Although picking up trash can make a positive impact to waterways, wildlife, the ocean and much more, being environmentally conscious can start at home. Below are just a few ways to help out with the environment during our everyday life, wether it be around the house, in the garden, or when you are out and about.
Around the house
CFL LIGHT's connection to mercury
These CFL light bulbs help us save money and help with the environment by being more energy-efficient by reducing the amount of coal, crude oil and fossil fuels that are burned. However, if not disposed if properly these energy-efficient light bulbs can release mercury into the environment. Mercury can effect animal, marine and human life when consumed.
(FOG) FATs, oil and grease
FOG is usually found in:
- cooking oils
- baked goods
- dairy products
FOG can drain into our waterways threatening our water. On top of that, several millions of taxpayer dollars are lost to replace damages cause by FOG each year. Learning how to properly dispose of fog can greatly help benefit everyone. Many cities have designated locations to dispose of household hazardous waste and some will even offer a free pickup from your house for larger collections.
There are other things besides FOG that can clog your drain. Items such as paper towels and feminine hygiene products are objects designed not to break down in water and can instead clump together and clog your drains.
Green Household Cleaners
(Homemade CLEANEr RECIPES LINKED BELOW)
Many household cleaners are made of harsh chemicals which can be bad for the environment as well as our very own health. Switching to greener cleaning methods can "help reduce pollution to our waterways and the air, and it minimizes our impact on ozone depletion and global climate change," says Sarah Snow, author of "Joy of Green Cleaning."
Green cleaners can be found at certain stores like whole foods or a nearby specialty store, but there are also websites that provide great green household cleaner recipes for a cleaner environment.
McKinney, Texas teaches parents and students about the importance of reducing waste and reusing products when preparing their lunch for school
Plano, Texas addresses environmental issues when building green such as alternative building materials, waste reductions, and reusing materials
In the garden/yard
Gardening and Landscaping
There are several great green landscaping and gardening that Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension has put together resources that focus on water conservation, energy conservation, minimizing the use of fertilizer and pesticides, and reduction of yard waste.
Following planting and home landscaping guides to get the most efficiency out of your vegetable and flower gardens. This planting guide provided shares tips on how to plant over 200 native plants, from the process on getting the garden beds ready, seeding, spacing, and specific details on how to take care of each plant. Make sure to keep from planting and growing invasive plants that are infesting and damaging.
Out and About
Preventing Aquatic Hitchhikers
Species not native to Texas can completly push out native plants and animals for living space and food. These are what we call invasive species. It is our job to make sure we preserve and respect the environment of plant and animals. It can be very easy to accidentally introduce a species to a place it does not belong like these zebra mussels we have shown to the left here.
Zebra mussels have invaded several Texas lakes. They can be transferred accidentally in a bilge or live well. Texas law requires boats in fresh waters to drain all water from it, and remove all visible plants and animals.
Also see: Clean Water Certification Program for owners of boats with marine sanitation devices (MSD) and owners of pump out stations.
Litering and Cigarette Buds
Cigarette buds remain the most littered item in the US. These cigarette buds an na end up in our storm drains and water ways. In fact, Keep America Beautiful research has uncovered that 32% of litter in storm drains are tobacco products. These cigarette buds can become part of marine debris and which are harmful to marine wildlife.