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May 28, 2024 Sustainability Lab @ T-REX

Sustainability Lab @ T-REX
Food Waste Reduction Strategy

Tuesday,  May 28, 2024
3:45pm-5:00pm Presentation & Discussion (join in person or on Zoom)
5:00pm-6:00pm Networking (in person only)

Join in Person:
T-REX (911 Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis)
Sharptooth Boardroom (5th Floor)
Plan your trip using public transit here.

Register and Join on Zoom:

Did you know that food waste globally results in more carbon dioxide emissions than commercial air travel? A regional Food Waste and Rescue Potential Report was recently developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, earthday365, and the Missouri Botanical Gardens' Earthways Center. As a result of the report, the City of St. Louis committed to develop a strategy by December 2024 to prevent food from going to waste, rescue surplus food, and recycle food scraps. Join us to discuss the strategy and the opportunity to rescue surplus food for those in need.

Click here to download a calendar invite for this event.

EWG is committed to ensuring that all meetings are both ADA and LEP accessible. To request a reasonable accommodation for this meeting please contact EWG's Title VI Coordinator at least 48 business hours prior to the meeting at (314) 421-4220 or (618) 274-2750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


June 25, 2024 Sustainability Lab @ T-REX

Sustainability Lab @ T-REX
New Options for Reuse & Reducing Single-Use Waste 

Tuesday, June 25, 2024
3:45pm-5:00pm Presentation & Discussion (join in person or on Zoom)
5:00pm-6:00pm Networking (in person only)

Join in Person:
T-REX (911 Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis)
Sharptooth Boardroom (5th Floor)
Plan your trip using public transit here.

Register and Join on Zoom:

At this Lab, earthday365 will be sharing about the environmental benefits of reuse and the effort to build a 'wash hub' in St. Louis, to expand the availability of reusable cups and serveware. More information will be posted here soon. 

Click here to download a calendar invite for this event

EWG is committed to ensuring that all meetings are both ADA and LEP accessible. To request a reasonable accommodation for this meeting please contact EWG's Title VI Coordinator at least 48 business hours prior to the meeting at (314) 421-4220 or (618) 274-2750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Success Spotlight: Food Shares are More than Just Food Distribution Sites

Author: Amir Tibbs, All Hands on Deck


The St. Louis Food Share Network, founded by Casey Stinemetz and Elizabeth Vega in 2016, served as a beacon of hope in the fight against hunger in our city. What began as a twice-a-week effort to redirect surplus food from one retailer has continued to grow and blossom. It is now led by the team at All Hands On Deck, an initiative dedicated not only to expanding access to nutritious foods across food deserts and food insecure communities but also to increasing environmental sustainability and community spirit. The All Hands On Deck team now provides food assistance five days a week in underserved, under-resourced areas throughout the City of St. Louis and North St. Louis County.


Since inception in 2016, the network has diverted a staggering 195,000 pounds of food annually from landfills, totaling approximately 1.4 million pounds to date. What sets All Hands On Deck apart is our commitment to inclusivity. Food SHARES are open to ALL without any qualifying criteria regarding residency, income, proof of identification etc., ensuring that no one in need is turned away. SHARE stands for Share Health And Resources Equitably, which embodies our ethos of fairness and accessibility.


In addition to addressing food insecurity, All Hands On Deck prioritizes sustainability. Donations received from local grocery stores and big box retailers are distributed—same day—to the community. We establish a direct line of distribution to those in need. Before composting the last remnants, surplus food that is past human grade but still edible is repurposed as animal feed for chickens, rabbits, and even a patron’s peacock! This aligns with the EPA’s Wasted Food Scale, which advocates for the donation or upcycling of surplus food before resorting to landfill disposal or composting.


All Hands On Deck’s grassroots movement transforms and nurtures community spirit too. SHARES are more than just food distribution sites. Each SHARE location has become a community hub where residents don’t just access food, they share, connect, exchange information and ideas, and support each other—all while contributing to environmental sustainability and helping decrease landfill waste. SHARES help heal divides - with an inclusive, diverse team of volunteers and patrons.


Support for All Hands On Deck;s vital mission can take many forms, from donations to volunteering. To learn more about how you can contribute, reach out to Amir or J at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For those in need of food assistance, our SHARE Leads operate five food SHAREs at various locations throughout the city each week, ensuring that help is always within reach. Our weekly calendar is posted on our AHOD Facebook page. 


Lastly, we would like everyone to get ready for an exciting day of fun in the community at our upcoming All Hands On Deck Community Clean Up and Resource Fair in Fairgrounds Park! Our event is held twice a year on the third Saturdays in May and October. Don’t miss the opportunity to join us as we come together to beautify the community, connect with valuable resources, make a difference for residents, and strengthen our bond with the community we serve.


How Restaurants are Redirecting Food Waste

Author: Anna Chott, Sustainability Planner, East-West Gateway Council of Governments



Restaurants in St. Louis can help those in need and reduce their waste and carbon footprint by donating unsold food. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act and the 2023 FDA Food Code allows restaurants to donate properly stored and labeled food to individuals or to food pantries and charities. In 2023, restaurants participating in the Green Dining Alliance collectively diverted 6,552 tons of food waste from landfills, or the equivalent of 11,293,361.36 CO2e. Some of this food was donated to organizations that serve people in need, such as Anointed Hands Ministries, Feed My Peeps, Joseph Center, Operation Food Search, and SLU Campus Kitchen. Other restaurants interested in donating excess food should visit the Green Dining Alliance website and look under resources for food donation.


The EPA's Wasted Food Scale points out that donation of excess food should be a high priority to reduce environmental impacts. Even more important, restaurant donations are a source of temporary relief for organizations working to address food insecurity. However, the Wasted Food Scale points out that while food donation is important, the top priority should be to prevent wasted food by only producing, buying, and serving what is needed. After all, not all leftover food is appropriate to donate to support a balanced diet, or even still edible. This is why local food donation agencies, in order to address food insecurity in a more permanent way, have turned to policy advocacy and community garden efforts.

Restaurants in the Green Dining Alliance have incorporated other food waste reduction strategies such as composting, adjusting portion sizes, and making new recipes to use all parts of a food item (for example, carrot top vinaigrette!). According to the EPA's Wasted Food Scale, after prevention and donation, the next priority is to feed food waste to animals, then compost, and only as a last resort send it to the landfill, where it will emit the potent greenhouse gas methane as it decomposes. To learn more about the Green Dining Alliance and their food waste reduction efforts, click here.


The Importance of Banking & Investing for the Climate

People often debate the best things individuals can do to help reduce their contributions to the climate crisis. An often-overlooked action with one of the biggest effects is to avoid investing in fossil fuels.


It is estimated that avoiding oil and gas investments in your 401(k) can save 22 tons of carbon emissions per year. The following actions combined only add up to 16 tons: getting an electric car, installing solar, going vegan, not flying, buying recyclable materials only, composting waste, installing a heat pump, buying organic, buying local, upcycling waste, and unplugging devices. Banking and investing thoughtfully takes a bit of time but can have a big impact.


Roughly $1 trillion is invested in fossil fuel companies through Americans’ retirement plans. Find out how you and your workplace can make your retirement plans more climate friendly, and learn more about approaching your company about revising their 401(k) options. Make sure you have a stable planet to retire on as well as savings to retire with! 


You also can investigate savings and checking accounts that have a lower climate impact. According to Project Drawdown, every $1,000 a person has in savings is roughly equivalent to the direct emissions generated by flying from New York to Seattle every year. They claim that moving from a carbon-intensive bank to a climate-responsible bank could reduce the personal banking emissions of an average person in the U.S. by 76%. Learn more about reducing the impact of your bank accounts


Success Spotlight: Reduced Parking Requirements in Richmond Heights

Author: Anna Chott, Sustainability Planner at East-West Gateway Council of Governments

Minimum parking requirements can act as a barrier to sustainable development, resulting in a lost opportunity for more productive land uses (as outlined in the popular book The High Cost of Free Parking, by Donald Shoup). However, changing policies to reduce expansive unused parking lots in suburban areas is much easier said than done. For the first time, the City of Richmond Heights is right-sizing its minimum parking requirements, as a result of the city’s comprehensive planning process. 


Richmond Heights’ comprehensive plan points out, "In some parts of the community, parking is compact and has created a walkable environment. In others though, significant parking around large commercial areas has created expansive asphalt, negatively impacting the environment and pedestrian safety."


Residents engaged during the city’s comprehensive planning process noted a preference for dense, mixed-use development and vibrant, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Auto-oriented retail and shopping centers were least preferred when considering future redevelopment opportunities in the city. 


A growing number of cities and towns across the U.S. are starting to reform their parking rules. The City of St. Louis is considering changes to its zoning code near proposed Metrolink stations, including requiring slightly less parking, as well a context-appropriate increase in density.


Richmond Heights’ comprehensive plan points out "Typical municipal parking standards for retail development today are greater than what is now required. Particularly if new uses are added on or near retail developments, parking standards should be reconsidered, freeing up valuable real estate for new development." The parking lot south of the Galleria, in particular, offers an opportunity for mixed-use development which would be made possible by addressing minimum parking requirements. After the comprehensive planning process, a parking study was completed to better understand parking demand and activity. At the February city council meeting, Bill No. 5679 was approved to amend section 405.330 of the city's municipal code to right-size parking minimums and allow for shared parking. The change in the number of minimum required spaces is available here

For more information about reducing parking minimums, check out the tool for Parking Requirements in the OneSTL Toolkit.


Clean School Buses Coming to the Region


Awards from the EPA's Clean School Bus Program Grants competition were recently announced for Cahokia Heights, East St. Louis, and Granite City in Illinois. In Missouri, the Ferguson-Florissant School District and Ritenour School District received funding for clean school buses. Funding was also awarded to a third party that will provide clean school buses to Normandy Schools Collaborative and Saint Louis Public Schools. Electrifying school buses can help reduce air pollutants that can be harmful to the health of children, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxide (NOx). Electric buses also have a reduced greenhouse gas emissions footprint, compared to diesel buses.

Find press releases below for awards in each state: