The Upper Merion Township Environmental Advisory Council is dedicated to exploring and promoting ways to create a more environmentally protective and sustainable community, while providing support and advice to the Township’s Board of Supervisors, Commissions, and other personnel. One of their overall goals is to improve environmental awareness by providing tips for Upper Merion residents.
There are several environmental benefits associated with rain barrels. Foremost, rain barrels reduce stormwater runoff. This is water that does not soak into the ground and can transport many pollutants to our local waterways. The rainwater harvested in the barrel can be used for watering lawns, gardens, potted plants, and for washing off patio furniture and tools. From a gardening perspective, the natural nutrients in rainwater make it far better than tap water, which has chlorine and fluoride in it. With a rain barrel, gardeners can minimize or eliminate their use of chemical fertilizers. Want to learn more? Compare the different types available.
Organic waste comprises 30 percent of the household trash going into landfills and incinerators, where it has no chance to decompose and offers very little BTU value. Homeowners who compost not only extend the life of our landfills and reduce the cost of collecting household garbage, but also recycle the nutrients in organic waste to create a valuable soil amendment for their gardens. Want to learn more? Stop by the Farmers Market to see how you can win a FREE compost bin and check out this cool video.
Reusable Water Bottles
Less than 20% of plastic water bottles get recycled after a single use. Instead of buying plastic bottles, drink from the tap or purchase a reusable water bottle. If you must use plastic water bottles, always recycle them!
Mulching Grass Clippings
Did you know? Grass clippings should be mulched back into the lawn whenever possible. The benefits of using fresh grass clippings as mulch include: cooling the root zone, conserving moisture, preventing some weeds, and adding back up to 25% of the nutrients that growth removes from the soil. By recycling your lawn clippings, you can save money, time, and resources! If you’re interested in recycling your grass clippings, you can learn more about the composting or mulching process online.
A Bright Idea!
Only 10% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb produces light; the rest is given off as heat. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are up to 4 times as efficient as incandescent bulbs. Replacing one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light can save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. CFLs produce the same amount of light, use 1/3 of the electricity and last up to 10 times as long.
BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup!)
The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups each year. This is an area where we can make a huge difference in the amount of waste we produce, just by bringing our own cup when we stop to get our favorite beverage. Some stores even provide discounts for bringing your own cup or mug!
Reuse Furniture and Clothing
Find new life for used furniture and household items! Repair, sell, or donate furniture and other used household items. Give usable old clothes to charities, and make non-usable ones into cleaning rags.
Unplug to Cut Back on Power Usage
Did you know that even when not in use, electronics and appliances are sucking power, sometimes up to 40 watts per device? Toasters, blenders, phone chargers, space heaters, and other devices should really only be plugged in when they’re being used. Unplugging these when not in use can help reduce electricity bills and can also help prevent fires. Do an inventory of your outlets to see what you can unplug (or switch to a power strip) to cut back on your usage!
Composting Leaves During the Fall Season
The fall season causes deciduous trees to lose their leaves during the cooler months because the trees are becoming dormant and preparing themselves for winter. Trees seal the spots where the leaves are attached, cutting off water to the leaves. Then the leaves change color and fall from the trees (here’s an in-depth look into this). It’s important to know the numerous benefits of leaf composting. Composting leaves is a terrific way to recycle and create a nutrient-rich garden soil amendment. Learn how to compost leaves!
Interested in learning about water conservation? Check out these tips provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
MS4: What is it?
In 2013, Upper Merion Township became a Regulated Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) under the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) NPDES General Permit regulations. These regulations required Upper Merion Township to establish a Storm Water Management Program. This protocol provided the municipality with requirements to develop a program, which addresses PaDEP’s six minimum control measures (MCM). Learn more about Upper Merion’s program and PaDEP’s stormwater announcements.
All the rain we’ve had lately is a good reminder that stormwater management requires careful attention to prevent flooding and control pollution. Residents and businesses in our community can help! Learn more about stormwater management techniques!
Check back for more tips each week!