Happy Earth Day!

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earth-day

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I love Earth Day and I look forward to it each year. I think it is a great reminder to take a step back from our busy lives and look at ways that we can all make a difference. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and is always celebrated on April 22nd of each year.

Some Earth Day Trivia for you today: (answers will be below in the comment section)

1) Which household appliance uses the most energy?
A) Refrigerator
B) Toaster
C) Dishwasher
D) Washing machine

2) “Phantom carriers” is a term used for electronic devices that:
A) Move from room to room
B) Continue to consume electricity even when switched off
C) Are really expensive
D) Are energy efficient

3) What percentage do heating costs rise by for every degree above 20°C that you set your household thermostat in the winter?
A) 2%
B) 4%
C) 5%
D) 7%

4) A typical 5-minute shower uses ____ litres of water:
A) 50
B) 100
C) 150
D) 200

5) How much water is used to produce 1kg of paper?
A) 100 litres
B) 200 litres
C) 300 litres
D) 400 litres

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Here are the Top 10 actions to reduce your impact on the environment according to Earth Day Canada:

earth-day-2009-sacramento

1) Smart Shopping

• “Buy what you need, not what you want”
• Consider renting and borrowing things that are
seldom needed
• Buy used items from garage sales and second-hand stores

2) Simple Savers

• Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact
fluorescent bulbs

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  • Use aerators on faucets and shower heads
  • Weatherstrip windows and doors

3) Transportation Alternatives

• Walk, cycle, car pool and use public transportation
• When driving, reduce idling and maintain correct tire pressure
• Consider car sharing programs or renting

4) Food Choices

• Choose local and organic foods that are in season
• Eat less meat & try out vegan recipes!

 

5) Washing and Drying

• Wash full loads of clothes in cold water and hang to air dry

6) Heating and cooling

• For summer air conditioning, set your thermostat to 24°C or 25°C
• For winter heating, set your thermostat to 19°C or 20°C
• Install ceiling fans and programmable thermostats

7) Close to Home

• Vacation, travel and work as close to home as possible

8.) Bathroom Basics

• Take short showers instead of baths
• Close water taps while brushing your teeth

9) Careful Cleaning

• Choose natural, non-toxic cleaning products
• Make natural cleaners with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and water

10) Don’t Discard

• Donate, reuse and recycle items before throwing them into the trash
• Harmful materials like chemicals, batteries, electronics, etc.
should be taken to local hazardous waste depots or recyclers

I would also like to add one…

11) Set up a a kitchen compost

  • You can reduce your waste output by 33% by simply discarding your food scraps and yard wastes into a compost.

You don’t need anything fancy, just a small garbage container or an unused pail you have lying around the house! Then line it with compostable bags or paper bags.

Ours gets filled with green tea quite a bit… :oops:

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Our city actually has a wonderful wet/dry garbage system in place (Click to enlarge)

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Fun fact: Our compost bin fills up MUCH faster than our regular garbage bin does!

Today’s question: How do you reduce your carbon footprint? Does your city have a Wet/Dry program?

(See the comments below for the answers to the quiz.)

Have a great Earth Day!

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shawna @ Balancing Me April 22, 2010

No, our city does not have a wet/dry program – just this week, they’ve started with a REAL recycling program. Thank Goodness!!!

I have ditched all plastic food storage, including baggies; I have reusable cups and bags to replace anything that usually gets tossed; and I’m trying to eat a more plant-based, sustainable diet, which I think would have huge impact if everyone did the same, even on a small-scale basis.

Visit my blog for an Earth Day Giveaway today: http://balancingme.com/earth-day-2010/

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2 Angela (ohsheglows) April 22, 2010

Answers to the quiz:
1) Answer: A – Refrigerators use about 11% of a household’s total energy consumption.
Take Action: Buy Energy Star endorsed refrigerators, which will use less energy and save you money. Also, make sure your refrigerator is set to optimal energy use temperatures (between 2°C and 3°C).

2) Answer: B – “Phantom carriers” are products that draw power 24 hours a day. Appliances that have a clock or programming displays such as coffee makers, DVD players, computers, printers, and stereos are considered phantom load carriers. 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics
is consumed while the products are turned off.
Take Action: Unplug electrical appliances and equipment when you leave the room or use a power bar that connects all of these units and then simply switch the bar off.

3) Answer: C
Take Action: Don’t overheat your home in the winter. Put on a sweater and dress accordingly in order to save money and to use less energy.

4)Answer: B
Take Action: Use a low flow showerhead and you can reduce the amount of water used during a five minute shower to 35 litres. You will save water and money on your water bill.

5) Answer: C
Take Action: Use both sides of a sheet of paper before recycling it. Buy products that are labeled: contains “post-consumer” recycled material. This means it is made from things that you put into your blue box.

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3 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 22, 2010

I got them all right! Yay me :)

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4 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 22, 2010

nice!

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5 Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin April 22, 2010

I don’t think my city has a wet/dry program.

I have made a lot of changes to reduce my carbon footprint but still have room for improvement. I take public transportation every day to and from work, I bring my lunch/breakfast in reusable bags and tupperware whenever I can, I recycle as much as possible, and I gave up red and white meat.

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6 Jessica @ How Sweet April 22, 2010

Oooh we try to follow the ‘buy what you need, not what you want.’ It is TOUGH. I am also trying to buy reusable bags. We always buy local and organic if we can.

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7 Jenny April 22, 2010

I am the master of the short shower, unplug my devices when I’m not using them and re-use or recycle everything! We have some local compost areas and I donate to them when I can! Great post:)

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8 Nicole @ making good choices April 22, 2010

Our city doesn’t have a wet-dry trash program which stinks and is surprising considering I live in NYC! I would love to have a compost but having one in an apartment is too hard and not really allowed. I can’t wait to have a house so I can have one!

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9 Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 22, 2010

Those are really great tips! Our city doesn’t have a program like that and we could definitely be better about being more green.

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10 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg April 22, 2010

Great tips, and great Earth Day post!!! We don’t have a wet/dry program– I wish we did!

Eating a vegetarian diet has reduced my carbon footprint. We also recycle, walk to work (when we can!), and do our best to take short showers– small, but helpful!

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11 Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day to you too, Angela! I’ve been thinking about getting a kitchen compost bin for years, and your post is pushing me towards picking one out!

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12 Jolene April 22, 2010

We recycle paper, plastic, etc..

We also use reusable grocery bags, energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.

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13 Rachel April 22, 2010

I love that Toronto has green recycling for organics – and that you can recycle so much stuff here. During the garbage strike last summer I don’t think we ended up with any extra garbage, but we certainly filled up both green bins, and had double the amount of recycling!

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14 Jil April 22, 2010

Boston has a pretty good recycling program – and they’ve made it easier in that you don’t have to sort your items anymore – however, in my building there is only ONE “bin” delegated for recycling for 10 units – it gets filled way too fast and then there isn’t room to put anymore stuff. Lame – but I hold on to recycling until I can fit it into the bin – I recycle wayyy more than I throw out.

I use resusable grocery bags allll the time – or my purse (it’s a big one) when I go to the store. Plus, any plastic bags that I do get from stores – I reuse.

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15 Therese April 22, 2010

I live in Toronto so we have an pretty good recycling and composting system in place that I use ALL THE TIME!

I also only clean my home, laundry and self with environmentally friendly cleaners.

I don’t drive so public transport, walking and running are what get me to the places I need to go!

I buy organic and local products as much as possible (and just started using a local organics delivery service). My boyfriend and I are also going to start planting vegetables in our garden this year!

I bring my own bags every time I go shopping and always plan what to buy so that I don’t waste food.

I’m also a vegetarian.

I think there’s more but there’s no need to hog your comments space!

Happy Earth Day!

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16 Heather (Heather's Dish) April 22, 2010

we recycle, use cloth bags (or no bags at all) for groceries, walk or ride our bikes to places that are close by, and use Siggs instead of water bottles. i’m sure there’s more, but that’s all i have for right now!

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17 Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 22, 2010

My recycling bin always fills up way before my trashcan! It makes me happy :)

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18 Katlyn April 22, 2010

Love this post! I am such a greenie! I am obsessive when it comes to unplugging things and turning off lights. My husband and I live with two other couples so i can get really frustrated when I go downstairs to our common area and lights are left on and things plugged in. I might be a little overboard but oh well. :-)
My favorite thing that we do is we have a neat flush system in our bathroom. First of all we go by the “if its yellow let it mellow if its brown flush it down” policy. And we have a big 15 gallon barrel next to our toilet with a hose and faucet going into the toilet tank. We fill the barrel with water from our showers and then use that to flush.

We also have rain barrels. I don’t know why more people dont collect rain water!! We mostly use the rain water to water our gardens. :-)

and hurray for composting and recycling!!

oh man, we also don’t eat meat, some of us not at all but some of us only eat it if its locally and sustainably raised.

Also, my husband and i don’t have a car… we ride our bikes as much as possible or use our housemates cars.

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19 Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow April 22, 2010

We sadly don’t have a wet/dry program here in Boston. I’ve been sorely disappointed with the recycling efforts here. Though we are getting more and more creative in our home!

I’m now more aware of
– unplugging electronics
– using reusable bags for EVERYTHING
– I am throwing out our small baggies and using plastic or glass containers exclusively
– creating a compost for our roof top
– buying myself 3 new bags that roll up and can be kept in my purse at all times for future purchases
– short showers (better for the hair too!)
– starting to eat more vegetarian meals multiple times a week

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20 Natalie April 22, 2010

Hey Angela! What do you do with your compost? New York doesn’t have a wet/dry disposal system and I know some people compost for gardening. But I don’t have a garden in my tiny NY apartment. I would like to be more earth friendly, especially since I always have a lot of fruits and veggie refuse. Do you know of any other uses for compost?

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21 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter April 22, 2010

Our school is really great in the dining halls by having a compost program, as well as the typical recycling. You won’t see styrofoam ANYWHERE near my school :)

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22 Grace aka Triathlonbabe April 22, 2010

Ditto on loving Earth Day!!!

Our carbon footprint is done by, carpooling to work, eating less red meat, using containers more, recycle…recycle…recycle as much as possible. I don’t know if our city has a wet/dry facility, but I would like to find out. I want to start composting as well.

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23 Camille April 22, 2010

I reduce my carbon footprint by walking instead of driving whenever I can.
Not only is it good for the environment, but it’s good for my body too!

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24 Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) April 22, 2010

These are great tips! Your city is definitely ahead of Washington when it comes to recycling and green initiatives but we’re becoming much more eco-conscious as a city, starting with the 5-cent bag tax that passed last year.

Nothing can compare to the insanity of Korea, which had more than 10 different bags to sort your home recycling. Do it wrong and get a huge fine.

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25 Lisa April 22, 2010

Portland is a pretty green city. We recycle everything. When we go to Costco we bring fabric bags instead of using all those boxes. It’s little things that add up.

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26 Jess @ MTL Veggie April 22, 2010

Great post today!
I really miss the “green bins” in Ontario- Quebec doesn’t have those as yet. I think my “green goal” for this summer is to get a compost system going!
One question- I’m heading back to the GTA for the weekend and haven’t gone for a real trail-run there in ages- any suggestions?

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27 Miranda April 22, 2010

I love our road side compost pick up that is going on pretty much all over Ontario.
I bring my wet waste home with me every day from work. One day too, my husband brought his banana peel home from work. I might have shed a tear of joy. :)

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

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28 Kelsey April 22, 2010

i walk to almost all my destination. and i use the bus if i have a longer distance to go. most people at 21 just rely on their vehicles.. which is fine.. but when u can.. remember those feet were made for walkin’ hehe. xo

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29 Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman April 22, 2010

My city doesn’t have a program like that. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing. I try to use as little energy as possible by turning off all the lights and trying not to use heat or AC unless necessary. (Though I must admit I do this more to lower my bills than to be green. Sorry, Earth.) We also only have one car and my husband drops me off and picks me up from work so I don’t have to drive, too.

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30 Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!! I’ve definitely done my part this year in trying to be greener for my lifestyle. I ALWAYs turn off lights, I furnished my whole room with used furniture, I bring reusable water bottles/tea mugs to work. Next step for me is to stop using plastic baggies to store my lunch!

xo

Jocelyn

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31 Twisted Chicken April 22, 2010

We’ve switched to reusable water bottles instead of disposable.
We use our reusable bags for shopping trips.
We’ve lowered our thermostat in winter.
We’ve switched to cold-water washing for laundry.
We participate in our city’s curbside recycling program.

What do you all do with your compost? I’ve never composted because I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t have a garden and don’t want one. I don’t have flower beds and don’t want them. What is the benefit of composting when you don’t use it as fertilizer?

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32 Lauren April 22, 2010

I am always turning off the lights! People just leave them on all the time, even when they’re not even in the room! I am also a dairy-free vegetarian, so that helps the planet and my body! :) I use re-usable shopping bags, walk to the grocery store when I’m at university, and I walk around outside a lot when ever I can, so I think that gives the earth a little massage! ;) I do need to do more though…chemical wise from cleaning products, and less than natural beauty products. It’s my next step!

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33 nut April 22, 2010

Wow, great on all the facts. I ought to be so mindful of the Earth…should make that a more conscious effort on my part!

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34 Franziska (justalittlechocolate.com) April 22, 2010

Love that you dedicated a blog to earth day – I am going to do the same :)
Great tips!
Also, I am a big smoothie person and have made mine more green and have blogged about it and linked to the green monster movement site – Thanks!

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35 Jewel@fit-and-fabulous-jewel April 22, 2010

I have never even heard of a wet/dry compost system…it took me a minute to realize that your city actually takes the compost pail contents! That is pretty great!

We also have a kitchen compost pail, but our city doesn’t take it. We have a compost bin in the backyard. We have been doing this for at least four or five years…but are finally just planting our first garden with it this year.

Other things we do:
We have the fluorescent bulbs;

Reusable fabric bags for the grocery and we reuse any plastic bags we might get;

Recycle anything allowed in the bin;

I have a bin for scrap paper next to the printer; any one-sided papers go in there to be printed on the other side;

I return in my ink cartridges to be refilled;

All five of us have stainless steel water bottles for outings;

We buy organic produce and other bulk purchases, saving wrapping and produce trays;

We have not bought meat or milk in the house for at least six months now. (I know my husband and sons still eat some when out…but far less than they used to!)

We regularly participate in community clean up projects.

Great post!

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36 Allison @ Food For Healing April 22, 2010

i wouldn’t mind having a compost, but in an apartment, i dont’ have a garden, and i have no idea where else it would go.

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37 Jenn April 22, 2010

I buy fresh, local and used.

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38 Jane April 22, 2010

I set a good example for my children so that they will grow up and consider environmentally friendly living normal.

Thanks to everyone for taking care of our earth!!

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39 Mo April 22, 2010

A vegan diet….that’s my biggest contribution to a greener planet. I also take cloth sacks to the grocery store and I am obsessed with turning lights off. I was so happy to hear others say that they do this as well. My family jokes that I could (maybe they mean should!) live in a cave! I just do not understand the need for a totally lit house. And don’t get me started on outside lights… oh my goodness does that drive me crazy! Unless you live in a high-crime area and the lights are on for safety, why are you polluting our air with light? Yup… I go that crazy about it.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

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40 Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) April 22, 2010

What great advice!! I try to be green as much as I can. I use sooo many paper towels at school, mainly because we HAVE to wash our hands/wipe down dozens of times a day. So I try to reduce the impact at home some. I try to use paper towels as little as possible- we use cloths instead, cloth napkins, eco-friendly toilet paper, we recyle, I don’t take long showers & I don’t leave the water running when I brush my teeth, we use green soaps/cleaning products, oh and I am a vegetarian now! It’s the little things that count, for sure!

xo
K

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41 Lauren @ A Fit Foodie April 22, 2010

I bike to and from work and wherever else I can whenever the weather allows. I feel like it’s multi-tasking at its finest. Reduce my carbon footprint, save money and get in some exercise! I love it!

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42 Jennifer @ take the day off April 22, 2010

Great advice, Angela. We turn off the lights when we leave the room, keep out ac use in check (read: cold house in the winter, hot house in the summer), and we recycle EVERYTHING! There is so much more to do!

Happy Earth Day.

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43 Gaia3465 April 22, 2010

I used to live in a very progressive, earth friendly area. But moving to a small town with my narrow minded boyfriend has made things difficult. I finally got him to get us a recycling bin, and now we recycle every damn thing we can! Seriously, he looks it up if he doesn’t know if we can recycle it. We also never leave lights on, never leave water running…not only is it cheaper, it’s just smart.

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44 Gaia3465 April 22, 2010

OH and we both ride motorcycles whenever possible. Much better than cars :)

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45 Mary Ann April 22, 2010

I started having a ‘Navy Shower’. Instead of letting the water run while I shampoo my hair and shave my legs, I turn the water off while I do these things and then turn it back on to rinse. You would be surprised how much water is wasted!
Also, our community has a ‘brush dump’ where we can take trimmings from our yard. They are then chopped and turned into free mulch! We also have curbside recycling and a farmer’s market. For a town of only 4,500 people, it is fairly progressive in being ‘green’.

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46 Nita April 22, 2010

Your blog is so inspiring! I relatively new to reading it, but everything you write has been so insightful and helpful!

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47 Rachel April 22, 2010

I love Earth Day too, but seeing as I have to share it with my birthday, I’ve always felt like it sort of “stole my thunder,” haha!

My city does not have a wet/dry program unfortunately… Fortunately, I do have a backyard compost! I attempt to do as much as I can to reduce my carbon footprint – I never, ever use or take plastic bags, I eat vegan several days a week, and I travel by foot as often as possible! Just to list a few.

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48 Mary April 22, 2010

I see other people asking the same question, but is there any way/reason to make a kitchen compost if I live in an apartment & don’t have a wet/dry garbage system? I don’t have a garden or yard but I would love to be able to do something non-wasteful with all of my fruit & veggie refuse!

Also, I can not believe a 5 minute shower uses 100L of H2O…how wasteful! That is definitely incentive to keep it short & turn off between rinses!

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49 Paige @ Running Around Normal April 22, 2010

What a fun earth day activity! I would have thought the dishwasher used the most energy!

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50 Rachel April 22, 2010

I reduce my footprint by:

-Carpooling to work with my boyfriend
-Leave the air conditioning off most of the time (thank g-d for Texas weather!
-Walking to friend’s places that are nearby instead of driving

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51 Bronwyn April 22, 2012

We don’t have a wet/dry system, but we have a pretty good recycling system. My parents have been composting since I can remember. I didn’t realize people didn’t compost until I went away to university that many people did not compost. I try to buy local as much as possible as well.

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52 Janna April 22, 2012

Hi! Our city has a pilot project for curbside compost pick up, which I really hope takes off. Unfortunately they didn’t pick our area, we could have made it worth it, lol! We have 3 outside composters, I am horrible at managing them so they are all full :! We also have a worm composter in our basement, it works great and doesn’t smell at all. I just need to take a day and try to separate the worms from the amazing dirt they made. It was awesome to have it for the winter, we used to take a garbage can full of compost to a friends farm once every month or so. Thanks for all the great tips, I’m always looking for new ways to conserve more energy :)

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