Whether at home in Mill Creek, on the go in Elkins, working on a job in Beverly, or attending school in Randolph County, WV, the little choices you make every day can have a big impact. There are things you can do to help make a difference. Read on to learn more.
Making a difference starts at home. From learning how to compost waste and practicing source reduction to going green all the way, there are many opportunities to reduce waste in your house. Whether recycling a used food container, upgrading your home to be more eco-friendly, or reusing and repurposing worn items, you can feel good knowing that your efforts truly matter.
You can save a hefty amount of paper by managing household expenses online. If you must maintain records, consider whether these can be stored in digital form, then printed as needed.
Allowing lawn grass to grow a little higher than usual from time to time can help improve root strength and overall grass health, keep your lawn cooler, reduce weed growth, and lower watering demands.
Electronic devices continue to consume electricity when they’re plugged in – even when you aren’t using them. When retiring for the night, leaving for work, and going away for more than a few hours, get in the habit of unplugging all unnecessary electronic equipment.
Make a hazardous waste sweep of your home and garage each year. Gather up any old cleaning agents, chemicals, paints, and hazardous items and plan to drop them off at your next community hazardous waste collection event.
When traveling, plan ahead to minimize waste with these helpful tips.
Look over your travel route in advance. Adjust as needed to access the shortest route and avoid letting your vehicle run idle in busy, congested areas.
Prepare and pack healthy sandwiches, cut veggies, fruit, cheeses, and other easy-to-eat finger foods in reusable containers. Store in a small cooler with ice and take along to avoid relying on commercial fast food restaurants.
Make your office more eco-friendly to save time and money.
Carefully consider whether or not you actually need to print documents and work files before doing so. In many cases, a file can be saved on an internal or external drive, backed up to a cloud server, or emailed to yourself for later review. You can always print later when you’re certain that it is required.
Look through your computer and printer or multifunction machine’s settings and adjust as needed to limit excessive tasks, minimize resource hungry applications, and improve the system’s energy efficiency. Program machines to automatically hibernate and shutdown. Set up dual-sided printing and lower ink usage by setting “draft” quality on non-critical print jobs, and resize fonts on your private documents to the smallest visible setting you can read.
Business offices create one of the world’s largest demands for paper manufactured from forest products. When possible, use whiteboards, projectors, and digital media to analyze logs, transmit communications, and perform similar tasks.
Ask your school administrators if a composting program is in place for paper, cafeteria waste, and other eligible items. If not, consider volunteering to help get a program established.
Before buying new materials, consider whether existing supplies have useful life remaining. When shopping for supplies, chose high-quality items that are built to last and packaged with minimal packing.
Many types of school and office supplies are now available made with recycled materials. These products are safe, clean, and made to perform as well or better than those made with raw or virgin materials. Your purchase helps ensure manufacturers know consumers support their efforts.
Compost is a valuable, nutrient-rich addition to the soil of your lawn and garden. It helps soil hold moisture, resist erosion, and keeps valuable organic material out of our landfills.
Composting can be as easy as tossing the correct ratio of green and brown kitchen, lawn and garden waste into a pit and turning with a pitchfork periodically until it mellows and matures enough for garden usage (typically about one year). If you’d like to try composting, you can make it easier on your family by providing a covered kitchen bin lined with biodegradable bags. Outdoors, you can mature your compost in a pit, build a structure to hold your compost as it matures, or purchase a commercially available composting unit. The choice is yours, as all work equally well with proper maintenance.
Although there is a wide range of ratios that will work just fine, you can initially aim for a compost mixture which consist of about four parts BROWN organic material to one GREEN organic material. You can adjust later as needed.
Source of carbon, adds bulk & improves air flow
Source of nitrogen, adds nutrients
Your compost pile should be placed in a warm location where it will receive several hours of sun exposure per day. It should be watered and mixed or turned with a pitchfork or shovel every 3 to 7 days, weather permitting.
Ideally, you will want to cover your compost to help retain the heat and moisture that work to mature your compost and help prevent rodents, flies, maggots, and pests from accessing your material. Proper drainage should be provided at the base of your compost structure.
When the compost takes on a uniform dark brown color and exhibits a fresh, earthy smell, it is ready to be tilled into your garden soil.
You can go green by repurposing everyday household items and replacing environmentally harmful items with eco-friendly products. We have listed some of our favorite tips and ideas that are excellent in helping you live healthier, happier, and greener. There are many more tips and household hacks available online that you can find to help you and your family save money and keep materials out of landfills.
AT RCSWA, an important part of what we do is promoting the common-sense practice of source reduction (also known as waste prevention and waste reduction). When it comes to waste management, source reduction is the most preferable action we can take. When we decrease or eliminate waste before it is created, we simply have less waste to manage.
Source Reduction – Minimizing waste and pollution at its source; Reducing the amount of materials that enter the waste stream
Source reduction practices can include:
– Consumers choosing to opt-out of unnecessary shopping and carefully consider the necessity of new product purchases
– Consumers choosing reusable cloth bags instead of disposable single-use plastic bags
– Manufacturers reducing the volume and/or mass of consumer products
– Manufacturers decreasing the toxicity load of their products
-Manufacturers using clean materials to produce high-quality products designed and manufactured to last
Over time, many product manufactures began building larger, more valuable items such as appliances, vacuums, radios, TVs, telephones, vehicles, luxury consumer goods, and even homes with low-quality, inferior materials. These products were intentionally designed to fail or become obsolete with corporate policies of planned obsolescence. If you have felt that the quality of the products that makes up your world is falling fast, you would be correct. Unfortunately, the practice of creating inferior-grade products that are designed to fail so that you will have to keep buying them is, for the most part, absolutely legal with few exceptions such as infant cribs.