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Posts tagged ‘green’

What We’re Thankful For

This graphic shows SLC’s residential recycling impact for one month (June 2019 at 585 tons). From Jan – Oct, we’ve collectively diverted 6,466 tons of recycling and 14,320 tons of green waste through our curbside programs.

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:

We’re thankful for small businesses

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!

Clever Octopus is ready for fun on #SmallBusinessSaturday!

Here are a few fun local events to check out:

Following Small Business Saturday, #GivingTuesday is around the corner. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to give back to our community by donating money, goods, and volunteer time to worthy causes!

We’re thankful for sustainable holiday DIYs!

Unless you’re willing to keep your fake holiday tree for a very long time, real trees can actually be a more sustainable option. However, there is an even more sustainable – and entertaining – option: DIY Holiday Decor!

Check out these fun trees made with upcycled plastic bottles, bike wheels, and even old hubcaps! Another option is to make your tree using old tomato cages and fabric or fresh cut bows as a wrapping!

Fun holiday decorating can help us feel cozy and festive! We know it’s tempting to get your fireplace going. But before you do, please check the air quality and make sure there aren’t any restrictions. You can protect the air by eliminating vehicle idling and respecting burning restrictions. Moreover, you can make your holiday cozy with just a little creativity — no real fire necessary:

Our friends in Public Services enjoy their hand-made holiday fireplace!

We’re thankful for YOU!

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!

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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Summer is Here! Review the 7 Leave No Trace Principles

Liberty Park

Summer is here and with it a nearly endless offering of entertainment options! From grilling in the park and attending concerts and festivals, to hiking, running, and biking on local trails, there are many ways to get outside.

But while you’re out there, remember to take care of our natural spaces– both in and outside of our city!

The Leave No Trace principles aren’t just for going in the backcountry. They should be applied everywhere— including our local parks, gardens, and canyons.

Using these principles helps keep human impacts to a minimum and ensures access to these places and activities will be around for many years to come.

Leave No Trace is more than just packing out trash

Leave No Trace has developed a simple platform that has helped millions of people learn how to protect and respect the outdoors. The Principles are based on respect for nature and other visitors — and they are supported by scientific research.

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Goal: Reduce food waste this holiday season

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, bringing the friend and family food fest with it! While we prepare the feast and give thanks for the plentiful food we have, it is important to consider the amount of food that goes to waste this holiday season.

Food is one of the most important areas of sustainability in our daily lives and it is often overlooked! Reducing food waste is important for everyone because it saves both money and resources.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 35 percent of turkey meat cooked at Thanksgiving gets wasted?

That’s a lot of wasted resources!

When we reduce food waste we save:

  • The resources and water used to grow crops and raise animals
  • Manufacturing and energy resources
  • Transportation resources and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Money by buying less and throwing away less
  • Disposal costs and emissions

That last one is significant– food sent to landfills is a powerful source of methane. A whopping 40 percent of food meant for eating is thrown away.

All of this rotting food produces a lot of greenhouse gases. In fact if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.

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Glass Recycling: Providing Possibility

by Tera Clausen

There is no such thing as away when it comes to waste. It is out of sight out of mind, but it is never truly gone. When things are thrown away, they go to a landfill to pile up in a heap. Some of the items will eventually break down, while many others will not. The reality of the trash heap can be summed up in a word: hopelessness. It is the end of the road, and the possibilities of re-creation and re-purposing are gone. However, recycling brings back possibility.

As the newest intern at SLC Green, my first official order of business was to tour some of the recycling facilities for Salt Lake City. This tour was a front row seat to possibility. One of the stops for the SLCgreen crew was Momentum Recycling. Momentum was founded in 2008, and in 2012 became the exclusive glass recycler for Salt Lake City.

In 2012, Momentum was bringing in about 200 tons of recycled glass. In the past four years, since expanding their curbside services, they now bring in approximately 1,000 tons per month! I will be honest, it was overwhelming to see how many glass bottles were waiting to be sorted and recycled, but the beauty of possibilities also struck me. Instead of hopelessly ending in a landfill, these items could become something new and useful.

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Salt Lake City Community Members Launch U Drive Electric

 

In a joint press conference, the University of Utah and Salt Lake City today announced the launch of an electric vehicle purchase program extending discounts on multiple makes and models of vehicles. The second round of U Drive Electric offers U community members and Salt Lake City community members the opportunity to purchase or lease electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices through Oct. 31, 2016.

This joint program is aimed at improving air quality and community health both today and for future generations. With almost 50 percent of Utah’s urban air pollution coming from tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles represent an important tool for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front.
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Mayor Biskupski and local gardeners celebrate Liberty Wells Community Garden’s first harvest

liberty_wells

Photo by Kyle Strayer

Mayor Jackie Biskupski commemorated the first season of the new Liberty Wells Community Garden on 1700 South and 700 East in a press conference with Wasatch Community Gardens and local gardeners on Tuesday, August 30th.

As the latest addition to Salt Lake City’s Green City Growers program, the Liberty Wells Garden is run by the non-profit Wasatch Community Gardens on city-owned land and provides plots for 44 gardeners to grow vegetables.

“Liberty Wells neighbors, including some of our newest resident refugee families, have come together to share knowledge and friendship, which produced this beautiful and sustainable garden,” Mayor Biskupski said. “We have put vacant land to good use while improving the community and good will at the same time.”

The Liberty Wells Garden broke ground in April, after site selection and approval from the city. The plot now has 44 gardeners, with a wait list of 29.

“We’ve been amazed to see the enthusiasm and positive energy put forth by the gardeners who make up our new Liberty Wells Community Garden,” said Ashley Patterson, Executive Director of Wasatch Community Gardens.

Britt Vanderhoof spends hours at the Liberty Wells garden each week.  “As an avid gardener, I’ve enjoyed the health benefits of eating fresh, organic, locally grown food. But as much as I love the taste of food fresh from the garden, I have enjoyed even more seeing the community around the Liberty Wells Community Garden come together to help grow this amazing garden into what it is today.”

Salt Lake City’s Green City Growers Program began in 2013 to support local food production on city property.  The city continues to evaluate parcels for potential garden sites as demand increases.

News stories:

Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

For more information please visit:

http://www.slcgreen.com/communitygardens

 

 

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

 

Salt Lake City Announces New Partnership To Protect Children’s Future

HBBF-Presentation-FINAL-1-_Page_01Today Salt Lake City launches a new partnership with Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) to become one of the organization’s first cohort of Bright Cities. The Bright Cities program is designed specifically to help reduce or eliminate neurotoxic chemical exposures in children when they are most vulnerable.

Exposure to toxic chemicals is so widespread and the impacts on brain development are so severe that leading scientists and doctors call it “a silent epidemic.” When exposure to neurotoxic or “brain drain” chemicals is higher, so are incidences of ADHD, behavioral problems, cognitive delays, and low birth weight.

Studies also show that disproportionately high exposure to these chemicals is one important reason why children below the poverty line are more likely to have intellectual disabilities. While toxic chemicals are not the sole cause for these lifelong effects, they are among the most preventable.

“Through our partnership with Healthy Babies Bright Futures, Salt Lake City is making a commitment to improve the health of our children and our entire community,” says Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “The positive steps we take today to protect our children will last a lifetime and ensure a healthier and brighter future for all.”

Today Salt Lake City will begin phase one of the program, called the Beacon City phase. With support from HBBF, the City will complete an assessment of the current risks, priorities and opportunities related to neurotoxic chemical exposures. The City will also engage in a public process to educate the community and gather stakeholder input on a final plan to reduce or eliminate the impact of these dangerous chemicals on babies’ brains.

For more information on Salt Lake City’s involvement contact Bridget Stuchly at bridget.stuchly@slcgov.com or (801) 535-6438.

Healthy Babies Bright Futures is an alliance of non-profit organizations, philanthropies and scientists that designs and implements projects to reduce babies’ exposure to toxic chemicals during the most vulnerable and significant periods of development:  in utero and from birth to age two. M.ore information at https://hbbf.org/

Sustainable Living Solutions and Inspiration, Winter Market at Rio Grande

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March is Sustainable Living Solutions and Inspiration month at the Winter Market.  Meet with Utah business owners and organizations who inspire environmentally friendly living solutions. A handful of local agencies, including SLCgreen, will be in attendance at the Winter Market on March 12 and March 26 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm to discuss what services are available to you and how you can reduce your ecological footprint.

Did you know that electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in the United States? Valuable precious metals can be salvaged from recycling e-waste and toxic chemicals are prevented from entering the landfill and ground water. Good news — Recycle Solutions will be onsite at the March Winter Markets collecting electronic waste from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm! Below is a list of acceptable goods.

Please note CTR TVs (tube TVs) or refrigerators will NOT be accepted at this collection event.

Accepted Items:
Batteries
Cameras
Cell Phones
Communications Equipment
Computers Fax/Copy Machines Ink/Toner Cartridges
Keyboards & Accessories
Laptops
Office Machines Monitors
Network Devices
Hand Held Devices
Printers & Scanners
Returned or Unwanted Products
Servers Stereos and Audio Equipment
Telephones
Televisions (No CRT TVs)
VCR’s & DVD Players
Washers & Dryers
Paper
Plastic

For more information visit the SLC Downtown Farmers Market website or Facebook page.