Being Green These Days Become A Little Bit Hard

Awareness was growing rapidly about how our actions affect our environment. Education programs began in a flurry to make it known that our world was in danger and mankind was once again at the root of it. We were bombarded with statistics on Global Warming, garbage waste and the depletion of the ozone layer. It became a personal responsibility to separate cans, glass, and food from the rest of your garbage. All of a sudden we had to clean our garbage before throwing it away. Rinse cans, pop bottles, and juice containers before putting them into Blue and walking him to the curb. Recycle our leftover food waste to our backyard compost heap instead of stuffing it into a plastic bag and tossing it into the trash.

Recycling is very much a necessity today. Canadians on average produce 30 million tons of garbage a year, that’s more garbage than virtually any other country in the world! Having said that, the average person in Ontario generates approximately 1 ton of garbage every year. Nearly 20 years have passed since that first wake-up call. The necessity for all of us to co-exist with the environment in a non-obtrusive way grows stronger. Stop the depletion of the ozone layer, slow down the process of global warming and recycle, recycle, recycle!

With the changing of seasons upon us, turn over a new leaf, and make an effort this spring to include recycling in your daily routine. Be environmentally friendly and learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle. These are some tips to follow if you want to start:

Junkyard Junkies

We are filling up our landfills and dumps faster than we can find new sites for them. In big landfills, water and oxygen take a great deal of time to break down and decompose garbage materials. The less we send to the dump, the more space we will have for the garbage that can’t be recycled or broken down any other way.

Tips for reducing garbage and waste:

· The next time you go to the dry cleaners, ask them not to wrap your clothes in plastic wrap, as plastic is made up of harmful CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons) which help break down earth’s natural sun-block, the ozone layer.

· Bring cloth bags or a knapsack with you when you go to the grocery store and refrain from using the paper or plastic bags in the produce section.

· Buy in bulk. Refill your shampoo, conditioner and soap bottles in reusable containers to reduce the production of plastic – you’ll save money too!

· Reduce the urge to buy something new just for the sake of it.

· Use jars and cookie tins to store food instead of plastic wrap or tin foil.

· Take your coffee to go with your own coffee mug.

· Bring back the handkerchief; reduce the amount of tissue used in a day.

· Reduce the paper trail at the office. Use the computer for what it was made for; it’s not a printing machine!

Consider Composting

The process of composting plays a large role in reducing, reusing and recycling garbage. 50 percent of waste is organic and will breakdown naturally and resourcefully in the proper environment. Place compost on the top of your flowerbeds for an excellent source of nutrients. Set up a compost bin in your backyard and watch the reduction in your weekly trips to the curb. Try these tips:

· To avoid pests and animals that might inhibit the composting process, do not put meat, bones, oily or greasy foods or pet manure into the compost.

· For the best results, be sure to place the compost bin in direct sunlight and a well-drained area. The more sun the faster the microbiological activity will occur in the breakdown process.

· Stir or turn over the compost heap on a regular basis.

· Harvest the completed compost as soon as it is ready to avoid nestling pests.

Pesky Pesticides

Avoid pesticides at all cost, they are poisonous and can harm you and your garden. They can leak into water supplies, creeks, and streams and eventually contaminate the water we drink. There are many non-chemical ways to keep annoying and hungry pests out of your garden. And remember, pesticides are not a cure, they are only a temporary solution. Nature has its own built-in pest control, the food chain, so avoid the easy route with some of these tips:

· Cut off infected leaves as soon as you spot them.

· Prune in late fall and early spring as this is prime mating and harvest time for pests.

· Use a strong source of water and spray directly on to the infested shrubs and leaves. This should dislodge any annoying pests or nests like spider mites or slugs.

· Weed your lawn and garden on a regular basis to keep pests from finding a permanent home.

· Make your own non-chemical insecticide by mixing 30 ml of soap flakes (not laundry detergent as these are too powerful) to one liter of water and spray on infected areas. Give a quick rinse afterward with clean water to remove any soap residue that may have built up.

· Get rid of stubborn aphids and mites with this garlic pesticide, it takes a little bit of preparation, but if you were swarmed by aphids in Toronto last summer you will eagerly take the time to prepare it: Crush 115g of garlic in 60 ml of vegetable oil and let sit for a day. Add one liter and 15 ml of biodegradable dish soap. Sieve this mixture and keep refrigerated. When ready to use it, dilute the mixture in 20 parts of water and spray away.

· If the use of a pesticide is absolutely necessary, always use one that is biodegradable. Look for labels that say “biological insecticide” or “suicide” on the label.