Tips for Making Every Day “Earth Day”


On April 22 we celebrate Earth Day — but you can keep the party going long after. Following are some things you can do every day to help the planet.

 

Carpool

Start carpooling with people in your neighborhood headed in the same direction. Have everyone chip in and you'll even save on gas money. It's a win-win. 

 

Use Public Transportation

If your commute allows, opt for public transportation to get from point A to point B. You'll cut down on emissions by not driving your own car, plus you can put the time spent not driving to good use. Another bonus? Not searching (or paying) for a parking spot!

 

Ride a Bike

Want to help our planet AND get some exercise? Ride a bike. You can run nearby errands with ease and avoid traffic, too. Don't forget to wear your helmet!

 

Use Refillable Containers

Use a mug or travel tumbler to tote your dose of caffeine, or H20.

 

Turn Out the Lights

We use electricity to cheat daylight in order to take fuller advantage of our day. But if you're just lounging at the house, conserve energy by opening the blinds or lighting candles, and switching off any electronic device that's not being used.

 

Conserve Water

It's sad but true — some areas of the United States are experiencing a drought. Keep this in mind when participating in activities that require water, like washing dishes or cars, doing laundry, and bathing.

 

One More “R”

You've heard "reduce, reuse, recycle" but one "R" that should be added is "repair." If something is broken, cut down on waste by seeing if you can repair it rather than tossing it to buy something new. 

 

Start a Compost Heap

Flex your green thumb and start a compost heap or use one of the many indoor composters on the market today. Composting will cut down on the amount of wasted food Americans throw out daily, and also nourishes the soil so that you can water less. 

 

For more tips on how to make every day Earth Day, click here.

Think Green

Go Green in the Garden

Spring has sprung — which means many of us will be embarking on home gardening and landscaping projects.

Sustainable gardening practices — which provide tremendous environmental and economic benefits — have become more important than ever as the state faces its worst drought in decades.


Here are some easy ways to save water, reduce waste and improve soil in your gardens:

1. Mulch.  This is a soil covering used to control weeds or erosion, retain moisture in soil and insulate soil in cold weather. Organic materials commonly used for mulch include wood chips, ground-up landscape trimmings, shredded bark, coarse compost material, straw, and shredded paper. Spreading mulch several inches thick over your outdoor site will keep out weeds. In the summer, mulch is an especially effective way to conserve irrigation water.

2. Composting. This is the controlled decomposition of organic materials such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and food scraps — it’s nature’s way of recycling! The best way to compost food waste is to mix it with dry leaves, sticks and twigs, wood chips, sawdust, dried/dead plants, shredded newspaper, or paper from a home shredder, along with yard waste such as grass clippings. It will need to be “turned” about once a week by fluffing the pile with a pitchfork to give it air. In most California climates, the compost is ready in three to six months, when it becomes a dark crumbly material that is uniform in texture. Spread it in the garden, raised beds or under and around plants. The compost can also be used as potting soil.

3. Grasscycle. This is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly, returning valuable nutrients back to the soil. It reduces turf grass fertilizer and water requirements, which minimize chemical runoff entering storm drains and polluting creeks, rivers, and lakes. Similar to mulching, it’s also an effective way of conserving water.

4. Xeriscape.  This means landscaping with slow-growing, drought tolerant plants to conserve water and reduce yard trimmings. Landscapes need to be planned to be compatible with locally available resources, including water, soil types, and sunlight. Xeriscapes generally require less fertilizer and fewer pest control measures than traditional landscapes, and as a result, cost less money.

For more green gardening tips, visit http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Organics/.