Sustainability is for everyone. You can make a difference! April is Earth Month, and we’re issuing a challenge to you and your family: can you be a Salamander Superhero by changing some of your habits this month? Try out the activities below – they’ll help you gain more of a sense of how you use resources like our new “living” Hitchcock Center. It can be fun to take actions that minimize waste and litter, save water and money, and strengthen our community’s viability, too. Help make our world cleaner and healthier – be a Salamander Superhero!
Learn more about how MassDEP is continually working to maximize waste reduction, recycling and composting, and ensure the safe management, reuse and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.
Did you know plastic bags take hundreds of years to photodegrade? Most plastic bags are used for minutes and then discarded. They are expensive to recycle, dangerous for wildlife, and are produced using our limited natural gas and petroleum resources. See how the City of Northampton recognized this issue and took action to ban plastic bag use in the City.
Find something you want to identify.
You may have seen this ad during the Super Bowl, reminding us to turn off the water as we brush our teeth.
Here are 5 fun and easy ways to collect water for your garden.
What is sun tea and how do you make it?
Grandparents teach us things all the time; return the favor!
Creating compost from food scraps, leaves and grass clippings results in rich soil for plants/crops while reducing waste. It’s easy, helps our planet and flowers and veggies love it! Check out Planet Natural or Rodale’s Organic Life to learn more about composting.
Learning or using your repair skills allows you to keep a favorite or valued item while saving money. It also reduces waste at landfills – and offers a real sense of accomplishment! Want to learn how to repair what you have? Head on over to One Earth to look for instructions.
Used items have a history/story, frequently are better made than new, and sometimes are no longer available new. Often you can save money, so why waste old “treasures”?!
Since you know how much you typically eat, put together a healthy “just my size” lunch. You’ll be helping your family by doing it yourself, and you won’t waste food! Need some tips on creating a no-waste lunch?
Eating meals rich with veggies, grains, beans and such are healthy and economical for your food budget — and are less costly to produce than animal-based foods. Try new recipes and foods, and have fun discovering easy, delicious meals. Need ideas? Try Real Simple.
Find ways to cut back, like unplugging electronics which continue to draw on electricity even when turned off, turning down the heat, reducing time in the shower to save water, using the clothes dryer less to save gas or electricity. Looking for tips on how to make it happen? Try Mass Save and My Energy.
Keep in mind that reuse is essential to reduce waste. Minimizing usage of non-biodegradable items/materials such as plastics, and recycling whenever possible can shrink our landfills. For more thoughts to get you thinking check out Rethink Recycling and Pedal People.
Multiple paper towels create such waste! Instead, try the “Joe Smith” Method : Wash your hands; shake them 12 times over the sink; fold 1 paper towel in half and wipe your hands – that’s all! It really works! Don’t believe us? Listen to Joe tell it.
Electronics are some of the worst polluters, and many can be fixed/repurposed for families, schools, small businesses that can’t afford new ones. Do you need to learn how or where to recycle? You can do some research at Mass.gov and All Green Recycling.
Saving the energy to heat water not only helps lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint, but also reduces potential clothes shrinkage! (Shrink the footprint, not clothes!)
“Solar- drying” saves energy, reduces wear on fabrics, is so easy to use – and clothes smell great!
Plant in your yard a native flowering shrub or tree that bees & birds would love. Native plants, which need less intensive care and water, attract bees and birds necessary for pollination and insect control. Head over to New England Wild and American Horticultural Society for inspiration.
Using your “natural energy” has benefits of reduced stress, better mental and physical health.
Whether you have a large, small – or no yard, there’s always room for a few vegetable and herb plants. They’re easy to grow, and can fit in pots and window boxes! The folks at Hadley Garden Center are always helpful for gardening tips, and there are lots of resources online too!
Local is fresh (yum!), healthy, and supports your community. Buying local also helps minimize transportation costs and emissions that pollute. How can you make buying local work for you? Check out Buy Local Food and Green Living Tips.
Knowledge of the where and how leads to understanding our watersheds, the importance of taking care of them and the need for conservation. Read more at Water and Sewer (Springfield’s water and sewer commission) and Earth Easy.
Tabulate your uses and costs, and discover your impact. Remember – reduce, reuse, recycle is essential to minimize waste and maximize saving! Sound complicated? Check out Small Footprint Family to learn how you can calculate your footprint.