Sunday, January 21, 2018

Change a Habit, Clean the Water

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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So much of what we do and use affects our waters, yet I’d venture that there’s none among us who says, “I’m going to damage the ecosystem today.” Rather, we just go about our lives, doing what we always do — use, toss, flush, release, wrap, and other actions that are mindless and seem harmless. What if we could keep our waters cleaner and diminish the drain on our natural resources just by changing up a few habits?

While recycling stuff is a reflex for most at home and in the office, cutting down on what we buy (aka precycling) keeps more refuse out of our landfills and our waters. For instance, shopping for locally grown and made products eliminates packing crates. Other simple ways to precycle:Clean and dirty water in one glass isolated on white background

Using glass containers eliminates foil and plastic wrap.

Bring your own reusable shopping bags.

Pass up pre-packaged fruit and vegetables.

Repair rather than replace an item that just needs a tweak or some TLC.

Use silverware instead of plastic ware.

Choose quality products — something cheaper but shoddy ends up in a landfill and costs you more.

Rent or borrow an item you use infrequently.

Buy concentrated products, transfer to refillable bottles, and add water.

Excessive and improper fertilizing may promote thick, lush lawns, but it also produces abundant algae growth in our waterways. Nitrogen — the main ingredient in lawn fertilizers — is the cause of the excessive growth, which clouds the water, blocks sunlight from reaching underwater plant life, and kills aquatic life. Purchase low or no-nitrogen fertilizer, apply it at the right time and in the correct amount, and leave lawn cuttings in place after you mow. You’ll have both a nice lawn and clean waterways. Alternatively, consider ditching the lawn altogether. Planting grasses, grains, clovers, and/or other attractive ground covers keep nutrients from running off and eroding the soil.

Celebrate without balloons, sky lanterns, and private fireworks. Balloons pose a threat to marine creatures who mistake them for food, biodegradable lanterns have wire frames that can maim and strangle, and the residue from fireworks gets washed into waterways.

Go strawless. Millions and millions of these little slivers of plastic are thrown away every day and saying “No thanks” when offered a straw wouldn’t change our lives significantly (if at all).

Take a look at all the other plastic items you use every day and see where you can cut down or eliminate use. Millions of tons of non-degradable plastics make their way into the ocean annually, masquerading as food and gathering in great ocean patches propelled by currents. Almost every plastic item likely has a long-lasting equivalent made of wood, metal, or glass.

If you think you can’t live without something like zip top bags, reuse them. When it comes to everyday hygiene, you’d be surprised at what you can recycle — for instance, type “Recycle toothbrush” into a search engine and see what comes up.

Be mindful of how you dispose of items that should decompose. If you toss fruit and vegetable peels into a heavy-duty garbage bag, you’re not part of the solution. Same with something as simple as wine corks. They would break down in a compost or landfill, but only if exposed to air and sunlight, not encased in a plastic bag.

webPlus_web_green1 Reuse your wine corks


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