Spotlight On: Safety National

Headquartered in Maryland Heights, Mo., Safety National is a leading specialty insurance and reinsurance provider that has offered long-term solutions to valued clients for more than 80 years. This month, the Clean Air Partnership is pleased to shine a spotlight on Safety National’s Sustainability Committee – one of only 22 organizations in the bi-state area to earn the Champion Level Award of Achievement during the 2022 St. Louis Green Business Challenge – for its commitment to implementing environmental protection and conservation practices.

“Safety National’s ESG strategy and sustainability efforts are guided by our core values and our vision to be First With Community,” said Angela Schaefer, Chief Human Resources Officer & ESG Committee Chair. “Being a good community partner starts with being a good employer. Employees are key partners on our journey to reduce environmental impacts. Safety National’s employee-led Sustainability Committee provides consistent, valuable awareness-building education, as well as opportunities to give back to the community. Corporate Operations strive to reduce environmental impacts and support employee efforts. The more we work together, the more sustainable impacts we can make.”

Among the many accomplishments that helped Safety National earn recognition in the Challenge was the installation of new solar panels on the main campus building that generated more than 80,700 kWh over the last 12 months, equivalent to a cost savings of $7,440.24. The energy produced by the solar array on the company’s secondary building is equivalent to planting 1.2 trees per day, which is a huge win for air quality! Additionally, Safety National encouraged its employees to participate in various recycling initiatives throughout the year, recycling a total of more than 11,000 lbs. of electronics, 183 lbs. of holiday lights, and collecting approximately 500 plastic bags per month that were repurposed and woven into sleeping mats for the local homeless population. Clean water filling stations were also introduced to prevent some 32,700+ plastic bottles a year from winding up at landfills as toxic waste.

Moreover, the company’s Sustainability Committee provided consistent opportunities for education and engagement, including hosting a biodiversity talk by Missouri Botanical Garden’s Jean Ponzi and a hands-on transformation contest for employees to “up-cycle” items that otherwise would’ve gone to the landfill to create beautiful decorations. Last but not least, hybrid options were increased last summer to provide flexibility for employees, allowing them to work from home two days each week to reduce vehicle miles, harmful automobile emissions, and energy and water usage on campus.

For more information on Safety National 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 Maplewood

As the Clean Air Partnership continues to highlight local municipalities dedicated to fostering sustainable environments and cleaning the air in the St. Louis region, this month we’re delighted to acknowledge some of the outstanding green innovations and achievements underway by the City of Maplewood.

Centrally located in mid-St. Louis County, the City of Maplewood proudly engaged in the 2022 St. Louis Green Cities Challenge alongside other participating municipalities that addressed sustainability within the range of operational requirements unique to their local governments. As part of the Challenge, the city incorporated a sustainability policy and practiced fundamentals, including addressing measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development.

“The City of Maplewood has taken positive steps to bolster its sustainable and equitable practices and policies, in the face of the burdens of a changing climate and declining resources, for the natural and human environment,” says Stefan Denson, Chair of the Maplewood Sustainability Commission.

During the Challenge, Maplewood launched its Sustainability Action Plan outlining specific goals that describe the core of the community’s vision and represent what is necessary to become a sustainable city. Maplewood’s Sustainability Commission – which assists the city in creating and sustaining a livable, safe and healthy city and promotes the responsible use and conservation of energy and our natural resources – also lead the charge for the Mid-County Sustainability Consortium. This is a collaboration among Brentwood, Clayton, Maplewood and Webster Groves, who share a vision to create momentum for sustainability, conservation and efficiency action at the regional level.

To further reduce environmental impact, a partnership between Great Rivers Greenway and the City of Maplewood helped to stabilize the streambank and improve drainage along the Deer Creek Greenway in Deer Creek Park, which ultimately helps to reduce water quality problems and combat related air pollution. Additionally, the City’s Public Works Department and Community Development Director partnered with Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School’s Sustainability Class to design and plant the flowerpots placed in the Special Business District to promote cleaner air.

Other noteworthy accomplishments that helped earn Maplewood recognition in the Challenge include an electronics recycling event that was held for local residents and businesses, as well as the installation of a dual port electric vehicle (EV) charging system in the Special Business District to encourage the use of eco-friendlier modes of transportation within the community.

For more information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Maplewood 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’s website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

A Sustainable Holiday Season is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

While living a more sustainable lifestyle is a great goal to have when thinking ahead to resolutions for 2024, holiday celebrations present a special opportunity to ring in the season with a more modest footprint. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s alone, waste production jumps 25%, adding an extra one million tons of waste to landfills each week. 

Though that may come as a shock, there are many ways to combat unnecessary waste and help keep the festive spirit alive. The more people that work to save energy and resources during the most wasteful time of year, the bigger the impact that can be made. Here are some tips to keep in mind to make going green a new treasured holiday tradition: 

  • Think Globally. Buy Locally. – Whether you’re heading to the mall or local family-owned shop for last minute gift shopping, remember the less you have to drive, the better for the environment. Additionally, if you’re planning to host a festive holiday feast this year, consider shopping for sustainable produce from your local farmers. Not only does local organic food taste better, but you’ll also be doing your part for the community and the planet. Likewise, consider swapping out disposable plates, cups, napkins and silverware for your favorite set of dishes this year instead to take green dining one step further.
  • Travel Sustainably – Greener holiday travel starts before even leaving the house. The more weight trains, planes and automobiles have to carry, the more fuel they use, and the more harmful greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. So, be conscious of how many extra items overall you are packing to lighten the load and help keep the air quality in healthy ranges. If you’re traveling to visit family by your own personal vehicle, routine maintenance steps like checking engine performance and keeping tires properly inflated are ideal ways to help reduce emissions and fuel consumption. Traveling by bus or train are also great options that can offer a certain level of convenience, particularly if the weather and roads are bad along your route. 
  • Properly Dispose of Your Tree If your holiday includes a tree, and you opt for an artificial one, box it up once the season is over and save it for years to come. When you finally need to get rid of it, do your best to recycle or donate it to help avoid the hazardous landfill. For real trees that still have the root ball attached, consider re-planting it in your yard after the holidays; otherwise, dispose of the tree at a composting or chipping facility in your neighborhood to do your share for cleaner air. St. Louis City residents can take their bare holiday tree to one of three, self-service drop off locations (Forest Park, O’Fallon Park and Carondelet Park) to be recycled December 26th through January 9th. 

A few small changes to go green for the holidays can make all the difference in helping people across the region breathe easier. To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.