St. Louis Sustainability News - September 2018

September 2018 - News and Updates on Sustainability events around Saint Louis

September 7, 2018 | 8 min reading time
Climate_Infographic_Pt2 (1)

This month the eNews focus is on the City of St. Louis Climate Protection Initiative. 
Mayor Krewson recently joined Chancellor Wrighton of Washington University and others at the first University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) Forum in St. Louis. TheMayor addressed the invited executives and shared a new Climate Infographic.

As a community-focused complement to the UC3 Forum, the City is hosting a public climate event held by The New American Road Trip: Driving Change. This Electric Vehicle road trip across America will make one of only 4 cross-country stops at the Cortex Commons on Friday,September 21st. Join the Mayor and others at 5:00 pm at the Cortex Commons as the Road Trip crew celebrates local climate efforts in the St. Louis community. The New American Road Trip will award $10,000 in Transportation/Mobility awards for innovative climate solutions (contest details are below). And if you’ve wanted to check out an electric vehicle, there will be an EV Ride and Drive, music, an opportunity to sign the One Planet Charter for Climate, and informative tabling by several organizations. I hope you will join us and learn how to take climate action in St. Louis.

STL CLIMATE CONTEST: The New American Road Trip Transportation Contest is open! Enter this national climate contest via Instagram between September 5-12th. OnSeptember 21st, $10,000 in prizes will be awarded to a local STL winner and runner-up. Thecontest prompt is:

“What is the most innovative way your group (school, work, community organization, etc.) is showing love for your city by reducing your carbon footprint from everyday transportation?”

The Climate & Transportation/Mobility Contest Rules 

  1. Follow @newamericanroadtrip on Instagram 
  2. Post a photo, series of photos or videos that show the most innovative way your group is showing your love for St. Louis by decreasing your carbon footprint from everyday transportation. 
  3. In your Instagram caption, say how winning up to $7,000 would elevate your work
  4. In each post remember to use BOTH #NewAmericanRoadTrip and #NARTStLouis
  5. Tag @newamericanroadtrip in your post 
  6. Make sure your Instagram profile is public so your post can be seen by the Road Trip team

Did you know there are several climate protection plans, projects and initiatives that are helping make St. Louis a cleaner, healthier, greener and more sustainable place to live, work, learn and play? You can learn more on the Climate and Air portion of the City’s Sustainability website. 

This infographic summarizes the City’s foundation for climate protection efforts, establishes the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target (80% by 2050), and outlines the Mitigation and Adaptation Objectives from the City’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan. 

Here is a segment of the new STL Climate Protection Initiative Infographic:

The St. Louis Climate Handprint is a new Sustainability project designed to encourage individuals to take climate action in ways that leave a positive impact on the environment. There are now two helpful collections for those of you looking to leave a climate handprint. Check out our Good-Better-Bestrecommendations for Taking Climate Action At Home and At Work.

One of the “At Home” climate solutions is to plant a tree. Forest ReLeaf is again offering theirProject CommuniTree, accepting applications for free trees for public or nonprofit spaces, starting September 15th and until they run out. Forest ReLeaf will schedule a time for you to pick up your trees at the nursery in Creve Coeur Park. For reference, a group of  20 trees can fit into a truck, SUV, or van pretty easily, as the trees are pretty small.


MONARCH MANIACS: A reminder to join us at The Great MonArch Migration Event,happening from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday, Sept 29th at the Archgrounds. The National Park Service is holding a Riverfront Cleanup starting at 9:00 am, and there will also be free yoga by YogaBuzz from 9:00am-10:00am at the Arch. Come see monarchs migrating near the Arch at the event held both inside and outside the Gateway Arch National Park Museum. Practice citizen science with the iNaturalist app, take photos, engage in monarch-themed activities, enjoy snacks and take home items, like free native plants and monarch garden seeds.

TREE PLANTERS: Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and the City’s Forestry Division will hold the remaining tree planting events associated with the Partners for Places grant from The Funders’ Network: October 6th in Marquette Park and October 13th in Fairground Park. Please help community members and first responders as we have fun beautifying our parks and increase the urban tree canopy with hundreds of new trees. Free tshirts, donuts and hot dogs! Details below.

More Ways To Get Involved & Engage In Sustainability!

  • Trailnet needs volunteers to collect data for the 2018 Walk Bike & Pedestrian Counts September 11th and 12th from 5:00 to 7:00PM. All volunteers are entered into a drawing for an Apple iPad!
  • WOW Outdoor Conservation School Opportunity: Register by September 14thfor a fantastic day of outdoor activities in Forest Park on October 6th, with optional overnight camping in Robertsville State Park. Nominal fee; financial assistance is available. 
  • Two lucky environmental educators will get to experience the monarch migration in Mexico in January 2019. Apply to the Kingdom of the Monarchs Monarch Butterfly Scholarship Grant by October 1st.
  • The Witnessing Change Video Competition offers students and professional filmmakers the opportunity to document the financial and social impact of climate change already happening in their communities. There will be prize money awarded to the top three winners and the submission deadline is November 15th
  • Apply for a Large Scale Rainscaping Grant from MSD to create beautiful areas that help control stormwater. Projects in the MSD Rainscaping Area are eligible to receive reimbursement of costs for eligible rainscaping components. Deadline: October 31st.
  • Forest ReLeaf is offering free trees as of September 15th for their fall Project CommuniTree program. October 6th in Marquette Park and October 13th in Fairground Park.
  • Volunteer Orientation for those who want to be trained on how to become a demonstration garden volunteer from 10:00am-11:00am on September 8th or October 13th
  • Join the Green School Quest which brings schools and communities together. Register as a school or as a mentor by September 15th.

Attend A Sustainability Event: (All events free and held in the City of St. Louis)

  • Source your food locally and avoid all of that extra packaging found in many commercial grocery stores. Check out the Tower Grove Farmers Market happening Saturdays from 8:00am-12:30pm and Tuesday evenings in September from 4:00-7:00pm
  • Yoga Buzz returns to Citygarden on September 13th at 7:00am. Registration required.
  • Color Explosion Storytelling at the Missouri History Museum for ages 2-5 and their families on September 18th and 21st, 10:30am - 11:15am.
  • Gateway Greening event - Pint-sized Scientists Educator Workshop on September 8th 10:00am-11:00pm at 3841 Bell Ave.
  • Join a free energy benchmarking help session on September 12th from 9:00am-11:00am at 4651 Shaw Blvd.
  • Attend the Engagements, Self-management, and Shared Leadershippresentation at the Venture Cafe in the CORTEX district on September 13th from 5:30-6:30.
  • Unstash That Trash community recycling event is on September 15th from 10:00am- 2:00pm at the William J Harrison Education Center at 3140 Cass Ave.
  • Register for the MSD Clean Water Educator Training: Stormwater and Water Quality Issues on September 21st from 9:00am - 1:00pm at 4651 Shaw Blvd.
  • Gateway Greening event - Season Extension and Winter Gardening event onSeptember 15th from 10:00am-11:00am at 3841 Bell Ave.
  • Gerardo Camilo will speak about pollinators at Gateway Greening’s Pints 'n Plants onSeptember 19th. 6:30-7:30pm at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co, 4485 Manchester Ave.
  • The New American Road Trip celebration of local climate innovations and EV Ride and Drive at Cortex Commons; 5 pm on September 21st.
  • Join ISSP’s presentation and discussion on Motivations and Examples from the European Energy Transition on September 25 from 3:45-5:00pm. After the talk, the OneSTL Sustainability Lab Speaker Series will feature Patty Heyda. 
  • National Park Service will hold the great Mississippi River Cleanup at the Arch onSeptember 29th. Meet at the Arch grand staircase on Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd at 9:00am.Register here.
  • The City and National Park Service co-host The Great MonArch Migration Eventon  September 29th from 10 am-1 pm. It’s a great opportunity to see monarchs migrating near the Arch, and will be held both inside and outside the Gateway Arch National Park Museum. Free Yoga by YogaBuzz at 9:00 am, also at the Gateway Arch.
  • Gateway Greening event - Building Wonder: Designing Youth Garden Spaces Workshop on October 6th. 10:00am-11:00pm at 3841 Bell Ave.
  • Forest Park Forever Wildflower Walk around Lake Vista in Forest Park on September 25 (Meet at the Hatchery along Grand drive) from 5:00-6:30 pm. Registration prefered. 
  • Visit the Zootoberfest for a family-friendly Oktoberfest at the St Louis Zoo. Saturdays and Sundays Sept 30 - Oct 1 and October 7 & 8th from 10:00am-3:00pm
  • Meet at the Visitor and Education Center at 5595 Grand Drive. 10:30am. - 8:15am fromOctober 6th on a Beginner Bird Walk in Forest Park led by Forest Park Forever and Audubon.

The One Planet Corner
(a new section that takes a look at sustainability news around the world, and connects these events to the City’s Sustainability Initiative.)

Reducing Waste At Home And Abroad
By Morgan Geile

Illegal dumping has been big in the news in St. Louis these last couple months. Too much waste and a lack of ability to manage it leads to people turning to drastic measures to get it out of the house; even breaking the law. It’s time to take a closer look at our trash. I don’t mean finding more space to get rid of it, but trying to create less altogether. 

Some countries are investing big in developing “circular waste streams”. This is turning waste into raw starting material. An ambitious project underway in Europe is the eCircular project which is working to match plastic waste with manufacturers who can use it as raw material. It will be exciting to see the results of this, and many other projects like it, but what can we be doing in the meantime? Right now in St. Louis there is a waste problem and the first thing to do is make less of it. Try to buy products that have less packaging and making sure to use reusable containers instead of single-use plastics. The less we have, the less we have to throw away.

With what we do throw away, there is quite a bit that can be sifted out and recycled before sending the bag to the landfill. But be careful! While recycling rates exploded upwards in the 80’s and 90’s, those numbers have been stagnating recently. This is due to a problem that has also been hitting world news: we are pretty bad at recycling

China, one of the biggest buyers of recycled materials in the world, announced it would be refusing to buy a long list of recycled materials from the West. Their reason for this is because a lot of recycled materials contain contaminants. This ban on recycled imports from China is affecting everyone, even St. Louis

What does this mean? It means things are being thrown away dirty. Think of oil-soaked pizza boxes, jars with some mayonnaise left inside, paper towels full of grime and cleaning chemicals, or a plastic bottle still half full or orange juice. If rotting food remnants or oils and chemicals are included with recycling, they are a breeding ground for bacteria and toxins. What’s worse, when someone throws dirty recyclable material into a recycle bin, they are risking not just that single item, but that the whole load will be sent to a landfill. It is simply impossible to pick through to separate out the clean from contaminated, so the whole load just gets thrown into a landfill.

How do we solve this problem? The main thing to remember is whatever you recycle needs to be clean. Wash out your cans and jars. Tear off the oily part of the pizza box before recycling. Make sure you wash out the leftover yoghurt in the cup. Educate yourself on what can and cannot be recycled and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Avoid “wish-cycling”, which is when we throw things in the recycling bin that we want to be recyclable -- but aren’t. 

Rates of recycling have been increasing in the US over the years, which is fantastic. Remember: reduce your use, separate out what is leftover, and make sure you recycle correctly. This will all help reduce the amount of final waste in total, so it hopefully won’t end up where it shouldn’t. Check out St. Louis City Recycles for lots of tips and helpful information on recycling in STL.

Want to know even more about recycling? Check out the really great episode from the freeStuff You Should Know podcast that gives a thorough and fun-to-listen-to update on recycling.

With kind regards,
Catherine L. Werner
Sustainability Director
City of St. Louis Office of the Mayor
Twitter: @GreeninSTL

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