The mountains, the city life, the business opportunities – Salt lake City has a lot to offer its residents, and thanks to the recent formation of the City’s Sustainability Department, you can add a greener city to the list.

“Sustainability means ensuring we have a healthy environment along with a strong economy, and that we work towards both goals while helping those who need it most,” says Vicki Bennet, director of the Office of Sustainability.

Since becoming a full department in July, 2016, the scope of what “sustainability” means for the City has expanded and continues to benefit many residents. Bennett notes that broadly incorporating sustainability principles into our long-range planning efforts means we are building a better city now, with impacts that will be felt for future decades.

There are many exciting sustainability projects happening in Salt lake City, and the City is proud of their efforts in the areas of food, recycling, electric vehicles and energy efficiency, to name a few.

Salt Lake City also completed its pilot year for the Urban Greens Market, a mobile farm stand that moves around the City to neighborhoods on the west side. The Urban Greens Market is overseen by the Sustainability Department, in partnership with Green Urban Lunch Box, a program designed to train young farmers, and Real Food Rising, an organization working with youth to teach hands-on organic farming skills, water usage and sustainability practices. Utahns Against Hunger is another partner working to increase access to food through advocacy, outreach and education.

What People Are Saying: “Together, with Salt Lake City, we’re working to help low-income families take home more fruits and vegetables, support Utah farmers with new customers and more income and strengthen the local economy by keeping food dollars circulating in the community,” says Brian Emerson, with Utahns Against Hunger. 

Salt Lake City has adopted a Zero Waste goal by 2040, valuing discards as resources that can be returned to the local economy and reduce negative impacts on the environment. The City offers services for 42,000 single-family homes to reduce waste going to the landfill which includes: weekly curbside recycling and yard waste collection, glass recycling, and seasonal leaf and holiday tree collection.

Fun Facts: On average, almost 2,700 tons of material are either recycled or composted each and every month. The City also recycles or composts 40% of the waste collected from residents. Residents can also sign up for curbside glass recycling or drop off it off at designated neighborhood drop-off locations around the city. Additionally, the City has special collection services for items such as leaves, holiday trees, and electronics.

A curbside recycling brochure can be downloaded at:

What People Are Saying: It is important to find the right way to engage and educate people about what items can and can’t be recycled, and to encourage folks to use fewer disposables in the first place,” says Kyle Strayer, SLCgreen outreach and intern coordinator.

“Access to recycling is vital for any city. As an individual, recycling is one of many steps in reducing my carbon footprint. As a member of the community, recycling reminds me that we are working together to protect the world we depend on,” says Jess Roadman, Salt Lake City resident.

Salt Lake City is doing their part to encourage the greater use of electric vehicles. The City is continuing to expand the number of EV charging stations as a concrete way to encourage people to purchase cleaner vehicles. There are many EV charging stations throughout the city and more being added. Salt Lake City is doubling the number of public charging stations it operates, bringing its total to 12 sites with 25 charging units this winter. These charging stations are often free or offered for a minimal charge. Using electric vehicles promotes cleaner air that benefits residents throughout the entire valley.

To locate an electric vehicle charging station near you, visit

What People Are Saying: “There are so many great things about Salt Lake, but our city is only as good at its air quality. To preserve the awesome that is SLC, we all have to work toward cleaner air by reducing the pollution from our cars, homes and businesses,” says Tess Davis, Salt Lake City resident.

When it comes to sustainable living, the home you decide to live in says a lot. Salt Lake City’s Division of Housing and Neighborhood Development built the first publically-funded passive energy home this year in the Poplar Grove neighborhood on Emery Street. This house was built with energy efficiency top-of-mind. It was also built with the goal of having choices for families with moderate incomes looking for a place to call home.

The state-of-the-art home includes energy-saving concepts and technologies such as: strategically placed windows, energy efficient insulation as well as heating and cooling systems that reduces the home’s environmental footprint.

The City hopes that its pioneering work will encourage private developers to use many of the same energy efficient design principles as they construct more dwellings for a growing city.

What People Are Saying: As Councilman Andrew Johnston told the Deseret News in July at the Emery House’s ribbon cutting: “We’re saying ‘Private developers, architects and all people with great ideas out there, and there’s a ton of them, bring them forward. We don’t have a monopoly on that here. Bring the best ideas forward. Let’s figure out what’s feasible, what’s not and incorporate it and build some cool, new things over here.”