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Posts tagged ‘SLCgreen Connections’

e2 Business Highlight: Tracy Aviary

Salt Lake City’s e2 Business Program is a free consulting and marketing program for Salt Lake City businesses run out of the Sustainability Department. The program is dedicated to helping Salt Lake’s business community run in a more environmentally and economically sustainable manner. We take pride in recognizing the achievements of our members! If you are interested in joining the program or browsing current members, please visit our e2 Business webpage.

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Tracy Aviary, one of the nation’s only free-standing aviaries, will be marking its 83rd anniversary this year. Over the past decades, the iconic landmark in the heart of Liberty Park has become a leader in environmental education and conservation.  

Tracy Aviary goes above and beyond their work with bird conservation, emphasizing local ecosystem conservation efforts through community science programs, as well as participating in critical global species conservation work. Moreover, Tracy Aviary has been taking steps towards reducing their own environmental impact.

Photo of front of Tracy Aviary Visitors center with lights shining behind copper metal façade.

A longtime member of the e2 Business Program, Tracy Aviary has marked several sustainability milestones such as the addition of 18kW of on-site solar energy, as well as a 67% recycling diversion rate. One recent achievement is in realizing their 2018 goal of reducing energy consumption by more than 10% in 2019 and 2020.

“Reducing our energy consumption and focusing on sustainable energy is one of the ways we can make the biggest impact when combating climate change. Slowing climate change not only helps native birds, who are highly sensitive to changes in their environment, but all the plants and animals we share our ecosystems with.

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Waste Less Solutions Introduces Restaurant Certification Program

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.

Scan of a fact sheet on recycled seed paper. Text is in green and orange and black. At the top is a green and orange stripe. Green text reads "DID YOU KNOW" followed by two columns of facts. "If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after the US and China" 
"Reducing our food waste is the third best solution to reverse greenhouse hases"
"55% of leftover restaurant food doesn't get taken home"
"38% of leftovers taken home aren't eaten"
"Did you know the best way to reheat pizza is in a skillet"
Below the columns reads "when planning your week, plan a leftover night to make sure your leftovers are enjoyed. Create an 'eat first shelf' in your fridge; put your leftovers there so family knows it's something they are encouraged to enjoy."

At the bottom in larger font reads Enjoy Your Leftovers and a orange carrot Waste Less Solutions logo. The bottom of the page reads "This handmade paper is embedded with a hearty mix of wildflower seeds. Plant this card under a thin layer of soil and water thoroughly."
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Catch Up With Utah Recycling Alliance

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!

Is going zero waste one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2021? Utah Recycling Alliance is here to help!  Utah Recycling Alliance (URA) has been encouraging Utahns to recycle more and reduce waste since 2011. The non-profit promotes reuse, recycling, and resource conservation through programs developed to engage and educate residents statewide.

This year, like many organizations, URA has moved much of their programming online due to the pandemic. However, they have stayed busy, and the organization is gearing up for exciting new projects in 2021. 

SLCgreen chatted with URA co-presidents David Johnston and Sarah Bateman to find out more about what URA has been up to in 2020. David and Sarah also filled us in on how you can get involved in building a zero waste future in the New Year!

The 3 R’s and Beyond

David, who is also the Permits Coordinator for SLCgreen’s Waste and Recycling Division, told us that URA started with a mission that went beyond recycling. “Although we’ve always been there to help Utahns around the state recycle in the right ways, many of what we now consider core programs are all about the other Rs” – including reduce, reuse, repair, and rot.  

Sarah, who is the founder of the City of Orem’s Natural Resources Stewardship Committee and a full-time mom, joined URA because of her passion for encouraging zero waste in Utah County. Prior to joining URA, she “felt somewhat alone in advocating a low-waste lifestyle.” However, URA connected Sarah to other zero waste organizers who were just as passionate about waste reduction and conservation. Sarah says that she is “honored to work alongside this well-educated and skilled team of volunteers, dedicated to reducing waste in Utah.”

The organization relies on volunteer support to operate their diverse projects, which connect businesses, individuals, and local governments that are committed to zero waste efforts.

CHaRMs and Fix-It Clinics

In the past few years, URA has helped Salt Lake City residents divert unusual waste (including toothpaste tubes, old electronics, shredded paper, and other things that aren’t accepted in the City’s curbside recycling program) in the CHaRM events.

The acronym stands for Collection of Hard to Recycle Materials, and the events help divert a considerable amount of waste each year. David notes that “in 2019 alone, with the help of more than 40 additional volunteers, URA was able to divert almost 5,000 lbs. from the landfill, accepting material for recycling from more than 1,100 attendees.”

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Clever Octopus: Making Art and Keeping Everyday Items Out of the Landfill

By SLCgreen intern Atticus Olmedo

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!

It has been a busy summer for the Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center. The creative reuse center is one of Salt Lake City’s e2 Businesses, a program dedicated to helping Salt Lake’s business community be more economically- and environmentally-sustainable. And Clever Octopus is passionate about sustainability. With multiple summer camps, including Sculpting the Future: Art to Save Utah with Goldman Sachs, and even more classes throughout the summer, the creative reuse center helps divert waste, support the community, and foster creativity and environmental awareness through art.

Indeed, Clever Octopus has expanded its programming from a thrift store for art supplies to a fully-fledged creative reuse center providing educational opportunities for students of all ages and skill levels across Salt Lake Valley.

SLCgreen recently met with members of Clever Octopus’ team, Lin Huang, Kacy Huston, Jen Lopez and David Sadler, to talk about their work making art sustainable and accessible.

Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center
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Happy Anniversary to SLC’s Square Kitchen!

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!

Can you believe it? It’s been over a year since Salt Lake City’s Square Kitchen opened. This labor of love took 8 years to fully realize and was one of our Department’s core Local Food access programs.

In that time, Square Kitchen’s Analia Valdemoros and Tham Soekotjo have truly taken the idea of an “incubator kitchen” from a dream to a thrilling reality while maintaining a strong focus on client support, flexibility, and creativity.

We met with Ana and Tham at the Square Kitchen facility on 751 West and 800 South to learn more about their first year of operation and take a peek at some of the local food businesses that got their start at the unique incubator space.

Square Kitchen
751 W. 800 S.
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Plant Based Utah to Host Symposium Oct. 13

By Jack Hurty, SLCgreen intern

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!

This week we sat down with Chandler Rosenberg, Managing Director of Plant Based Utah, to talk about meat, the environment, and their upcoming events. Plant Based Utah is a local plant-based nutrition advocacy group.

Chandler PBU

Chandler Rosenberg, Managing Director of the non-profit Plant Based Utah.

What if you could improve your health, save money, and lower your carbon footprint, all with one simple lifestyle change? It’s possible – by eating less meat and transitioning to a plant-based diet. That’s the message Plant Based Utah is working to spread.

In March 2017, Thomas Rosenberg and Patrick Olson who are surgeons in Park City, decided to create an organization dedicated to encouraging people to eat healthier.

They had been studying preventative nutrition for years and found that a plant-based diet could prevent and even reverse some of the various chronic diseases and conditions they came across every day. Read more

The Salt Lake City School District Saves Energy and Conserves Resources

By Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern

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!

Greg Libecci of the Salt Lake City School District chronicles some of the achievements he’s helped realize after nine years as the Energy and Resource Manager for dozens of schools. His work led to the school district receiving a 2015 Mayor’s Skyline Challenge Award from Salt Lake City. Thanks for all you do Greg!

Solar at Hillside 023.jpg

Greg Libecci, right, stands near solar panels being installed at Hillside Middle School in Salt Lake City.

School’s out this week, but that doesn’t mean Greg Libecci takes the summer off.

His role as Energy and Resource Manager means he works year-round to identify and implement energy efficiency projects to save the Salt Lake City School District energy and money.

What led him to this role?

After several years of working in corporate sales for a telecom company, Greg began to notice energy waste everywhere. Things that were not being used were often left on, racking up unnecessary expenses and negatively impacting the environment.

He was certainly on to something with these observations, since the excessive consumption of energy resources worldwide is recognized as an important contributor to climate change.

Greg was drawn into the sustainability field because he saw how simple it could be to prevent unnecessary energy use. He was excited by the solvable nature of the problem.

When the Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD) created the Energy and Resource Manager position nine years ago in an effort to save the District money on utility costs, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Greg to pursue his newfound passion for energy conservation.

Not only would he have the opportunity to directly implement important sustainability initiatives at a large organization, but he would also have the chance to work with students, something that remains an extremely rewarding part of his job.

Since Greg took the position, the school district has seen huge reductions in energy and natural gas use. In comparison with their baseline year of 2009, 2017 saw an 11% decrease in electricity use and a 23% decrease in natural gas usage.

This translates to a 4,400 ton reduction of CO2 emissions for 2017! Read more

Utahns Against Hunger Strives for a More Sustainable Food System

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!

By Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern

Hunger. It is desperate and overpowering. Everyone has experienced it, but for some, it is extreme and long-term. Weeks go by with a deep, gnawing sensation inside, a pain so fierce that it almost feels alive.

This is a reality for more than 1 in 9 Utahns.

Food insecurity occurs when people cannot afford to buy enough food. It has significant impacts on productivity, happiness, and health, and because it impacts low-income families and individuals, it is often accompanied by threats to other basic needs such as shelter and clothing.

UAH screenshot

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Eliminating Food Waste Helps the Earth and the Hungry

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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!

by Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern

It is the rideshare of philanthropy: simple, quick, and on your own time. Designed with the fast-paced nature of the modern world in mind, Food Rescue US makes it easy to make a significant difference without overbooking your calendar.

Currently, Americans waste 40 billion pounds of food every year. This translates to 40% of the food supply. On the other side of this waste stands 50 million food insecure Americans who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. If you do the math, you’ll discover that the food being wasted could feed 36 million people three meals a day. There is a clear disconnect here.

Food waste is also a large source of carbon pollution–that includes all the wasted energy it took to grow, transport, and package the food in the first place, as well as the direct emissions rotting food produces in landfills.

So this Earth Week, learn more about what this unique organization is doing about it– and how you can get involved!

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Urban Food Connections of Utah Brings Local Fare to our City and our Plates

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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!

 

by Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern and Sophia Nicholas

Salt Lake’s historic Rio Grande Depot houses the Winter Market, an event that brings the city to life every Saturday from November to April. If you haven’t been yet, make a beeline there this week! The market is open through April 21.

Once there, you’ll find tables lined with colorful, fresh produce filling the large hall, while locals bustle around, creating a vivacious energy that stands out against the backdrop of gray days. Read more