Spotlight On: Saint Louis Science Center

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As one of few free, nonprofit science museums in the country that serves hundreds of thousands of people each year – both within the museum and out in the community – the Saint Louis Science Center recognizes the need to preserve a livable planet. With a campus that features hundreds of interactive experiences in various galleries, the iconic James S. McDonnell Planetarium, and a five-story OMNIMAX® Theater, the Science Center remains committed to its mission of working to inspire everyone to be curious and engaged in science. Its unique responsibility to model sustainability best practices and empower guests and community members to make sustainable choices helped earn them recognition in the 2023 St. Louis Green Business Challenge at the Leader Level. This month, the Clean Air Partnership is pleased to highlight some of those green initiatives.

“The Saint Louis Green Business Challenge provides an operational framework for us as we continue to increase our efforts to be a more sustainable institution,” said Maddie Earnest, current Associate Director of Galleries and former GROW and Life Science Manager at the Saint Louis Science Center. “We are grateful for the relationships we’ve built with other organizations and the ideas we’ve garnered from participating in the Challenge. This program is wonderful for our region.”

During the 2023 Challenge, the Science Center installed more LED lighting in its main kitchen and three different staff areas, as well as installed PaperCut software to better monitor printing usage and encourage less staff printing. To further cut down on waste, the organization hosted its first reduced waste event at the October First Fridays. Garnering over 2,500 attendees, the Science Center diverted roughly 128 gallons of food waste and composite dishware from the landfill to help improve air quality, using the event to set guidelines for lowering its waste accumulation at future large-scale events.

To help cut down on costs and enhance energy efficiency, the Science Center also replaced its original 30-year-old roof and increased the amount of insulation to prevent heat from escaping during cold seasons and keep warm air from entering during hot seasons.

Other impressive accomplishments included a Sustainabili-Chili Cook-Off held for staff members, where the Science Center’s Sustainable Futures Team provided information about decreasing one’s carbon footprint through food choices. Some 50+ staff members in attendance voted for the most sustainable chili, in addition to voting on best flavor and creativity. Additionally, a staff clean-up day helped remove invasive honeysuckle around a neighboring school and clear up plants in other surrounding areas.

To learn more about the Saint Louis Science Center’s sustainability efforts and how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit For more on the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @gatewaycleanair.