Leave your grass clippings on the lawn
When properly clipped, grass clippings decompose quickly and release nutrients back into the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer and water. Your lawn will look healthier, and you’ll save time and eliminate the cost for collection and disposal.
Recycle and reuse at gatherings
If you’re hosting a small gathering, it’s easier to provide reusable cups, plates and utensils whenever possible to cut down on the amount of trash created.
Larger gatherings are more challenging to provide reusable items, so reduce your use of disposables by providing pitchers of drinks and bulk condiments instead of individual containers.
Use your ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are a wonderful alternative to air conditioning and can dramatically cut your energy costs.
Watering your lawns
Practice water conservation. According to Purdue, the best time to water your lawn is between 4 and 8 a.m. when there is maximum water pressure and minimal evaporation due to heat.
Recycle plastic bags, but not at the curb
Plastic bags CANNOT be placed in your curbside recycling collection in Northwest Indiana. However, plastic bags CAN be brought to many convenient locations around the area where they will ultimately get recycled..
The website, www.plasticfilmrecycling.org, is a great resource. Visit the site, enter your zip code, and you’ll discover a number of places locally where you can take your plastic bags and other film products, such as newspaper, bread and produce bags; furniture wrap; plastic cereal liners; etc.
Don’t go ‘Solo’ at your party
NEWSFLASH! Just because an item has a recycle symbol on it doesn’t mean you can place it in your curbside recycling bin.
For example, Solo cups, those red or blue disposable plastic cups you use for parties and barbecues to make cleanup a snap, are not recyclable curbside anywhere in Northwest Indiana.
On the bottom of the cups, you’ll note the recycling symbol, or “chasing arrows,” with a “6” in the center, which indicates they are made from polystyrene. Polystyrene is the only plastic that is not accepted curbside in Lake, Porter or LaPorte Counties; and it is also not accepted in your solid waste district’s drop-off recycling containers.
The Four R’s:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, RETHINK when it comes to household hazardous waste
A great way to help save our environment is simply by practicing the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,” approach to waste reduction. Usually called the “Three R’s,” we like to add an extra “R” for “Rethink,” because it’s best to “Rethink” habits in order to create better practices to reduce our environmental impact.
The best way to manage your HHW is to not have it in the first place. Minimize your purchases of products containing hazardous ingredients. Consider logical organic alternatives, like natural pesticides. If you must purchase products with hazardous ingredients, buy only as much as you need.
If you must purchase products with hazardous ingredients, use them completely and properly, according to directions, so the chemicals don’t become HHW. Be aware that even when you think you have emptied a container, usually some liquid remains that should be disposed of appropriately.
If you have leftover products and can’t use them, ask your neighbors, friends and family members if they can utilize them. If they can’t use them, consider donating these items to a charity or service organization.
If you have HHW, check the container labels for any disposal recommendations. If the labels don’t offer recommendations, call the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County, 465-3694, to learn about collection events and disposal tips.
Consider your HHW purchases, usage, storage and disposal methods, and reduce, reuse and recycle. Opportunities abound to help you make the right choices and make a difference.