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

The Air Quality Benefits of Biking

With the start of spring just days away, many of us are dreaming of warmer temperatures and the opportunity to get outdoors. One great way to enjoy the beauty and warmth of spring is by biking. Not only is cycling a great form of exercise, it’s also an easy way to help improve the quality of the air we breathe.

According to U.S. Census data, nearly half of all Americans live within five miles of their workplaces. For those who live close to work, choosing to bike, instead of idling in rush hour traffic, helps take cars off area roads and reduces the emissions that lead to poor air quality. Biking can also serve as an eco-friendly way to run errands and get around town when the weather is nice. Experts note that if just 1 percent of those who drive chose to bike regularly instead, automobile emissions would fall 2 to 4 percent.

On a larger scale, the actual production of bikes also has a much smaller impact on the environment than the production of cars. Each year, several tons of waste and 1.2 billion cubic yards of polluted air are generated each year through the manufacturing of cars. And during their lives on the roads, cars individually produce an additional 1.3 billion cubic yards of polluted air and create 40 additional pounds of waste from worn tire particles, brake debris and worn road surfaces.

On a more personal level, biking is good for both mental and physical health. It boosts endorphins, making cyclists happier. In addition, avid bikers tend to be in better, overall physical shape than those who don’t bike regularly. So, the next time the weather is nice, consider dusting off your bike and taking it for a ride. Your body, and the environment, will thank you for it.

For more information on alternative transportation options that can help reduce emissions and improve our region’s air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @gatewaycleanair.