Spotlight On: The City of University City

With sustainability gaining steam as a key goal for St. Louis area municipalities, the Clean Air Partnership continues to use our blog to highlight some of the incredible eco-friendly initiatives underway in several cities across the region. These efforts are not only improving the environment, but are also helping to reduce air pollution in the region. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on the City of University City.

In recent years, University City has been a participant in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge and the recently created Green Cities Challenge. And, the city has made great environmental strides as part of its involvement in both initiatives.

The Green Business Challenge is a joint program of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the Missouri Botanical Garden that helps businesses of all types and sizes to integrate “Triple Bottom Line” (fiscal, social and environmental) measures into the kinds of daily operations common to every business. Participants identify and adopt strategies that improve financial performance and engage employees in voluntary measures to reduce environmental impacts. In 2015, the Green Cities Challenge was established to give St. Louis area municipalities a new way to get involved in the Green Business Challenge and to provide the cities with opportunities to learn how to incorporate sustainable policies and practice sustainable fundamentals within their local government business operations.

Many of University City’s sustainable efforts have been focused on recycling, storm water management and energy efficiency. The city has implemented a commercial recycling initiative that has grown to include 145 members. The city’s updated recycling deposit center accepts typical items, like cardboard and glass, along with textiles and plastic film. The City’s recycling center has also started using a cardboard compactor, has updated its signage and has begun distributing educational materials to area residents. The city also continues to expand its stormwater management efforts by requiring downspout disconnections to sewers and is helping the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District curb water pollution. University City is one of the 58 St. Louis area municipalities that has agreed to comply with permit requirements for the St. Louis Metropolitan Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The general permit for small MS4s requires the development and implementation of a formal, written stormwater management program plan.

The city has also worked to replace inefficient lighting, resulting in an energy savings of 100,000 kWh per year. And, to help reduce emissions, the city’s Green Practices Commission is examining ways to enforce “No Idling” policies at area schools, and for University City vehicles.
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 on the sustainable efforts underway in University City, check out the St. Louis Green Business Challenge website at http://stlouisgreenchallenge.com/.

Spotlight On: The City of Maplewood

With sustainability gaining steam as a key goal for St. Louis area municipalities, the Clean Air Partnership continues to use our blog to highlight some of the incredible eco-friendly initiatives underway in several cities across the region. These efforts are not only improving the environment, but are also helping to reduce air pollution in the region. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on the City of Maplewood.
In recent years, Maplewood has been a participant in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge and the recently created Green Cities Challenge. And, the city has made great environmental strides as part of its involvement in both initiatives.

The Green Business Challenge is a joint program of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the Missouri Botanical Garden that helps businesses of all types and sizes to integrate “Triple Bottom Line” (fiscal, social and environmental) measures into the kinds of daily operations common to every business. Participants identify and adopt strategies that improve financial performance and engage employees in voluntary measures to reduce environmental impacts. In 2015, the Green Cities Challenge was established to give St. Louis area municipalities a new way to get involved in the Green Business Challenge and to provide the cities with the opportunity to learn how to incorporate sustainable policies and practice sustainable fundamentals within their local government business operations.

During 2016, the City of Maplewood has achieved EPA Green Power Community status via solar installations on city buildings and the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits. As a result, residents and businesses are matching 6 percent of the city’s energy use with green energy. Annually, Maplewood is supporting more than 7 million kilowatt-hours of green power, which is equivalent to the electricity used in nearly 700 average American homes. This cut in energy use has an environmental impact that is equal to removing over 1,200 cars from the road for one year, and is helping to improve the quality of the air we breathe.

Earlier sustainable accomplishments made by Maplewood include the establishment of the first Green Dining District in the nation, with 10 community restaurants attaining certification through the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance.

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 on the sustainable efforts underway in Maplewood, check out the St. Louis Green Business Challenge website at http://stlouisgreenchallenge.com/.

Spotlight On: The City of Highland

With sustainability gaining steam as a key goal for St. Louis area municipalities, the Clean Air Partnership continues to use our blog to highlight some of the incredible eco-friendly initiatives underway in several cities across the region. These efforts are not only improving the environment, but also helping to reduce air pollution in the region. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on the City of Highland.

city-of-highland-logo

During the 7th annual Green Business Challenge Awards ceremony, held in early December, the City of Highland received recognition for its many efforts to become more environmentally friendly, which includes the recent introduction of “No Idling” signage in front of city facilities. The idea to create “No Idling” zones was born as part of the City of Highland’s involvement in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge.

The Challenge is a joint program of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the Missouri Botanical Garden that helps businesses of all types and sizes to integrate “Triple Bottom Line” (fiscal, social and environmental) measures into the kinds of daily operations common to every business. Participants identify and adopt strategies that improve financial performance and engage employees in voluntary measures to reduce environmental impacts. The City of Highland saw “No Idling” zones as a way to reduce emissions and its carbon footprint. Since introducing the zones at city facilities, the City now has plans to extend its efforts to schools and businesses.

Additional municipal accomplishments made by the City of Highland have included the enactment of a leaf-burning ordinance, the establishment of a community recycling policy for curbside recycling and department practices, the institution of a Complete Streets Policy and the installation of LED lighting throughout the community. Highland has also been recognized as a Tree City USA community for 27 consecutive years. Cities achieving Tree City USA status are required to have an ordinance for 2012-arbor-day-012maintaining and enhancing community forests.

In recent months, Highland has also created an opportunity for children to interact with nature through the creation of a mini-ecosystem at the City’s Silver Lake Park. With the support of Madison County, the City of Highland continues to build on its accomplishments to further its work in sustainability and ultimately improve the quality of the air we breathe.
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 on the sustainable efforts underway in Highland, check out the St. Louis Green Business Challenge website at http://stlouisgreenchallenge.com/.

The environmental impact of the holiday season

It’s hard to believe, but another holiday season is upon us. As we decorate our homes, plan celebrations with family and friends and exchange gifts, our impact on the environment isn’t often top of mind. Unfortunately, what’s often considered “the most wonderful time of the year,” isn’t so wonderful for the environment. Consider the following:

  • 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used during the holidays each year, equating to roughly 50,000 trees.
  • The 2.65 billion holiday cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high.
  • Household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
  • Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons add up to an additional 1 million tons of trash going into landfills each week.
  • On average, food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.

These statistics are shocking, but thankfully, there are numerous steps we can all take to celebrate in a greener way this holiday season. Below are some ideas that can reduce environmental impact.

  • Drive less. If each family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon, or opted to drive 20 miles less, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by one million tons.
  • Reduce energy use by purchasing LED holiday lights. LED bulbs use up to 95% less energy than traditional holiday lighting.
  • Opt for ground shipping for online purchases. Ground shipping uses less fuel than air transport.
  • Recycle wrapping paper. Each ton of mixed paper that is recycled can save the energy equivalent of 185 gallons of gasoline.
  • Avoid accumulating plastic shopping bags by leaving canvas or paper bags in your car to use on shopping trips.
  • Send e-cards or recycled cards.
  • Decorate with natural, biodegradable items like cranberries, popcorn and live flowers and greenery.
  • Look for holiday tree composting drop-off locations in your neighborhood.
  • Cut back on waste by utilizing reusable glassware, flatware, dishware table coverings and napkins.
  • Provide containers for recycling aluminum and glass beverage bottles and cans.
  • Serve organic or locally grown foods and prepare only as much food as needed.

Explore our website for information on ways to live greener year-round and for additional steps you can take to help improve air quality. We also encourage you to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @gatewaycleanair.

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25 Holiday Facts

Spotlight On: The City of St. Peters

With sustainability gaining steam as a key goal for St. Louis area municipalities, the Clean Air Partnership will be using our blog to highlight some of the incredible eco-friendly initiatives underway in several cities across the region that are not only improving the environment, but also helping to reduce air pollution in the region. This month, we’re kicking things off with a spotlight on the City of St. Peters.

 
In 2012, St. Peters became the first municipality to participate in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge. The Challenge is a joint program of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the Missouri Botanical Garden that helps businesses of all types and sizes to integrate “Triple Bottom Line” (fiscal, social and environmental) measures into the kinds of daily operations common to every business. Participants identify and adopt strategies that improve financial performance and engage employees in voluntary measures to reduce environmental impacts.

 
In 2015, when the program launched a pilot “Green Cities Challenge” in 2015, to address the unique needs of local government business operations, the City of St. Peters engaged in a significant mentoring relationship with the City of St. Charles to help the community achieve its sustainable goals. As part of the mentorship process, the city worked with a menu of basic sustainability policies and practices, including measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development. Sustainability leaders for St. Peters were able to assist the new St. Charles Green Team as they accomplished their selected Green Cities goals.

 
Participating in the Green Business Challenge at the rigorous Champion level, the City of St. Peters’ achievements included involving Recycling Ambassadors in its “Sunset Fridays” summer concert events. These volunteers educated the public while helping to recycle 151 pounds of cans and bottles. The City also hosted a “Clean Streams Day,” in which volunteers helped clean over 6,400 pounds of litter from area streams, and also implemented a “Shred It and Forget It” initiative, in which residents dropped off over 25,500 pounds of documents for shredding and recycling. Recent sustainable innovations in the City of St. Peters include placing recycling trucks on the roads; enacting a city office junk mail reduction initiative and developing the “No Ifs, Ands or Butts” campaign to encourage individuals to properly dispose of their cigarette butts.

 
In addition to helping reduce waste, the efforts made by the City of St. Peters are having a positive impact on air quality and helping to improve lung health in the region by reducing the emissions created during resources extraction, manufacturing and disposal.

 
Today, the City of St. Peters continues its sustainability commitment though advanced work in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge and as a mentor to both company and municipality Challenge participants. The City’s support for other municipalities, in both Missouri and Illinois, is especially valuable, as it provides them with experience-based insights to assist community leaders in advancing their own sustainable goals.

 
On Dec. 2, the City of St. Peters and other 2016 St. Louis Green Business Challenge participants will be recognized for their efforts as part of the 7th annual Green Business Challenge Awards ceremony. For information on the event, or to learn more about getting your municipality or company involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge/Green Cities Challenge, 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.

St. Louis publisher educates readers

Over the years, scores of print publications have either downsized or gone out of business, creating severe losses for publishers and reporters. J.B. Lester’s The Healthy Planet magazine, however, continues its reign as the only health and environmental magazine in the Greater St. Louis area. for 18 years.

In 1995, Lester left his post as co-editor and co-publisher at the Webster-Kirkwood Times with the goal of starting a new publication devoted to covering environmental and health issues. A couple years later, Lester managed to get The Healthy Planet off the ground thanks to financial help from a family member. But, as Lester recalls, the first year was a difficult one.

“Because the term ‘green’ was still unconventional at the time, it took us awhile to get our message across,” noted Lester. “But as area residents have continued to gain a greater understanding of what it means to ‘go green,’ we’ve seen the magazine’s success grow steadily over the years.”

Today, The Healthy Planet magazine is available at more than 800 locations in the Greater St. Louis area and its monthly readership has Healthy Planet Logo Newgrown to 90,000. With extensive coverage every month, The Healthy Planet includes sections like “Green & Growing,” “Kids’ Planet” and “Fresh Fare” to educate readers about organic and sustainable gardens, children’s activities that highlight green living and sustainable ways to eat healthy. Other special sections such as the Summer Camp Guide, the Holiday Green Shopping Guide and the Growers & Market Guide connect readers to resources that will help them to maintain a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle.

“I think every major city needs a magazine like The Healthy Planet because we offer important resources for people who are interested in both improving the quality of their lives and prolonging the life of our planet,” Lester said. “We have made our mark on our community and plan to keep offering what our readers want.”

As a result of Lester’s life-long interest in green and healthy living, he and his wife Niki practice what they preach by incorporating eco-friendly alternatives into every possible aspect of their lives at home and at the office. His family recycles, uses only energy-saving light bulbs, carpools to work often and eats primarily grass-fed, free-range meat. To lessen his carbon footprint, Lester said he has been using an electric lawn mower, a natural gas grill and organic yard and garden practices for years.

Poor air quality is part of what inspires Lester to not only maintain, but also continuously improve his green lifestyle. Asthma and other respiratory illnesses have increased over the years and are directly linked to poor air quality, especially in St. Louis and the Mississippi Valley. And, asthma has played a direct role in spurring Lester’s green lifestyle, because one of his daughters suffers from sports-induced asthma. As a result, Lester said he would like to see more St. Louis area residents doing their part to improve the region’s air quality by using mass transit, bicycling, walking and driving more fuel-efficient, eco-friendly vehicles.

To help his readers easily incorporate long-term, eco-friendly practices into their daily lives, Lester stresses the importance of taking small steps. That’s why each issue of The Healthy Planet is focused on introducing environmentally friendly alternatives to readers, which Lester hopes will spur greener lifestyles overall. Easy steps he promotes include starting a home recycling program, changing out light bulbs and learning more about organic gardening.

“Everyone has a part in the problem, but we can all be a part of the solution,” Lester said. “Our publication offers great information on small steps that individuals can take right now to get the ball rolling.”

To learn more about going green and helping improve the region’s air quality, visit www.cleanair-stlouis.com or call the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest at 314-449-9149. To learn more about The Healthy Planet, visit www.thehealthyplanet.com or call (314) 962-7748.