City of Beloit Sustainability Initiatives

The Beloit City Council proclaimed that the City of Beloit will support State, Federal and International efforts to reduce GHG emissions with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. Read the proclamation...

Residents who are interested in becoming more sustainable in their everyday life should go to the Focus On Energy website for ideas and tips.

Items from the February 28, 2022, City of Beloit virtual sustainability forum can be located at



On December 17, 2007, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution adopting the Eco-Municipality Sustainable Guidelines for the City of Beloit.


Those guidelines are:


  • Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels
  • Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in nature
  • Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems
  • Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently 


This resolution supports the City of Beloit's goal of being an eco-municipality, a municipality that aspires to develop an ecologically, economically and socially healthy community for the long term. A sustainable municipality meets basic economic, social, and security needs without undermining the natural resource base and the environmental quality. The goal of a sustainable organization is to have biological systems remain diverse and productive over time.


Beloit, like many municipalities, increasingly supports initiatives to carry out sustainable development projects such as green building programs, open space preservation, public space beautification, recycling, and smart growth planning. While these are all progress toward sustainable goals, most of our work is being done an in a project-by-project basis. The purpose of the eco-municipality program is to fully integrate these efforts throughout municipal government and the larger community.


While this organization is no longer active, its founding principles are still valid.


Residents who are interested in becoming more sustainable in their everyday life should go to the Focus On Energy website for ideas and tips.






The following list of programs, projects and activities are all green focused activities that the City has either completed or currently has underway to help protect our local environment, promote energy efficiency and help meet the Eco-Municipality guidelines:


1. Strategic Planning


The concept of Sustainability is embedded in the City’s Strategic Plan. Every individual goal is defined to “create and sustain …” incorporating the idea that sustainability is not a project – it is a way of life and governance. 




2. Action Items for Council


Every item that comes before the City Council is summarized in a Staff Report to Council that includes an impact statement of sustainability:


Provided is a sample of the 2019 City of Wastewater Compliance Maintenance Annual Report as an example:


(If applicable, briefly comment on the sustainable long term impact of this policy or program related to how it will impact both the built and natural environment. Consider whether the policy or program will reduce dependence upon fossil fuels, reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufacturing substances that accumulate in nature, reduce dependence on activities that harm life sustaining eco-systems, and/or meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently.)


1. Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels: The Water Resources Division (WRD) continuously seeks and identifies areas to utilize byproducts of the treatment process. As an example, we utilize the bio-gas (methane) generated in its anaerobic digestion process to fire boilers which, in turn, is used to heat digesters.


2. Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufacturing substances that accumulate in nature: In order to prevent disease-causing organisms from entering the Rock River, the WRD uses sodium hypochlorite/sodium bisulfite to disinfect the effluent. Although this method has worked well, UV radiation is being proposed for 2022.


3. Reduce dependence on activities that harm life sustaining eco-systems: The WRD continues to enhance its public education program to make the public aware of activities that reduce the amount of harmful products discharged to the sanitary and storm sewer system.


4. Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently: A properly operated and maintained wastewater treatment facility and collection system is critical to sustain and improve the Lower Rock River Watershed for current and future generations.


3. City-wide curbside recycling


The City maintains a comprehensive curbside recycling program for all residential properties in the community. Plastic, glass, metal, paper and cardboard are all co-mingled into a single container for collection. The City also maintains a drop-off center for household waste including electronics, tires, waste oil, and batteries. The City also runs a number of specialty programs related to household hazardous waste and items that can be harmful if disposed of improperly. Detailed information on the City’s recycling program and an interactive disposal guide can be found on our website at


The City maintains a diversion rate of 37%. Diversion rate materials are those materials that are potentially recyclable and have been diverted out of the waste disposal stream and therefore not put into landfills. These items include but are not limited to commingled recyclables (plastic, metal, glass) paper, electronics, tires, batteries, waste oil, antifreeze, scrap metals, freon units, microwave units, and appliances.


The City residents divert an average of 6,000 tons of recycling from the landfill each year. This shows immense environmental stewardship and city pride; as residents are active participants in Beloit's recycling initiative.


4. Tree City USA Designation


The City of Beloit celebrates our 33rd anniversary of a sustained recognition as a Tree City, USA. This designation is made by the National Arbor Day Foundation to cities that have demonstrated a sustained effort at not only maintaining but replacing trees throughout the City (April 2021). Beloit maintains an annual line item in the capital budget for tree planting and has incorporated trees and landscaping where appropriate on all of its major arterial and collector street reconstruction projects. Substantial tree planting has also been done along existing roadways and in parks and other City facilities.


The City of Beloit has made significant investment in our forestry program over the last few years to remove ash trees that were harmed by the emerald ash borer and to replant a diverse mix of trees to better protect our environment.


5. LED Bulbs Used in Traffic Signals and Street Lights


The City participated in a program initiative made available through Alliant Energy. The purpose of this program was to provide the financing necessary for municipal governments to replace all of the bulbs in their traffic signals with new LED lights. All of the traffic signals in the City of Beloit have LED bulbs in them. LED light bulbs function just as well as regular incandescent bulbs, but have a much longer lifespan and much lower energy consumption. The City standard specification is to install LED light bulbs in traffic signals and is planned for the new signals at Gateway/Amazon and White/Prince Hall.


6. Building Energy Conservation


In 2010, the City completed an $800,000 project to improve energy efficiency in a number of City facilities. Some older, inefficient mechanical equipment was replaced and buildings were fully weatherized. Some light fixtures were changed and automatic shut-off light switches were installed throughout the City facilities.


7. Liquid Brine and Geo-Melt used for Winter Snow and Ice Control


The City pioneered the use of Geo-melt, which is an organic based beet juice product that helps with ice and snow removal from public streets with minimal environmental impact. Public Works staff designed and built a brine blending station, which is now an integral component of the City’s winter storm response program. The facility has a series of piping and valves blending liquid salt brine with geo-melt and calcium chloride, based upon weather and temperature conditions. This mixture is sprayed on the road prior to a storm to melt the snow at the onset of the storm. This action prevents the snow from bonding to the road so when we plow it cleans it down to the pavement. The liquid is also applied to the rock salt, allowing it to perform at a lower temperature. The use of brine, however, has substantially reduced the amount of rock salt that must be used to respond to winter storm conditions, not only saving substantial sums of money, but also minimizing the adverse environmental impacts of using rock salt on the public streets.


  • The City uses Joma and Polar Flex blades which saves the City $17,000 annually in blade replacement fees.
  • By pre-wetting salt, Beloit reduced 32% of salt bounce scatter, keeping 68% of salt on the road and out of vegetation and waterways.


8. Construction and Site Development Standards


The City has site review, architectural review, and landscaping standards for all new construction or reconstruction projects. The City’s development standards not only result in aesthetically pleasing construction projects, which blend into the existing streetscape, but also result in substantial landscaping and tree planting as a part of all new private development.


9. In-House E-Government Savings


As a part of the e-government initiative, the City of Beloit has taken steps to reduce its dependence on paper usage and the associated services. The City discourages printing large documents and we produce our largest documents such as the City Council meeting packet, the annual Strategic Plan, and the Annual Budget electronically.


10. Fleet


Public Works is always looking for ways to reduce expenses, especially with fluctuating fuel prices. Diesel powered heavy duty equipment are equipped with automatic shutdown timers, set at 10 minutes to reduce extended idle time. The automated solid waste trucks utilize GPS routing to maximize efficiency. Drivers are also trained in sustainable driving practices


11. Solar Panels


Photovoltaic solar panels were installed on the roof of the Police Department with the financial assistance of a Department of Energy grant. The energy produced by these panels ties into the electrical system at City Hall and reduces the amount of energy that the City purchases. You can  view the energy production of the City's photovoltaic solar panels in real-time.




12. Staff Sustainability Committee


A small group of staff members representing variety of departments and divisions has planned and implemented several of the projects listed in this report. One of the committee’s most recent projects was to plan, secure outside funding and install the City owned Electric Vehicle Charging stations located in the Iron Works South Parking Lot. Since its commissioning in the summer of 2019, it has seen consistent high usage. The Committee also helped launch the transition to the paperless packets project. The Beloit City Council along with ten other City boards and commissions all have the ability to access their packets via the City of Beloit website prior to the meeting on their own personal devices and during the meetings via iPads located in locations that the meetings are held. Since its launch, the project has saved thousands on paper costs. Lastly, the Committee hosted the Beloit Open Streets/Open Doors event on Saturday, August 25, 2018. During the event downtown streets were closed to showcase downtown Beloit and encourage non-motorized transportation and healthy living. Attendees were able to enjoy the Farmers market and use three different bridges to complete various loops around downtown


13. Public Education


A number of City Departments, such as the Division of Water Resources, spend time and energy education the public about environmental impacts and ways to create a more sustainable community. The City also recently partnered with the Welty Center located at Big Hill Park to bring in a herd of goats to both functionally remove weeds but also to educate the public about sustainable ways to address overgrowth areas.


The City has also embarked on a plan to reduce the amount of traditional grass and substitute with natural species or alternative materials to reduce mowing. The newly reconstructed Prairie Avenue is an excellent example.


14. Neighborhood Cleanup and Resource Fairs – 2019


The City of Beloit partnered with Community Action and Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin to host two neighborhood cleanups and resource fairs, an idea that was spurred from community listening sessions in the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas. Identified neighborhood needs included trash clean up and connecting residents to services.

In addition to picking up litter in the Hackett and Merrill neighborhoods, a dumpster was available for the proper disposal of old computers, televisions, computers and tires. The resource fair also connected the neighborhood to services that exist to serve them. Even the Beloit Fire Department and Beloit Police Department got involved; the firefighters were passing out books with Literacy for Life and the police officers were grilling up hot dogs for the community.

15. Land Management Plans

The City of Beloit provides opportunities for residents to plant native grasses and plants that will help the environment by providing food for insects, birds, bats and other wildlife. Native plants can also help minimize flooding and filter out pollutants. However, it has to be done in accordance with the city’s ordinance. Tall grass and weeds can cause problems for neighborhoods, such as providing a space for disease-carrying rodents.

City ordinance (7.235) requires that all property be kept free from noxious weeds. Additionally, weeds and grass must be no longer than 8 inches unless the property has an approved land management plan permit. The steps for a land management plan are below; typically these plans include native grasses, prairie grasses, and other native/prairie plantings. Learn More...

Last updated 8/22/2022 12:16:26 PM