Municipal Composting Programs–-a Way to Go Green

January 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement

Composting has occurred since plants first existed on the earth. When leaves and fruit fall from trees, and when plants die, they drop to the ground, enriching the soil through the process of natural decomposition. This is nature’s way of composting.

Humans have been composting for decades, maybe even centuries. In our recent history, agricultural communities have used composting as a way to enrich their gardens and farmland. In the last two decades, a much larger movement of composting in urban areas has begun, and in recent years, composting has taken on its own popularity as a new way to “go green.” City dwellers are becoming more aware of the benefits of compost in their gardens and flowerbeds, and they are realizing that it is best to recycle natural products back to the earth.

Municipalities have had a major influence in this movement with programs to dispose of recyclable waste. These programs allow, and sometimes require, citizens to collect their organic waste such as leaves, branches, grass, and other yard trimmings for composting. These programs vary in season and structure but they all have the same goal of recycling natural material to the earth’s benefit. In many cases, after the material has been composted, the city sells the compost back to citizens who wish to purchase it for their yards or gardens. In this way, city composting programs provide two services: they allow city dwellers to compost their organic waste, and they also make compost material available for sale at reasonable prices.

A municipal composting program may seem simple, but it can be a large project to manage. First, the citizens of the municipality must be educated about what types of products can be collected and how they are to be contained. Some city composting programs only collect yard waste, while others also allow food scraps. Second, the city must decide how they wish to collect the waste. Some municipalities use bulk collection, where leaves and waste are piled in the street or yard and trucks come collect the debris. Another way to collect the waste is through drop off sites where citizens can take their waste to a central collection area. Other communities use container collection, where the waste is put in specific types of containers such as biodegradable brown paper bags or in reusable containers and is collected by trucks.

After trucks have picked up the organic waste, the material must be transported to a central composting site to be processed and composted. Several months later, the waste you threw out will be available again for resale to citizens as premium compost. Compost can be used in many ways. Premium compost is a great way to enrich your soil, control erosion, or simply help your plants grow bigger and stronger!

The US Environmental Protection Agency indicates that 24% of the United States’ solid waste is made up of yard trimmings and food scraps. Just think how much waste we could keep out of landfills if more cities began composting programs! With the ability to convert all this waste into premium compost and return it to the earth, these programs are hugely beneficial. If your city doesn’t have an organized composting program, contact local officials in your area and prompt them to begin one. This is a way to get involved and give something back to this planet that we inhabit.

Go Eco-friendly This Christmas With Green Printing

January 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement

Ronn Jones asked:

Its almost Christmas, a time of the year when probably the highest proportion of stationary is used all around the world. Its a time of joy and happiness, a time when everyone gets together with their near and dear ones to celebrate the birth of Jesus and await the advent of a new year. Its a time when people sit back and relax after a long hard year to see it silently pass by.

As I said, its the time when stationeries are probably used more than in any other time throughout the year. Greeting cards are sent in bulks to families, friends and colleagues. Gifts are exchanged and surely they need to be wrapped in proper attractive gift-wraps to make them appear just more than presentable.

Christmas today is more commercialized than it ever was. With new gifts and products coming up especially for the occasion, they need to be marketed more vigorously than other products at other times of the year. This requires the companies coming up with these products and services to rev-up the newsletters, periodicals and posters in order to boost their marketing strategy and get an edge over competition. New booklets and brochures are designed for the same purpose.

By the time Christmas is over everyone starts preparing for the New Year. A time to remember and bid adieu to all the good and bad things that marked the current year, and welcome with open hands, the beginning of something new. By this time, calendars for the New Year starts circulating and notepads and other office stationeries are replaced with newer ones.

Amidst all the joy and celebration, Christmas is probably the most wasteful time of the year. Piles of gift-wraps, ribbons, old stationeries and decorations fill up the lands. And this in turn, adds to the causes that could bring the entire mankind and the world we live in under great danger. All the printed materials, which are so abundantly used during this time and disbursed, require a lot of petroleum-based inks, laminates, varnishes, and adhesives for production. And these materials cause the printing houses to produce VOCs. VOCs or volatile organic compounds are organic chemical compounds that have a high vapor pressure under normal conditions and have the potential to vaporize and enter the atmosphere.

These VOCs in all forms are potentially harmful to the environment. When released into the atmosphere, they can actively damage soil and groundwater. Moreover, vapors of VOCs released into the atmosphere cause air pollution and this increases the risk of asthma attack and other health hazards.

But this does not mean that the only possible option to save mankind and earth is by giving up on Christmas. Nowadays, most of the printing houses are going green in a bid to contribute towards the global cause of anti-pollution movement. Green printing is what most of the sensible minds behind the printing industry is adapting to. They are using advanced techniques and recyclable raw materials to conserve energy for the future of the planet. They keep track of their total energy usage and implement strategies for offsetting the environmental impact of their businesses. They are trying to minimize the consumption of electricity and use papers only from companies certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as it proclaims that the paper comes from well-managed forests that adhere to strict environmental standards.

With the option of green printing on our hands, its time celebrate Christmas in a new way-a Christmas without worries and guilt of causing harm to mankind and the planet, a Christmas thats all celebrations!

Paper ? Plastic ? Reusable Bags ?

January 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement

Billions of plastic bags are consumed each year. Less than 1% of plastic bags get recycled. The rest of the bags end up in landfills, lakes and rivers polluting our earth. Plastic bags are responsible for the death of thousands of marine animals and for nearly 7% of debris found along the US coastline. The effects of this abuse have been catastrophic to our environment. To add to the devastation, over 12 million barrels of oil are required annually to produce plastic bags for the US alone.

Eliminating the use of plastic bags is one thing we can ALL do. Its one simple way to join in the force to save our planet. Going Green is not a new fad. It is a necessity. We are already feeling the effects of global warming. We must all take responsibility and do our part.

Most, if not all, major retailers and grocery chains have begun promoting the use of reusable bags. Yet, a very small percentage of consumers are actually using them. Do consumers just dont care? A recent poll, conducted by The Bag Movement, LLC determined the two main reasons people are not using reusable bags. The main reason is consumers have not yet developed a habit of using reusable bags. The second highest reason was consumers dont like using bags with a particular retailers logo.

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The Bag Movement has taken consumers concerns and developed reusable bags that are sure to set a trend. Theyve designed bags that are lightweight, washable and compact. The design also promotes awareness for causes such as breast cancer, AIDS/HIV, Child Abuse and Neglect and Heart Disease. The company donates 15% of all net proceeds to organizations such as St. Jude Childrens hospital, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, AIDS Research alliance, and Operation Homefront.

Even during these tough economic times. Our community must get together and do whats right. Simple steps that can make a difference. One small habit we can develop that can change the world and save lives.

The Deforestation In Africa

January 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Environment

Green Earth Movement
Paul Hata asked:

Africa has been well known for its cosmic lands rich with sunlight, vegetation and the wild. Like other jungles, it is a home to millions of celebrated species. It has also become one of the greatest advertised tourist hot spots; and people came from all over the world for the mere purpose of Safari adventure.

If such lands are as abundant in resources as they say, why is it facing extinction? Why does deforestation in Africa continue to rise and take almost 5 million hectares annually, and why hasn’t it stopped for the past ten years considering the green movement’s focus on the matter?

Like many rich forests scattered all over the Earth, the population in Africa is among the poorest of all groups. Almost all diseases hover in their lands, and food is scarcely provided for the people. If it is still not known to you, millions of communities perish every year due to malnutrition; and about half of the statistics reveal that the critically distressed and affected nation is Africa.

Poverty And Deforestation

Millions of people in all parts of Africa suffer from poverty, and the problem hasn’t been addressed to for many years now. About 217 million of the African population is now experiencing hunger, and these people divert to activities which can provide them with food. Truly, when life begets you of something, a person tends to deflect in other ways and seek measures to suffice their growling pit. Africa’s condition has been as pitiful ever since; sadly though, it has not received much aid from the neighboring worlds.

When the African people found no means of getting food, they redirected to ways which can provide them with the money to buy their basic needs. Some of the population began to be laborers of huge logging companies while the others went to find their own fortune by cultivating plant and animal life. Thus, deforestation became a widespread solution for most of the African people; and since they are uneducated about its effects, they have mindlessly been doing harm to our world.

When you see it in the bigger picture, you’ll be able to think that the problems of poverty are far from the issues of deforestation. However, when you try to see things on a smaller scale, you’ll be able to see how poverty affects the bigger world. If this would go on in years, and the African nation still do not have means of responding to poverty, then deforestation would never come to an end.

How To Cut The Poverty Line

How can the African people make a real and lasting world when in fact they’re presently living in a very disturbed place? The actual question is where and how to start the changes in order to make the people survive and at the same time save the forests. Truly, big things can only be acted upon with strong movements. If the walls built are weak, then the support given will easily fall apart.

Poverty is an issue that can be alleviated only with proper governance and aid from other countries. If Africa does not have both of these, then the need to establish strong financial incentives should be started. How things can begin is a question that can only be answered by their government. If honest and true people work for the survival of Africa, then saving the nation would be greatly possible.

If proper guidance and aid will come, the deforestation in Africa will totally be forgotten; and the chance of survival for both Africa and the planet Earth is a promising thing to happen. Remember, the world needs better people, and one of them could be you.