The Green Report

Enjoy your own (healthy) lawn this summer

Many of us have had our summer plans upended by the coronavirus pandemic and are going to be enjoying our own yards more than ever. Having a healthy lawn is not only important for the health of you and your family, but for the health of wildlife and Lake Erie.

Weed-free, lush, green lawns. Many people strive for this; I tell my kids not to play on them and while walking I actively avoid lawns that have the little “chemical lawn application” sign posted. Why?

I have many reasons for avoiding “perfect” lawns. Lawn perfection typically comes at a high cost. A cost to Lake Erie, a cost to wild animals, and a cost to our health. It is estimated that more than a billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides are used by homeowners in the United States a year.

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Volume 12, Issue 12, Posted 9:44 AM, 06.16.2020

The importance of planting natives

Native plants are defined as those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. After reading this column, I hope you'll have a better understanding of why it’s important to plant native trees and plants in your yard.

Over the past century, urbanization has occurred in the United States: 54% of the land in the lower 48 states is made up of cities and suburbs, and 41% is made up of agriculture. We, as humans, have taken over 95% of nature. Lawns and exotic ornamental plants have taken over ecologically productive land. Lawns cover over 40 million acres in the United States, and over 3,400 species of alien plants have invaded 100 million acres, and that is expected to continue to increase.

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 10:37 AM, 06.02.2020

Bay residents clear debris from Cahoon Creek

The 2020 Bay Village Spring Waterways Cleanup took place along Cahoon Creek on Saturday, May 16. This event is sponsored annually by the Bay Village Green Team, Bay High School’s Project Earth Club, The Village Foundation, and the City of Bay Village. This year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the cleanup looked a little different but still provided the same results.

A total of 22 volunteers of all ages met near the top of the sledding hill along Cahoon Creek between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Groups of less than 10 were sent out to pick up trash along the creek to Lake Erie. Volunteers provided their own gloves and were strongly encouraged to use face masks and bring their own bags. Large garbage bags were provided to anyone who didn’t bring one. A limited number of trash grabbers were available to use too.

Due to storms the day before, Cahoon Creek was much deeper and rougher than normal. Unfortunately this means a lot of trash that had been on the sides of the creek was swept out to Lake Erie before the cleanup, however volunteers were still able to collect over 70 pounds! A large percentage of the waste found is plastic, which does not weigh much, so 70 pounds is impressive.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 11:28 AM, 05.19.2020

Staying eco-friendly while staying at home

I hope this issue of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer finds you all healthy and safe. We will all get through this together! That being said, things are changing very quickly and I want to review some changes that affect you right now.

In both Westlake and Bay Village, Simple Recycling curbside pick-up is suspended until further notice. If you have those bags filling up like I do, please find a good spot to store them until service resumes. I would hate for those items to be placed in the trash because there is a temporary service disruption!

There will be no hazardous waste or computer drop-off in Westlake for May. Please see the city website for a make-up day (not yet rescheduled). In Bay Village curbside yard waste and bulk pickup will resume on April 21.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 9:00 AM, 04.21.2020

Take time to smell the flowers

Yes, we’ve all heard that saying and we all know what it means. With the outbreak of COVID-19 and everything being shut down and canceled, there has never been a better time for each of us to do just that: “take time to smell the flowers.”

Our everyday lives have shifted and slowed down dramatically – whether we wanted them to or not. The COVID-19 pandemic is scary and stressful and there’s nothing that any of us can do but to listen to the experts and stay away from gatherings of people and wash our hands the best we’ve ever done. But none of that means that we need to stay inside!

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.17.2020

Spring cleaning in 2020

Each year as spring approaches I notice a lot more junk being set out on the curb on bulk pick-up days. I understand this, as purging your house of unwanted items feels so good! It takes a lot of work and motivation to go through all of your things to determine what you still want and need and what you no longer use, and when you’re done you just want it OUT!

However, I ask that you please consider other options before placing your things in the trash. First, if it is still usable in any way, please consider boxing it up and taking it over to Savers in Rocky River, which is close to both Bay Village and Westlake. Their drop-off donations benefit Easter Seals so your donation is tax-deductible. You can drop off clothing, household items, decorations, plates, silverware, games, etc.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:59 AM, 03.03.2020

Tree hugger? We all should be.

Trees are social. Yep, you read that right! Scientific evidence has shown that trees of the same species living in forests are communal and form alliances with each other. They connect to each other underground, through their root system, that some have dubbed the “wood-wide web.” Through these networks the trees are able to share water and nutrients as well as send warnings about disease or insect attacks. It has been observed that trees respond to these signals in the “web.”

Researchers and scientists from different locations in the world have studied forests of trees and have observed this nurturing behavior between trees and how they help each other. Why do the trees do this? Isn’t there competition for survival of the fittest, you might ask? Well, for trees, a healthy, stable forest is where they will survive the longest, so it makes sense that each individual tree is attempting to help the forest as a whole remain a healthy place.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 9:51 AM, 02.04.2020

The Green New Deal: Any way to pay for it?

In my last column, I wrote about the Green New Deal after I attended a speaker hosted by Westshore FaCT. I attended the next speaker in the series on Jan. 7 about how to pay for it. The speaker was Raul Carrillo, a research fellow at the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

As I had not yet researched funding for the Green New Deal, I went into the session with a completely open mind other than knowing the Green New Deal is a radical plan that requires billions of dollars. What I learned during the speech was completely new information to me.

Before you read on, I want to remind you that I am not an economist, and I never pretend to be one! I also want you to know that my hope is that this column will inspire you to research this issue on your own. I do not want to influence anyone’s opinion about this issue; I would like to simply introduce you to this idea as it is worth your time to understand it better.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:49 AM, 01.21.2020

What is the Green New Deal?

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, I attended the West Shore FaCT (Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future) presentation with speaker, Patrick Murray, at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church. Mr. Murray is the convener of the NEO Coalition for a Green New Deal and along with being a medical doctor for 26 years, he has worked throughout his life on social, economic and racial justice.

Mr. Murray presented and spoke about the Green New Deal proposed legislation, U.S. House Resolution 109. The Green New Deal is comprised of two sets of goals, the first being the production of clean energy to reduce carbon emissions to slow climate change and the second being to focus on solutions to poverty, unaffordable healthcare and infrastructure needs. The Green New Deal legislation sets goals and projects to be accomplished over a 10-year national mobilization effort.

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Volume 11, Issue 24, Posted 10:11 AM, 12.17.2019

All of us need to keep our garb out of the garbage

Many people I know think of recycling in terms of plastics, cans, glass, etc. However, the world has a global problem when it comes to unwanted clothing. According to the EPA, 84 percent of discarded clothing ends up in the landfill. In that last 20 years, Americans have doubled the amount of clothes they trash per year from 7 million tons to over 15 million tons, which equates to about 80 pounds per person annually. Of this amount, only 2.6 million tons were recycled; 3.1 million tons were combusted for energy recovery; and 10.5 million tons were sent to the landfill. 

The problem of what to do with unwanted clothing is so large that there is currently no good way to deal with it all. Instead of putting it in your trash, you may think that recycling it is a good idea. There are different ways to do this: you can put it in your Simple Recycle bags and place on the curb in Bay Village and Westlake, or you can bring it to a store with clothing recycling, such as H&M, to discard it.

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 9:31 AM, 11.19.2019

Community series about Green New Deal

Have you wondered about what the Green New Deal is? What does it propose and how in the world might it be funded? You are not alone. It seems that many people do not know about the Green New Deal or maybe they have heard about it but do not know much about the details.The West Shore FaCT group hopes to change that by hosting a monthly speaker series on the topic.

The West Shore FaCT (Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future) is hosting an eight-speaker series once a month starting Nov. 5. The kick-off speaker will be Dr. Eric Schreiber, and will start at 7 p.m. The West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church (20401 Hilliard Blvd. in Rocky River) will host each guest speaker on the first Tuesday of the month, November through June.

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Volume 11, Issue 21, Posted 9:25 AM, 11.05.2019

Fighting (locally) for our future

For those of you who are championing for the planet at home, at work and at school, please know that I understand it is not easy, but small, local victories are what matter the most. We may not all be Greta Thunbergs with a global voice, but without those of us out here fighting the good fight everyday, her work would be futile.

It is hard and it can be very stressful when trying to help people understand why their choices matter. For example, you may get a laugh from somebody if you tell them that water from the tap is better for them than drinking water from plastic. This idea may take some processing time because there are many people who have gotten into the bad habit of bottled water. However, if you continue to gently remind friends and family that tap water is clean and safe and a much better choice than bottled water (and cheaper) you are indeed making a difference for the earth.

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Volume 11, Issue 20, Posted 9:21 AM, 10.15.2019

A better way to celebrate?

I realize this column will may make me highly unpopular, especially with kids, but I feel I must address it.

I attended the Bay Village Homecoming Parade on Friday, Sept. 20. The Homecoming parade is a celebration of community, and all ages come out to see it. While I enjoy the parade, especially the marching band, I have one major issue with it.

The reason for my column today is how the parade also pollutes our community and Lake Erie because of the candy being thrown at spectators. I personally watched candy go directly down the sewers on the road, which drains right to the lake. And what is candy wrapped in? Plastic.

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 9:14 AM, 10.01.2019

The scourge of plastics discussed in local forum

On Thursday, Aug. 29, I attended a forum at the Rocky River Public Library titled "Plastic Pollution: Is it the Next Burning River?" The forum was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Greater Cleveland, Rocky River Public Library, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, the Rocky River Green Team and the Bay Village Green Team.

Jocelyn Travis of the LWV and Sierra Club moderated the forum and there were five panelists: Cheryl Johncox, Sierra Club Ohio; Sunny Simon, District 11 Cuyahoga County Council; Sarah Damron, Surfrider Foundation; Sarah Mathews, Rumpke Waste; and Cristie Snyder, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.

Questions from the public had been taken online before the event, and the forum started out with those. Many questions pertained to our current state of recycling. Cristie Snyder reiterated that plastics are a commodity and the market for those have all but collapsed, which has been a problem worldwide.

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Volume 11, Issue 17, Posted 9:50 AM, 09.04.2019

Save the Trees!

Have you ever wondered what you can do to save more trees? Yes, you have power to help the trees on earth! To do this is simple: Vote with your dollars.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has a certification system that designates the paper or product made from trees was created from trees in forests that are responsibly managed.

“Responsibly managed forests” means that the trees that are harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally. Furthermore, you can be certain that rare plants and animals are protected entirely, and the rights of indigenous people are protected.

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Volume 11, Issue 16, Posted 9:19 AM, 08.20.2019

Every city should strive to be twins with Minneapolis

I had the pleasure of visiting a close friend of mine up in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) in early June. Minneapolis is doing an outstanding job being a green city.  

While we were visiting, we went to see a Twins game at Target Field. To say I was impressed with Target Field is an understatement – the entire ballpark is waste-free! In fact, I could not locate a trash can!

What are they doing? Composting and recycling only. All of the bottles and cans go into the recycling can, and all food, cups, napkins, forks, etc. go into the compost can! These compost/recycling stations are everywhere inside of the park.

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Volume 11, Issue 13, Posted 9:58 AM, 07.02.2019

Join in Bay Village waterways clean-ups this summer

If you are looking to make a serious impact on the pollution in our waterways and Lake Erie, look no further than one or more of the Bay Village Green Team’s waterways clean-ups this summer. These are fun events that meet at different creeks in Bay Village to clean up litter in and around the local waterways.

When I say they are fun, I mean it! You get to meet other like-minded citizens who care deeply about keeping our water clean, and you also get to feel good about going out and making a difference! Grab your kids, friends and neighbors and plan to attend one! Here are the events:

  • Wednesday, June 19, 7 p.m. Meet at Reese Park on Clague Road for a Sperry Creek clean-up.
  • Tuesday, July 16, 7 p.m. Meet at Columbia Park on Lake Road for a Columbia Beach and Tuttle Creek clean-up.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Meet at the Cahoon Park gazebo for a Cahoon Creek Clean-up.

For more information please visit the Bay Village Green Team Facebook page for a complete listing of these events and more.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 9:49 AM, 06.18.2019

And the winner is ... Lake Erie!

Yes, Lake Erie is the winner! On May 28, Cuyahoga County Council passed a plastic bag ban! This is really great news for Cuyahoga County and for Lake Erie. The ban passed by an 8-3 margin, which went along party lines, with Democratic council members voting for it and Republican council members against it. (Our Cuyahoga County Council representative, Nan Baker, voted against it.)

Cuyahoga County is the first county in Ohio to pass such legislation. The city of Bexley, Ohio, passed similar legislation just hours after Cuyahoga County did, and Orange Village passed a similar ban last year for its municipality. The Cuyahoga County ban stops stores from offering plastic bags to consumers and instead customers need to bring reusable bags or the store must offer paper bags made of recyclable material.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:26 AM, 06.04.2019

White flowering pear trees: so pretty and so invasive

I’m sorry, but you’ll never look at those white flowering trees the same after you read my column this week. Those beautiful trees (but smell terrible, right?) have turned out to be an environmental disaster.

Ohio put the pear trees on the invasive species list in January 2018. You are probably asking yourself what damage can these trees possibly do? The answer is plenty.

The Callery Pear was introduced in 1964 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. American horticulturists started selective breeding these trees for stronger branches (pear trees have very weak branches) and shape. This is how we got the Bradford Pear, Cleveland Select and Aristocrat. The trees are fast growing, low maintenance, have a nice shape, and produce beautiful spring flowers, which is why they quickly became a popular choice.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:30 PM, 05.06.2019

Plastic Purge

On March 21, I attended an event titled “Plastic Purge: How did we get here and what do we do about all of this plastic?” at the Rocky River Public Library, co-hosted by the Rocky River High School Environmental Club and The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, Rocky River Chapter. The guest speaker was Dr. Michael SanClements, author of “Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles!”

I loved this event – I thought Dr. SanClements did a great job talking about the history of plastic, and how we have arrived at the monstrous plastic problem we face today. He talked about how over the course of history humans have had different ages: The Stone Age, The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, and now we are in The Plastic Age. He likens the plastic problem to an invasive species: It is not all bad, and arguably plastic saves lives daily, but it has become “invasive” and we have too much of it in the wrong places.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 9:46 AM, 04.02.2019

Simple, small steps to protect Lake Erie

As we head into spring (yes, I think we are heading into spring even though it doesn’t feel that way!) some of you may be thinking about the condition of your lawn, and also starting to perform more outdoor activities such as washing your car at home. This column is about simple changes you can make to protect Lake Erie. 

Almost all of the storm drains in Bay Village and Westlake drain to Lake Erie – that’s right, what goes in there goes straight out to the lake. This means it is imperative that each and everyone of us take responsibility for what does and doesn’t go down those drains. Springtime brings, sadly, chemical lawn applications. I have written about chemical fertilizers before, asking that you stop using them, and I bet you have! But your neighbor may still use them … What can you do?

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:08 AM, 03.19.2019

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the fire on the river!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the last fire in the Cuyahoga River, which occurred in 1969. The 50th anniversary is a cause for celebration. Why? Because that infamous fire helped spur the modern environmental movement. That fire initiated a response that includes the establishment of the EPA and the Clean Water Act. Furthermore, the first Earth Day occurred in 1970, and that’s no coincidence either.

The infamous June 1969 Cuyahoga fire was indeed the last fire in the river. The river had been used for industrial dumping for decades and decades, and had caught fire at least a dozen times between 1936 and 1969. In fact, the 1969 fire barely made the news in Cleveland, let alone nationally. However, Time magazine decided to run a story on the fire, further igniting the national concern for the environment. The picture of the river fire that Time magazine ran in 1969 was not from the June 1969 fire, it was from a larger fire in 1952. 

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:53 AM, 03.05.2019

Northern Ohio gets chapter of Surfrider Foundation

Last April, Northern Ohio got its own chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is “dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.”

The chair of our local chapter is Christy Gray. Including Christy, there are seven members on the board and they have adapted the mission of the national chapter to include the Great Lakes. The chapter hosts meetings and local beach/river cleanups. In 2018, they collected over 1,600 pounds (mainly plastics) from local beach and river cleanups.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.05.2019

Does it spark joy?

If you know what the title of this column is referring to, you are one of the millions of people who have tuned in to Netflix’s new show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Marie Kondo is a tidying expert and the author of the best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Her new Netflix show has propelled her into stardom.

It has been reported in major news outlets that since the release of her show, thrift stores nationwide have seen an increase in donations. Isn’t that amazing? This show (which is great, you should watch it) has created such a flurry of people cleaning out their homes that charities such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army are benefiting!

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:08 AM, 01.22.2019

Protect Lake Erie from plastic pollution

On Dec. 4 the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland along with seven other local sponsors including the Bay Village Green Team, hosted a free public policy form on the topic of "Plastics & Lake Erie." The forum was held at Rocky River Library and was well attended, with about 70 people in attendance. A video of the forum is available on Youtube, search "plastics and Lake Erie."

The forum was moderated by Elizabeth Miller, who is an environmental reporter for Ideastream. The participants in the form were Jill Bartolotta, extension educator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program; Crystal Davis, policy director for Alliance for the Great Lakes; and Erin Huber, executive director and founder of Drink Local Drink Tap.

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Volume 10, Issue 24, Posted 10:04 AM, 12.18.2018

Simple ways to 'green' your holidays

This is a topic that I write about around this time every year because I think the message is so important. 

It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases 25 percent. I want to share some easy ways to reduce waste, and help make your holidays earth-friendly!

Parties

If you are hosting a holiday meal or party at your home, please use real dishes, napkins, silverware and glasses. Your choice to use “real stuff” will not only drastically reduce the waste your party will generate, but guests will appreciate eating and drinking out of real items. In my opinion, eating Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner off of a plastic or paper plate with a plastic fork and knife is just not the same.

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Volume 10, Issue 22, Posted 9:34 AM, 11.20.2018

Bay Middle School forms new Green Team Committee

Bay Middle School’s PTA has a new Green Team Committee. The new committee has the support of Bay Village Superintendent Jodie Hausmann, Bay Middle School Principal Sean McAndrews, and Bay Middle School PTA President Chrissy Morscher. 

The Committee is proud to report many positive changes already this school year: The Green Team Committee purchased permanent dinnerware, cutlery and glassware from Ikea for use during staff meals and meetings throughout the year, preventing a lot of waste from being generated during these events. These events typically produced a lot of waste in the form of plastic water bottles, plastic/paper plates, and plastic cutlery.

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Volume 10, Issue 21, Posted 10:00 AM, 11.06.2018

Reduce plastic beyond just bottles and bags

I know, I have written a lot about this topic, but the recycling situation is getting dire. I wrote about China’s end to the purchase of the majority of our plastic recyclables a few months ago. This had created utter chaos in the recycling system in the United States. Recyclables are building up with nowhere to go all over this country. It is happening here, and I’m afraid that unless major changes are made, most all of our plastic will end up in the landfill. 

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District has updated the guidelines on what plastics are accepted in curbside recycling programs. Plastic bottles and jugs are still accepted, which includes water bottles, shampoo bottles, milk, juice jugs and laundry detergent jugs. All of them need to be rinsed and emptied before being placed in recycling.

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:52 AM, 10.02.2018

Boats made from recyclable materials prove seaworthy in Great Lake Erie Boat Float

The 10th annual Great Lake Erie Boat Float was held on Sept. 8 at Edgewater Beach. The Boat Float is a fun competition in which participants build boats using post-consumer recyclable materials.

The purpose of the event is to help raise awareness about the impacts of plastic on the environment and of course to have fun! The event is hosted by Sustainable Cleveland, the Cleveland Metroparks, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. 

This year, the Bay Village Sea Scouts entered the contest. Their group was led by Sea Scouts leader, Richard Gash, with five scouts as the crew. The crew members were Leo Cavalier, Nick LaRosa, Isadora Miller, John Cannata and Gwynn Miller. They constructed a boat using large white plastic drums that were donated by a local farmer and had previously contained a biodegradable herbicide. They also used a wooden pallet that had been utilized to ship a consignment of aluminum plate.

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Volume 10, Issue 18, Posted 10:07 AM, 09.18.2018

Idle No More

I have witnessed this many times: It’s a beautiful, sunny, warm day and I’m waiting in my car for one of my kids to come out of school/sport/activity. I turn off my car and roll down the windows. What I hear around me is always shocking: the sound of car engines.

So many parents let their car run while picking up their children. This is a very bad habit that I suppose is culturally acceptable; to sit in your car while it’s running. If each of us were to stop this habit, the quality of our air would greatly improve. 

Every minute your car is idling, it is detrimental to the engine, it’s detrimental to the earth, and it wastes gasoline (and money). It is estimated that in the United States, approximately 3.8 million gallons of gasoline are wasted daily by Americans voluntarily idling their car. Voluntary idling is when your car is on while not being driven. For example, leaving your car on in the driveway is voluntary idling; waiting for a light to turn green is not.

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Volume 10, Issue 16, Posted 8:49 AM, 08.21.2018

Time to re-think lunches

School is starting soon, and with that a lot of trash will be generated that was on pause all summer. I’m going to write about how you can make your (and your child’s) lunch waste-free – and I promise it is easier than you think!

I know you might be thinking, “That will be so difficult, it’s so easy to throw a sandwich in a plastic bag, an individual pack of chips, a plastic water bottle or juice box, etc.” I’m hoping to persuade you that it’s not only easier to pack a trash-free lunch, it’s also less expensive!

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.07.2018

Skip the Straw

Momentum is building with the global movement to ditch plastic drinking straws. In Cleveland, the Skip the Straw campaign is being promoted by the Sustainable Cleveland Plastic Reduction Working Group. Sustainable Cleveland is a 10-year initiative by Mayor Frank Jackson to encourage residents and businesses in Cleveland to be environmentally conscious.

Last month, Melt Bar and Grilled announced that they would be joining the Skip the Straw movement and will not automatically serve a plastic straw with beverages. Melt is committed to do their part to help curb the use of single-use plastics and help Cleveland and Lake Erie's environment. Also this month, Starbucks announced that it would stop using plastic straws by 2020. This is a big deal, and will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from the earth! Hopefully other large food retailers will follow suit, and other local restaurants will follow Melt.

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Volume 10, Issue 14, Posted 9:56 AM, 07.17.2018

Confused about recycling? You're not alone

It seems that most people have good intentions when it comes to recycling, which is wonderful. However, “hopeful recycling” – which means putting an item in your recycling bin and hoping that it will be recycled – can sabotage all of your efforts. One item can contaminate your whole bin, so it is important to learn what you can, and cannot, throw into your recycling bin in Cuyahoga County.

Luckily for us, we have a fabulous resource called the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District. Their website, cuyahogarecycles.org, offers a lot of information about what should be placed into your recycling.

The site even has a “What do I do with?” tool that allows you to enter in an item that you are not sure what to do with, for example “Styrofoam.” When you enter in  "Styrofoam," a couple of choices pop up: “Styrofoam blocks” and “Styrofoam containers.” I chose “containers.” The site then tells you how to deal with this kind of waste.

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Volume 10, Issue 13, Posted 9:21 AM, 07.03.2018

One step at a time

At the end of last year, I joined the board of The Village Project, a small nonprofit in Bay Village whose mission is to bring the community together through a common cause. That cause is making and delivering meals to local families who have a family member fighting cancer.

One of Village Project’s fundraisers is called Project Pedal, in which participants choose from a few different bike routes around Bay Village to ride. The event this year was held at Cahoon Park on Saturday, June 14, as part of Destination Bay, and it was a success!

A few weeks ago I asked the event coordinator if we could talk about ways to reduce waste for Project Pedal. My main goal was to stop the distribution of single-use water bottles, and encourage participants to bring their own and refill at Cahoon.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 9:20 AM, 06.19.2018

The solution is simple

Plastic pollution in waterways is a huge worldwide problem. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be larger than the state of Texas and Lake Erie is one of the most polluted Great Lakes in terms of microplastics. The good news? The solution is simple. It’s not easy, but it is simple.  

Everyone, everywhere, can take part in a beach clean-up every single day simply by picking up litter when you see it in your yard, on your street, or anywhere at all. This is not easy, nor is it enjoyable, but this simple activity can and will make an impact on our waterways. Litter on our streets, in our yards, and in our parks easily ends up in the lake through the sewer system or wind blowing it there.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:09 AM, 06.05.2018

Gas versus electric?

As we head into spring and the weather warms, it’s time to start with the yard work again. I want to write about something that quite honestly I had not thought too much about and was surprised by some of the facts I learned.

When it comes to lawn mowers, should you use an electric or gas mower if you want to cut your grass in the most environmentally way possible? Well, the MOST responsible way to cut your grass is to use a push mower, which does not use gas or electricity, just your muscle power. However, this is not realistic for the majority of homeowners with larger yards. If you have a very small yard, however, that may be a good option for you.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 10:02 AM, 05.01.2018

Green your spring cleaning

When winter is over (will it be over? Ha ha!) do you like to spring clean your home? Many people enjoy clearing stuff out of their home in the spring and giving it a good cleaning before summer arrives. I want to offer suggestions that will help you dispose of unwanted items in an environmentally friendly way. 

The No. 1 thing you should think about when wanting to get rid of things is if they are in good enough condition for donating. Donating used items keeps them out of the landfill, and also helps people with limited means. When looking to get rid of used clothing, toys, furniture, housewares, shoes, books, small appliances, etc., please make sure you donate what you can. There are many services that will come pick up your items from your house, such as AMVETS, Easter Seals and Volunteers of America. It is easy to Google these organizations and check their websites for how to set up a pick-up at your home. Donations are also tax-deductible so keep track of how many bags you are donating and their estimated value.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 9:49 AM, 04.17.2018

Celebrate Earth Day in Bay by recycling, reusing

Bay Village is celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 21, at the Bay Village Police Department. Between 9 a.m. and noon, you will be able to drop off your sensitive documents for shredding, bulk cardboard, and any usable building materials and supplies you may have. There is no limit to the amount of paper you can bring to shred, so please bring it all!

Additionally, Habitat for Humanity will be on location that morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to collect items in good usable condition such as: building supplies, trash containers, furniture, windows, doors, cabinets, light fixtures, sinks, tubs, showers, plumbing/electric/HVAC, lumber, and full rolls of wallpaper. Please do not bring mattresses, paint or clothing. For a full list of what is accepted, please check clevelandhabitat.org/restore/donations.

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 9:40 AM, 04.03.2018

Plastic particles found in bottled water

You may have seen a report the last few weeks in multiple news publications that a recent study of 11 brands of bottled water has revealed that 93 percent of them contain microplastic contamination. The researchers from State University of New York and non-profit journalism organization Orb Media found an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter of water. Included in the study were common brands such as Aquafina, Dasani, Nestle Pure Life, as well as San Pellegrino.

My hope is that you’ll take the information you read here and tell your family and friends about it. I know you know someone (most likely lots of people) who habitually drink bottled water.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:14 AM, 03.20.2018

Church embraces plastic reduction; Earth Hour 2018

The Church of England this year asked people to give up single-use plastics for Lent. It is remarkable that their entire Lent program was focused on an environmental issue. This request came at a perfect time after the plastics ban China has issued (China is no long accepting plastic recyclables from around the world) and England is seeing a back-up of recyclables, just as the United States is. Additionally, the European Union announced in December targets for waste reduction for member nations, with a focus on plastics.

The Church of England created a calendar for a plastics-free Lent, with each day providing tips about reducing everyday plastics or Bible verses that are environmentally themed. You can find the calendar at churchcare.co.uk/images/Plastic_Free_Lent.pdf. In it are suggestions such as bringing your own water bottle and shopping bags, as well as requesting restaurant take-out (or as they say, “takeaways”) to be packed in a container you bring.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:26 AM, 03.06.2018