Spotlight On: Missouri Botanical Garden

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark. Serving as a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis, the Garden seeks to inspire and educate area residents about the benefits of being good environmental stewards through responsible and sustainable use of natural resources. The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to shine a spotlight on the Missouri Botanical Garden for its noteworthy green achievements and innovations that are having a positive effect on the environment and helping clear the air in the region. 

During the 2022 St. Louis Green Business Challenge, the Garden earned the esteemed title of Challenge Champion for completing work with the Leader scorecard and committing to continued implementation of deeper sustainability strategies. The Garden also elected to develop and report on their Champion Innovation Project – Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center Showcases Sustainability and Biophilic Design. 

“Missouri Botanical Garden is proud to focus on the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center as our Champion Innovation Project,” said Glenda Abney, Vice President of Sustainability for the Missouri Botanical Garden. “Years in planning, this gracious new doorway and welcome to the Garden was supported by over $100 million in private donations. The building and grounds embody the Garden’s commitment to sustainability through accessibility, design and presentation and operations.” 

As part of this project, Missouri Botanical Garden optimized their building envelope and mechanical systems to ensure comfort while reducing annual energy costs by 23% from standard technologies. The Garden installed a 220-kWh solar array rooftop in addition to six, free EV charging stations with 10 chargers to promote the use of alternative transportation modes other than gasoline-powered cars. The Garden also implemented new digital displays and electronic ticketing within the new visitor center to reduce the waste of print materials, fulfilling grant requests and internal conservation goals.  

To further reduce environmental impact, the Garden introduced underground cisterns holding 50,000 gallons of rainwater for filtration and sanitization, eliminating municipal-source water treatments for building plant irrigation, as well as low flush and low flow fixtures to reduce building potable water demand by 32%. As a result, indoor and outdoor water management is expected to meet 86% of total site demand, saving an annual average of 679,392 gallons of municipal water use. Additionally, the Garden has planted some 30,000 new specimens and continued the practice of rainscaping plantings, allowing for them to retain 30,000 additional gallons of stormwater on-site. 

For more information on the Missouri Botanical Garden and how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit 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.

Spotlight On: The City of Edwardsville

As the Clean Air Partnership continues to spotlight local municipalities utilizing innovative approaches to create cleaner, greener environments where constituents can live, work and learn, this month we’re pleased to recognize the City of Edwardsville for their long-term commitment to sustainability that shapes city operations and future planning. 

Located just 20 miles outside of the City St. Louis and home to nearly 27,000 residents, Edwardsville has rolled out a number of programs and resources to improve sustainability. For example, the city’s Single-Use Bag Fee Ordinance requires a 10 cent per bag fee for disposable plastic and paper checkout bags at all retail businesses greater than 7,000 square feet to help reduce waste and build a more sustainable community. Since plastic bags are produced from non-renewable resources that are non-biodegradable and difficult to recycle, they often end up as litter in the community and natural environment. And while paper bags are recyclable, they take large amounts of water and energy to produce.  

Additional green improvements that helped earn Edwardsville recognition in the 2022 St. Louis Green Cities Challenge included the construction of a new, environmentally efficient fire station in the heart of the city’s growing eastern corridor. The station features solar panels to offset electricity costs and emissions released into the atmosphere, radiant floor heating to more efficiently and quickly warm bays and dry wet equipment, and bi-fold bay doors that open and close in about a third of the time to speed up emergency egress and limit building heat loss.  

“It is important for every community to pursue sustainability, but as the County Seat, the home of the largest university in the St. Louis region, and the nexus of a growing bicycle pedestrian movement, Edwardsville is uniquely positioned to be a leader in reducing energy consumption, harmful vehicle emissions, and single use waste, while transitioning to more sustainable practices,” said SJ Morrison, 4th Ward Alderman for the City of Edwardsville. 

Moreover, the Good Dirt Community Garden completed its first growing season at Meyer YMCA where community members grew their own vegetables and learned about the importance of composting, which largely benefits air quality. The city also passed two green ordinances – one allowing EV charging stations in all zoning districts and guiding compost bin/pile placement on residential property and the other to ensure that new and redeveloped properties will install lights that do not illuminate above a horizontal plane to reduce light pollution. Lastly, the city held its first ever Trail Summit with Madison County Transit for community leaders to discuss where they want connections in their communities and approved a Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan to promote air quality-friendly ways to get around town. 

For more 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 To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore the Clean Air Partnership’swebsite, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Take Action for a Waste-Free World and Cleaner Air in Celebration of World Cleanup Day

On Saturday, September 16th, World Cleanup Day will unite volunteers, governments and organizations in 197 countries and territories to tackle the universal mismanaged waste crisis and to help create a new, more sustainable world. A powerful “green wave” spanning across the globe will harness the power of millions of people taking positive action on the same day, bringing together the global community to raise awareness and implement true change to achieve a one shared goal – a clean and healthy planet. 

Wherever you are in the world, the actions you take for World Cleanup Day in your local community can have a huge impact. Grab a pair of gloves, a few trash bags and organize a cleanup event yourself if there are none close by. If you opt to go this route, invite family and friends to participate and register it as an event here, as every single person’s contribution to the activity counts toward the global total. 

Area residents inspired by World Cleanup Day are encouraged to further make a commitment to practice simple, waste-reducing habits moving forward in all aspects of daily life that are aimed at bettering our environment and the quality of the air we breathe. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips to consider for incorporating green into your day-to-day routine:  

  • Nix Bottled Water – Did you know that up to 80% of single-use water bottles in the U.S. never get recycled? Not only does the production of plastic water bottles contribute significant amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, but their litter lingers for years on end. Consider buying a reusable water bottle to take with you on the go and refill as needed to cut down on unnecessary waste and help improve air quality. 
  • Reduce Waste/Conserve Energy at Home – Swapping out incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, putting timers on lights and investing in smart power strips can help to avoid excessive electricity use. While reducing and reusing are the most effective ways to save money and natural resources, recycling is another vital piece of greening your home by helping to keep waste out of landfills and turning glass, paper, plastic and other items into new materials. Also, consider setting up recycling bins in your home and purchasing recycled products to help clean the air.

  • Go Paperless When Possible – There are many places where you can opt out of paper, whether that be credit card bills, receipts or even your favorite household cleaning products. Paper towels, for example, may be useful and convenient but collectively contribute to deforestation and an ever-increasing waste problem. Signing up for online banking, opting for email versions of receipts, printing on both sides of a sheet or using the back side of old documents for scrap paper are other resourceful ways to reduce paper waste.  

For more great tips on how to achieve cleaner air year-round, visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.