It’s been 5 months since the Cincinnati Zoo started composting 8 tons of organic waste a week! This organic material includes herbivorous animal waste, straw bedding, cardboard chips and food waste from animal diets. You can join the Zoo and compost too! Composting helps reduce your waste by 30% and provides an excellent soil amendment to your garden. Start a pile in your backyard and add food scraps such as orange rinds, apple cores, banana peels and carrot peelings as well as coffee grinds and tea bags! You can also add in leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste. Turn the pile every few days and in a few months time you’ll have rich, organic compost filled with great nutrients that will help your gardens grow. Keep your pile contained by using a compost bin. [Read more →]
May 11, 2011 No Comments
The oil spill that has occurred in the Gulf this past April has hopefully caused all of us to look a little more closely at our behaviors and take action that will have a positive effect. The number one way each person can help out is reducing your use of oil by driving less and increasing the energy efficiency of your home. Of course, being summer time, driving less may be hard to do. Many of us drive to take the kids to summer camp, go on summer vacation, visit with family and friends and of course, drive to work every day. If you do need to drive, do so in an eco-friendly and fuel efficient way. Wildlife, and your wallet, will thank you.
Eco-Friendly Driving Tips
- Share the ride – Carpool with coworkers or other families and save money on tolls and gas while significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions
- Combine trips – Instead of going out for every item or errand that you need as it comes up, combine trips and go on one, multi-errand trip. You’ll save gas, time and wear and tear on your car.
- Watch your speed – Driving at 50mph uses 30% less fuel than driving at 70mph. Maintain a constant speed while you are on the highway. Utilize cruise control if you have it. Studies have shown that aggressive driving (sharp acceleration, hard breaking, high speeds) reduces travel time only by 4%, but increases fuel consumption by up to 40%.
- Check your tires – Maintain the correct tire pressure. Driving with under inflated tires increases resistance against the road surface, thus making your car’s engine work harder and uses more fuel. It will also increase the wear and tear of your tire and affect the car’s handling, increasing the risk of an accident. Ideally, check your tires every week or two to ensure they are at the correct pressure.
- Lighten your load – Avoid hauling around excess weight or drag, such as luggage or golf clubs in your trunk. Doing so reduces your car’s fuel efficiency.
- Good oil – Check your oil level, and use the recommended grade of oil for your car. Using different motor oil can reduce your car’s efficiency by 2% but switching to the right grade will save you more than 10 gallons of gas annually. Look out for oil leaks and get them fixed immediately if you find one.
- Don’t be idle – Avoid idling your engine. If you’ll be stopped for more than a minute, it makes sense to turn off your engine. It will save on fuel.
- No more A/C – Lay off the A/C and use windows instead because using the A/C can increase fuel consumption by more than 20% in city driving. Unless it is stifling hot, roll down the windows or use your car’s flow through ventilation if you’re going at higher speeds.
- Every gallon of gas saved keeps 20 lbs of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
To find out more about the oil spill and what the Zoo is doing to help, visit our website.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, by Joanna Yarrow
July 29, 2010 No Comments
Summer is the perfect time for a weekend getaway, or an even longer vacation. It is a great time to refresh, revisit with friends and reconnect with your inner self and explore the world. Why not do so in a green, eco-friendly way? Rejuvenate yourself while being kind to the planet. Our Zoo animals and their wild counterparts will thank you. Every action we take, even ones while on vacation, has an impact on these animals and their habitats. When you go on vacation, don’t send your green habits on vacation also. Check out these tips for greening your getaway.
- Getting from Here to There – Flying has the greatest environmental impact compared to trains and automobiles. When making arrangements, travel by land if possible and as an added bonus, land travel allows you to see where you’re going. If you do need to fly, combine trips and avoid stopovers and look into buying carbon offsets for your flight.
- Watch What You Pack – Pack light. The more you pack, the heavier your bag (or bags) and the more jet fuel will be used (not to mention extra charges for checked baggage). Before you leave, do a little research to find out what the weather will be like at your destination and pack accordingly. Not all countries/destinations have sophisticated waste management or recycling facilities. Avoid disposable items and substitute biodegradable products in your toiletries case.
- Home Goes on Vacation too – Before you leave, make a few changes at home to keep it safe, save energy and have a lower utility bill. Switch off all the lights, turn off and unplug electronics and appliances, turn down thermostat on your hot water heater and adequately adjust your home’s heating or cooling system. Suspend your newspaper subscription as well.
- Going Paperless – In this digital age, utilize the Internet as much as you can for booking accommodations, travel and tours. Use your public library, friends and family to gather more information on your destination, rather than gathering brochures from travel agencies or buying new guide books. Once you are at your destination, take free maps and brochures only as necessary.
- Eco-Accommodations – If you are able to, stay in places with specially designed vacation resorts, farm stays, and tours with green credentials and that are ecologically sustainable. Let housekeeping know you don’t need your sheets and towels changed every single day. Bring your own toiletries (those small free bottles waste a lot of packaging) and use reusable containers instead of travel size items. Turn of the A/C or heat when you leave the room, as well as the TV and lights, and unplug any appliances or chargers that aren’t in use.
- While You Stay – Travel with a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug. Walk to and from places, or use public transportation if it is available. It is greener, and cheaper. When you’re shopping for souvenirs, do so safely. Purchase items that don’t exploit or deplete local wildlife and flora. Support local crafts people instead of purchasing plastic or touristy items that are most likely imported.
True Green Life in 100 Everyday Ways by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin
Ready, Set, Green by Graham Hill and Meaghan O’Neill
July 22, 2010 2 Comments