10 Tips for Preventing Stormwater Pollution

318454_9151Last week on Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe helped clean storm drains, which made me a bit sick to watch, I guess that’s why they call it “Dirty Jobs”. It made me think about how important it is that we put our trash in the proper place and keep our drains free of pollution as much as we can. Below are 10 tips to preventing stormwater pollution. We don’t want this pollution going to our rivers and streams, harming fish and wildlife along the way. Did you know that a single cigarette butt can take 25 years to break down? So please don’t litter, it doesn’t take much to look for a trash can and dispose of trash properly.

  1. Never dump anything down storm drains or into streams and report anyone who does.
  2. Replant bare spots in your yard and preserve streamside vegetation.
  3. Direct rooftop downspouts away from paved surfaces.
  4. Take your car to a car wash or wash it on an unpaved area.
  5. Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil and antifreeze.
  6. Pick up your pet waste; it can carry harmful bacteria and parasites.
  7. Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.
  8. Choose low-maintenance, native plants that require fewer chemicals and less watering and sweep up debris from driveways and sidewalks.
  9. Consider alternatives to impervious surfaces such as pervious pavement, paving blocks, gravel cobbles, brick and natural stone.
  10. Get a rain barrel to collect stormwater and install an approved rain garden or green roof.

Green Clean with a Twist

Are you a paper towel freak? Do you use paper towels for cleaning and cooking and instead of cloth napkins? Well let me tell you something, using paper towels is not green my friend. Here are some great alternatives to you using paper towels – a company called Twist Clean has sponges for every occasion out there. From cleaning the kitchen to cleaning your unmentionables. Check out their selection here.

Smart Travel for the Holidays

downloadedfile(suitecase)Holidays are the most traveled days of the year. Families going home to see loved ones, traveling distances they wouldn’t normally travel so they can be home for the holidays with the ones they love. But before you travel there are some things you need to consider.

Consider your carbon footprint – You can calculate your air and vehicle travels CO2 emissions and find out ways to reduce them by clicking here.

Travel by Car – If you don’t already own a hybrid, rent one if you have to drive. They will be more expensive to rent than a standard car but they save on fuel and have decreased emissions.

Air Travel – Airplanes are major contributors to the global carbon emissions equation, so its greenest to try and reduce your air travel. But if you must travel by air try these three tips. 1. Bring your own stuff, instead of using the disposables offered by the airlines, 2. Travel in a new plane, 3. Buy carbon credits to offset your air travel.

Train Travel – Train travel is much faster, more comfortable and gives off fewer emissions than airplanes and buses, making train travel the preferred way to travel when thinking green.

Not all Hybrids Bring High Fuel Economy

359696_8751There was an interesting article in the Portland Tribune stating that not all hybrids are created equal.

In 2001 the Prius was the first to use a hybrid, gasoline-electric powertrain. Now virtually every manufacturer is offering at least one hybrid, and most of the others are developing them.

But some hybrids are better for the environment than others. Depending on the model, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently rates them from a high of 50 miles per gallon for the Toyota Prius to a low of 20 miles per gallon for a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. The Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid get around 42 miles per gallon, followed by various Ford, Toyota and Nissan models that get about 36 miles per gallon.

There are several different types of hybrids out there, and the way they mix the basic elements greatly affect their economy. Most automotive authorities break them down as follows:

  • Unique-model hybrids
  • Full hybrids
  • Mild hybrids
  • Muscle  hybrids
  • Plug-in hybrids

Despite the different types of hybrids, common sense applies when figuring out which ones get the best mileage. Smaller is generally better. Although the mid-size Prius is the champ, the compact Honda Insight and Civic are next best. Less economical are the mid-size Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Lexus HS 250h and Toyota Camry Hybrid, which range from 39 to 33 miles per gallon. Worst are the big hybrid trucks and SUVs, like the lowest-rated Escalade Hybrid.

Both the cost and mileage need to be taken into account when choosing a hybrid. The cost of hybrids are outrageous when compared to a gasoline powered vehicle. When gas prices were high it was worth it and it paid off to own a hybrid but now that the gas prices are down, its not worth it. The pay off for a hybrid will come a lot quicker if gasoline prices soar up to $4 again.

Don’t Forget! America Recycles Day – November 15

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Celebrating its 12th year, America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.

Did you know?

  • Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from NY to Seattle.
  • Making paper from recycled paper reduces contributions to air pollution by 95%.
  • Recycling a stack of newspapers just 3 ft high saves one tree.
  • Every 3 months, Americans landfill enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • The average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime.
  • Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours.
  • U.S. recycled 3.3 billion pounds of post-consumer plastics in 2005, keeping it out of landfills.
  • The plastic recycling industry provides jobs for more than 52,000 American workers.
  • 5 PET (plastic soda) bottles yield enough fiber for one extra large T-shirt, one square foot of carpet, or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket.

The purpose of America Recycles Day is to continue to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling and encourage more people to join the movement toward creating a better natural environment.

Click here to find out what America Recycles events are happening in your area.

You can also take the America Recycles pledge, just click here.

Scorecard.org

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Pollution is the cause of about 40% of deaths worldwide. Such environmental degradation, coupled with the growth in world population, are major causes behind the rapid increase in human diseases.

  • 6,100 – the number of hospital admissions in California each year for respiratory diseases attributed to breathing ozone and particle pollution.
  • 1,400,000 – the annual number of lost workdays by Californians related to air-pollution related medical issues.
  • 10-15% of lung cancers that are diagnosed in nonsmokers.

Scorecard is the web’s most popular resource for information about pollution problems and toxic chemicals. Find out about the pollution problems in your community and learn who is responsible. See which geographic areas and companies have the worst pollution records. Identify which racial/ethnic and income groups bear more than their share of environmental burdens. Then take action as an informed citizen – you can fax a polluting company, contact your elected representatives, or get involved in your community.

Using Scorecard is easy, just type in your zip code to get your results for your county.

Start From Scratch

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Stay away from the frozen food aisle!

So many of us grab the easy to pop in the oven, pre-made food for dinners and when baking desserts, but with a bit of planning on your part and food prep ahead of time you can have wonderful made from scratch meals all through the Holidays. This time of year is my favorite time. I love homemade cookies, desserts and savory goodies. Start planning now and you will be glad you did. And with a smile on your face you can say “I made this!”

First you have to have knowledge of what freezes well and what doesn’t.

Food that can freeze:

  • Breads & Baked Goods
  • Butter & Margarine
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Potatoes – Cook before freezing.
  • Fruits & Veggies – Will soften when frozen and should only be used for cooking after being frozen.

Food that can’t freeze:

  • Veggies – Such as lettuce, celery, radishes, cabbage and cucumbers.
  • Melons – They become very soft and lose much of their juice.
  • Mayo – Seperates
  • Fried Foods – Lose their crispness.

Favorite Freezer Foods has a plethora of information to help you if you are wanting to cook once a month, once a week or even batch cooking.

Pulling a meal out of the freezer is faster than the drive through, delivery or your favorite eat in restaurant.

Homemade meals are cheaper than eating out and since you control all the ingredients you can rest assured that your family is eating healthy food.

So drive past the line at the drive through, put down the phone, step away from the boxed entrees in the grocery store and get a healthy homemade dinner on the table.

Favorite Freezer Foods will teach you how to freeze each type of food, they have recipes available for freezer foods, and instructions on how to defrost the freezer foods.

So take on the challenge and start from scratch and enjoy the holidays and your savings.

Environmentally Friendly Roof & Gutter Cleaning

634525_21421236Living in the wet Northwest climate makes for some daunting tasks when it comes to keeping your houses in tip top shape. Constant roof and gutter care are needed, to take care of things such as moss on your roof and weeds growing out of your gutters.

There is a company, JNR Industries, in Milwaukie, Oregon that has implemented a green policy.

First of all, we have put in an extreme effort to choose the right chemicals for roof moss removal in Portland, Oregon, that kill moss only and are friendly to the environment. There are many chemicals that have a detrimental effect, but we’ve taken the time to select the right products for Portland roof cleaning that don’t negatively affect the environment. Zinc application has been proven to be the best moss killing method, while still protecting nature. Our Zinc blend has been further enhanced and tested to be even more effective, but still safe.

Second, building a new roof uses a tremendous amount of our Earth’s natural resources. Proper roof maintenance, our primary service, saves materials, debris, garbage and potentially a heavy use of chemicals at a later date. We feel good about our decision to go green, and our most conscientious clients agree wholeheartedly.

Don’t leave all this work to the Roof & Gutter cleaners, there is stuff that you can do too – maintain your roof properly to prevent a large outlay of dollars and natural resource consumption for a new roof.

If you need some roofing help and don’t live in Oregon, click here for a list of Eco-friendly roofing companies around the country.


Save Money on Heating

672782_62368245Reading through an article from Divine Caroline, I found 7 tips to help save money on heating this winter. Who doesn’t want to save money, especially during the holiday months.

1. Replace all your filters. In addition to not being as effective at filtering the air you breathe, dirty filters cause several problems for the furnace. They make the blower work harder getting enough air into the heat-exchange chamber so that you have enough warm air in the house. 

2. Clean the area around the furnace and inside the filter box. While you are replacing the air filters, vacuum around the furnace unit. Most furnaces are stuck in an out-of-the-way spot and get minimal cleaning during the year.

3. Check your fan belts. Fan belts that are too loose or too tight can cause problems with the blower and the fan motor. The tension in the belts should be set so there is about 1” of deflection at the center of the span.

4. Lubricate the blower (fan) motor shaft. Most electrical motor shafts have lubrication ports at one or both ends of the shaft that runs through the motor. Use a good quality, lightweight motor oil to fill these lubrication ports.

5. Check to be sure the blower (fan) cage spins easily. Check your blower (fan) cage by spinning it. As long as it spins easily, everything is fine. If it seems to rub or bind while it spins, you could have something stuck in the fan or you could have a worn out fan.

6. Turn on the pilot light. Most gas furnaces require a pilot light to function properly (some of the more modern furnaces have electronic flame starters). Make sure your pilot light is lit.

7. Check your thermostat. After you have done the mechanical maintenance on the furnace and made sure the pilot light is lit and working, check the thermostat to make sure that it is working. Set your thermostat control to ‘Heat’ and the furnace temperature control to higher than your current room temperature. Make sure the burner lights and the fan starts blowing. As soon as you have done this you can turn the furnace thermostat control back to a cooler setting and the status control back to either cool or neutral.

For the complete article click here.

Green Thanksgiving Decorations

Its November again and its crazy how fast it snuck up on us. Before we know it Thanksgiving will be upon us and we will be eating our way through a turkey.

To keep with the green theme we have going here on greenglancy, why dont you check out these environmentally friendly and festive ways to decorate your table and house for Thanksgiving.

For a great fall centerpiece check out these fall leaves turned into roses. Courtesy of haha.nu.

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When setting the table make sure you have cloth napkins and use silver ware, dishes and glasses – stay away from any throw away, non recyclable items. Courtesy of apartment therapy.

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If you look around you will see you can use an array of items from around the house to make your table and home more festive and inviting. Help the environment by reusing the items you have and if your crafty turn those things into new creations. For more ideas check out: