08 Jul, Wednesday
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Sustainability Strides Praised at Green Business Awards

Salt Lake City—With finite natural resources and a population set to explode, it’s pretty clear to see Utahns need to be taking sustainability seriously.

On Thursday, Utah Business honored 17 companies, organizations and individuals who are at the head of the charge in turning the Beehive State into one of the environmentally friendliest in the nation at the 2017 Green Business Awards.

“Your businesses are leading the way in our community—demonstrating that it is both possible and important to reduce energy and water use, limit emissions and eliminate waste,” said Donnie Welch, publisher of Utah Business. “Your companies serve as a role model in our community, and we are proud to shine a light on your initiatives and innovations.”

The event, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Power, as well as Big-D Construction, Digital Bytes Production & Design, Stoel Rives, Webb, CBRE, Geneva Rock Products and Wild Valley Farms, recognized companies for strides in air quality, water conservation, innovation and leadership.

Among the companies recognized was Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District, which recently transitioned its entire 46-waste collection vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas vehicles.

“You wouldn’t think about a garbage truck wanting to be clean, but it’s very important,” said Pam Roberts, executive director of the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District, noting the vehicles drive a combined 1.3 million mines per year. “We did not want to contribute to the pollution with all those miles on the road.”

Geneva Rock Products also recently switched to CNG concrete mixer trucks and has also implemented water, energy and material-conserving measures.

“We truly believe in building a better community, and part of that is protecting the environment and to be mindful of the issues and problems we face every day. So, we’re doing our part to be good corporate partners and protect our community,” said Jerry Hall, central concrete area manager for Geneva Rock Products. “This occurs from the top of management to the workers in the field, to be mindful of the resources and protect the environment.”

Houweling Utah Property’s greenhouse, which uses CO2 and waste heat from the neighboring Rocky Mountain Power plant, also has 100 percent recycling with water and other materials, said chairman Casey Houweling.

“We have zero agricultural waste,” he said. “What goes into that greenhouse only comes out one way, and that’s in tomatoes.”

Wild Valley Farms, which has developed patent-pending wool pellets that fertilize and help retain water when mixed in with soil, similarly takes a waste product and gives it new life—the wool pellets are made from waste wool that would otherwise merely be garbage.

Salt Lake City and Park City were both honored for their city-wide initiatives to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. Park City has made numerous strides toward sustainability, including an electric bike share program and a fleet of electric city buses, and has a goal of achieving net zero carbon and using 100 percent renewable electricity by 2022.

“We do this because climate change is not a religious system, it’s not a political belief; it’s absolute fact, and I’m happy to say I’ve lived long enough to see these wonderful things happening,” said Park City Mayor Jack Thomas. “The hope and change is coming from the roots up, not the top down, and we’re all a part of that.”

You can read about all of the 2017 Green Business Award recipients here.