Going Green A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO
The Valley News & The Herald-Journal www.valleynewstoday.com / www.clarindaherald.com
Going Green in the kitchen
Precycling A proactive approach to recycling is even more earth-friendly
Pet Supplies for the Environmentally Consious
10 April 2012
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
Going green need not cost more green 20 inexpensive, eco-friendly ideas
THINK GREEN... Relying on public transportation to get to work is one cost-effective way to go green.
Many people think that adopting an ecofriendly lifestyle is expensive. Although there are some eco-conscious products and practices that can be pricey, most people
will find going green doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Installing extensive solar panels or switching to organically grown food are ways to be green, but such decisions can prove costly. Fortunately, there are many other ways to go green without spending much. 1. Wash laundry in cold water. Only use warm water when washing heavily soiled items 2. Clean filters in the car and home routinely. Clean filters enable items to operate more efficiently. 3. Turn down the temperature on the water heater. 4. Recycle everything that you can. If your town or city doesn't collect recyclables, bring them to the transfer or recycling center. 5. Buy recycled products. 6. Switch to a low-flow toilet or place a
water-filled plastic bottle in the toilet tank to cut down on the amount of water used. 7. Remove excess items, including golf clubs or fishing gear, from a car trunk to improve fuel efficiency. 8. Consider using public transportation. Oftentimes it's less expensive than commuting by car. 9. If possible, walk or bike to work instead of driving. 10.Work more from home if your company allows it. 11.When cooking smaller meals, save energy by using a microwave or toaster oven. 12.Mend clothing before buying new items.
Keep your car in good shape with regular oil changes and a tune-up!
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13.See if appliances or other items can be fixed before you shop for new things. 14.Use a water filter on your faucet instead of purchasing bottled water. 15.Compost food scraps for the garden. 16.Donate items that you no longer need or use. 17.Skip take-out food or convenience items, which use a lot of packaging and mass-produced meats. 18.Grow your own food and herbs in a backyard garden. 19.Bathe young children together to reduce water consumption. 20.Put on or remove layers of clothing instead of adjusting the thermostat in the house.
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
April 2012 11
GO GREEN in your garden Gardening can be a rewarding and relaxing hobby, one that allows gardeners to escape from the daily grind and soak up some sun. As rewarding as gardening can be, it's even more so when gardeners ply their trade in an eco-friendly way. Gardening with the environment in mind is something many gardeners might do already without even knowing it. The following are a few ways to garden in a way that's mutually beneficial to gardeners and the environment. Use mulch to conserve resources and reduce reliance on fertilizers. Conserving resources is one of the best ways to help the environment, and applying mulch is a great way to conserve water. Mulch helps the soil retain water, keeping the water from evaporating into the air, which means less watering for gardeners who want to keep their gardens looking lush and healthy. In addition to helping conserve water, mulch can also help reduce reliance on fertilizers. That's because mulch provides nutrients to the soil as it breaks down, providing an eco-friendly alternative for gardeners who don't want to rely on fertilizers to deliver nutrients to their soil. Plant more flowers. Planting
ECO-FRIENDLY... Planting more plants and flowers around the property is one way gardeners can garden in a more ecofriendly way.
flowers is another eco-friendly way to garden. Native flowers, in particular, can help maintain an area's natural ecosystem, providing food and shelter for insects and other wildlife. More flowers and plants around the property also means there will be significantly less grass to mow,
which reduces the amount of gas necessary to mow that grass in the warmer weather and the amount of greenhouse gases the lawn mower produces. In addition, less grass means less need for fertilizers and pesticides to maintain that grass. Choose gardening tools and
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products with the environment in mind. Veteran gardeners have a host of tools that help tackle every problem imaginable. But many older tools or gardening products might not be made of recycled materials. When shopping for gardening tools, whether you're a beginner who needs everything or
a veteran gardener whose tools have seen better days, choose products made from recycled materials. For example, many gardeners use mats to help reduce stress on their knees when kneeling down to garden. When buying a new mat, choose one made from recycled tires. But emphasizing recycled products shouldn't stop at the tool shed. Mulch, for instance, can be made from recycled rubber and won't impact the environment in a negative way. Just be sure to purchase recycled mulch that is nontoxic and does not consume natural resources. Live and let live. Insects might be a nuisance, but they can also be a gardener's best friend. Spraying insecticide simply because insects can be pesky is shortsighted and impractical. Certain spiders prey on other insects that can be harmful to a garden, while butterflies and bees help pollenate flowers. Earthworms are also very beneficial to a garden, helping to aerate and fertilize the soil and enabling plants to grow by removing harmful matter from the soil. Gardening is a rewarding hobby, one that is even more so when gardeners institute ecofriendly practices.
12 April 2012
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
Page County Landfill and Recycling Center April 22, 2012 is Earth Day! Join us on Earth Day and every day as we partner with you to improve our environment. Recycling is the easiest thing we can do to save energy, conserve natural resources and create green jobs. G We accept paper, cardboard and glass containers, metal containers and plastic (#1-#5) containers at 17 convenient locations throughout Page County for FREE! G We also take tires, appliances and electronics for a minimal charge. G Household hazardous waste drop off available monthly. Please call to set up an appointment time. HOURS: Monday-Friday 9 am-4:30 pm Saturday 9 am-11:30 am every Saturday April 1-Nov.30 9 am-11:30 am 1st Sat. morning of the month Dec. 1-March 31 Closed for normal holidays
Page County Landfill and Recycling Center 2032 N Avenue, Clarinda, IA 51632 712-542-4215 or 800-498-4777 FAX: 712-542-5858
Mandatory Recycling Tips from Recycling Center Glass Compartment: Bottles and Jars ONLY. NO windows or broken glass. Rinse Bottles and Jars, place loosely in compartment. Do NOT leave in bags or boxes. The aim here is to have glass BY ITSELF in the compartment so glass items will dump out easily and that there will be minimal sorting. This idea applies to all items in all compartments. Cans Compartment: Tin and Aluminum cans ONLY. (No nails, wire hangers or scrap metal of any kind. There is a freeof-charge scrap metal pile at the landfill for these items.) Rinse Cans out and place in compartment loosely. Do NOT place bags or boxes of cans in the compartment. Plastic Compartment: #1 - #7 Plastic Containers ONLY. No plastic grocery bags, styrofoam, vinyl siding, plastic toys, kitchen appliances, computers, etc. Place plastic in compartment loosely. Do NOT put plastic in any kind of bag. Paper & Cardboard Compartment: Please bag shredded paper in seethrough bags. Boxes must be emptied of styrofoam and plastic wrapping. Please flatten boxes to save room. Place paper and cardboard in compartment loosely. Do NOT put BAGS of paper in the compartment.
Please do not mix recyclables!
2 April 2012
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
Business Directory Bank Iowa (Clarinda & Villisca) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 4 Bank Iowa (Shenandoah, Essex, Red Oak) . . . . . . . . .Page 9 Brown’s Repair & Auto Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 10 Brown Sanitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 10 Clarinda Regional Health Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 11 EATON and Pella Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 9 Fareway Stores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 3 Green Plains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 5 McIntyre Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 7 Page County Federal Savings Assoc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 11 Page County Landfill and Recycling Center . . . . . . .Page 12 Snyder’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 3 Southwest M&M Sanitation Recycling . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 10 United Farmers Mercantile Coop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 6 Wrap It Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 4
617 W. Sheridan Ave., Shenandoah 712-246-3097 Shenandoah Sales Reps
Mark Anderson Rhonda Byers Rita Sliger Kathy Harvey
114 W. Main, Suite B, Clarinda 712-542-2181 Clarinda Sales Reps
Mandy Ford Rita Sliger
PLANNING VACATIONS... Keep the luggage light.
Going Green… On Vacation Taking a vacation can be good for mind, body, soul… and the environment By TESS GRUBER NELSON Staff Writer
Taking a vacation is good for the mind, body, and soul, but did you also it can be good for the environment as well? It’s true. Planning ahead and being ‘green’ while on vacation can not only helps the planet but also, can sometimes even save you a little green. First, use an electronic boarding pass. With technology the way it is today, an electronic bar code can be sent to your cell phone i-Pad or PDA. The bar code is then simply scanned by airport personnel and flight information is verified. This cuts down on paper boarding passes. Secondly, instead of renting a car, why not use public transportation? Once you arrive at your destination, take the subway, train, ferry, bus, or whatever means of transportation is prevalent in the area? If you do need to rent a car, choose a hybrid model or one that gets great gas mileage, and try to use it sparingly. Third, keep it light by not over packing. More luggage means heavier bags, which need more energy to transport. Additionally, there are placed to stay that offer laundry services, which will make it easier to pack less.
Next, reserve a room at an eco-friendly hotel; ones that are constructed out of green materials and operate using green operations. Another green suggestion while on vacation is to go digital, instead of a film camera or disposal camera. In today’s age, this may be the easiest and simplest way to go green on vacation. When out seeing the sights or lying on the beach – times when you’re not in your hotel room – conserve energy. Make sure you turn off the lights, appliances and air conditioning to save energy. Also, when it comes to your hotel room, re-use the linens. Must you have the sheets and towels washed every day if you’re staying for a week? Instead, hang up towels for re-use and let the cleaning staff know they can change the sheets every other day or more. Lastly, partake in local foods. Dine on what the "locals" eat instead of imported foods and beverages. The only exception is water. Bottled or filtered water is a must, especially if you are traveling to an area where the water condition is questionable. Going on vacation is about giving yourself a little break for the hustle and bustle of everyday life so; why not give the planet a little break too?
April 2012 3
Going Green... At the Pet Store
There are many pet supplies for the environmentally conscious.
By JASON GLENN Staff Writer
For pet owners who want to provide the best for their furry companions and try to reduce their impact on the environment, more and more ecologicallyfriendly options – from waste disposal systems to collars and leashes made from sustainable materials – are available nowadays. While some are a bit pricey, many are affordable, even free, practical solutions that can enhance the quality of a pet’s life as well as giving an owner peace of mind that comes with the awareness of and attention to the Earth’s finite resources. Waste is a continual problem of being a pet owner. If not properly disposed, it can harbor parasites and be a health issue and is simply an unpleasant thing to have laying around. Toilet and septic systems for dogs and cats can help eliminate the need to handle waste. The Cat Genie uses washable litter beads that drain liquid and a self-flushing and cleaning mechanism to put an end to traditional litter boxes. Similar to a septic system for a house, the Doggie Dooley Toilet is a unit that is installed in the yard. Owners place pet waste inside, and natural enzymes and bacteria break down the waste and leach it into the soil naturally, removing it
You call it a
PETS... Keep it safe and Go Green for your pets.
from the yard and preventing it from being washed into storm sewers. As for pets’ sleeping arrangements, there are many available that are made from recyclable materials such as plastic that is shredded into pillow stuffing. For any even better option, clothing or blankets that have lived past their wearable prime can be converted into beds that are free, reduce the amount of trash headed for landfills and may even benefit pets emotionally by carrying the owner’s scent and the comfort of familiar surroundings. While the price tag may be a tad
higher, pet products made from sustainable materials like hemp and organic cotton are durable and help reduce the amount of plastic products manufactured and, ultimately, discarded. There are many collars, leashes, chew toys and scratching post, just to name a few items, on the market that are made from these Earth-friendly materials. A trend in household cleaning is to move away from chemicalladen cleaning products and instead use non-toxic, biodegradable, natural products available in almost all grocery stores or even using affordable, time-tested
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home recipes for cleaners made from everyday supplies like baking soda and vinegar. The same can be said for keeping pets fresh and cleaning up the house after them. Environmentally-safe shampoos, detanglers and pet cleaning products are widely available and carry the added benefit of knowing cleanliness does not come at the cost of harsh chemicals. While all these efforts are admirable, though, perhaps the most environmentally responsible actions pet owners or even potential pet owners can take are not new or trendy, but long endorsed
methods to control the number of pets in the first place. Dr. John Brady of the Shenandoah Animal Hospital said the new eco-friendly products have not been a particularly hot commodity in the small towns and rural communities of the Midwest, possibly because people here seek common sense and affordable solutions rather than fashionable or dubious ones. Brady said the main thing pet owners should focus on, besides maintaining good daily nutrition and exercise habits, is having pets spayed and neutered and considering adopting previously owned pets. “The people who are doing that like Linda Hoefing with People for Paws and the group out of Clarinda and Red Oak are doing a really good job educating people on birth control for pets and that they have these pets, we don’t need to be breeding more,” Brady said, adding that thousands of pets are out there already, available for adoption and ready to become stable, trusted companions without unnecessarily adding to the overall population and, therefore, producing perhaps the greatest cumulative benefit to the environment. “If they had a home, they could be a more balanced individual and everybody would be happier. They have a lot to offer,” Brady said.
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4 April 2012
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
Reusing: A great and easy way to go green Chewing gum as an art medium? Beer as a hair serum? Surprisingly, these items and many more are reused every day, playing a host of roles they were never intended for. Before items are relegated to the trash, individuals can think about ways these same items can be reused and reincarnated into several other purposes. Today's younger generations have grown up in a time when disposable items are de rigueur. But long before disposable items became the norm, men, women and children were forced to make due with items that were long past their expiration dates, even reusing them in new ways. While this practice might have been replaced by the convenience of disposable items, eco-conscious citizens can still embrace this old and environmentally friendly trend. Find out if it can be fixed. An appliance on the fritz or a toy that has lost a part might not need to be discarded. Before finding the trash can, find out if the item can be fixed. It may take a short inquiry to the company or the work of a handyman to repair a broken item and set it right again, but such efforts are worth it. Polish pots. With thorough cooking and oxidation, copper
pots and even steel ones can begin to look dingy. Regular, old beer can be used as a polishing agent to get them to sparkle. Because of beer's subtle acidity, it can help boost shine without staining the metal like a higher-acidity liquid would. Embrace newspapers' versatility. There are millions of newspapers printed and used worldwide. The average household may have one or more newspapers delivered each week, and newsprint is also used for junk mail and advertisements. While recycling does help cut down on newspapers, there are other ways to put old papers to good use. Line the bottom of refrigerator drawers with the paper to catch spills and eliminate odors. Use shredded paper as kitty litter or in bird cages. Wrap unripe fruit in newsprint to help it ripen faster. You can also place newspaper at the bottom of a planting bed before you cover it with soil or mulch to keep away weeds. Give old jeans a new life. It's hard to part with that favorite pair of jeans sometimes. Whether they're stained or simply don't fit anymore, you can turn the denim into something new. Doll clothes are easily crafted from scraps of denim. Or, why not turn pieces of denim into a durable, reusable
shopping bag to take to stores? A patchwork quilt made of squares of denim can be used as a picnic blanket or beach throw in a pinch. Jeans can also be donated so the less fortunate can benefit from the clothing. Swap and share. Before buying anything, find out if others might lend you things that you need. You may not need a specialized power tool for more than a day or so, and borrowing items can allow you to do a test drive of sorts before you actually make a purchase. There are social networking sites that enable people to connect with others to share and swap things they have. One may have a bounty of backyard produce to share while another may have a collection of paperback books ready to be read. Clothing, baby items, toys, and the like can easily be shared or given away. One of the more popular neighborhood activities these days is to host a clothing swap party, where participants bring a set number of clothing items they no longer use (that are in good condition) and everyone swaps things to refresh their wardrobes at no cost. Recycle items to protect gadgets. Turn a child's empty juice box into a case for your smartphone. Knit or sew a cover
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April 2012 5
Clean patio furniture the green way Despite a mild winter for much of the country, many people are looking forward to dusting off the patio furniture and heading outside to enjoy the warmer weather that's on its way. If only it was as easy as that. Very often decks, patios and outdoor furniture need a little more than a quick clean-up to get them ready for the season. Too often people turn to harsh chemicals that, when washed away, can end up leaching into the surrounding ground and potentially the water supply. There are more environmentally friendly options available to get outdoor items prepped for entertaining. Those who have kids and pets or who are just interested in living an eco-friendly lifestyle, may wonder how to make patio furniture look like new without resorting to harsh chemical cleansers to do the job. Although it may take a little more elbow grease to do it the green way, here are some tips for cleaning up. Head into the kitchen. People are often surprised to find they have some of the most versatile cleaning products in their cabinets and possibly even the refrigerators. Baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice are good cleansers to try on
stubborn stains. Baking soda mixed with a little vinegar will create a foaming action that can help break through stains. Vinegar on its own is a natural deodorizer and can clean chrome and glass without leaving behind streaks. Baking soda mixed with a little water can be used as a scouring paste applied with a stiff-bristled brush, and it has even been shown to remove rust stains on some metal surfaces. The acidity of lemon juice can help cut through oily messes and gummy substances. Put some pressure behind the cleaning. Don't underestimate the power of plain water -- especially if it's being directed at dirt at a high velocity. Pressure washers are ideal for cleaning off mold, mildew and even leaf and bug stains from many surfaces, including concrete. Set the power washer at an acceptable spray size because, if it's too concentrated, the spray can cause other damage. Get steamed for cleaning. Steam is a popular and green method of cleaning indoor floors, counters and other surfaces. Steam can also be tried on resin furniture or other materials to loosen debris, enabling the dirt to be wiped off with little elbow grease. Steam can also disinfect surfaces
without the need for chemicals. Look for green cleaning products. For those who prefer the power of a spray-bottle, select products that have been approved for use by notable environmental agencies. These cleaning items will be free from damaging ingredients. Just be sure to check the ingredient list before making any purchases. Bleach it. Diluted bleach is one of the most effective cleaning and disinfecting combinations around. Because bleach is an organic chemical, it can be introduced back into the environment without doing much damage, provided it is substantially diluted. Check the color-fastness of the materials that will be cleaned in an inconspicuous spot prior to doing the whole surface. Cover it. Sometimes the stains are so set in that they are not able to be scoured clean. In such instances, consider the use of eco-friendly fabrics to cover patio furniture upholstery. In addition, look for green paints that can be used to go over metal and even plastic furniture for a new look. Get set for the season of entertaining by prepping outdoor items in an environmentally friendly way.
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WARM WEATHER... There are many different environmentally friendly methods for cleaning patios and furniture.
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6 April 2012
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
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Go Green with Real Wood So many decking materials in stores today ... which one to choose? If a beautiful, usable, long-lasting deck is your goal -- and you'd like to do your part to protect the environment -- then the choice is obvious: real, natural, authentic wood. Wood has been a part of outdoor living for centuries: the first pine sawmill was at Jamestown about 400 years ago. Look around: so many historic homes and sites feature wood -- because it's always been one of the best building products on the market. Wood is ever-present by the seashore (docks, marsh walkways, fishing piers, boardwalks), in the mountains (decks, arbors) and in backyards across the country (decks, gazebos, fences, trellises). Wood plays a starring role in high-traffic places, such as the Santa Monica Pier, the Destin boardwalk in Florida and the Ocean City boardwalk in Maryland. Look all around you at the beauty of wood -- then bring that natural beauty home to your backyard. A recent Life Cycle Assessment (cradleto-grave study comparing pressure-treated wood with alternative wood/plastic composite decking) found that wood was, by far, the better product for the environment.
A few findings from this study: Wood releases less greenhouse gases during production; Wood uses 14 times less fossil fuel than wood/plastic composite decking; and Wood decking production causes significantly less acid rain, smog and overall ecological impact than wood/plastic composite decking. Additionally, pressure-treated wood comes from sustainable, well-managed forests -- meaning the industry plants more trees each year than are harvested. Fact is, U.S. forests are healthier and more numerous than they were 100 years ago. Pressure-treated wood is rot- and insectresistant and readily available in both bigbox stores and independent lumber dealers around the U.S. Current tested and approved preservatives are safe for use around children and pets --even veggies in your raised garden beds. For more information on using real wood in your backyard, the complete LCA study, free downloadable deck plans, inspirational pictures and easy DIY videos, please visit www.realoutdoorliving.com, on Facebook at "Wood" and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/wooditsreal.
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
April 2012 7
Going Green... By Precycling A proactive approach to recycling is even more earth-friendly By KENT DINNEBIER Staff Writer
“While there has been progress, there is always room for improvement. Ways you can reduce the amount of paper you have is be eliminating junk mail by calling those companies and telling them you are not interested,” Meister said. “A lot of companies also offer discounts for using e-bills. Those are a couple of simple things anybody could do.” People should also look at ways of reducing their reliance on packaging because it can often lead to significant and unnecessary waste. Ways of reducing this waste include using a reusable gift bag rather than wrapping paper when giving gifts such as at Christmas or for birthdays. In addition, Meister said shoppers should
look for ways to reduce the amount of food packaging they use. “I even struggle with that, but if you buy in bulk, that cuts down on a lot of waste and a lot of paper,” she said. In addition, shoppers can use cloth bags rather than plastic bags at the grocery store. Many grocery stores now sell reusable cloth bags. Local residents should also evaluate just how convenient the products they purchase really are. For example, Styrofoam coffee cups may seem more convenient than carrying a travel mug each day. However, those cups are not convenient to the environment. Finally, people should consider purchasing sturdy reusable plates rather than paper plates. Reusable plates are inexpensive and are far more beneficial to the environment than their paper counterparts.
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Andy Spiegel Sales Associate 660-744-3685
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
Perhaps no issue has been more discussed in the 21st century than the environment. As a result, local residents are more aware than ever of the importance of taking a proactive approach to being earth-friendly. “The more we can do to conserve our natural resources, the better it is for our plant,” Shannon Meister, education coordinator for the Page County Landfill, said. “ While there are several reactionary steps people can take to help the environment, there are also some important preemptive measures local residents can take to reduce their carbon footprint. These actions are known as “precycling,” which allows people to reduce the amount of resources needed to manufacture products.
“Precycling focuses on avoiding products and actions that create waste,” Meister said. “If we can reduce that waste ahead of time so we don’t have to recycle, that’s best.” Meister said there are many simple ways people can reduce the amount of waste they have in their day-to-day lives and start focusing on precycling. These methods require very little effort, but will have a significant impact on the future of the environment. Over the years Meister said the Page County Landfill has seen a reduction in the amount of paper products being recycled. However, she said it remains the largest single recyclable material received at the landfill.
8 April 2012
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
Going Green... In The Kitchen There are many ways to turn your kitchen into a ‘green’ oasis By BOB ESCHLIMAN Staff Writer
Eating organic and easily sustainable foods is a surefire way to do your part for the environment. However, there are many other ways to go green in and around the kitchen. 1. Invest in quality cooking tools. Cheaper isn't always better when it comes to utensils, pots and pans. Higher quality items will better stand the test of time and will be less likely to end up in the trash with moldy leftovers. Invest in kitchen staples that are sturdy and will last. It makes a good investment. 2. While we're talking about leftovers, don't let them go bad in the refrigerator or freezer. Keep them in eyesight so you can have last night's vegetable casserole for lunch today. Also, being mindful of how much you cook and portion sizes enables you to be less likely to waste leftover food. 3. Upgrade your appliances. Today's energy efficient appliances
can conserve energy, water and more. But before you invest in new items, find out if you can upgrade your current appliances. If buying new items is the greener option, find out if you can recycle your old stove, refrigerator or dishwasher, or whether there are regional "takeback" programs for old appliances so they don't end up in a trash heap. 4. Cooking for two? Use the toaster oven. Singles, couples or even small families can save energy by cooking meals in a toaster oven instead of a larger oven. Many toaster ovens are large enough to accommodate a small steak, burgers, pizza, and are also proficient at reheating leftovers. 5. Buy locally whenever possible to reduce the amount of miles it takes to get the food from the farm to your table. 6. Buy in bulk ... provided you're going to use the items. Bulk items generally require less packaging than those packaged individually. Invest in items that can be used around the house, not just in the
kitchen. And while you're thinking in bulk, cook meals in bulk, too. This way you save on energy and will be ahead of the game when time pressed during the week. 7. Reuse what you can, like glass jars, plastic bottles and bags instead of tossing them in the trash. 8. Upgrade instead of replacing whenever possible. However, sometimes you may want new items in the kitchen to improve functionality or to replace something that is damaged. Look to green materials or even reclaimed or recycled items. Using antique fixtures and furniture is another great way to go green. But, going green in the kitchen doesn’t need to end there. There are many all-natural cleaners you can make yourself in the kitchen, usually at less cost than storebought cleaners. And, best of all, some non-toxic and all natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar are not only not corrosive, poisonous, or hazardous to your health in any way,
they’re actually completely safe if ingested. After all, they’re found in the kitchen and they’re 100-percent edible. Baking Soda is a great naturally abrasive ingredient with mild alkaline properties, it’s also a natural deodorizer and stain remover, and it rinses easily, is completely nontoxic. Vinegar is an all natural and mild acid, it’s also a known disinfectant that can remove stains, sanitize, and it’s also completely nontoxic and inexpensive. It should be noted that it shouldn’t be used on stone surfaces or acetate fabrics but there are many other natural cleaning methods that work for those surfaces. Hydrogen Peroxide is also nontoxic and is known to be a natural bleaching agent with disinfectant and stain removing properties. It’s also extremely inexpensive. All Natural Tea Tree Oil and Grapefruit Oil, which have known antibacterial properties, and Lemon Juice, which naturally cuts grease and leaves a totally fresh
scent, are also extremely helpful to have in your all-natural cleaning arsenal. Here are just a few of the homemade household cleaners you can make with safe, and all-natural ingredients in your kitchen: Dishwasher Detergent: ·2 c. borax ·2 c. baking soda ·4 little packages of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid (or generic) Mix together and store. Gorgeously Green All-Purpose Spray: ·32-ounce plastic spray bottle ·2 cups water ·1/2 cup distilled white vinegar ·1 teaspoon pure castile soap (peppermint) ·3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide ·20 drops tea tree oil Window, Glass and Chrome Cleaner: ·5 parts water to 1 part white vinegar
green home improvements Making home improvements doesn't have to mean compromising environmental ideals in the process. There are numerous jobs that a person can do that fit with a green lifestyle. While these improvements help protect the planet, they'll also help keep a few extra dollars in your wallet.
1. Conserve water. Turn off the tap between brushing teeth or rinsing off dishes. Better yet, install low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets that reduce the consumption of water in the household. 2. Motion detection: Motion-detector lights can be installed in different rooms of the home and outdoors. Lights will automatically turn on and off depending on the activity in the area, reducing the chances of a light being left on inadvertently and wasting money and energy. 3. Solar panels: You may have been toying with the idea of solar panels for years. They can be installed on the roof or in the yard to power various components of the household, like lights during a traditional power outage or the swimming pool filter. Today it is possible to buy used solar panels, many of which still have a lot of life left to them and are considerably cheaper than new ones. 4. Aluminum-clad storm door: Insulate the entryway of your home with a storm door that will buffer against harsh weather conditions. While you're creating a more air-tight space, caulk around windows and doors. 5. Replace air filters. Your HVAC system likely has filters inside that trap dirt and contaminants. Replacing the filters leads to cleaner indoor air and helps the unit run more efficiently. 6. Power strips: Stock up on power strips and plug all of your peripherals and computer equipment into these strips. This way when you want to power down everything completely, you simply turn off the power button on the strip. This ensures no devices are drawing power even in the off position, which many do. 7. Install fans. Fans aren't just useful in the summer. In the winter, the blades can be set to rotate in the opposite direction and help draw warm air into the room, heating more efficiently. 8. Rainwater barrels: Set up rainwater barrels at the downspouts of your home's gutter system. These barrels collect water that can be used to water indoor and outdoor plants, or even wash the car. Some feature a spigot to which you can directly connect a garden hose. 9. Plant trees.Trees are good for the environment in many ways, producing necessary oxygen for life and offering food and living areas for wildlife. Trees can also shade a home during the warm weather, helping reduce energy consumption. 10.Glass fireplace doors: Install glass fireplace doors, which are safer than fireplace screens. They'll also help protect against heat loss up the chimney when there isn't a fire lit. 11.Buy a solar cover. Warm up your spa all season long with a solar cover, which helps keep debris out of the water, too. Solar covers reduce the need to fire up the heater to warm the water. 12.Dog waste composter: Create a method to safely dispose of dog waste without having to toss it in plastic bags in the trash. There are devices that can be buried into the ground to serve as a dog waste receptacle. Or you can make one of your own by placing a container with a lid that seals on top but has an open bottom. Sprinkle a natural bacteria septic tank product, such as Rid-X(R), down the hole routinely and it will break down the waste and turn it into soil fertilizer.
The Valley News/Herald-Journal
April 2012 9
Earth Day is a great teaching opportunity for parents might suspect and even easier for kids who have yet to develop a lifetime of habits that might not be so eco-friendly. With Earth Day on the horizon, the following are a few ways parents can get their kids involved in activities or lifestyles that benefit the environment. Address Eating Habits Over the last several years, the opportunities to eat in an eco-friendly manner have increased dramatically. Organic foods have grown more and more popular, and parents can use this growing trend to teach their kids about the environment. When shopping for groceries, choose organic products that weren't grown with pesticides or harmful chemicals and explain this difference to kids. Shopping locally provides another opportunity for parents to involve food when teaching kids about the environment. Explain to kids that
shopping locally reduces reliance on fuel because products don't need to be shipped, be it through the air or on the ground, to your community, minimizing fuel consumption. Teach ConservationTechniques Conservation provides another easy opportunity for parents to instill eco-friendly ideals in their children. Conservation is about reducing waste, so conservation techniques don't involve sacrifice. Instead, they involve being more responsible when it comes to using our resources. Parents know full well the constant reminders kids need when it comes to dental hygiene. But use these daily reminders about brushing and flossing as an opportunity to impart a lesson about the environment. Instead of keeping the faucet running while brushing your teeth, turn the faucet off and encourage kids to do the same. When they ask
why, explain that this helps conserve water, and show them how it's just as easy and effective to clean teeth without the water running as it is when the faucet is on. This teaches kids that conservation is simple and often just requires minimal effort to make a big difference. There are additional lessons about conservation that parents can impart. For instance, when grocery shopping, always make a list before leaving the house and explain to kids that you do this so you don't have to make two trips to the store and waste the gas that the second trip would require. In addition, encourage kids to turn the lights off when they leave a room to better conserve energy. Purchase Recycled Products Recycling is a practice that many of today's kids grew up with, and as a result, many of them might take it for granted, failing to fully realize the positive impact they're making
whenever they recycle. If recycling is as natural to kids as breathing, then it's no surprise they might not recognize its impact. One way parents can address this issue is to purchase products made from recycled materials. A host of products are made from recycled materials, from the paper you put in the printer to the toys under the tree onChristmas morning. Explain to kids why you're choosing these products, and let them know such products wouldn't be possible without their own recycling efforts. Another way to help kids realize the value of recycling is to make crafts from recycled products. For instance, make a papier mache globe to celebrate Earth Day by using old newspapers as your primary material. Such lessons show kids their efforts make an impact and increase the likelihood they'll continue this eco-friendly lifestyle well into adulthood.
Go Green with Electronic Statements
Earth Day has been around for more than 40 years, and during that time, it has inspired millions of people to increase their awareness of, and their appreciation for, the environment. Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, people increasingly have adopted eco-friendly lifestyles and attitudes, and the continued embrace of environmentally friendly practices and principles has made the struggles of Earth Day pioneers, like former United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, more than worth it. Nowadays, children grow up learning about the environment in school and at home. For example, many households participate in their community's recycling programs, and such households are raising ecoconscious children, perhaps without even recognizing they're doing so. While a transition to a more ecoconscious lifestyle might not be seamless, it's far easier than many