Green Tip of the Week 10-10-08 Worried about your carbon footprint? Buying in bulk makes sense and eliminates the excess packaging used with single serving items. Liquid detergents require less energy to make than powdered detergents. An even better idea is to make sure that the detergents are environmentally safe before making a purchase. Vinegar, baking soda, and club soda are amazing cleaners! Try substituting natural cleaners to save money and the environment. Choose local fruits and vegetables over produce from exotic places since transportation costs do increase an item's carbon footprint. Now that you've made some great choices to reduce your carbon footprint, how will you carry these items home? Reusable bags are a better choice than paper or blue bags IF YOU USE THEM! Reusable bags can take more energy to make than paper or blue bags. The reusable bags can only lessen your carbon footprint when they are used many times. Keep them in your car so you won't be tempted to use those paper or plastic bags. When asked whether you want paper or plastic, say "Neither, I have my own bags!" Green Tip of the Week 10-17-08 As oil prices rise and fall, it's understandable that we worry about our future oil reserves. Have you ever wondered what would happen if we ran out of clean water? Having water shortages seems much scarier! Here's a quick tip to save about five gallons each day. Add a bucket to the shower or tub to catch the water that goes down the drain while you are waiting for it to "warm up." The water that is "caught" can be used to flush a toilet, water plants, or fill a pet's bowl. Adding that bucket is easy to do and doesn't take much time. Don't forget to keep those showers to five minutes or less too! GI showers are even better since turning off the water when lathering saves even more water. Remember that every drop saved helps our planet! Green Tip of the Week 10-24-08 Gasoline prices have dropped but it is still very important to save our fossil fuels. Here are a few fuel saving tips: Keep your car's tires properly inflated since it improves gas mileage by 3% and saves about seven cents per gallon. Change your car's air filter to increase the gas mileage by up to 10%. Drive slower since every 10 mph over 60 mph costs four miles per gallon more. Finally, turn your car off and restart it rather than let it idle for more than ten seconds. Fifteen minutes of idling per weekday can cost up to $100 per year in added fuel costs. Idling also creates two times the emissions of a car in motion. Conserving our fossil fuels helps everyone! Green Tip of the Week 10-31-08 Leaves, leaves, and more leaves! Instead of bagging the leaves and shipping them off to the landfill, try composting or mulching them. Shredded leaves can be placed in your composter or left on the lawn to help improve the quality of the soil. If you don't have a mulching mower, try mowing over the leaves several times to shred them. Reduce the amount of waste by thinking GREEN! Green Tip of the Week: 11-7-08 If you use Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butter, Fig Newtons cookies; you are able to help our Green Gators! We are collecting Nabisco cookie wrappers, even the 100 calorie wrappers. We need just the wrapper, not the plastic cookie trays. For each approved wrapper, we will earn two cents for our environmental projects. Please consider sending the wrappers to school with your child and ask they to deposit the wrappers in the boxes in the lobbies. Thanks! Green Tip of the Week 11-21-08 How can you help the earth and still wrap holiday gifts? With the holidays soon approaching, purchasing gift wrap becomes another expense and wastes trees. You can make Earth-friendly choices by making your own gift wrap from old calendars, wallpaper samples, bandanas, reusable cloth bags, the newspaper comics or even T-shirts! Using paper or cloth gift bags that can be reused is better than using rolls of wrapping paper. Remember to recycle all of the wrapping paper that is not metallic or laminated once all of the tape is removed. Think GREEN! Green Tip of the Week 12-20-08 Rethink how to wrap those holiday gifts! Reusable cloth gift bags make an earth-friendly gift wrap. Cloth bags can be purchased or made from old holiday clothing or tablecloths. If you must use wrapping paper, try to choose gift wrap that can be recycled. Scarboro Landfill will recycle your holiday greeting cards and wrapping paper if it does not contain tape, glitter, or has a metallic shine. Reducing the amount of paper waste this holiday season gives our Earth a gift. Green Tip of the Week 1-9-09 Here's a copy of an article regarding "warming up" your car on those cold days! Although you might think it’s easier on your car to let it sit and gently warm up, doing so is a bad idea for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it does indeed waste gas. The vast majority of cars on the road today use electronic fuel injection. When your car’s engine is cold, the computer tells the fuel injectors to stay open longer, allowing more fuel into the engine to help it run cold. As the engine warms up, the injectors let in less fuel and everything returns to normal, so to speak. The problem is, letting your car sit and idle is the slowest way to bring it up to operating temperature because it’s generally sitting in your drive at just above idle speed. And this method to warm up also invites other problems. Remember that modern cars are equipped with a multitude of devices to help them run clean, including a catalytic converter (sometimes three of them), a device in the exhaust system that works to burn off unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust stream. A cold engine emits a far higher percentage of unburned hydrocarbons than a warm engine. Unfortunately, the average catalytic converter can’t process 100 percent of unburned hydrocarbons even in the best of times. Importantly, the catalytic converter needs high exhaust temperatures to work properly. Throw in a cold engine emitting a high percentage o f unburned hydrocarbons, repeat several hundred times, and you can end up with what’s called a “plugged” converter. In a nutshell, the converter becomes overwhelmed and literally ceases to function. This won’t happen all at once but over time, the end effect is the same: poor mileage and significantly dirtier exhaust. The best bet? Even when it’s 10 degrees F outside, start your car, let it run for 30 to 60 seconds to get all the fluids moving, then drive off gently. Your engine will warm up faster, your exhaust system will get up to temperature faster so the catalytic converter can do its thing, and you’ll use less fuel. Which is what you wanted all along anyhow, right? If it's below zero outside, it would be a good idea to give the engine five minutes or a little less before you drive off into the frozen wilderness! — Richard Backus, editor in chief, Gas Engine and Motorcycle Classics magazines Green Tip of the Week 1-23-09 Looking for a new Earth Day activity this year? Plan to attend the Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 18th, from 11 am to 4 pm held at Aberdeen Festival Park. This annual event is held in the park across the street from the Aberdeen Branch of the Harford County Public Library and three short blocks from the intersection of Route 40 and West Belair Avenue. The rain date is Sunday, April 19th. There are lots of great activities for the kids, games, food, and music. Our very own YBES Green Gators will have a GREEN exhibit at the Celebration. Come and join the fun promoting Earth Day! Green Tip of the Week: 2-13-09 Tired of the dreary scenery and developing "cabin fever"? Here's a free family activity that will bring some fun into next week's activities! The 12th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count will take place from February 13th to 16th. It's easy to participate! Visit www.birdcount.org to learn how to count the birds and send in your results. You can even send in photos to the website. It's also a great website for the kids to explore to learn more about birds. The website is hosted by the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Green Tip of the Week 2-27-09 Are you tired of winter? Here's a tip that will put a spring in your step! Join the University of Maryland's Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardening program. You will receive lots of valuable training, information about Maryland's native plants, great gardening tips, and much more. To get more information about this wonderful program call Joyce at (410) 638-3255. Green Tip of the Week 3-13-09 Rather than discarding that old dryer lint; save it! Dryer lint can be placed outside for the birds to use as nesting material. The lint should be placed in some fine netting and hung from tree branches. Have some extra lint hanging around? The Gators are also collecting dryer lint and will be using it to create nesting material containers for our local birds. Send the lint to school in bags to Mrs. Truzzolino or Ms. DeLuigi in the intermediate building and Mrs. Rich in the primary building. The birds thank you! Green Tip of the Week 3-20-09 With Spring around the corner, many people are ready to jump right into gardening tasks. Maybe you've been reading plant and seed catalogs during the winter months and have even placed your orders. While you are waitng for the seeds to arrive, take the time to make your own compost bin. Construction of a compost bin can be as simple or as complex as you chose. Not handy? You might consider purchasing a compost bin. For more information on composting, try these websites or contact your local cooperative extension office: www.nrcs.usda.gov/FEATURE/backyard/compost.html www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/composting/index.html www.howtocompost.org http://vegweb.com/composting. Green Tip of the Week 3-27-09 Spring cleaning? Tired of all of the junk? Ikea in White Marsh will recycle those unwanted batteries, cell phones, and CFL bulbs. Go to the check-out counters to get rid of those items. Best Buy will also recycle many items. Check out their website for details on what they recycle (www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?type=category&id=pcmcat14990005002 5). Also, VHS tapes can be recycled by mailing them to Alternative Community Training which is an organization that gives disabled people jobs. The tapes are erased and the plastic is recycled. Tapes in good condition are resold. The address is 2200 Burlington, Columbia, MO 65202. Don't forget to stop the extra paper waste by logging on to www.catalogchoice.org to remove your name from catalog mailing lists. Green Tip of the Week 4-3-09 Concerned about energy conservation and want to learn more? During April, three Harford County Public Libraries will host showings of Kilowatt Ours: A Plan to Re-Energize America, a wonderfully informative film on energy conservation. These free showings will be on April 4th at 1 PM at the Havre de Grace Library, on April 8th at 7 PM at the Bel Air Library, and on April 22nd at 6:30 PM at the Jarrettsville Branch. You will learn ways to reduce your energy consumption and about finding "phantom loads". Green Tip of the Week 4-27-09 Kudos to Frito-Lay for helping our environment! In 1991, Frito-Lay started using sunflower oils in Sun Chips, a multi-grain snack food. Their plant in Modesto, California uses emissionless solar energy. Also, 33% of every 10 1/2 ounce Sun Chip snack bag is created using renewable plant-based materials. In 2010, the company plant to introduce the first fully compostable chip bag. Now, Sun Chips and National Geographic have joined forces to create the Green Effect contest. The winning prize in the contest is $20,000. For more information about this contest, go to the website: http://greeneffect.nationalgeographic.com/rules/. The contest ends on June 8th. Green Tip of the Week 5-27-09 This is the time of year when our grass is nice and green and our garden flowers are ready to burst with lots of color. It can also be a time when we notice some of our hardwork is being destroyed by insects. Rather than rush out to purchase pesticides to kill the pesky insects, take a moment to identify the insect to be sure that it is the cause of the problem. Not all insects are destructive and many are beneficial to plants. Pesticides could be killing the beneficial insect whose job it is to eat the destructive insects. Check out this website to get more information on how to solve garden problems: www.hgic.umd.edu which is the Home and Garden Information Center for the University of Maryland. By researching the problem, you should be able to find a solution that will be safe for the environment too!