Sustainability

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In June 2018, the Sustainable Wheat Ridge (SWR) Committee published recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge, provide strong financial returns, and bring substantial benefits to public health, community cohesion, and livability.

Our goal of this page is to provide a platform for residents to engage with the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee and city staff regarding sustainability topics in Wheat Ridge. We will be updating this page regularly with new topics, resources and programs and will utilize resident feedback to inform the development of future sustainability program offerings. We look forward to hearing from the community!

The six focus areas of Sustainable Wheat Ridge are:

Green Building and Energy Efficiency

Renewable Energy

Solid Waste and Recycling

Transportation

Water

Communications and Engagement

Join the conversation by engaging with the tools below!

In June 2018, the Sustainable Wheat Ridge (SWR) Committee published recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge, provide strong financial returns, and bring substantial benefits to public health, community cohesion, and livability.

Our goal of this page is to provide a platform for residents to engage with the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee and city staff regarding sustainability topics in Wheat Ridge. We will be updating this page regularly with new topics, resources and programs and will utilize resident feedback to inform the development of future sustainability program offerings. We look forward to hearing from the community!

The six focus areas of Sustainable Wheat Ridge are:

Green Building and Energy Efficiency

Renewable Energy

Solid Waste and Recycling

Transportation

Water

Communications and Engagement

Join the conversation by engaging with the tools below!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - March 2021 - Grow to Give

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    09 Mar 2021
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    By: Laura McGarry, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    Did you know that, according to Feeding America, the number of people experiencing food insecurity in the U.S. has increased from 37 million people to over 50 million people since COVID-19 hit? This number includes friends, families and children living in Wheat Ridge, with three Elementary Schools in Wheat Ridge having over 80% of students who qualified for the free and reduced-price lunch program, pre-COVID.

    What can we do about food insecurity in Wheat Ridge?

    In summer 2020, Sustainable Wheat Ridge partnered with Fresh Food Connect and The Family Tree to develop a pilot program to connect gardeners in Wheat Ridge with families experiencing food insecurity. Through this pilot, gardeners donated nearly 100 pounds of produce to the Family Tree who distributed the food to families living in its shelter. In 2021, Sustainable Wheat Ridge is planning to expand the program so that more gardeners participate, and more food is donated to families experiencing food insecurity. Here’s how you can get involved:

    1. Grow extra food in your garden to donate: Whether you are a new or seasoned gardener, 2021 is a great year to grow more food, knowing that you can donate to your neighbors in need. Check out these awesome local gardening resources: CSU Extension—Yard and Garden Page; Garden Basics; and Garden CO Monthly Calendar. Or join the Wheat Ridge Gardeners Facebook page for more tips, tricks and neighborly support.
    2. Download the Fresh Food Connect App: Sign up as a gardener living in 80033, and you’ll be directed to all the information you need about donation locations and times. Sustainable Wheat Ridge is hoping to add two new produce donation locations in spring 2021. Check the app. in May for full details.
    3. Donate your extra produce: Following the donation instructions on the Fresh Food Connect app. you’ll be able to donate extra produce at sites in Wheat Ridge in May through October.


    I want to do more!

    If you’re interested in doing more to support folks experiencing food insecurity, consider supporting these other great organizations that are addressing food insecurity in Jefferson County:


    Sustainability Updates

    • Intended to encourage direct citizen action, the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program provides support to neighborhoods to assist citizens in enhancing neighborhoods sustainability and reducing the environmental footprint of residents. Neighbors volunteering in the program organize sustainability-related workshops, plan community events such as paint-recycling days and eco-fairs and implement larger neighborhood projects including tree-planting programs and neighborhood beautification activities. The Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods program is accepting new neighborhood applications through March 22, 2021. If you are a Wheat Ridge resident and you would like to find out more about the application requirements or would like to apply, visit https://www.sustainableneighborhoodnetwork.org/wheatridge.
    • Thank you to everyone that participated in the Garden in a Box program in this year and received a $25 discount from Sustainable Wheat Ridge. Garden rebates sold out under a week! We are looking forward to bringing the rebate program back in 2022. You can still purchase a garden on Resource Central's website here.


    More about Sustainable Wheat Ridge

    Sustainable Wheat Ridge is a resident-led committee that was established in 2018 to provide the city with recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge. Included in these recommendations are goals around preserving Wheat Ridge’s agricultural history, connecting local producers and consumers, and establishing partnerships to support local food production. Check out the full Sustainable Wheat Ridge action plan here!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - February 2021 - Waste Warriors Unite!

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    11 Feb 2021
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    By: Montana Stevenson, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    Did you know that Coloradans sent over 80% of their waste to landfills in 2019? We only kept about 16% of our household waste out of landfills through composting and recycling, while the US national average for household landfill diversion is 35%! We’ve got a ways to go here in Colorado, but you can do something about it.

    Join a waste reduction challenge for residents of Wheat Ridge.

    • Step 1: Take stock of what you’re throwing out through a home waste audit using our handy waste audit guide.
    • Step 2: Share your findings from your audit.
    • Step 3: Make a pledge for how you plan to reduce your waste this month!


    Visit our Solid Waste & Recycling webpage on the Wheat Ridge City website to watch a short video guide on conducting an audit! We’ve also posted the directions for how to conduct the home waste audit and where you can share your findings and pledge.

    Become a #WasteWarrior.

    For those who aren’t ready to take the plunge on the home waste audit idea without some more background, let’s talk trash for a minute here. The US is one of the world’s largest trash producers: as a country, we represent about 4-5% of the global population and yet we produce about 30% of the world’s waste. The majority of the waste that gets thrown out by households and businesses in the US still ends up in landfills. According to the 2019 State of Recycling in Colorado Report, over 95% of waste going to landfills in our state could be diverted for other purposes. Remember we’re only diverting about 16% of total residential waste produced today so there’s a lot more we could do. Not only are we not getting additional economic value out of these materials we’re sending to landfills that could have other uses, landfills create other issues.

    Landfills are the third largest producer of methane gas in the US after the energy and agricultural sectors. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, meaning it can trap 28-36 times as much heat as a similar amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So it is a contributor to global warming. Besides methane, they also release other gases that can migrate to neighboring communities and cause a slew of health complaints: eye, throat and lung irritation; nausea and headaches; and, aggravation of asthma. Aside from pollution, landfills are also problematic because as they fill up, the only option is to make them bigger or make more of them, but they never go away!

    So what can you do about it? Well a home waste audit is one place to start. You’ll learn what types of items you are throwing out and where you could make some changes in your household to start reducing and diverting your waste from landfills. Our waste audit guide is very easy to use and we include some local recycling resources at the end. You might be surprised with what you find, and we encourage you to share data and feedback in our waste audit survey.

    February Sustainability Updates:

    • The City of Wheat Ridge is accepting new neighborhood applications for the Sustainable Neighborhoods program! A virtual open house event is scheduled for Thursday, February 18 at 5:30 p.m. To find out more about the event, click here. The City will be accepting applications for the program until Monday, March 22. To find out more about the program and the application, click here.
    • The City is partnering with Resource Central to bring the Garden in a Box program to Wheat Ridge! $25 discounts will be awarded to the first 50 residents that purchase a water-wise Garden in a Box this spring. Professionally designed for Colorado yards, these kits are easy to use and can help residents save about 7,300 gallons of water over the garden’s lifetime compared to a traditional grass lawn, which will also save residents money on their water bills. Visit ResourceCentral.org/Gardens to order a water-wise Garden In A Box starting on March 1, 2021.

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  • Sustainability Spotlight - January 2021 - New Year, New Goals!

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    15 Jan 2021
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    We hope you had a restful and joyous new year. We wanted to take time to share with everyone some of our plans for this year. Our vision for 2021 is to enhance sustainability in Wheat Ridge through strategic program offerings, an expansion of our current outreach demographics, and a focus on projects that will yield long-term results.

    We are focusing on becoming an educated, analytical and data-driven city by partnering with ICLEI citywide greenhouse gas inventory. By completing this kind of analysis, the City will have baseline measurements for carbon emissions from all major sectors – electricity, buildings, transportation and waste. This inventory will result in an accurate calculation of aggregate emissions data and the data will be utilized to create baseline metrics and inform future climate and sustainability goals. As cities in the region move towards collaborative climate goals, Wheat Ridge is joining the conversation by accessing a reliable source of current baseline metrics.

    In 2021, we will be expanding the Sustainable Neighborhoods program to four Wheat Ridge neighborhoods. This program is beneficial to our city, as it creates a framework for neighbors to develop an action plan to enhance the long-term character, livability, and sustainability of their neighborhood, leading to an overall increase in neighborhood connections and resiliency within our city. Through the program, neighbors work together to create and manage sustainability projects, such as neighborhood cleanups, energy efficiency targets, and EV workshops, and city staff provides resources and guidance to assist neighbors in accomplishing their project goals. There are many projects that neighbors can complete with social distancing guidelines in place and the program has allowed other cities in the network to continue making progress towards sustainability goals and resident cohesion, despite the pandemic. Applications for the program open on Monday, January 18 and a virtual open house is planned for Thursday, February 18. Applications will need to be completed and submitted before or by Monday, March 22 at 11:59pm. To learn more about the program, click here.

    Another major focus for 2021 is on the Wheat Ridge business community. We realize that current circumstances have put a burden on businesses to continue their operations and we realize an opportunity to support local businesses while also furthering sustainability goals. Through the implementation of a Sustainable Business Grant Program, we will provide matching funds to Wheat Ridge businesses that are interested in implementing strategies to lower costs and reduce emissions. Look for the application for this program to open in summer 2021.

    We are also partnering with Resource Central to bring the very popular Garden in a Box program to Wheat Ridge, managing a citywide waste audit challenge for Earth Day, and utilizing our Can'dAid Foundation funded grant materials to transition the Carnation Festival to a zero waste event this summer!

    As you can see, we have big plans for 2021. These are just a sampling of the projects we are planning to complete this year. Stay tuned to this page for monthly sustainability spotlights, published on the 15th of each month.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - December 2020 - Winter Holidays in Wheat Ridge

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    10 Dec 2020
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    By: April Nowak, Sustainable Wheat Ridge member

    2020 has been an incredibly challenging year to say the least. We hope you are all staying healthy and safe this holiday season. As we look toward the winter holidays in Wheat Ridge, we suggest some ways to support your neighbors in need and take part in holiday traditions, keeping sustainability in mind.


    Give a Hand: We all need support in our lives. This winter, it’s the gift of you! A phone-call, text, or card to a neighbor, relative, or friend is especially useful during the holidays. The pandemic has cut people off, especially our older neighbors, from activities and socialization. This year, give the gift of your time and compassion.


    Financial Gifts: If you are fortunate enough to have extra resources, consider donating money to an organization that’s making a difference during the pandemic, including those that provide housing, financial assistance, or food. 

    • Food banks 
    • Local charities 
    • Health centers
    • Environmental organizations


    Donate Things: Support our community, while keeping valuable items out of the landfill.


    There are many ways you can give a hand this season, check out the Help Guide for more ways. 


    Gift Giving:

    • Support local business by purchasing gift cards, buying local, and ordering food to go. Many businesses have pickup options. Check out the new Eat Ridge page for more information.
    • Give something edible. Make a dessert or a healthy snack packaged in reusable mason jars.
    • Give products that will help your friends and family go green, such as reusable mugs, water bottles, bags or lunch containers.
    • Give something edible. Make a dessert or a healthy snack packaged in reusable mason jars.


    Gift Wrapping: Reuse newspapers, maps, posters, fabric, calendars, and cloth bags to wrap tape-free gifts. Twine and plant clippings can be used for decorating and closing packages. Shop locally, including thrift, consignment, and second-hand stores. For shipping, replace foam or bubble wrap with balled-up newspaper or magazine pages.


    Tree Recycling: Holiday lights and trees are a festive way to brighten our long and cold nights. The City provides tree recycling services until mid-February. Remove all ornamentation, tree stands, twine, lights, and garland. Yard waste and other debris will not be accepted. Drop-off sites are open daily from sunrise until sunset for Wheat Ridge residents at the following park locations:

    • Prospect Park - 11300 W. 44th Ave.
    • Panorama Park - 3400 Fenton St.

    For more information, contact the Parks, Forestry and Open Space office at 303-205-7556.


    Holiday Lights: When using lights to decorate, consider more efficient LED strings. If you have older incandescent string lights, you can recycle incandescent string lights and LED string lights at SustainAbility. Use a timer to save electricity.


    The Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee represents passionate neighbors who are dedicated to our City, our place in the region, Colorado, and Earth.

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  • Congratulations to Applewood Villages and Paramount Heights for being selected as the first two Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods

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    24 Sep 2020
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    Two neighborhoods have been selected for the Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods program: Applewood Village and Paramount Heights. These neighborhoods will be working this fall to develop a neighborhood communications plan, a neighborhood leadership team, and will begin to plan some low-to-no contact and/or socially distanced projects for their neighborhoods. Neighbors have expressed interest in projects like seed swaps, composting workshops, home energy audits, and wildlife friendly yards. Applications for the Sustainable Neighborhoods program will open again in January 2021 and a “kick off event” is planned for the spring.

    The Wheat Ridge Sustainable Neighborhoods Program provides residents with the opportunity to become active partners in helping make Wheat Ridge a more vibrant and sustainable community. Neighborhoods participating in this unique certification program receive guidance from City staff to organize workshops, projects, and events that enhance the livability of their neighborhood and reduce residents' ecological footprint.

    Participating Sustainable Neighborhoods earn credits for achieving sustainability goals by completing projects such as: offering home energy workshops, hosting gatherings at the local community garden, cleaning up alleyways and parks, and encouraging neighbors to reduce water use at home. Depending on the number of credits earned in a given year, neighborhoods receive designation as a “Participating Sustainable Neighborhood” or as an “Outstanding Sustainable Neighborhood.”

    Wheat Ridge participates with Lakewood, Denver, and Fort Collins in the Sustainable Neighborhoods Network. Learn more about the program and more about sustainability efforts in Wheat Ridge. Questions? Contact the Sustainability Coordinator Kayla Betzold at sustainability@ci.wheatridge.co.us or 303-235-2841.

  • YOU Have the Power to Help Clean Up the Air!

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    02 Jul 2020
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    Sustainable Wheat Ridge has partnered with the Regional Air Quality Council and Home Depot to begin the Mow Down Pollution program in Wheat Ridge! This program provides $150 vouchers for Wheat Ridge residents who turn in a gas powered mower in order to purchase a new electric mower.

    Here’s how it works: First, apply for a voucher at www.mowdownpollution.org/residential. Next, recycle your gas mower at an approved metal recycler. Then, receive your $150 voucher to use in-person at a participating Home Depot to purchase an electric mower.

    Gas-powered lawn mowers emit greenhouse gases and contribute to ground-level ozone pollution. Electric mowers are quieter, start instantly, and don’t require gas, engine oil, fuel filters and other related maintenance. And, there are no fumes to breathe as you are mowing your lawn! Stay tuned to this page to be the first to know when the vouchers are available and to take advantage of this great offer!

  • Wheat Ridge Joins the Sustainable Neighborhoods Network - Apply Now!

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    15 Jun 2020
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    The City of Wheat Ridge is excited to join Lakewood, Denver and Fort Collins as the newest member of the Sustainable Neighborhoods Network!

    The Sustainable Neighborhoods Program gives residents the opportunity to become active partners in building a vibrant and sustainable Wheat Ridge community. Neighborhoods participating in this unique certification program receive guidance and support from city staff to organize workshops, projects and events that enhance the livability of their neighborhoods and reduce residents' ecological footprints. Participating neighborhoods earn program credits and recognition from the community and the City.

    The City of Wheat Ridge is accepting applications for the 2020-2021 Sustainable Neighborhoods Program! Applications must be submitted by August 31, 2020. Selected neighborhoods will be notified in September 2020. Please be sure to read the Wheat Ridge Application Guide and Application Frequently Asked Questions before you apply. Click here to start your application today! If you have any questions, contact Kayla Betzold at sustainability@ci.wheatridge.co.us

  • Everyday Earth Day in Your Garden

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    21 Apr 2020
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    Gardening Resources

    Farmer’s Almanac: Planting Calendar for Wheat Ridge, CO

    Backyard Composting Basics

    Vermicomposting

    Build an Indoor Worm Bin

    Rain Barrel Fact Sheet

    Month by Month Chore List: Colorado Garden Calendar

    Colorado Vegetable Planting Calendar

    Yard & Garden Resources: CSU Extension

    Creating a Pollinator Habitat

    Low Water Native Plants for Pollinators


    Local Food Resources

    Mile-High Farmers Local Food Guide

    Jefferson County Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) List

    Fruit Tree Map - Add Your Own!

    We Don't Waste - Mobile Food Market



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  • Earth Day 2020 At-Home Resources

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    20 Apr 2020
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    Earth Day 2020

    Energy Savings Tips

    Water Conservation Tips

    Make Your Home Greener

    Reduce Waste

    Green Ideas

    Biomimicry Institute: 30 days of Reconnection

    "Global Weirding" Podcast with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe

    Citizen Science for all Ages

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  • 8 Ways to Save Money - Sustainably

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    20 Apr 2020

    These eco-friendly money saving tips include resourceful ways to make small changes to your daily habits that can really add up over time.


    1. Reduce: Buy less and choose what you do purchase carefully. One way to begin is to initiate a spending hiatus for one month when you do not purchase anything unnecessary or unneeded. During this time, focus on immediate needs (food, shelter, utilities, etc) and, if possible, purchase what you can from local or regional businesses.


    1. Repurpose: Consider items you already own and how to repurpose them in creative ways. With the kids at home this could include upcycling items for art projects or, like we did at our house, repurposing an older picnic table into a cold frame for our garden bed. The opportunities abound!


    1. Reuse: Buy from second-hand stores, purchase pre-loved items from online marketplaces or consider a trade/barter system for goods and services. For example, there is a Facebook page titled “Buy Sell Swap Wheat Ridge (CO)”. Additionally, instead of buying something outright, try renting or borrowing items that you may only need for a one-time use or a short, project specific time frame.


    1. Recycle: Sell or donate your used goods that still have life left in them. If they can’t be fixed or repurposed, opt for recycling to divert them from the landfill. Earth911.org provides information and resources for hard-to-recycle items your local hauler won’t take.


    1. Revitalize: Change up your transportation mode by riding your bicycle or walking instead of driving when you can. This will save money on gas and auto maintenance and provides an opportunity for some exercise.


    1. Regenerate: Grow your own food, or source seasonal produce from local farms that offer direct-to-consumer savings. Garden.org has resources for gardeners of any level, from beginner to old hat. The Wheat Ridge Gardeners page on Facebook is also a wonderful forum to chat directly with community members for local tips + tricks. If you would rather source seasonal produce from local or regional farmers Jeffco has a list of producers.


    1. Replenish: Cook at home, from scratch when possible. There are many low-budget, quick to make meals that are healthy for you and your pocketbook. Creating a basic meal plan and setting aside a few hours a week for meal prep can help you save throughout the week. Cooking Matters is a great place to go for menu tips and recipes.


    1. Re-think: Think about how you use energy and water in your home. There are many ways to save these resources, including turning off the tap, insulating your water heater, installing a programmable thermostat, turning off (and change to LED) lights, line drying clothes instead of using the dryer.


    Have other ideas about how to mindfully use our resources? We’d love to hear from you.

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