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.