Environment

Earth Friendly

Recycling

Homemade Purified Water

Interlocking Concrete Pavement

Yard Smarts Boot Camp

Vegetable Gardening

Pest Control

Drip Irrigation

 

Simple Ways To Be Earth Friendly Every Day

(NAPSI)-Now more than ever, families are hearing the phrase "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." Not only are the "three Rs" critical to the planet, they are also a great way to save money and spend time with your family. However, many people may not understand how simple--and fun--it is to incorporate these activities into their home and daily lives. Every year, people focus on recycling on Earth Day, but protecting the environment is something that can be done every day and by every member of the family, including the littlest members.

It's important to teach children about the "three Rs" by encouraging Earth-friendly actions in the home and at school. Elmer's is helping to educate children about environmental stewardship in the classroom through the Elmer's Glue Crew Recycling Program. The Elmer's Glue Crew program promotes recycling by encouraging teachers and students to collect and recycle empty glue bottles and glue sticks. In 2009, more than 1.2 million elementary school−aged children participated in the program and more than 2 million glue bottles and glue sticks were recycled.

Here are some simple ways to be more Earth friendly every day and get the entire family involved:

Reduce

Reduce your family's consumption, garbage and even budget with some simple acts:

• Buy items in bulk to reduce packaging waste. Skip paper and plastic bags by bringing your own cloth shopping bag.

• Trade bottled water for filtered water in a reusable water bottle and use washable rags instead of paper towels when you're cleaning your home.

• Decrease energy usage by turning off lights when you leave the room and unplugging noncritical electronics.

Reuse

Find fun ways to reuse items:

• A swap party is a fun way to share gently used goodies such as books and clothing, while spending time with family and friends.

• Create new meals using leftovers. Last night's chicken breast can become tonight's chicken noodle soup.

• Find new uses for items instead of throwing them out, such as cutting old T-shirts into rags.

Recycle

Recycling is a great--and simple--way to be more Earth friendly. Many cities offer recycling programs with curbside pickup to make recycling easy.

• Recyclable materials include plastic, paper, aluminum and glass. Items that are recyclable have a recycling symbol and a number on them.

• Get your family involved by setting up color-coded bins for recyclables and use a chart to track your family's recycling.

• Support recycling in the classroom through programs such as Elmer's Glue Crew. To learn how your child's classroom can get involved in the program and begin recycling today, visit www.elmersgluecrew.com.

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Recycling Efforts Benefit Environment And Local Communities

(NAPSI)-Schools, churches and other nonprofit community organizations now have a chance to better the environment and earn money while doing so.

Recycling is an important part of preserving our natural resources, and many community organizations strive to do their part to better the environment. Paper Retriever, a community-based paper-recycling program, offers partners rewards for doing their part.

The simple paper-recycling program directly benefits the community as well as the environment. With more than 18,000 recycling bin locations in 23 major metropolitan areas across the U.S., community members simply have to donate their paper to raise funds.

By placing distinctive green and yellow bins in highly visible areas, local nonprofits are paid for the recyclable paper collected and start receiving payments from the first ton of paper collected. The amount of money the organizations can raise through the Paper Retriever program is limited only by the amount of paper recycled through the bin.

The funds can then be used for playground refurbishing, beautification efforts, library enhancements, scholarships, field and mission trips, team uniforms and other worthwhile projects.

Last year, materials recycled through the program generated more than $3.8 million for over 15,000 nonprofit organizations across the United States.

Not only does the Paper Retriever program help nonprofit community organizations, but it also benefits the environment.

Eighty percent of the paper placed in the program's recycling bins is remanufactured into newsprint within a few weeks of collection. Through the program, about 450,000 tons of paper were recycled in 2009, saving 1.3 million cubic yards of landfill space.

Every ton of paper diverted from landfills saves 4,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, 7,000 gallons of water and almost 400 gallons of oil.

For more information, visit www.paperretriever.com.

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Homemade Purified Water--A Resolution For A Better, Greener Me
by: Claire Insilla

(NAPSI)-Every day can be Earth Day when you resolve to live a greener, healthier life.

Like many of us, I struggle to make my "green" resolutions last even a few months. This year, I've discovered something I can really stick with, a concept that will change my life and help the world around me-I will give up bottled water and drink homemade, purified water.

For my resolution to become a permanent change, it would have to be easy to do and maintain, a healthy lifestyle change and affordable. Drinking good, clean water will keep me well hydrated and healthy, whether at home or on the go. And so began my mission to find a way to simply make my own high-quality, purified water at home.

I started researching ways to purify my tap water. My plumber suggested I install a reverse osmosis system to remove all impurities from my tap water. But he failed to tell me about the hefty price tag associated with installing and maintaining such systems, not to mention the incredible amount of water waste and energy needed for them to run. One of my friends suggested I invest in home delivery of large-capacity, purified water bottles instead. But again, this comes with a substantial price tag and would not rid me of my reliance on bottled water.

Luckily, a few weeks ago, my colleague told me about ZeroWater--a wonderful solution for obtaining purified water right at home.

Unlike other water filter pitchers or faucet-mounted filters available, the ZeroWater pitcher seems to eliminate everything from water, delivering refreshing, wonderfully pure H20. This product even comes with a water tester--an independently manufactured monitor that measures the total dissolved solids (TDS) found in water--so that you can test your water before and after filtering.

I bought the pitcher and quickly put it and the meter to use. As instructed, I first measured my tap water--186 TDS. This number reflects the amount of potential "bad stuff" in the water, such as chlorine, lead, mercury and aluminum. After filtering my tap water, the reading was 000--all the impurities were gone. I have found a change worth keeping--a resolution for a better, greener me.

Claire Insilla frequently writes about products for the home and has 10-plus years of experience in product testing.

Homemade purified water is easier than you might imagine with a special pitcher, filter and meter to test for impurities.

Claire Insilla

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A Beautiful Way To Improve Your Environment

(NAPSI)-When some people find something that's as easy on the eye as it's easy on the environment and the wallet, they just walk all over it. And that's a good thing when it's a pavement that's an improvement.

A pavement that meets those requirements is permeable interlocking concrete pavements (PICPs). These look like popular concrete paving stones but have a small space between them.

This space is filled with small stones that allow runoff to filter down and into the soil, reducing stormwater runoff and pollution. In snowy weather, they can reduce icy buildup.

The melting snow just drains into the spaces between the pavers so it doesn't have a chance to refreeze into ice.

The pavers are available in many shapes, sizes, textures and colors for various uses.

A light, reflective color, for instance, can reduce the "heat island" effect created by ordinary asphalt pavements.

The paving stones are strong and durable because they're made the same way as concrete paving stones are. This durability means homeowners can enjoy their beauty for a lifetime.

Other easy low-cost and no-cost landscaping tips to protect the environment include:

• Plant trees to act as wind blockers or to shade you from the worst of the sun.

• Plant climbing vines on arbors to help lower cooling costs in the summer.

• Cut down on grass acreage. The less grass you have, the less you have to water.

• Choose native plants that are well adapted to your environment and will require less care.

• Mulch: Mulching saves water and makes it easier to weed.

Learn More

Homeowners, design professionals and contractors can learn more from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and find ICPI-certified installers at www.icpi.org or by calling (703) 657-6900.

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Boot Camp Looking For Entrants To Learn Yard Care Skills

(NAPSI)-Homeowners who need more knowledge and experience to shape up their yards can hone their skills at a special boot camp, while helping a community cultivate a greener look.

At Briggs & Stratton Corporation's first-ever Yard Smarts Boot Camp, recruits will get their hands dirty learning yard care basics, while improving a community green space somewhere in the continental U.S.

Homeowners will be selected to attend the fun, knowledge-packed weekend camp based on how creatively they express their need to gain more lawn and yard care know-how. Boot Camp hopefuls should submit a brief video or series of photos expressing their need for knowledge to www.YardSmartsBootCamp.com. Visit the Web site for complete rules.

"Recruits" will be selected and whisked away to an undisclosed location in early fall 2010 for the weekend boot camp. Under the guidance of nationally known Yard Doctor Trey Rogers, Ph.D., they will learn what it takes to have a great green space by applying their new knowledge and skills to improve and beautify a community green space chosen from public nominations. Anyone can suggest a community green space in need of a spruce-up.

"Our research tells us there are first-time homeowners and young homeowners who don't have the skills they would like to have to take care of their lawn and yard and make it look great," explains Anita Fisher of Briggs & Stratton, the largest maker of gas engines for outdoor power equipment. "This is a fun way to share knowledge and at the same time perform a community service project that otherwise wouldn't get done."

Some of the skills that boot campers will learn include yard and lawn care basics such as:

• Watering, fertilizing and seeding

• How to mow your lawn correctly (tip: never cut your grass too short)

• How to combat weeds and the best way to tackle them

• The proper care of your lawn mower and other equipment.

In addition to the weekend experience, recruits will return home to new yard care equipment. Participants will receive a new lawn mower and pressure washer, as well as a $200 gift certificate toward the purchase of shovels, rakes, loppers and other basics.

For five months, the Yard Doctor will select five Boot Camp semifinalists from all submissions and post them online, where consumers will vote for that month's top two boot camp recruits.

For more information, go to YardSmartsBootCamp.com.

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Planning A Successful Vegetable Garden

(NAPSI)-Edible gardening will continue to be a popular trend this year, according to a recent survey by the Garden Writers Association. More than 41 million U.S. households grew a vegetable garden last year and 37 percent plan to do more edible gardening in 2010. (Only 1 percent planned to plant less this year.)

A combination of factors is driving the trend: The desire to consume locally grown foods and save money as well as Gen X and Y consumers embracing the idea of self-sufficiency. Add the year-old White House vegetable garden to the mix and seed companies tapping into reserves to keep up with demand and you've got a gardening boom.

"In this economy, everyone is looking for a way to make their money go farther," says Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert Lance Walheim, author of "Vegetable Gardening." "Growing your own healthy vegetables in your garden is a great way to reduce your grocery bill while creating a nutritious supply of food from your own backyard."

Here are a few tips on making the most of your backyard vegetable garden:

• Choose your veggies: Do your homework on seed, plant and variety options, and involve your family in the selection.

• Pick a sunny spot for your garden: Most vegetables need six to eight hours of direct sun each day. The area you choose should drain well, but will still benefit from the addition of lots of organic matter, so you have the best growing conditions.

• Mark your rows: Use string to mark off the individual rows of vegetables you'll plant and make plans for irrigation. Remember that rows running east to west will get the best sun exposure.

• Add mulch and fertilize: Mulch your rows to keep weeds from popping up and fertilize regularly.

• Protect against pests and diseases: The new Bayer Advanced Natria™ Insecticidal Soap protects your vegetable garden against pests such as aphids, thrips, spider mites and white-flies, as well as diseases such as blight and powdery mildew, among others. Be sure to read and follow all label directions. Visit BayerAdvanced.com for more information and how-to videos or call (877) BAYERAG.

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Insects Set To Surge, Thanks To Active El Niρo Weather Pattern Pest Control

(NAPSI)-El Niρo--the wet-weather pattern blamed for this winter's record snowfall in the East and mudslides in the West--is expected to wreak more havoc this summer with a surge in insects.

Just how bad your pest problem will be depends on several factors, explained Dr. Bob Davis, entomologist and scientist with BASF, the world's largest chemical company. Dr. Davis offered the following pest problem outlook for specific U.S. regions.

The South

With its hot, humid summers and temperate winters, the South offers ideal conditions for a wide range of pests, including many species of ant. Ant populations are expected to grow across the South this year, bolstered by an influx of foreign invaders, including the "Caribbean crazy ant," which had only recently been seen in Texas but has begun to spread to multiple counties in Southeast Texas and may now be in the neighboring state of Louisiana. The threat of termite infestations could also intensify this summer, with forecasts predicting average temperatures in Florida, Georgia and other surrounding states and above-average to average precipitation.

The West

Colder-than-normal temperatures and heavy precipitation hit many areas of the Western states this past winter. February packed a punch of precipitation and, in March, California officials said the average water content in the Sierra mountains' snowpack had reached 107 percent of normal seasonal levels. One frequent menace is the Western subterranean termite. This native pest can enter structures through cracks less than one-thirty-second of an inch wide, including the tiny openings in concrete slabs, around drainpipes and between the slab and a home's foundation.

The Midwest

States from Missouri to Iowa to Wisconsin saw more flooding last year, with thousands of homes damaged by water. The residual effect this year could be a proliferation of household pests that thrive in damp conditions, such as silverfish and spiders. Moisture also increases the odds for termite invasions, especially in Midwestern states such as Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. In the colder Northern-tier states, carpenter ants are a greater threat to homeowners. Carpenter ants prefer to nest in trees and wood next to homes, but they'll come inside to nest if the opportunity arises.

The Northeast

With record snowfall in the Northeast, wet conditions will likely persist. Combined with the warming temperatures, this will create attractive conditions for a variety of bugs. Common culprits include the Eastern subterranean termite and the black carpenter ant.

Beware the Bedbug

Though we can't blame El Niρo, another pest that continues to attract headlines along the East Coast is the bedbug. Once believed to be virtually eliminated from the United States, this ancient enemy is back and New York and other Midwestern to Eastern cities have been especially hard hit. Scientists aren't exactly sure why but they suspect one cause is a rise in international travel to countries where bedbugs are still prevalent.

Preventive Measures

Homeowners may help ward off pest invasions by following these steps:

• Keep shrubbery, firewood and lumber away from direct contact with your house.

• Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home.

• Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

• Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.

• Thoroughly inspect luggage during and after your travels.

If you suspect an infestation of any type, Davis recommends you call a professional pest control expert. For more information, visit termiteinstitute.com, antinstitute.com or bedbuginstitute.com.

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Help Your Garden Go With The Flow

(NAPSI)-Your garden can be greener when you give it the benefit of a drip irrigation system.

Drip irrigation is the process of applying the appropriate amount of water slowly, evenly and efficiently to the root area of plants. This promotes proper soil moisture levels and healthy plant growth.

With drip irrigation, you have the flexibility to create a drip design to meet the watering needs of your landscape areas. A drip line is easy to use by simply placing it in your planting area. When equipped with professional-grade emitter tubing, the system waters plants uniformly.

A Drip Line System

• Prevents weeds by watering each plant's root zone-not the surrounding soil

• Encourages faster growth by applying moisture directly to the root area

• Promotes longer-lasting blooms by properly watering plants for optimum health

• Creates healthier plants by keeping water off foliage so fungi cannot form

• Saves water by irrigating in precise areas where necessary-eliminating overspray on sidewalks and fences with less evaporation.

It helps to group plants by similar watering needs. When selecting plants, take into consideration the amount of sunlight certain planting areas receive.

Watering Tips

• Trees should be watered enough to penetrate the soil to a depth of at least 18 inches. New trees require more water at the base than established ones.

• It is important to remember that too much water can kill a plant as easily as too little water. Overwatering prevents roots from getting the oxygen they need to stay healthy.

• Proper pressure regulation and system filtration are musts for a successful drip installation and effective system operation. The Landscape Dripline System from Rain Bird makes it easy with both a pressure regulator and filter in the water connection and drip kits. This versatile system is simple to cut, connect and place without digging. It conforms to your landscaping and can be staked and covered with mulch. It's also important to flush the system periodically.

Learn More

You can find more great gardening and irrigating tips online at www.rainbird.com.

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