Spotlight On: The Village of Glen Carbon

The St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge supports the integration of sustainability measures into the kinds of everyday operational practices common to every business and those unique to local governments. This month, the Clean Air Partnership is delighted to shine a spotlight on the great work underway by the Village of Glen Carbon, Illinois, to reduce their overall carbon footprint and keep the region’s air quality in healthy ranges.

With the motto of “Honoring our Past, Building our Future” guiding the village’s efforts to become more eco-friendly, Glen Carbon continues to pursue various strategies to be a more sustainable community and uphold their rich tradition of being a great place to live, work and play. In 2019, the village received the Award of Achievement in the Green Cities Challenge, where participants advance their green efforts by implementing a sustainability policy and practicing fundamentals, including addressing measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development.

During the 2019 Challenge, Glen Carbon established a Community Garden next to Village Hall with eight raised beds for village residents, featuring pollinator gardens, wildflowers, vegetable gardens and more. Furthermore, the installation rain barrels at the Village Hall Municipal Building has helped to capture excess rainwater from the roof and conserve it for later use. The village also installed refillable water coolers for employees and staff at Village Hall and stopped purchasing single-use water bottles for board meetings to help cut back on pollution caused from plastic waste that ends up in landfills.

Additionally, Glen Carbon hosted two village-wide shredding events – one in spring and one in fall – to reduce environmental impact while protecting residents from identity theft. Because 100% of the shredded paper was recycled, these events prevented the paper from otherwise going into a landfill and allowed the recycled content to be turned into daily-use products like paper towels, kitchen towels, bath tissue, writing paper, egg cartons, lamp shades, shopping bags, and more.

Other exciting initiatives include a Plastic Straw Reduction Project that asks local restaurants to stop automatically handing out plastic straws and to only provide upon request, helping the environment one sip at a time. This voluntary program is supported by both the City of Edwardsville and Village of Glen Carbon. In terms of energy conservation, Glen Carbon budgeted funding for this year for an LED lighting upgrade to all village buildings. LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, meaning that less energy use will result in decreased greenhouse gas emissions to help improve air quality within the town.

To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. For more information about the ongoing sustainable efforts by the Village of Glen Carbon and how your municipality can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com.

Greening Your Memorial Day Weekend Cookout to Help Clear the Air

While Memorial Day weekend may have a different look this year with no big parades or neighborhood block parties due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, there are still ways to celebrate the holiday while sheltering in place and obeying social distancing guidelines. Breaking out the grill for a cookout at home is a fun and leisurely way to get outdoors and spend time with the family; however, grilling poses a unique set of environmental challenges and oftentimes comes with a hefty price tag for the environment.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways area residents can take a greener approach to cooking outdoors by igniting a few changes to the way you grill and the kinds of products you buy. Commemorating Memorial Day in an eco-friendly manner is a great way to honor the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider for reducing environmental impact this weekend to help improve the region’s air quality:

  • Opt for a gas grill – When it comes to the grill itself, you have options to reduce your carbon footprint. From an air pollution standpoint, natural gas and propane grills burn the cleanest in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter. They also leave behind less waste than charcoal or wood grills. If you must use a charcoal grill, avoid using petroleum-based lighter fluids and self-lighting charcoal that release petrochemicals into the atmosphere, and opt for an electric charcoal starter instead.

  • Avoid disposable dishes and utensils – When shopping for supplies, look for recyclable or compostable plates, cups and utensils rather than the kind that end up in the trash. Otherwise, instead of buying tableware for one-time use, opt for your favorite set of dishes for the cookout this year. While this may lead to a little extra time spent at the kitchen sink, this small change can help save you money in the long run and keep the air quality in healthy ranges.
  • Choose locally grown produce – Consider sourcing as many of your ingredients as possible locally to help reduce emissions produced by large transport trucks. The less your produce has to travel, the less waste is produced, and the smaller the impact on the environment. Since consumers can easily access local homegrown produce without having to leave their own community, many shoppers are also able to walk or bike to their local market instead of driving, which helps to minimize car use and cut down on emissions that lead to poor air quality.
  • Set up recycling containers – Even if you’ve closely followed these tips, you’ll still probably end up with items to recycle after your barbecue. You can do your part to keep waste at a minimum by putting out labeled bins for recycling. If your area doesn’t take mixed recycling, include a label for items that can go in the bin: glass only, cans only or paper only. If you compost, consider setting up covered bins for food scraps, charcoal ashes and other biodegradable items, too.

Take action for cleaner air by making sustainable choices this Memorial Day and continue to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle to help people all across St. Louis breathe easier every day, not just on special occasions. To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

7th Annual Green Schools Quest Honors Champions for Sustainability in the St. Louis Region

The U.S. Green Building Council–Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC) announced on Friday the winners of its 2019–2020 Green Schools Quest. Like the Clean Air Partnership, the Green Schools Quest is focused on encouraging and inspiring voluntary steps to help improve the environment and air quality in the bi-state area, and we’re pleased to highlight its tremendous impact by recognizing the impressive accomplishments of this year’s winners and participating schools.

This innovative program challenges public and private school students at the pre-K, elementary, middle and high school levels within the St. Louis metropolitan area to devise and implement the most creative, effective and no or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. With the help of Green Mentors, who are professionals with an interest or expertise in sustainability, participating schools formed a Green Team and had the opportunity to engage in projects fitting their schools’ unique needs and resources. Green Teams then documented their overall impact, such as energy and resource savings or increased biodiversity, and submitted their final project for judging by an impartial panel.

“The Green Schools Quest is a unique way to engage the K-12 schools and the future leaders of our region, and it’s also a great way to involve our members who are really passionate about sustainability and green building and the mission of the organization,” said Emily Andrews, executive director of the USGBC-MGC. “Having that connection has been a lot of fun and seeing what the students come up with is always the most rewarding as they work to create greener, healthier learning environments.”

For the 2019-2020 school year, 2,000 students representing 68 St. Louis-area schools worked on Green Schools Quest projects from October to March. Collectively, the projects implemented by this year’s participants positively impacted more than 45,000 students, faculty and community members. A national panel of judges selected the first, second and third-place winners in the elementary, middle and high school categories. Trophies and cash prizes of $600, $400 and $200 will go to the top three finishers in each category. Winners were also chosen by a local panel of judges for five spotlight awards and $100 cash prize, including Rookie of the Year, Sustainability Champion, Judges’ Choice, Innovation, and Focus of the Year.

In the elementary school category, Crestwood Elementary School in the Lindbergh School District received first place recognition for their project, A Green Wave of Change. With a focus on rolling out education in waves that will help the students, community and school make better choices, students created bulletin boards, PowerPoints and videos that were presented to every classroom and the district’s board of education members to engage them in a recycling program. Rogers Middle School in the Affton School District was awarded first place for their project, RMS Earthletes Make Long-Lasting Change, which established a daily use waste station in the cafeteria, banned single-use plastics being used and sold, and strengthened the existing single-stream recycling system throughout the school. Principia Upper School, located in Town and County, Mo., worked to support students as change agents by introducing them to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through their winning project, the Impact Challenge. The project culminated with an event showcasing the good work done by all and highlighting the top projects from each grade level.

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the USGBC-MGC had to cancel its Green Schools Quest awards ceremony, but to publicly recognize all 68 schools that participated, the organization has also created an assortment of video compilations to be released each day this week and remain available to view here.

For a full list of winners and to learn more about the Green Schools Quest and this year’s final projects, visit www.greenschoolsquest.org. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, check out our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Spotlight On: Commerce Bank

As cities, businesses and individuals in the St. Louis metro area make strides toward becoming better stewards of our environment, the Clean Air Partnership continues to recognize those that are helping to take action for cleaner air in the region. This month, we are shining a spotlight on Commerce Bank for their green innovations, achievements and corporate responsibility to reduce environmental impact.

Commerce Bank is a proud participant of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge and received the Achievement Award in the Star Circle of Excellence and Award of Merit at the Leader Level – Owner Category in 2019. When it comes to keeping our planet healthy and clean, Commerce Bank aims to be as efficient as possible, measuring their consumption and waste each year to ensure the company remains mindful stewards of the Earth’s resources and encourages its customers, employees, suppliers and communities to do the same. The company’s Corporate Social Responsibility report from last year noted that their “Green Team” is focused on monitoring paper consumption, energy usage and green cleaning supplies usage in its offices, as well as brainstorming solutions and implementing change in the areas where they feel they can do better for the environment.

Last year alone, the company decreased its printer usage by 13%, which ultimately led to a 27% decrease in overall paper usage. After taking inventory last fall, the company also discovered that its list of unused office supplies resulted in over $11,000 in savings. While these impressive accomplishments saved Commerce Bank money, they also condensed the amount of supplies needed to be manufactured, reducing harmful emissions and preserving valuable resources.

To further reduce environmental impact, the company has been working to decrease energy consumption by making the switch to LED lighting. As a result, the new Commerce Connect Branch is operating with 100% LED lighting, all lighting on the 12th floor of its corporate headquarters has been updated to LED, and an additional 10 Commerce Bank branches have switched to LED signs, too. With the lifespan of LED bulbs lasting 25,000 hours compared to 1,200 hours for an incandescent bulb, these eco-friendly updates will allow Commerce Bank to significantly reduce their energy consumption in the offices and improve air quality.

At the company’s Vandeventer-Chouteau branch, Commerce Bank updated their Rainscapes Report to help reduce storm water runoff on the property and store it for future use. Additionally, electric vehicle charging stations were installed in the parking garages, making it possible for more employees to drive electric vehicles to work and do their share to reduce emissions from gas-powered engines.

To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by Commerce Bank and how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, visit http://stlouisgreenchallenge.com/.

St. Louis Once Again Avoids Landing on “Most Ozone-Polluted” U.S. Cities List

The American Lung Association’s 2020 State of the Air report is out, and the data reveals that more cities across the U.S. experienced high ozone days and increased levels of particle pollution compared to the years covered by the 2019 report (2015-2017). For the fourth consecutive year, the St. Louis region escaped being ranked among the most ozone-polluted cities in the U.S., however, the area ranked 25th on the list for most-polluted cities by year-round particle pollution.

In a concerning trend attributed to record setting heat, St. Louis and far too many other cities across the nation saw a spike in high ozone days, short-term particle pollution and increased levels of year-round particle pollution. The three years covered in this report (2016-2018) ranked among the five hottest years on record globally, showing evidence that a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health and putting millions more people at risk. Altogether, 45.8 percent of the population is exposed to unhealthy air, and St. Louis residents are among those affected.

“While it’s encouraging that the St. Louis metro area remains off the list of the 25 most ozone-polluted cities in this year’s report, we are far from a clean bill of health for lung health in our region,” said Susannah Fuchs, Director of Clean Air for the American Lung Association in Missouri. “As we prepare to settle into the summer months when we’re at greater risk for higher levels of ozone pollution in our region, the Clean Air Partnership urges area residents to continue their efforts to take voluntary steps to reduce emissions. Those actions play a critical role in improving air quality conditions and helping people across the region breathe easier, which is especially important for children, older adults and those who suffer from lung diseases.”

That call for voluntary action has been the constant drum beat for the Clean Air Partnership for 25 years as it has been a champion for cleaner air in the St. Louis region. And in this milestone year, the Clean Air Partnership is holding steadfast to its mission of educating the St. Louis metropolitan area about the health risks associated with poor air quality and the impact of everyday actions on the environment.

Air quality forecasting season resumed May 1st,  and while weather conditions do play a significant role in our region’s daily air quality, we are reminded that transportation-related emissions have always been one of the biggest contributors to air pollution. The season may start with fewer automobiles on the road as the region continues to respond to COVID-19, but there are still a variety of things people can be doing to augment the benefits that the increased telecommuting may yield for our air quality this year. Actions like walking and biking more, combining errands into a single trip, opting for electric vehicles, and avoiding vehicle idling can all help reduce emissions on any given day.

For additional information on the health effects of poor air quality, tips for doing your share for cleaner air and to sign up for the daily air quality forecasts, visit www.cleanair-stlouis.com. You can also like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter to stay up to date. To access the American Lung Association’s 2020 State of the Air report, visit www.lung.org.

Spotlight On: The City of Edwardsville

Participants in the St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge have been working hard to integrate eco-friendly measures in order to reduce their environmental impact and improve the region’s air quality. As part of the 2019 Green Cities Challenge, nine municipalities incorporated innovative and environmentally friendly practices into their local governments, and this month, we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the City of Edwardsville for their commitment to pursuing various strategies to be a more sustainable community.

Many of the city’s green innovations last year focused on the importance of recycling and reducing waste. Edwardsville rolled out a variety of programs and educational resources throughout the city, including recycling flyers to place in residents’ City Water Bills and detailed recycling information in vendor applications for City Park events. They even brought recycling education into classrooms at local schools to instill green habits early on with the hope that students will make it an everyday habit.

Last October, Edwardsville City Council adopted a Single Use Bag Fee Ordinance that will go into effect on July 1, requiring a 10 cent per bag fee for disposable plastic and paper checkout bags at all retail businesses greater than 7,000 sq. ft. Because plastics bags are produced from non-renewable resources and remain as litter in the environment, the ordinance is being put in place to encourage the use of reusable bags to help clean the air by cutting down on thousands of plastic ones that end up in landfills.

Furthermore, the Single Use Bag Fee Ordinance inspired a Bag-Share program created by the regional action group, Bring Your Own, providing residents an outlet to reduce single-use waste and help others to do the same. Launched in partnership with local community retailers and institutions, the program distributes baskets labeled “Take a Bag, Leave a Bag” at various participating locations where shoppers can take clean, reusable bags if needed or leave an extra they might have. Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the state’s recommendation that shoppers no longer use reusable bags for the time being to protect both shoppers and cashiers from spreading the virus, the program is temporarily on hold.

In terms of collaboration, Edwardsville teamed up with the City of Glen Carbon on the mayor’s letter that calls for a decrease in plastic straw consumption by only providing straws per request in restaurants to raise awareness about the damage caused by disposable single-use plastics. Additionally, Edwardsville collaborated with the Beautification Tree Commission on the Heritage Tree Initiative with plans to spotlight the aesthetic and environmental benefits of mature trees throughout the city.

Other noteworthy accomplishments by Edwardsville in the Challenge include expanding their Green Team, increasing solar installation to support the Grow Solar regional effort, supporting major conservation purchases in the city and surveying policies in preparation of further sustainability improvements moving forward.

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Edwardsville and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day

April 22nd officially marks 50 years of celebrating Earth Day, and in honor of the holiday, now is the perfect opportunity to take action for a “greener” world. While volunteering to pick up trash on the side of the road, collecting recyclables and getting outside to enjoy the warmer spring weather are oftentimes popular Earth Day activities, there’s so much more that we can do to help protect and restore our planet the other 364 days of the year.

Simple, eco-friendly lifestyle changes can go a long way when it comes to saving the earth and helping people all across the St. Louis region breathe easier. Here are some helpful tips to consider for celebrating Earth Day each and every day to keep the air quality in healthy ranges:

  • Shop greener – As quarantine periods wear on, shopping for essential items like groceries, baby products, pet supplies and cleaning agents online is a greener alternative and ideal for staying safe during these unprecedented times. Try consolidating your online orders to one store to reduce excess packaging and fuel consumption from large transport trucks to keep the air clean. When it comes to your household products, replace single-use, disposable items with “green” products that are reusable, sustainably sourced or made of recycled materials.
  • Ditch the plastic bottles – At this very minute, people around the world are buying a million plastic bottles, and most of these bottles will end up in landfills or in the ocean. Not only does the production of plastic water bottles contribute significant amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, their litter lingers for years on end. Instead of buying single-use bottles, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle you can take with you and refill as needed to cut down on unnecessary waste and help improve air quality.
  • Avoid idling your vehicle – Idling engines produce thousands of tons of toxic pollution, including air toxins which are known to cause cancer, respiratory and reproductive effects, birth defects and various other health concerns. For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll help to prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released into our air. Experts also note that 10 minutes of idling a day wastes 27 gallons of fuel a year, thus, choosing not to idle is another great way to save fuel and money!
  • Turn off lights and appliances not in use – Computers, tablets and other electrical devices still use electricity when plugged in, even though they may be idle. Once you wrap up working from home for the day, be sure to power down your computer and unplug any unnecessary electronics. Additionally, if you have to leave the house, do a walk-through to turn off all the lights, as energy production is a key source of air pollution. Doing so will help clean the air by reducing harmful emissions!

Although the current stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements have resulted in the postponement of the St. Louis Earth Day Festival this year, area residents can take their celebrations one step further by participating in a series of virtual events at https://earthday-365.org/, happening now thru April 26.

To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit our website tips section at www.cleanair-stlouis.com, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Spotlight On: Environmental Operations, Inc.

For more than a decade, the St. Louis Green Business Challenge has helped businesses of all types and sizes move our region to a leadership position in sustainability. As these organizations continue to serve and better their communities, The Clean Air Partnership is thrilled to shine a spotlight on Environmental Operations, Inc., this month for their recent achievements and green innovations.

In 2019, 61 companies, nonprofits, institutions and governmental bodies participated in the Challenge, integrating sustainability measures into the kinds of everyday operational practices common to every business. Last year, Environmental Operations, Inc., received the Circle of Excellence Achievement Award and secured the third place title at the Leader Level – Tenant Category for having the greatest gain from their baseline to final point totals during the Challenge.

Environmental Operations, Inc., (EOI), is a nationwide leader in guiding environmental projects of all sizes from inception to successful completion using an innovative, investment-minded approach. Located in the City of St. Louis, EOI provides a range of environmental engineering, consulting and contracting services for development projects. The company understands the importance of limiting environmental risk, and unlike many environmental firms, they share the risk and reward of environmental solutions with their clients. The company also has made great strides in implementing strategic and environmentally friendly measures in its own daily operations.

Among their extensive list of accomplishments includes cleaning out overstocked kitchen and cleaning supplies and replacing them with reusable, greener options. EOI removed single-use items such as plastic water bottles in conference rooms and substituted them with water glasses and pitchers. Additionally, the office switched to default double-sided printing, with the exception of certain state and federal documents, and swapped out regular paper towels for unbleached and recycled-content products.

EOI continually strives to make sustainability a focus of their company culture. Staff members volunteer regularly for organizations such as Zero Waste Ambassadors at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Area Food Bank. Employees have also participated in neighborhood clean-ups for Earth Day and company picnics aimed toward zero waste by composting food and recycling beverage containers. Other green initiatives include in-office collections of employees’ batteries, Styrofoam and electronics for proper recycling.

To further reduce environmental impact, the company implemented a new, paperless HR portal system and timekeeping system. Both are designed to safely handle important employee documents and materials, all while minimizing printed record keeping to help increase company efficiency and improve air quality.

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by Environmental Operations, Inc., and how other organizations can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Greening Your Spring Cleaning

While spring is in the air and warmer weather we’ve longed for has finally started to roll through the region, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 has required us to practice social distancing and spend some quality time indoors. Despite these current challenges, it’s good to remember that, when it comes to air quality, we can always continue to do our share for cleaner air.

With all this extra down time, there’s no better time than now to break out the mops and brooms, shoo away the cobwebs and tackle annual spring cleaning. By making environmentally conscious choices in the way you clean, you’ll also help make your home (and the planet) a healthier place to live and breathe for all. Here are some helpful tips to consider for greening your spring cleaning with the region’s air quality in mind:

  • Clear out the clutter – Spring cleaning is the perfect time to go through closets and get rid of the things you no longer need or use. Rather than dumping everything into plastic trash bags, take a few extra minutes to dispose of them responsibly and sustainably. Keep items out of overcrowded landfills by asking family and friends if they have use for any of your unwanted items or donate them to charity once the stay-at-home orders have been lifted.
  • Ditch the paper towels – Because they cannot be recycled, an estimated 6 million pounds of paper towels wind up in landfills every year. Consider substituting specially-made, washable cleaning and dusting cloths that are available in all types of fabrics, from cotton to microfiber. Better yet, you can take green cleaning one step further by opting for rags from cut up old clothes, towels or sheets that can be washed and reused any time instead of paper towels to reduce waste and save money on paper products.
  • Make your own all-purpose cleaners – Cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces in our households are a top priority right now, and while you may be using stronger disinfectants on those surfaces, you still have plenty of options to make your own homemade cleaning solutions for areas of lesser concern. Consider creating your own products by mixing a little warm water with either baking soda or white vinegar for the perfect all-purpose cleaner. When replacing cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either.
  • Reuse and repurpose items around the house – If you’re willing to get creative, the possibilities are endless! For example, an old toothbrush can be used to clean small corners, old socks can be used for dusting, and old towels can even be sewn into a make-shift Swiffer mop cover. You can also reuse newspapers by balling them up and scrubbing the windows with them and sanitize dirty sponges by popping them into the dishwasher – all are steps in the right direction for cleaner air.

It only takes a few small changes to incorporate more sustainable and eco-friendly choices into our spring cleaning routines to help reduce harmful emissions and keep the air we breathe in healthier ranges. For more great tips on how to achieve cleaner air year-round, visit http://cleanair-stlouis.com/air-quality-tips/.

Spotlight On: The City of Collinsville

As the region continues to move toward improved sustainability, the St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge supports organizations and municipalities that are doing their part to integrate eco-friendly measures into everyday operational practices. For more than a decade, these esteemed programs have seen the commitment of 233 businesses, nonprofits and municipalities, engaging 155,000+ employees and nearly 470,000 residents to reduce environmental impact and help improve air quality.

In 2019, nine municipalities participated in the Green Cities Challenge, each addressing and incorporating sustainability in various ways unique to their local government. This month, the Clean Air Partnership is delighted to shine a spotlight on the City of Collinsville, Ill. for their continued push for innovation and development.

Collinsville has been buzzing with excitement since they legalized beekeeping within the city last year, making it possible for all residents to maintain bee hives based on the size of the property in effort to help boost pollination of nearby crops. Popular destination Willoughby Farms stepped up to do their share for cleaner air by discontinuing the use of all Styrofoam products on its grounds and enlisted the help of 487 volunteers to participate in farm activities, including the U of I Extension’s Master Gardener’s class, Urban Ecology Club, composting and vermiculture classes, and beekeeping classes.

Additionally, the city has made waves in the form of energy conservation, with new renovations to the Activity Center and Aqua Park that are expected to create annual energy savings between $10,000-$15,000 and yield operations and maintenance savings between $15,000-$20,000.

Other exciting initiatives included two Solar Power Hours at City Hall, which welcomed 40 residents to explore the use of solar panels in their homes. To raise awareness on single-use plastics, the Collinsville Cool Cities Committee distributed a total of 650 reusable tote bags during the Farmer’s Market and other community events. The city also co-hosted an Electronics Recycling Drive with Madison County that was free to all residents, collecting more than 54,000 pounds of electronics that will skip the landfill and result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere!

As the city continues to set goals in its focus areas: transportation; buildings, grounds and lighting; environmental management; land use and planning; community development; and engagement and education, Collinsville hopes to promote and create accessible walking and bike paths to popular community destinations such as schools, libraries and grocery stores as part of their 2020 Sustainability Plan. They also vow to continue adding more hybrid and electric car-charging stations and invest in other viable options for sustainable transportation.

Registration for the 2020 St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge is now open. For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Collinsville and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com.

To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.