Backyard, Bend Homes, Home Maintenance, Living Green, Recycle, Uncategorized

Living Green Issue – Earth Day Edition

Earth Day is April 22, 2020 and this year marks 50 years since it began in 1970. Check out Earth Day’s History HERE.


HELPFUL TIPS TO LIVE GREEN:

Tips for Sustainable Landscaping

Attractive landscaping is key to boosting your home’s curb appeal as well as reducing your impact on the environment. Here are some ways to create landscaping that is both beautiful and functional.

Instead of using a hose or sprinkler to water your plants, try using a rain barrel. You can direct rainwater from your roof’s downspout into the barrel and use that water to irrigate flower and garden beds. If you do use a sprinkler, set a timer to help minimize wasted water.

Growing native species of plants will attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths. If you really want to get the most out of your landscaping, focus on growing edible plants alongside ornamental ones. Fruits, vegetables and herbs can add beauty to landscape beds as well as help you save money on groceries. You can also use any produce scraps to create your own compost in order to continue feeding your garden.

Food Scraps for Your Skincare Routine

Composting may be the most common use of food waste, but did you know you can incorporate several food scraps in your daily skincare routine?

As it turns out, fruit peels are excellent for your skin. For example, banana peels can be used as a naturally exfoliating loofah. Simply sprinkle some sugar onto the fleshy side of the peel and apply in the shower. For your face, avocado skins make an easy, hydrating moisturizer.

To make a citrus body scrub, grind dried orange peels, and mix with sugar and vanilla. The natural oils in orange peels help to moisturize dry skin. Lemon halves are excellent for strengthening and brightening your fingernails. After juicing a lemon, rub the half around your fingers and under each nail. Coffee grounds are especially nourishing for hair and skin, and they make a great exfoliant. They can also enhance brunette hair colors.

Are Compostable Takeout Containers Good for the Planet?

In recent years, restaurants have become aware of the amount of plastic waste generated by takeout containers, and some have begun to package their orders in “compostable” containers made from plants. Also known as “bioplastics,” some research shows that these materials may not be better for the environment overall.

According to CivilEats.com, labeling takeout containers as biodegradable isn’t entirely accurate. Most of these containers and cutlery won’t break down in home compost bins and must be sent to industrial facilities in order to be processed. Of nearly 4,000 compost sites in the U.S., very few can accept bioplastics.

Oregon recently announced that the state’s compost facilities would no longer accept compostable products due to contamination from noncompostable look-alike items. Employees have to separate out the noncompostable containers, wasting time, energy and money.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reviewed lifecycle analyses for compostable food containers and measured the full impact of these products, including the raw materials used, the impact of manufacturing and transit, and what happens once they’re thrown away. Among the comparisons, the Oregon DEQ found that the creation and composting of compostable packaging resulted in a higher environmental footprint versus materials that were recycled, incinerated or sent to a landfill.

While compostable takeout containers may work well in some parts of the country, other alternatives such as checking out a reusable takeout container, bringing your own or eating your meal at the restaurant may do more to reduce waste than biodegradable containers alone.

Improve Your Recycling Habits

Recycling is not a fix-all, but there are steps you can take to improve the process. Whether you’re a seasoned recycler or a newbie, these ideas will help along your green journey.

Know what to recycle. Just because an item has the recycling symbol on it does not mean it will actually get recycled. Research your city’s rules for recycling as some places will not process certain plastics. Unfortunately, if your items have food waste on them, they could contaminate a whole load of recyclable materials and send everything to the landfill. Be sure to thoroughly empty and clean containers before placing them in your bin.

Buy recycled. Industries track consumer patterns and produce what people want to buy. From furniture to household products to clothing, there is an entire subset of items made from recycled materials. Buying recycled paper towels or leggings made from recycled water bottles encourages companies to invest in this technology and helps create a more circular, sustainable economy.

Follow the three R’s. You’ve likely heard “reduce, reuse, recycle” with the emphasis being on the final R. But the first two are more important and actually have a larger impact. Reducing the number of single-use plastics that you buy in the first place is the best way to keep items out of the landfill, and reusing what you already have helps lower the demand for new items. Some environmentalists are also adding a fourth R – refuse – as the first step toward eco-friendly living. For example, if someone offers you a plastic straw or plastic promotional item, politely refuse as a way to begin influencing industries’ behavior and lowering your environmental footprint. Rather than being the focus, recycling should be the last resort.