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Composting is a simple way to reduce waste and produce a rich, organic soil conditioner for your lawn, garden or houseplants. So remember to put food scraps, raked leaves and other yard wastes in a compost bin. If you don’t have a composter yet, you can buy one for $25 from EcoSuperior.
Make sure no garbage gets burned at your next bonfire. Burning things like plastics, batteries, treated wood and even paper with ink releases harmful chemicals into the air. Since the smoke from backyard burning is released close to the ground where people can easily breathe it, you can end up inhaling a lot of nasty things like dioxins, furans, arsenic, mercury and lead to name a few. So be sure to burn only clean, dry wood!
If you have a stream, river or lake by your house or camp, create a no-mow zone near the water’s edge. Let wildflowers, groundcover, shrubs and trees grow or plant your own native species! This allows shoreline vegetation to naturalize and protect water quality. Naturally vegetated zones along the shore also creates habitat, filters stormwater runoff by absorbing pollutants, and prevents soil erosion.
Did you know that running a clothes dryer is the equivalent of turning on 225 lights for an hour? Clothes dryers consume the most energy per use out of all household appliances! Take advantage of the summer weather and hang your clothes to dry instead. If you don't have a clothes line, use an indoor drying rack. You will reduce your energy use, save money, and make your clothes last longer.
Rain barrels are a fabulous, relatively inexpensive and easy way to harness one of nature's most basic resources: water. Rainwater can be used for watering lawns and gardens, filling swimming pools, washing cars and pets, and rinsing windows. Using rainwater reduces water costs, takes a load off water supplies and reduces stormwater runoff, helping prevent flooding and erosion. Get a rain barrel and start harvesting rainwater today! EcoSuperior sells them for only $65.
Keeping the fridge door open while you decide what you want to eat may not seem like a big deal, but that open door accounts for 7% of the appliance's total energy use. And did you know that keeping your fridge at least three quarters full maximizes its efficiency? If you have an empty fridge, keep water containers in there – these will also help regulate temperature fluctuations. But remember, shut the fridge door as quickly as possible!
Growing your own vegetables is a great way to get healthy food, reduce the environmental impact associated with transporting and warehousing food, and increase overall food security. And best of all: it can be done by anyone. If you have a lawn, clear a small area for a garden. For smaller spaces like balconies, use pots to grow herbs or vegetables (especially ones that can be grown vertically like pole beans). Otherwise look for plots in community gardens or better yet, start your own community or neighbourhood garden.
It's the time of year when homes have their highest energy demand of the year. Use appliances in the off-peak hours to reduce strain on the grid. Get into the habit of doing the laundry, running the dishwasher, watching a movie or surfing the web at off-peak hours: between 7 PM and 7 AM on weekdays. The demands on energy are lowest, and so are the costs!
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