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Posts tagged ‘sustainable’

Plastic Free July is Here!

Have you been wanting to reduce the amount of plastic waste in your life, but needed a push to get started? Plastic Free July is the perfect time to cut out those unnecessary plastics.

Plastic Free July  logo.

What is Plastic Free July?

Most of us know that plastic is a big issue for the environment. Plastic pollutes our oceans, threatens wildlife, and introduces toxic chemicals into our environment. That’s where Plastic Free July comes in.

Plastic Free July is an international campaign that promotes reducing our use of single-use plastics. The movement began in Australia and has spread worldwide. Now, millions of participants are finding creative ways to substantially reduce the amount of plastic waste in their homes and communities.

Eco-friendly 4th of July

Summer is a time of celebration, picnics, and the 4th of July. Extra parties and holidays don’t have to mean extra waste. You can keep plastic out of your 4th of July festivities and all your summer celebrations!

Help make July plastic free by remembering these helpful tips:

  • Bring your own bags to the store: Whether you’re prepping your 4th of July barbecue or going on your normal grocery run, pack your reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags cannot be recycled in the blue bins, so bringing reusable bags makes a world of difference. While most people know to bring their own grocery bags, not everyone thinks to bring their own produce bags. Consider finding canvas or mesh bags for your fruits and veggies.
  • Use reusable containers/packaging: Another way to reduce your plastic use is by rethinking the packaging. You can pack meals in reusable beeswax wraps, or Tupperware containers. You can even bring your own containers when you’re shopping for bulk ingredients like nuts, trail mix, or baking supplies.
  • Bring your own reusable cutlery, glasses, and plates: Encourage guests to bring theirs from home, which saves you the dish washing.
  • Bake goods at home: Many snacks and desserts like chips, crackers, cookies, etc. come in individual plastic packaging. But remember: there’s nothing better than a homemade treat! Get creative in the kitchen and find a recipe online for tasty, homemade snacks for your gathering.
  • Make more eco-friendly swaps: Once you start to notice it, there are many plastic-free alternatives to the products we buy. For example, you can bring soda in cans instead of bottles or buy in bulk instead of individual packaging. If disposable plates/cups are an absolute must, use paper instead of plastic or Styrofoam.

Sustainable SLC

Going plastic free can seem daunting, especially when everything we buy seems to be wrapped in the stuff. It can be difficult to find places that accommodate a plastic free lifestyle. Thankfully, Salt Lake City has some great resources for your plastic free journey.

Hello! Bulk Markets

Hello Bulk is a package free grocery store where you bring your own containers and fill up on a variety of bulk goods. They carry the widest variety of bulk foods and household products in the area. They offer several options for baking goods, herbs and spices, beans and nuts, tea and coffee body care, cleaning supplies and a lot more. When you bring in your own container, Hello! Bulk will weigh the jar and get the tare. Then you fill up on all the goods, plastic free!  

Check out Hello! Bulk Markets at 355 N 500 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84116.

Animalia

A great local shop for all things sustainable is Animalia. Animalia boasts several handmade and sustainable goods, curated with conscious thought towards transparency in business, and artisans who take pride in their products. They feature several sustainable swaps to help you refuse plastic, from glass straws, produce bags, and reusable mugs. Animalia also has a refill station for body care and house cleaning items including shampoo, lotion, deodorant, dish soap, laundry detergent, and more.

You can visit Animalia at 280 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111.

Animalia bulk items

Thrift Shops

Clothes might not seem like much of a culprit for plastic, but plastic shows up in surprising ways. Many synthetic fabrics including polyester, nylon, acrylic, faux leather, suede, and fur, are all actually plastic. Washing these fabrics releases tiny plastic fibers. These fibers can make their way into the ocean, threatening sea life and our food chain.

What’s worse is that many of these synthetic fabrics are used in fast fashion items – garments that are worn for a short amount of time and then never used again. Fast-fashion can be anything from a trendy branded sweatshirt, to a faux-leather statement bag.

While not specifically single-use, clothing still contributes to the plastic problem. Buying used from vintage and thrift stores is a great way to give old items new life, and prevent new plastics from entering the waste stream.

Your Local Grocer

There are many other grocery stores that offer items in bulk, mainly snacks, grains, and spices, including national chain stores such as Whole Foods, WinCo, Smith’s, and Sprouts. Some stores may have policies against bringing containers from home, however; so be sure to ask whether you’re allowed to bring your own container. Some people suggest bringing canvas or mesh bags instead of jars to help lighten the load.

Join the Plastic Free July Challenge

Go plastic free this month and join the millions of others dedicated to keeping our streets, oceans, and planet clean. Small actions done by many can make a huge difference in the long run.

Learn more about Plastic Free July at https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ and take on the challenge. Find stories on how others have reduced their use of single-use plastics at home and in their communities. They also feature several helpful tips on how you can go plastic free this month (and year-round)!

8 Tips for At-Home Water Conservation

by SLCgreen intern Linda Derhak

The future of our local water systems is a critical issue in Utah. Indeed, although the state was declared drought free early this May, Utah experienced its driest year on record in 2018 — and this summer may be just as scorching.

Utah typically relies on snow melt runoff stored in mountain reservoirs to survive the hot summers. The past few years, however, Utah’s weather has been unpredictable — from receiving one of the worst drought designations in the nation in October to watching for flooding as the snow pack starts to melt.

Although our rivers are bulging and reservoirs are at capacity, there’s no telling how long the good fortune will last. With this in mind, it’s important to remain conscious of our water usage as summer approaches. Luckily, there are many easy ways to conserve water!  

Deer Creek Reservoir

Salt Lake City’s Department of Public Utilities has many resources on their website to help you conserve water. We’ve also put together this handy list:

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Interested in Joining a New Community Garden?

Growing fresh greens at the Gateway Community Garden, which opened in 2018.

Community gardens provide Salt Lake City with fresh, locally grown food and a vibrant space to connect with our neighbors. Salt Lake City’s community gardens are popular locations for everything from volunteering to learning about urban farming. Indeed, in conjunction with Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG), Salt Lake City has successfully developed seven community gardens in almost every corner of the city through our Green City Growers program.

These gardens include the Off Broadway Community Garden, Liberty Wells, Rose Park, Cannon Greens, 9-Line, Popperton Plots, and the Gateway Garden. Not only do these gardens support Salt Lake City’s dedication to increase local food production, they invigorate our neighborhoods by putting vacant lots to use in ways that support community engagement and biodiversity — all while limiting our communities’ carbon footprints.

Salt Lake City’s community gardens activate our neighborhoods, giving residents a space to engage with friends and neighbors and to grow fresh produce. And we just can’t get enough of them!

In order to continue to make community gardens accessible and ensure that locally grown food stays a priority, both Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have proposed new community gardens to be built in 2020.

But the City, County, and WCG can’t do it alone. We need a strong show of support from nearby residents, indicating that the gardens will receive enough use.

Salt Lake City is working with WCG to establish Richmond Park Community Garden. Similarly, Salt Lake County and WCG are collaborating on a new garden in Sugar House Park. You can read more about the gardens below. If you would be interested in gardening at either of these parks, sign the petitions below to show your support.

Richmond Park

Salt Lake City highlighted Richmond Park for a potential garden. The park, which already has a fantastic playground, is nestled between 500 and 400 East along 600 South in downtown Salt Lake City.

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SLC Mayor Signs Sustainable Infrastructure Executive Order

Sustain

On January 12, 2017, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski signed the Sustainable Infrastructure Executive Order, calling for citywide collaboration on sustainability.

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Salt Lake City’s 2017 Building Energy Efficiency Challenge Kicks Off

full-skyline_2017_page_1Salt Lake City and Salt Lake Chamber partner on the Third Annual Skyline Challenge to accelerate commercial building energy efficiency

 As part of her mission to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and form strong partnerships with the business community, Mayor Jackie Biskupski is pleased to launch the Third Annual Skyline Challenge—this year with the Salt Lake Chamber joining the roster of partners.

The annual Skyline Challenge is a voluntary program to accelerate investment in energy efficiency from large commercial buildings and raise public awareness of building energy performance while creating jobs and fostering a stronger local economy.

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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/

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Brings the Wild West Together for Regional Conference

Citizens’ Climate Lobby hosted it’s 2016 Wild West Regional Conference in Salt Lake City this past weekend.  The event was rich with information about legislation, advanced communication, climate science and more.

Highlights included a panel discussion on exerting political influence with panelists Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Patrice Arent, Member of the Utah State House of Representatives, and Robert Axson, Central State Director for Senator Mike Lee.  Panelists emphasized the importance of building relationships across the political spectrum.

Mark Reynolds, Executive Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby lead several informative and inspirational sessions focused around CCL’s mission to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.

Another panel discussion titled Broadening our Reach to Under Represented Groups consisted of presentations by Piper Christian, high school student and COP21 attendee, on engaging young people on climate change, Nate Salazar on speaking to the Hispanic population, Dave Christian, Psychologist, on communicating with other political views, and Susan Soleil on Faith Communities and the Moral Imperative for Climate Justice. These panelists encouraged increasing diversity in political involvement by including young people, minorities, and people of faith.

The keynote presentation featured Dr. Rob Davies, physicist, Utah Climate Center, Utah State University speaking on ways to communicate about climate change that resonate with people’s emotions so that they feel motivated to take action.  The conference also included an evening performance by The Crossroads Project. This multi-media presentation combined video, classical music by the Fry Street Quartet, and monologue by Rob Davies about climate change science.

To learn more about Citizens’ Climate Lobby, visit their webpage.