7 Ways You Can Support the Environment

Household Recycling

Fotolia 39555219 XS think green          Recycling is a simple way that every Solebury household can help the environment.  Just by sorting your trash into two containers, one for recycling, one not, is all that it takes.  The recycling of household waste greatly impacts the amount of waste in landfills and all the companies that provide curbside trash pickup also recycle paper, plastics, glass and aluminum.  Check with the group that services your street to know how and when recyclable materials are accepted.

BFI - (800) 234 2583
Waste Management - (800) 328 1717
KWS - (188) 597 9911

Additionally, electronic and hazardous household waste can also be recycled.  Bucks County has a Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Colleciton Program.  Schedules are posted annually at BucksCounty.org.

Electronics, Computer, Hazardous Waste Recycling

These materials should not be thrown in the trash or put out with curbside pickup. Bucks County organizes recycling of these materials on several Saturdays during the spring and summer at locations in the area.

What can you bring?

Old computers and up to 25 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous products including pesticides, oil based paint and batteries. Read the label! Hazardous products will have cautionary words on the label. For example: Danger, Warning, or Caution. Other words or phrases that can signal hazardous products include: poisonous, hazardous, combustible, flammable, corrosive, volatile, caustic, irritant, explosive, toxic, use with adequate ventilation, or avoid inhaling.

For information please contact the PADEP Recycling Hotline at 1-800-346-4242 or on the web at BucksCounty.org..

Composting: Garden waste recycling

Leaves and other garden waste are often a large part of the volume of curbside pickup. This has two negative results: the overcharging of landfill resources and depriving your property of valuable nutrients. Composting of leaves is easy and can be done as simply as a contained pile of leaves in a corner of your yard that breaks down over the winter. The resulting humus can be used as nutritious mulch on flower beds in the spring.

Composting kitchen waste also helps to reduce curbside pickup. Contrary to common thought, composting is neither difficult nor 'smelly'.

Most hardware and garden centers sell convenient composting bins in varying sizes and types. They are also available through gardening catalogs and the web. The Internet is a great resource for information and ideas. Below are some sites that explain the details of composting:



Yard waste makes up 25 to 50 percent of all municipal waste.  Don't throw away the ingredients that will help you make the richest, most fertile soil available!  (If you do not have space to compost on your own property, give your kitchen waste and leaves to a friend or neighbor.)

Landscaping with Native Plants

By planting native plant gardens, you can help to preserve the native plants that are disappearing from our area as well as create small oases for the wildlife in our neighborhoods. Combined, each of our individual efforts can offset the major changes we are causing in our region and begin to repair the web of life. You can make a difference!

Native plants have many advantages. You'll need to begin by choosing the right native plants for your site, buying healthy ones and planting them properly. Once you do so, you'll find that natives are well-adapted to our climate, with built-in resilience to temperature and rainfall fluctuations. When planted in the proper situation, native plants require minimal maintenance.

Many native plants also attract more wildlife, such as birds and butterflies. Creating favorable habitats for these creatures will help the environment and make your garden a livelier place to enjoy. We are fortunate in our area to have some great resources for native plants. Two non-profit organizations have native plant sales this spring:



Remember:

Native trees are hardier and live longer.
Native plants are more resistant to insects and disease.

Reduction of lawn

The pollution from running a lawnmower for one hour is said to be equivalent to driving a car 340 miles! One alternative that is becoming popular is a field of wildflowers - colorful and it only needs to be cut twice a year. Replacing part of your lawn with a natural field or woods is beneficial to wildlife and can attract birds and butterflies. Other alternatives to grass lawns include evergreen groundcovers and low shrubs and moss in shady areas where grass is difficult to grow without high maintenance. For information on planting moss, see www.MossAcres.com. Planting a small grove of evergreen trees such as white pine will produce a shady area in summer with a fine mulch of needles. A vegetable garden will eliminate a grass area and provide you with healthy fresh fruits and vegetables from your own compost. The National Wildlife Foundation is a good resource to understand your alternatives: http://www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/habitat2.cfm

Reducing the pesticides and fertilizers:

Many homes in Solebury rely on wells. We should be aware that being irresponsible with the quantities or types of pesticides and fertilizers on our lawns and flower beds can be detrimental to the drinking water quality, as the toxic residues enter our natural water system. Homeowners can greatly reduce watering and fertilizers by their choice of grass seed and mowing techniques. Setting your mowers cutting height at 3" provides a more drought and weed resistant lawn and is slower growing. Less work for you, better drinking water for your family.

Storm water management

Storm water runoff is a serious concern because storm water runoff may be contaminated with pesticides, fertilizers, animal droppings, trash, food wastes, automotive by-products and other toxic substances that are un-natural parts of the ecosystem. Storm water runoff that flows over streets, parking lots, driveways, construction sites and commercial facilities can carry these pollutants through the storm water drainage system directly into local streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. It is also important to never dispose of any potentially hazardous materials into storm drains or manholes as these often lead directly to creeks and streams.

Individual Efforts

Individual efforts may appear simple or minor; however, when employed universally throughout the community, they can have a significant impact on the prevention of storm water pollution. These efforts include the proper disposal of waste, clearing of debris and wastes from storm drains, reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers for landscaping, and planting or paving areas prone to erosion to reduce the transport of sediment by storm water runoff. It is especially important that buffers of native plant species be used along stream banks and water bodies to limit the amount of runoff that enters these features. (http://www.cleanwaterclearchoice.org/)

Water pooling on your lawn or icy patches at the bottom of your drive can be signs of destruction caused by bad storm water management. These signs should not be ignored. Flooded basements are expensive and icy patches on Solebury's country roads are the cause of many accidents during the winter months. If either of these conditions exist at your home it is important to find the cause. Sometimes there can be a straight forward, simple solution, such as unstopping clogged or replacing inadequate rain gutters and spouts or adding a small water diversion "bumps" on your drive.

Conservation

We are all so used to electric lights, TVs, computers, air conditioning that we often don't think of the impact of producing the electricity that runs them. Conservation and renewable energy resources are both needed to help the environment.

Don't use electricity wastefully. Turn off lights when they are not needed, use compact fluorescent bulbs and fluorescent lighting where lights are to be on for long periods. Large appliances, like refrigerators and washer/dryers, use a lot of energy and buying models with a good EnergyStar rating can substantially reduce your energy consumption. Keep your appliances well maintained to use less energy.

Excessive exterior lighting has two negative impacts, the using of energy and the diminishing of darkness. Exterior lighting reduces our ability to view the beautiful night sky with its stars and planets and can it can also disturb our neighbors sleep. Help the environment and contribute to the rural atmosphere of Solebury by rethinking how much exterior lighting is appropriate.

If you renovate your home, take the opportunity to improve the insulation, heating/cooling systems and ventilation to be more energy efficient to heat in winter and cool in summer.

At work and school - organizations can have a great influence in promoting a better environment. Support initiatives that support environmental practices in your organizations.


A Living Example

To help residents see for themselves the many ways that native plants can be a unique and sustainable part of every home's landscape, the grounds of the Township Hall are planted with a wide variety of wildflowers, grasses and shrubs that are indigenous to the region.

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