Greener Living Tips-Recycling

Greener Living TipsGreener living tips-recycling is just one of three big steps each of us can can implement in our daily lives. Reduce, reuse, and recycle – in that order. It's better to reduce your personal consumption than it is to reuse something, and it's less environmentally taxing to reuse a product than to have it recycled.

Computers – With lead and cadmium circuit boards, lead oxide and barium in monitors, mercury in flat screens, and plastics and flame retardants in casings, circuit boards, and cables, computers pose a big "e-waste" problem at the end of their usefulness. When purchasing a new computer, look for companies with "take back" policies for old machines, such as HP, Dell, NEC and IBM. Companies that are taking the toxic substances out of their machines include HP, Dell (with its Optiplex line), Apple, and Panasonic.

Composting – Grass clippings, leaves, weeds, and brush are all considered yard waste. Many residents compost or allow these items to decompose into nutrient-rich soil amendment. By taking advantage of this natural recycling process, you can help minimize the amount of trash that goes to the landfill.

Many local municipalities provide yard waste collection services. Call your local DPW (department of public works) or highway garage for more information.

How Do I Build A Compost Pile?

It’s easy! Follow these simple steps, and in just a few hours, you’ll be in business.

Compost Mound This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to compost. Yard wastes can be composted without a bin if you do not mind the appearance of an uncontrolled compost mound in your yard.

What To Do – Find a good location and loosen the soil where your pile will be. Pile your yard waste in a mound about 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet. Alternate wet and dry materials. Add wastes as they become available. Remember, if you turn your compost pile it speeds up the process.

What You Need – All you need is a pitchfork or shovel and work gloves.

Compost Can Another cheap and easy way to compost small amounts of yard and food waste.

What to Do – Drill holes 4 to 6 inches apart all around your garbage can. You also need to drill holes into the bottom. (This allows for air movement and for excess water to drain off.) It is best to put 2 to 3 inches of straw or wood chips in the bottom to help it drain. Turn the compost with a shovel or pitch fork. Keep the garbage can cover on, it helps keep out the critters. You may need to add water since it is covered.

What You Need – A garbage can with cover, straw or wood chips and a drill for making the holes.

Compost Bins – Can be made out of many types of materials – blocks or bricks, snow fence, used pallets, wire mesh, etc.

Blocks or Bricks – Just lay out the blocks or bricks without mortar. Leave spaces between the blocks or bricks to permit air to circulate. The best size is approximately 5 – 8 feet square and 3 – 4 feet high.

Snow Fence – Used snow fence is a simple way to build a bin. Just drive four corner posts into the ground and attach the snow fence.

Used Pallets – Find four clean pallets and fasten the corners together, and start filling. You may want to keep one corner loose, so the bin can be opened for turning and removing compost.

Small-Mesh Wire Fencing – Buy or find wire mesh, form into a circle or square and add your compost materials. Bins do not have to be square, they can be rectangular or a circular structure, it’s your choice. Remember, for a typical home garden, a bin 3-to-4 feet in height and 5-to-8 feet square will do. Locate it away from buildings and combustible materials.

Purchased Bins – many retail centers and home centers sell composting containers

How Do I Start My Compost Pile? – Begin by collecting your yard wastes and throwing them in your pile or bin. You can then add yard and food wastes anytime but it is best to bury the food waste in your pile (it helps keep out the critters). Chopping or mowing your wastes makes the process go faster. Just remember if you want finished compost, you will need to start a new pile and let the first pile completely compost. That’s All There Is To It!

Kitchen scraps (minus meat, fish, bones and fatty foods) should be added to the center of the waste layers where heat will be the greatest. This also reduces unwanted critters coming to your compost pile. Pile waste material loosely in the bin. Too much compaction inhibits the flow of air through the pile. It helps to make the top layer slant toward the center where it will catch rainfall. Water is the key to successful composting. A compost pile should be kept damp, but not soggy, especially during dry spells. Be patient! It will take six months to a year before the compost is ready for use.

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