Archive for April, 2010

Start Composting On Your Own

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

If you have seen the effects of composting on other gardens, or if you know that a compost heap can severely reduce your ecological footprint and save a great deal of space in the landfills, you already know that you are interested in putting one together, but you may be a little bit uncertain as to how to get started.  A healthy and thriving compost heap is something that takes some time and effort to get rolling, but you’ll find that with a little bit of information that it is really quite straightforward!

The first thing that you need to do is to start thinking of things in terms of what can and cannot go into your compost pile.  Brown materials include things like leaves and hay, but you’ll find that they also include clean shredded paper, cardboard rolls, dryer lint that hasn’t used dryer sheets, and shredded newspapers count as well.  Green materials are things like grass clipping, vegetable leavings, tea bags, coffee grounds, manure and fruit trimmings.  Green and brown materials can be used in your composting, while things like cat litter, colored paper, dairy products and greasy materials, should be kept away.

To make a traditional compost pile, you’ll need both green and brown materials, and you can put them into a pile that is roughly two to three feet square.  You can also work with a compost bin, which will let you keep the pile more contained; some bins even give you the option of tumbling the compost to increase the heat reaction.

After you have your compost pile together, you should add a little bit of garden soil or a compost booster in order to help with the break down.  You’ll find that this is something that you can do to get it started, but that you can also do it from time to time to keep things happening.

Make sure that your turn your compost pile several times a week to keep up the oxygen flow and to help things break down very quickly.  You’ll also need to keep your compost pile a little damp, but not soaking wet; you’ll find that this will  encourage a good breakdown of the components involved.

When you are considering composting, you’ll find that there are many things to consider, but you’ll find that with the information listed above, you can get yourself off to a great start!

Green Reuse Basics

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Reuse – it is a pretty easy to understand concept. You reuse what you use, we often do this whether we realize it or not in many cases. Think about it, we reuse leftovers from the previous nights dinner, we reuse containers for many different reasons, reusing is one part of green living that helps us improve not only our own lives, but our environment at the same time.

The entire goal for reusing is to reduce the amount of waste altogether. By implementing the three “R’s” into our lives, which are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, we are creating a better place to live in as a whole. We are reducing the amount of waste in our landfills, which is a big problem as many landfills are overrun as it is. We are reducing the natural resources being used, saving energy, and even creating new jobs.

It is really amazing how doing something so trivial in the eyes of some can have such a major impact on our lives. Even with technology as great as it is, we lack in some areas, specifically in the art of green living. In this area, Reuse means to take something that had been or might otherwise be throw away, but still in usable condition and reusing it or redeveloping it for use again.

How to Take Advantage of Reuse:

Remanufacturing – This is one way to ensure that items of old are not simply thrown away, but instead, remanufactured and reused. Some items such as toner, printer ink, one time disposable cameras, and electronics can be remanufactured for sale again. This reduces the amount of waste and keeps our resources booming.

Recycle for Money – In some places, you pay a deposit on a plastic or glass container and once you return this contain, you get your deposit back. The same type of deal holds true in many areas with aluminum cans. However, there is generally not a deposit require for aluminum cans.

Regiving – This is a popular form of reuse. This has been in existence for many years. However, it is being thought as a green living tactic now. When items are cluttering your home, you no longer use them, or no longer want them, why not give them to someone else, instead of throwing them away. This could be to your family members, friends, or even to thrift stores, charities, antique stores, or however you choose to give your items away.

Reusing is one step to improving our environment. When you reuse, you are doing your part to save the landfill from overrunning, you are saving our environment, and you are doing good for someone else.

Home Composting

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Home composting has been popular for many years. It is a great way to save on waste and creates a nutrient filled compost for your garden. What is more, home composting can actually save you money. There are many different ways to start home composting and in this article we will discuss some of them.

First, let’s talk about why you want to create a compost pile. First, it reduces the amount of waste within your home, particularly with fruits and vegetables, left over foods and such. Second, it saves you money in having to purchase fertilizer, and third, because it is really very healthy for your garden.

Many people choose to create a compost pile within their yard. This is a great way to get started with home composting. Compost is created from a balance of brown materials such as leaves or hay and green materials such as vegetable tops or grass. They should be alternated brown, green, brown, green, into layers. The pile should start at about three feet in height and width.

Of course, soil or booster may be desired, but is not necessary. These items work to help the break down process occur more quickly and efficiently. Each week, you should turn your pile several times, this allows oxygen to flow, which boosts the speed of break down.

If you do not have the yard space or do not want to deal with a pile such as this, you can take home composting to another level and do it within your home. Compost bins are designed specifically for this. They take up minimal space and actually assist in speeding up the break down process.

Within your home, specify a compost container that is especially for your kitchen scraps. This is an easy way  to save your scraps and save yourself time as well. Empty it regularly within your compost bin or pile.

How To Guide To Recycling

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Recycling has become one of the best ways to “save the world” today. Why? Because it is in the reach of the average consumer. There are several areas where the earth needs help, but as the average person we do not always have control over those areas, even if we want them. However, by recycling, we are doing our part to reduce, reuse, and ultimately, recycle.

How do I Start Recycling?

Starting recycling is very easy thanks to the many services provided in our communities today. Many households are taking advantage of these services and now, with a little knowledge, so can you.

Here’s How!

1.    Save Recyclables – You can tell what is recyclable by looking at the bottom of the container or material. There should be a triangular type sign that indicates that it can be recycled. Within this sign, there is generally a number, this will tell you what type of material it is, which will also help in determining where to recycle.
2.    Rinse  and Clean – One of the key factors in making a recyclable suitable is ensuring that the container is clean and rinsed out.
3.    Recycle – Many communities have drop off locations in several areas. Perhaps in your area this might be a business in which does the recycling for you. On the other hand, such as in my area, we have four stations set up in parking lots of major businesses that gives us the opportunity to drop off our recyclables whenever necessary.

Those are the basics of recycling; however, there is more:

What can you recycle?

•    Glass
•    Aluminum Cans – In some areas, you can make money from recycling aluminum cans
•    Plastic
•    Tin
•    Cardboard
•    Paper
•    Metals – Generally, must be taken to an approved facility
•    Motor Oil – At approved facilities
•    Paint – At approved facilities
•    Batteries – At approved Facilities

What is great about recycling is that nearly everything we use in our lives can be recycled. When you recycle a material, it is then taken to a facility, cleaned, melted or otherwise conformed into something new. Doing this is actually saving our natural resources and creating a cleaner, safer, and more enjoyable environment.

Other Ways To Recycle

If you do not have facilities such as those listed above or simply cannot get to them, find out if your area has curbside collections. This is different from the weekly garbage collection, but has the same general idea. If offered, many will offer special containers to place the recyclables into and they will pick it up from the curb, just as the garbage men do.

Why Recycle?

1.    Saves Space in Landfills
2.    Saves on Energy
3.    Creates Jobs and Saves Money
4.    Creates Less Pollution
5.    Saves our Natural Resources

So remember the three “R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

Waste Reduction At Home

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

So, you are looking to start doing your part to save your family, your environment, and the world around you. It is a pretty hefty task when you really think about it. After all, you are just one person; how on earth can you save the world? Well, here are some facts to help you understand:

1.    One Aluminum Can – By recycling just one Pepsi (or other choice beverage) can, you have just saved three hours worth of energy. Three hours worth of operating a television.
2.    One Glass Bottle – Think of a 100-watt light bulb, with just one glass bottle, you have just saved enough energy to light that bulb for four hours.
3.    One Pound of Steel – You have just saved energy suitable to operate a 60-watt light bulb for twenty-four hours.

Now, if you can do all of that in just “ones” – one can, one bottle and one pound, think of what you can do in multiples. One person really can make a difference and it all starts at home. So, how can you implement waste reduction at home? It is easier than you think and all it takes is a little thought, perhaps a little effort – but not much, and you are on your way. Here is some ideas to help you get started:

1.    Go Reusable – Instead of purchasing disposable items, purchase those that are reusable
2.    Go Rechargeable – Instead of using disposable batteries, use rechargeable batteries. They last longer anyways.
3.    Be Re-inventive – Instead of throwing away items that look worn or unusable, why not “reinvent” them. For example, if clothing cannot be worn again, use them as rags. If furniture looks bad, reupholster.
4.    Give Away, Don’t Throw Away – Many items that we throw away are still usable, but just not to us. Give them away, this could mean charity, friends, family, thrift shops, consignment stores, and so forth.
5.    Used Isn’t So Bad – Instead of buying new, consider buying used items. This is “Reuse” at its best.
6.    Reuse Filters – Instead of purchasing filters that can be thrown away, why not get the reusable kinds. This includes filters for heaters, air conditioners, and even your coffee maker.
7.    Recycle – This should be a key factor in waste reduction at home. Recycle paper, plastics, glass, aluminum, and metals.
8.    Don’t Have Adequate Recycling Facilities – Get a group of people together and take a stand in your community. Get involved!

There are so many things that you, as just one person, can do to make the world a better place to live. These are just a few of the MANY different activities you can start, just at home.

Water Conservation 101

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Many people believe that water is something that will always be available. That there is a never-ending supply in our world of water. However, the real truth is that this is not true. There are shortages in the water supply at every turn, you may not realize it, but the crisis concerning our water is real and alive.

Therefore, we should learn how to conserve water now, in order to prevent further shortages and affect our children and grandchildren later. The good news is that with just a few things, you can save water in your home, garden, and even harvest rainwater to really help in the conservation efforts.

The following are some helpful tips that will help you conserve your own water, which will help the environment and save you money together.

Leaky Faucets

Do you have faucets that drip or pipes that leak? If so, this is a very common example of water waste. Fix these items, even if you have to call a plumber. It will help in your water bill and conserve water at the same time.

Low Flows

When you invest in shower heads with a lower flow or toilets with a low flush level, you are working to conserve water. This will help you cut down the amount of water you are using every time you or your family showers, as well as the amount of water being used when the toilet is flushed.

Running Water

One thing that many of us do is leave the water running for no real reason. For example, if your washing dishes, many people leave the rinse water running while washing. Some people leave the water running while brushing their teeth. Shut the water off and turn it back on when you need it. This is something relatively simple, but makes a big impact.

Washing Dishes

When washing and rinsing your dishes, if you are doing them by hand, make sure that you do not use the water on full stream. Adjust the stream to the smallest that you can manage to get the job done, but minimize the waste of water at the same time.

If you have a dishwasher, make use of it. However, make sure that the dishwasher is energy efficient and that you are only doing full loads of dishes with each operation. If you cannot have a full load, adjust your machine accordingly.

Doing Laundry

We all have to do laundry, but be sure that you are using a washing machine that is energy efficient. However, you should also make sure that you are doing full loads, instead of smaller ones. Just by using an energy efficient washing machine, you can save as much as 40% water in your household.

Learning water conservation 101 is the first step in doing your part to create a brighter and better place for us to live.