What is sustainability?

Sustainability is based on the principle that the essentials we need to survive depend on a healthy natural environment. For example, clean air and water, healthy soil for food, lumber for shelter. To pursue sustainability means to create the conditions under which people and nature can productively coexist and support each other. It means making sure our practices and decisions contribute to quality of life today without jeopardizing the health, safety, security, and economic opportunities of those who come after us. A sustainability approach helps protect and preserve the natural environment, which contributes to well-being, a prosperous economy, and a vibrant and equitable community for all.

The three Ps of sustainability are planet, people and prosperity. The well being of our people and a prosperous economy depend upon a healthy environment.

The nested model of sustainability illustrates our dependence on a healthy environment to support social well-being, which in turn enables a robust economy. In other words, without a healthy environment, our community would be unable to achieve social well-being and economic success.

What is the City of Sioux Falls doing now?

Activities include recycling and waste reduction efforts, water quality programs, LED streetlight replacement, community education and outreach, and nature-based stormwater solutions.

Sustainability efforts have resulted in the following accomplishments:

  • In 2019, there were 29,000 visits to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility; 118,000 pounds of hazardous waste were reused, 563,000 pounds of hazardous waste recycled, and 1.1 million pounds of e-waste recycled.
  • Since 2004, over 21 million pounds of e-waste and household hazardous waste has been recycled and diverted.
  • Since 2003, 5 billion gallons of water have been conserved through the Water Conservation Program.
  • In 2019, landfill gas energy generated nearly $1 million in revenue for the City and reduced City methane emissions by approximately 8,000 tons.
  • As of 2019, 22% of streetlights have been replaced with LED bulbs, for a 46% reduction in energy use and savings of $150,000.
  • In 2019, the Water Reclamation Plant’s SiouxperGrow Program reused of approximately 1,200 dry tons of biosolids that were applied to farm fields as fertilizer. This program prevents landfilling approximately 3000 dry tons of material annually.
  • Lime sludge, a byproduct from the water treatment process used by the City to treat its drinking water, is applied to farmers’ fields as a soil additive, providing an annual costs savings of over $200,000 to the division.