Tips for a Safer, More Sustainable Summer

  • With trips to the neighborhood pool, the beach or other vacation destinations, be aware of the additional waste that you create. Bring a reusable mug or cup to avoid another juice pouch or water bottle being purchased and disposed of.
  • As nice as it is to have new items to break out for the summer season, again, is it really necessary? Do you have items that can be reused? While it was very tempting to discard last year’s bug box still containing what looked like the remnants of the final catch (yuck!), a quick rinse with water and white vinegar can restore it to almost new condition. Can last years plastic pool float be cleaned and reused? Can any of last year’s gear be passed on to a neighbor? Local consignment shops, Ebay, Craigslist, Freecycle, and Goodwill are all great places to give and receive.
  • If traveling by car, have a recycle bag on hand to collect your own items and recycle the next time you see the opportunity, or dispose of when you get home. With air travel, be prepared for the responsibility of properly recycling as well. Other quick tips can be found at Making Environmental Choices from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • If you’re staying at home, consider purchasing an EcoStrip, a power strip and surge protector for your computer and connected devices (printer, scanner, external hard drive) with one important difference from the rest: when you shut down the computer, everything else plugged into the EcoStrip is also shut down, automatically. Saves time, energy and money.
  • For tips on compostable picknicking, visit greenopolis.com
  • Whether you call it grasscycling or simply say “don’t bag it,” (a slogan popular in many cities) the idea is the same. Yard clippings are a great source of organic food for your yard. So don’t collect your lawn clippings. Leave them where they are and let nature take its course. As the clippings decompose, they release much-needed nutrients like nitrogen back into the soil, acting as fertilizer. It can actually reduce the amount of fertilizer you need to use to keep your lawn healthy. The organic matter of decomposing grass is compost that helps build soil so your grass tolerates heat better, uses less water and resists pests and disease. The Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources estimates that some 750 pounds of grass clippings are generated each year by each lawn within their state. When multiplied by the number of lawns in the U.S., it’s easy to see that grass clippings create – literally – tons of organic waste each year.

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Tips for a Safer, More Sustainable Summer