Welcome to the January WSU Sustainability Newsletter!


Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution

Join us at Peery’s Egyptian Theatre in Ogden for a free screening of Jamie Redford’s documentary, Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution. Redford embarks on a personal journey into the dawn of the clean energy era as it creates jobs, turns profits, and makes communities stronger and healthier across the US. Unlikely entrepreneurs in communities from all over the country reveal pioneering clean energy solutions while the director and audience discover the workings of clean energy and what it can mean to each of us on a personal level. Reaching well beyond a great story of technology and innovation, “Happening” explores issues of human resilience, social justice, embracing the future, and finding hope for our shared planet.

Utah Clean Air Fair

The Fourth Annual Clean Air Fair is taking place on Saturday, January 20th from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City.  The mission of the Fair is to amplify communal engagement and empowerment, spread awareness on our unique air issues, and create an environment for family fun. The SPARC will have a table to communicate WSU's sustainability efforts.


Intermountain Sustainability Summit Info

The SPARC is hosting the 9th Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit (ISS), and would like to invite you to attend! The ISS and affiliated events will take place from Wednesday, February 28 to Friday, March 2.

February 28th
The Crossroads Project, a nationally renowned music and art performance, featuring the Fry Street Quartet and Dr. Rob Davies, is FREE and open to the public. The performance is on Wednesday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the Peery’s Egyptian Theater. Come early, as seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Thursday, March 1st
The main Summit day hosts keynote Dr. Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt, and dozens of sustainability experts hosting a variety of sessions covering clean energy, green buildings, urban water and additional sustainability topics. In addition, participants can visit the Eco Expo Hall, the student poster contest and more. Summit sessions on March 1st are ticketed, but many portions of day’s activities are free for WSU faculty, students and staff, including the Eco Expo Hall, and the keynote address. In addition, WSU faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend individual sessions, but we request that those who have paid to attend sessions are given first priority for seating. Use your WSU Wildcard to register on the day of the event at the ISS registration desk at the front of the Ballrooms if you will be attending for free. If you would like to attend the entire event, including meals, WSU faculty, staff and students can register for $25 ($30 after Feb. 15). Simply choose "student registration" at check out.

Friday, March 2nd
The ISS is offering affiliated workshops on Friday. Workshops cover topics on climate communications and green buildings, and include: “Let’s Talk Climate: Applied Research and Practical Guidance for Local Climate Engagement,” “Demystifying Carbon Neutrality: Charting a Path for Building and Campus Managers,” and the “LEED Green Associate Exam Prep."

To learn more about the ISS visit www.intermountainsustainabilitysummit.com        

Student Sustainability Poster Contest

Students, submit your posters for the Student Poster Session at the Intermountain Sustainability Summit.  Students whose posters are chosen to be displayed will receive free admission to the Summit.  Posters will be judged by an expert panel according to the rubrics below for cash prizes, and by conference attendees for the People’s Choice Award. Deadline to submit a digital copy and an abstract (250 maximum) of your poster is Monday, February 5, 2018. See details for submission at

Takeout Creates a lot of Trash, It Doesn't Have To

Ogden has many great restaurants whose food we can bring back to our own home or work through takeout. Conservation International’s CEO, Dr. M. Sanjayan, explains through this video that packaging from takeout and other single use items make up the largest category of municipal waste in the US. Due to the variations of materials used for packaging and how they’re disposed of, we cannot solve the world’s waste problem by recycling alone. There are also many ways to reduce waste in the packaging industry. In this video, serving condiments in bulk and using refillable water bottles are two simple ways we can lessen our consumption. In addition to positively impacting our environment, this video expands on how reducing waste is economically beneficial as well. 

Upcycle Your Holidays

Visions of wrapping paper, stuffed stockings and Christmas trees captivate holiday shoppers, but after the festivities many of these items become trash. 

Much of what we consume in the U.S. ends up as waste in a very short timeframe; this also includes the items we purchase for the holidays.  

The good news is that much of this waste can be recycled, or even upcycled, according to the CEO of Wasatch Waste Management District, Nathan Rich. The bad news is that much of U.S. waste ends up in landfills and the natural environment.

What is recyclable and where you can recycle it

“Eighty percent of the recyclables collected in the U.S. go to China,” says Rich.

China dominates the recycling market, and is increasingly cracking down on the amount of contamination that they will allow in the material stream they receive. Rich says, this is making it harder for waste management companies to make a profit.    

China has imposed an almost total ban on mixed paper, says Rich. Wrapping paper stuffed into recycling bins will almost certainly end up in the landfill, especially if it is shiny. Rich suggests putting wrapping paper in the waste bin to reduce contamination.

Reducing contamination helps to keep recycling profitable. Although it may seem counter intuitive, Jenn Bodine, Weber State’s sustainability coordinator says, “When in doubt, throw it out.”   

A lot of holiday packaging can be recycled.

Cardboard, unlike mixed paper is a profitable material. Much of the cardboard that is recycled stays in the U.S., and is used over and over again, says Rich.  

“You should absolutely make sure you get all of your cardboard in your recycling bin,” says Rich. He suggests crushing it before putting it in the blue bin.

Plastics labeled with the triple-triangle-arrows containing the numbers “1” or “2” inside can be sold, says Rich. He explained that plastics labeled with “3” through “7” are moderately difficult to recycle, but are still accepted by most municipalities.

Plastics with no labels are very difficult to recycle, but can be saved and recycled at CHaRM events hosted by the Utah Recycling Alliance. CHaRM stands for Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials.  

In addition to accepting unnumbered plastics, Utah Recycling Alliance accepts scrap metal, outdated pharmaceuticals and gently used clothing. They even takes old skis. These are upcycled into novel pieces of furniture, according to McIntyre.  

Christmas trees

Residents across Weber and Davis county can upcycle Christmas trees. Some cities pick up the trees, while others accept trees free of charge at green wastes sites. Residents can check with their local municipality for details.

Ogden residents can drop off trees at the green waste site located at 1875 Monroe Blvd, but will need to prove residency.   

Rich says the Davis Landfill gladly accepts Christmas trees free of charge from anyone.    

“Green waste is actually an example of upcycling. You are getting something of no value, and turning it into something of value,” said Rich. He explains that composting green waste takes place locally, reduces methane, and creates valuable products, such as wood chips for landscaping and compost for gardens.    

“We turn around and make a product, which goes back out into our landscapes and helps us with water conservation and soil conservation,” says Rich.





January 2018 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Environmental Ambassadors Meeting

Wed Jan 17 and 30th, 2:30 p.m.
SU RM 305
All are welcome! Every 2 weeks

Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution movie screening

Wed Jan 17th, 7 p.m.
Peery's Egyptian Theatre, Ogden

Clear the Air trainings

Davis Campus: Friday 26th 2-3 p.m. RM 230 in D3
Main Campus: Tues. 30th and Wed 31st at 2-3 p.m. SU Computer Lab RM 230

Clean the Air Fair

Jan 20th, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Trolley Square, SLC