2016.

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New Sustainability Program Begins at Salt Lake City!

Empower SLC Logo - High Res PNGSalt Lake City Green recently launched Empower SLC, an in-house sustainability training platform available for all City employees. The twelve-month program will cover a variety of sustainability-related topics, including energy use at home, water conservation, renewable energy, and food. Empower SLC is designed to motivate behavior change at the individual level in order to reduce pollution, save resources, and enhance Salt Lake City.

Every week, short lessons are released under a larger monthly theme topic. Users can earn points by completing lessons, taking quizzes, and committing to actions each week. To encourage participation amongst all users, employees will earn a sustainability certification based on their level of participation. The Empower SLC certificate will be endorsed by the Mayor and the Sustainability Director at three levels: Basic, Gold, and Platinum.

Recycling Items

To date, over 400 employees have registered with Empower SLC! The first month’s theme, Water Free SLC, covers waste management, recyclable materials, and hazardous and electronic waste, with simple tips on how to green your lifestyle at home and in the office. For a closer look into how each department is participating, check out the chart below.

Empower SLC Registration