Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!
On average, we waste one full meals worth of food ever 2.3 days. In a state in which many people are food insecure, discarded edible food is a substantial waste. Food waste is also financially wasteful and uneaten food – especially meat – contributes to a larger carbon footprint. Luckily, Salt Lake City based nonprofit Waste Less Solutions is working to solve the food waste problem. Founder and President Dana Williamson started Waste Less Solutions in 2017 in an effort to reduce food waste in our community. The food rescue program works to divert edible food from donors in the food industry to individuals experiencing food insecurity with the help of receiving agencies including the YWCA, Rescue Mission, and the Boys & Girls Club. To date, Waste Less Solutions has saved 339,048 pounds of food, serving 282,540 meals to underfed community members, and saving $586,533 worth of food.
Taking a Cue from Annie Leonard, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Robert Swan
One side of this year’s truck wraps display useful mantras encouraging SLC residents to recycle. The other side features quotes from three prominent environmental activists:
Annie Leonard is the founder of The Story of Stuff Project, which advocates for reducing our consumption and being more thoughtful about where our stuff goes. As her truck wrap quote says: there’s no such thing as away.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an environmental activist and former senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He currently serves as president of the grassroots Waterkeeper Alliance. His quote succinctly emphasizes the impact of sustainable living on our country’s well being.
Echoing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s sentiment, Robert Swan’s quote is a call to action for every individual to take steps towards protecting the environment. Robert Swan is a climate activist and the first person to walk to the North and South pole. His organization, 2041, works to educate the public about the impact of climate change on the environment, especially at the poles.
By quoting these leaders, the truck wraps pinpoint the importance of community action geared towards protecting the environment and building sustainable communities.
One of the easiest ways to follow in the footsteps of these activists is to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Is Recycling Still Worth It?
Presented on the flip sides of the trucks are statistics about SLC’s waste management habits. In particular, they emphasize the importance of proper waste diversion in the form of recycling and composting.
Does that surprise you? With recycling changing as markets adjusted to new rules from China on contamination, there has been question as to whether recycling is even “worth it” any more.
We’re here to tell you it is and that’s a key point we wanted to emphasize with the new truck wrap designs. Let’s take a moment to dig in to that detail:
The recycling import ban that came from China in 2018 has complex causes and also underscores that recycling is a commodity market that has always experienced ups and downs.
But there is good news amid the shake-up. In particular, it’s forcing U.S. recycling processors and consumers to get back to basics: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle . . . Properly.
On Sunday, the Desert News printed an Op-Ed by David Brems with GSBS Architects and Kevin Emerson with Utah Clean Energy outlining how Utah needs new new energy codes that make buildings and homes more efficient. Here is an excerpt, you can read the entire piece online.
Air pollution is a top concern for Utah citizens. So is financial stability. Improving our air quality while saving money for Utahns is a win-win opportunity. This summer, decision-makers will be voting whether or not to adopt up-to-date building energy codes that will help new homes and buildings constructed in Utah cut energy waste, lower air pollution and reduce Utahns’ energy bills.
The average Utah home wastes far too much energy because it was not designed and constructed with energy efficiency as a priority. This is where the energy conservation codes come in. While lacking the flashy glamour of solar panels or electric vehicles, the “2015 International Energy Conservation Code” can dramatically reduce energy waste and related air pollution by incorporating common sense, readily available, yet often invisible efficiency solutions to new homes and buildings.
Industry leaders like GSBS Architects and public interest organizations like Utah Clean Energy see tremendous value in adopting the new energy code. But despite the benefits it brings to Utah families, businesses and consumers, getting the new code adopted has become a political undertaking. It shouldn’t be. Just consider the benefits from updating the energy codes.