Composting: How to Do It and Why It Matters

Posted: July 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Composting, Green Communities, Green Home, Green Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This is a guest blog from writer Chloe Trogden. Thanks Chloe

Image by Chris Breikss via Flickr

Every year, we generate about 250 million tons of trash in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a lot of waste, and it has to go somewhere. A lot of the chemicals and other toxins in our waste can end up in the ground and the water supply, contaminating our food or drinking sources. In addition, all that waste is contributing to the depletion of natural resources.

Recycling is one way that people have started to reduce the amount of waste produced, but it’s not enough. We need to recycle more, and we need to compost more. The EPA estimates that 87 million tons of material are recycled or composted each year. However, if each household and small business made a commitment to composting, that number could improve dramatically.

How to Compost at Home

Composting is very easy to do at home. You need to set up a compost bin in your yard, which you can either build yourself or buy from a home improvement store. The bin should be enclosed except for an open bottom and a removable top. You can build a pallet out of wood or an old trashcan.

You can put a wide variety of materials into your compost bin, but they should consist of a mix of “greens” and “browns.” Greens include kitchen scraps (except for meat), grass clippings, weeds, and other nitrogen-based materials. Browns include dead leaves, cardboard, newspaper, sticks, branches and other carbon-based materials. Simply put these materials into the bin and leave them to compost.

Keep your compost pile active by adding new materials regularly and turning it with a pitchfork or shovel about once a week. Water it about once a week, as well, to help activate the pile. If you keep the pile fed and activated, you should have a rich, nutrient-dense compost to add to your garden or your lawn in about three to four months.

How to Compost for Your Small Business

No matter what type of small business you have, you can also compost your waste. Traditional office environments will have plenty of paper materials to add to the compost bin, which can be supplemented by scraps from employees’ lunches and clippings from office plants. Businesses that serve food stuffs can supplement their steady supply of scraps with old receipts, waste paper from old files, and cardboard boxes from shipments.

By composting, businesses can help to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve resources. Cafes and restaurants can use the compost to grow a small garden to supplement their supply. Other businesses can donate the compost to local community gardens or farms, helping to give back to the community.

The Benefits of Composting for Everyone

Composting helps to recycle materials that might have otherwise ended up in the landfill, taking up precious land, requiring the use of natural resources and manpower to transport and process the waste, and potentially ending up contaminating the water supply. You can help to reduce your carbon footprint as an individual or as a business by composting what you can to turn that waste into something useful and to reduce your consumption of natural resources.

Individuals can also save money by composting. They can use it in place of fertilizer or garden soil, and they can grow bigger and more nutritious vegetables. Small businesses that are in the food industry can do the same.

Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and maybe to even save a little money. It’s easy to do, and it can make a big impact. Consider composting in your home or even your business to start reaping the benefits.

Bio:

Chloe Trogden is a seasoned financial aid writer who covers specific opportunities such as grants for minority students. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and volunteer work.

 


Teaching Children About Renewable Energy Through Kits

Posted: July 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Green Communities, Green Initiatives, Green Kids | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

While building your own solar array to provide enough power to your home to be 100-percent sustainable could cost tens of thousands of dollars, you don’t need a lot of money to teach children how it works and why it’s important. In fact, there are a lot of kits on the market that can serve semi-practical uses while demonstrating to the kids the mechanics of it all. Most of these kits cost less than $150 and can provide a wealth of knowledge for green sustainability.

1. Solar Arrays - The solar panel kit offered by HarborFreight.com produces 45 watts of power while providing the capabilities to power small 12-volt devices. It also supports the use of 5 volt USB devices such as phone charges and other USB electronics normally purchased for computers. This kit can be expanded on by combing more panels together while using a deep cycle battery and an inverter – both are sold separately. This is a fun and quick project for your children to assemble and can be utilized in many ways for practicality such as camping or tied into your home power needs. The kit itself is less than $250.

2. Wind Turbines - For less than $130, you could demonstrate to your children the power of wind turbines from KidWind.com. These wind turbines can be purchased as small single units to elaborate classroom kits, each turbine producing as much as two watts of power. These kits are tailored specifically for children and include easy to follow instructions in order to assemble them. Although they may not have the maximum production value of power as the solar kit listed above, they can easily be used to demonstrate how humans can harness natural sources of energy without consuming fuels to do so.

3. Small Solar Panels - For those who don’t want to spend a great deal of money teaching their children about solar power, LegacyStation.com offers an inexpensive kit to power several different projects. This 6-in-1 kit is under $20 and can demonstrate how to use solar power in order to create vehicles or propulsion systems in aircraft. These are easy to assemble and will provide a great deal of entertainment without the use of a single battery. Of course, there is nothing wrong with modification of any project should you want to demonstrate how solar arrays can power an object while charging a battery in order for the object to continue functionality when solar power is low. This would only require the use of a battery pack and rechargeable batteries that can be picked up from Radio Shack for less than $20.

4. Pressurized Power - While solar and wind are two of the most popular and practical methods for renewable energy sources, NationalGeographic.com has made an air and water power kit to teach children about how pressure can be used to power a variety of machines including vehicles. The kit allows children to build 15 different vehicles all powered by hydro-pneumo technologies. Pressurized air and water can be used as a form of propulsion, and the kit costs less than $50.

Getting your children excited about renewable energies now increases the knowledge they will have later. As technology develops to make these sources more efficient, preparing our future through educating our young will only increase the likelihood of total global sustainability in the decades to come. Your child may very well be the innovator that history remembers for delivering the perfected system – all from the kits they put together at 10 years old.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are always receptive to having people create guest blogs for us, as the influx of opinions always makes for interesting reading.