The Green Report

Bay Village compost expands to Reese Park!

The most impactful change that the Bay Village Green Team helped foster in 2021 was coordinating a drop-off compost service for Bay Village, and now we have even better news to share: an additional drop-off location at Reese Park!

The original drop-off location is still going strong at the Bay Lodge parking lot, on Bradley just south of Wolf. Now we have a second location located at Reese Park, in the lot next to the pickleball courts (you need to drive all the way to the back). The location is accessible 24/7 and provides clean, secured bins for members for $10/month.

If more residents sign up for this service, Rust Belt Riders also has a home pick-up service they would start offering, but will not provide it until we have more households. If you would like to see the home pick-up service brought to Bay, please start by signing up for the drop-off location.

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Volume 14, Issue 22, Posted 10:09 AM, 11.15.2022

Fall leaf clean-up

Here in Bay Village and Westlake, fall means dealing with leaves. We should all feel very lucky to have so many leaves to deal with, as that means we have big, beautiful trees that not only aid the health of us, wildlife and the planet, but greatly add to our property values.

Tree-lined streets are beautiful and desirable. Neighborhoods without large, overstory trees feel so … exposed and uninviting. At least in my opinion. But, all of our large trees means work in the fall … and again, this is not a bad thing! Yardwork is great exercise, gets us outside and breathing in the fresh, autumn air. 

So, what is the best, most environmentally friendly way to deal with leaves? Use your (hopefully electric) mower and mulch them! I have been reading more and more articles talking about the benefits of doing this.

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Volume 14, Issue 21, Posted 10:12 AM, 11.01.2022

Packing waste-free lunches

If you are familiar with my column, you know that our culture of using disposables is something that I write about frequently because it is not compatible with, well, life on earth! I’m writing today about how to pack waste-free lunches. This is a simple way you can reduce the amount of trash you and your family generate – and yes, YOU can make a difference.

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!

First, let’s start with getting rid of those plastic baggies. There are so many reusable lunch containers to choose from these days. If you do a quick search on Amazon, you’ll see what I mean. I have my favorites that I use for my kids, but it’s certainly a personal preference. There are many with multiple compartments, as well as larger containers geared toward salads. You can also find reusable, thermal containers for hot foods, and the food does stay hot for a few hours!

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Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 11:26 AM, 10.04.2022

Finding environmentally sound alternatives to peat moss for gardening

Recently, I learned that peat moss (which many people use in their gardens) is not very environmentally friendly. If you are unaware of what peat moss does, it helps lighten soil and aids in water retention and drainage.

Why is peat moss not sustainable? Well, the methods used to grow and harvest peat moss are unsound environmentally. Peat moss is grown in marshy bogs and wetlands in the northern hemisphere, and you may be surprised to learn that 2% of land on earth is comprised of peat moss.

What is even more impressive, is that despite only covering 2% of land worldwide, it stores nearly one-third of the world’s soil carbon! As you maybe can guess, that is part of the issue.

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Volume 14, Issue 17, Posted 9:56 AM, 09.07.2022

Fix it, Cleveland!

Do you have something that is broken and you wish you could fix it? Look no further, there is a workshop for you! On the second Saturday and the fourth Monday of the month, Circular Cleveland, ThinkBox and the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste district have partnered to host Fix-It workshops to help people repair broken items.

Why is this important? Because when people repair things rather than discarding them and purchasing new, we are keeping items out of the landfill. I have written many, many times about simple steps each of us can take to live more sustainably. It is not sustainable behavior for our culture to encourage buying new, new, new all the time. We must shift our behavior to first of all really thinking about purchases and ensuring we need the item, and secondly researching to make sure the item is high quality and will last a long time.

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 10:05 AM, 08.02.2022

A message more stores should promote

I recently made a trip to the Ikea store in Columbus. The upper level is the showroom, where Ikea displays their products in real situations: living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc. When you go down to the lower level, you enter the retail area, where you can put items that you would like to purchase in your cart.

Before entering that area, there is a large sign painted on the wall that reads “Fill your cart with conscious decisions.” If you have read my columns before, you know I LOVED to see that. I even took a photo of the sign, pictured here.  

I have written about this before, and the how the last “R” should be the one on the top of our minds: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink. Rethink! What a great idea to promote. Each of us should be taking time to think – and rethink – about our purchases.

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Volume 14, Issue 13, Posted 9:40 AM, 07.06.2022

Spring cleaning the green way

Do you enjoy doing a thorough spring cleaning in 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.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:50 AM, 05.17.2022

Is your lawn a healthy lawn?

Is your lawn healthy? Truly healthy? Please read on to find out. 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 I actively avoid lawns while walking 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 each year.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:26 AM, 04.19.2022

Conserve Gasoline

Gas prices are climbing. I know I don’t need to tell you that – you already know. I thought now would be an appropriate time to share some tips about how to conserve fuel.

Let’s start off with the most simple change you can make: Follow speed limits, especially on the highway. Optimal fuel economy on most cars tops out at 55 to 60 MPH. Just a five-mile-an-hour increase can mean a 9% loss on fuel economy! Using cruise control also helps you to stay at an optimal speed and helps conserve fuel. Additionally, pressing on your gas gently, avoiding aggressive driving and avoiding rapid starts and stops will all help to stretch your gas mileage.

When the weather warms, open your windows rather than turning on the air conditioning. Using the air conditioning is one of the biggest drains on engine power and fuel economy. Using air conditioning can increase gas consumption by 5 to 20 percent depending on the vehicle and the way it is driven.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:39 AM, 03.15.2022

Bay Village compost service is off to great start

On Jan. 25, the Bay Village Green Team hosted their quarterly public meeting and reviewed 2021 accomplishments. Last year was a good year for the Green Team, offering the public many opportunities to learn about simple ways to live in a more environmentally friendly way.

The most impactful change that the Bay Village Green Team helped foster in 2021 was coordinating a drop-off compost service for Bay Village. In September, Rust Belt Riders started its drop-off composting program for residents (or even non-residents who would like to drop their food waste off in Bay Village). 

Between September and December, 3,901 pounds were diverted from landfill to compost in Bay Village’s drop-off location alone. Fantastic work, Bay Village! We have 43 households signed up to use the drop-off location in the northeast corner of the Bay Lodge parking lot, on Bradley just south of Wolf. The location is accessible 24/7 and provides clean, secured bins for members for $10/month.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:12 AM, 02.01.2022

Turn individual acts into collective action

I wasn’t sure what I would write about to kick off 2022. To be honest, I have struggled lately to find new and exciting topics for you. However, just when I thought I didn’t have anything to write about, I read two different articles/columns from two sources: The New York Times Magazine and The Guardian.

The NYT Magazine piece caught my attention because it is titled “An Evangelical Climate Scientist Wonders What Went Wrong.” It interviews Katharine Hayhoe, the chief scientist for Nature Conservancy, a professor of political science at Texas Tech, and the author of a new book titled “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.”

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:14 AM, 01.18.2022

A greener you in 2022

I hope you are all enjoying this time of year and spending time with family and friends and staying healthy rather than getting caught up in the frenzy and stress this season can bring. For this issue’s column I want to share with you some simple New Year’s resolution ideas as we head into 2022.

  1. Bring your own. I’ve written this here many times, and I can’t emphasize enough how much cutting single-use plastics out of your life helps the health of the planet. Bring your own coffee mug, water bottle, and shopping bags. These three items alone account for so much trash and waste that end up in our landfills and waterways. Make it your resolution to bring your own – soon it will become a habit!
  1. Reduce energy use. Turn off lights and turn down the heat while you’re not home, and unplug phone/tablet chargers when not in use. Our energy source still largely comes from burning coal in Ohio. Using less energy in your home has a direct impact on carbon dioxide emissions into the environment.
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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:48 AM, 12.21.2021

Meet local environmental steward: Derek Schafer

For my column this week, I interviewed the executive director of West Creek Conservancy, Derek Schafer. Derek lives in Bay Village and his organization is spearheading multiple conservation projects in and around Cleveland. West Creek Conservancy’s mission is “to enrich the lives of all people in Northeast Ohio by conserving natural habitats, restoring the ecological value of our region’s lands and waters, and expanding opportunities to connect people from all cultures to experience nature and discover our great outdoors.” 

I recently met Derek and was inspired by his work with West Creek Conservancy; I also think it’s very important that the community learn about key local environmental work that is being done around us, because their work benefits each and every one of us.

Derek has been the executive director of West Creek since 2014 and has been with the organization since 2004. He grew up on a small farm outside of Columbus and spent his days fishing, playing in the fields and forests, and camping. Additionally, his parents had the same love of the outdoors and before he graduated from high school he had visited most of our national parks and forests, further cementing his love of nature and the critical importance of environmental conservation.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 10:23 AM, 11.16.2021

Environmentally friendly pumpkin disposal

Do you have pumpkins or decorative fall squash/gourds that you are unsure what to do with once the season is over? Please consider disposing of them in an environmentally friendly way, rather than putting them into your trash bound for the landfill.

If you have a jack-o-lantern (carved pumpkin), it will start to shrivel much sooner than whole pumpkins. To easily dispose of these, you can either leave it as-is in your backyard for animals to munch on, or cut it up and put the pieces in your yard for deer and squirrels to eat. They love pumpkin! If you have a whole pumpkin, you can do the same thing, but do try to cut it up a little first to give the animals a head start.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:24 AM, 11.02.2021

Biodiversity: Critically important to our survival

There was an article in the New York Times last week titled “The Most Important Global Meeting You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Now.” No, Catrin Einhorn, the reporter, was not referring to the climate summit that will be occurring later this month in Glasgow. She was referring to an international environmental meeting happening last week in China to problem solve the global crisis of a rapid collapse of species and systems.

Everyone has heard of the climate crisis and solving that problem is critical to our existence. However, the earth’s biodiversity crisis is equally important and a topic that receives far less attention. Brian O’Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature, says focusing on only climate change and ignoring biodiversity loss is “(the) equivalent of having a flat tire and a dead battery in your car at the same time. You’re still stuck if you only fix one.”

As with all my columns, I’m going to try to break down this issue for you in a relatable way, and let you know how you as an individual can help!

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:14 AM, 10.19.2021

Composting service comes to Bay Village!

Great news! As a Bay Village resident, you can now sign up to compost your leftover food waste! The service will be provided by Rust Belt Riders and costs $10 a month. For $10 a month you can collect and bring ALL of your home food waste to the drop-off location, located in the northeast corner of the Bay Lodge parking lot. Bay Lodge is located on Bradley, just south of Wolf, and is adjacent to Bradley Road Park. 

Why compost? The first answer is simple: to keep as much as we can out of the landfill. Why is that important? Compost is a valuable resource so when it ends up in the landfill, it’s being wasted.

Second, it is in all our interest to keep as much as we can out of the landfill because we are literally filling land full of waste – and eventually we will run out of that land. When we do, we will have to pay more to transport our trash farther away.

And third, when food breaks down in the landfill it creates methane gas, which accounts for 10% of greenhouse gases emitted in the U.S. Waste in landfills break down anaerobically (without oxygen) which is why it produces methane gas. Methane gas is 25 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Composting completes the cycle of food: it is grown from the earth and returns to the earth to enrich it.

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 10:14 AM, 09.21.2021

A safe way to prevent bugs, spiders, and other insects

I know it is very popular around here for people to treat their homes with insecticides/pesticides to keep spiders and other insects out. However, use of chemicals and pesticides can be very harmful to you, your kids, your pets, and the environment.

The rule of thumb I use is: if it is killing any living thing, it is likely killing us, just a heck of a lot more slowly. Before I hear any “BUTs” ... I know when you have a major infestation of something like carpenter ants (this happened to us many years ago so we had to call in the professionals with the insecticides because obviously carpenter ants can destroy your house structurally), you need to use the dangerous stuff because the bugs are at that point dangerous. However, I can say that was the first – and last – time we have used that sort of product in and around our home.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021

Extreme Weather: Our New Normal?

On Wednesday, Aug. 11, a storm ripped through Bay Village so fast and furious, it violently ripped big, old trees out of the ground like they were common weeds in your garden. The wind gust was clocked at 89 mph. On my street, there were power lines draped across the street and utility poles snapped in half like they were toothpicks.

Over 60 hours after the storm the electric company crew finally arrived on our street to get it cleaned up and fixed. We were without power for more than three full days. Some of my neighbors were trapped in their homes, unable to get their cars out of their driveways from the when the storm hit on Wednesday until the street was cleared on Saturday.

Why am I writing about this storm? Because we have been warned for years that we will experience more powerful and extreme weather if we keep failing to act on climate change. All over the globe we are seeing reports of extreme weather, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. I have lived in Bay Village for 21 years and have never seen anything like that wind gust tear up the city like it did. In fact, in all my life I have never experienced that type of violent storm and wind.

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Volume 13, Issue 16, Posted 10:09 AM, 08.17.2021

Ohio's attack on renewable energies

On Monday, July 12, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law SB 52. This bill specifically targets wind and solar projects in Ohio. Prior to this bill, all energy projects had to apply first- and only- to the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) for approval. OPSB is a governor-appointed/senate-approved board comprised of energy experts.

With the passage of SB 52, businesses that would like to build wind and solar farms in Ohio must now hold a public meeting in the county they are proposing their project at least 90 days before applying to OPSB. This gives county commissions the power to reject a specific project or ban wind and solar projects altogether in the county. However, citizens would still be able to canvass signatures and put the restricted development up for popular vote.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 10:24 AM, 07.20.2021

Too much garb in the garbage!

Many people I know think of recycling in terms of plastics, cans, glass, etc. However, we have a global problem with unwanted clothing.

According to the EPA, 84% of discarded clothing ends up in the landfill. In the last 20 years, Americans have doubled the amount of clothes they trash a year from 7 million tons to 14 million tons, which equates to about 80 pounds a year per person. Furthermore, more than 60 percent of fabric fibers made today are synthetic and made from fossil fuels, so when these clothing items end up in a landfill, they will never decay – they will sit there for however many thousands of years with all of the other plastic waste that’s thrown into the trash.

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 10:30 AM, 07.06.2021

Learning more about green burials

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the Bay Village Green Team was going to host Chad McGreevey, funeral director at Zeis-McGreevey Funeral Home in Lakewood and Berry-McGreevey Funeral Home in Westlake. Chad is one of 13 owner/operators licensed by the Green Burial Council out of 1,300 funeral homes in Ohio. To obtain this certification, rigourous standards and qualifications must be met. The Zoom meeting, held on May 10, was extremely informative, and I wanted to share some of what I learned.

The “lawn” cemetery became popular in the Victorian era, and the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers within these types of cemeteries have become very common. Among the 22,500 cemeteries in the United States, 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluid – which includes 827,060 gallons of formaldehyde – are buried EVERY YEAR. In addition to this, also buried yearly are 20 million board feet of hardwood, 1.6 tons of concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze as well as 64,000 tons of steel. Burials today have evolved into being anything BUT environmentally sustainable.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 10:19 AM, 06.02.2021

Jane Goodall, still making a difference at 87

On a recent road trip, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard," and Jane Goodall was the guest. If you are not aware of who Jane Goodall is, she studied the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees for 60 years. She is currently 87 years young and is still considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. If you get a chance to listen to her in an interview or otherwise, please do it. She is amazing and continues to make big impacts on the world in the areas of conservation and animal welfare.

In 1977, Jane Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) with the mission to protect the chimpanzees she studied in Gombe, Tanzania, from habitat destruction and illegal trafficking, as well as expand efforts on conservation and environmental education. In 1991, Jane was working with students in Tanzania and discussed how and what young people can do to better the world, and her program “Roots & Shoots” was born. Learning about “Roots & Shoots” was what inspired me to write about Jane and her mission in my column this week.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 10:12 AM, 05.18.2021

Chop down that tree!

Are you shocked by the title? That I’m asking you to cut trees down? I wrote about this environmental problem two years ago and I’m returning to the subject again as spring is a popular time to plant trees.

My goal is for you to learn about the problem of the invasive pear trees and to then take action by cutting down pear trees that you have, encouraging friends and family to do the same, and then choosing native trees to plant instead of the pear trees.

Pear trees are everywhere right now – they are so noticeable in the spring because of their white flowers and symmetrical shape … however, if you’ve ever walked near one in bloom, you’ll know their flowers smell pretty gross. Please keep reading to find out why their stinky smell is the least of the problems with these trees.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:42 AM, 04.20.2021

Bay Village Green Team to host expert in green burials

On Monday, May 10, the Bay Village Green Team will hold their quarterly meeting and will be showcasing a speaker, Chad McGreevey, to discuss what a “green” burial is and what it means when you choose one. Chad is a member of the Green Burial Council and is an owner of Zeis-McGreevey Funeral Home in Lakewood and Berry-McGreevey Funeral Home in Westlake. This will be a virtual meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. For a link please visit our Facebook page or visit our website and join our email mailing list to be emailed a link: bayvillagegreenteam.org.

I know this isn’t the most pleasant topic, however it is an important one to think about and discuss with your loved ones, as we know the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.06.2021

This one is for the women only

This week’s column is for specifically the ladies out there. I have been contemplating writing about this for a while, and I finally decided to do it. This week, I want to discuss the waste involved with “that time of the month.” If you consider all the women in the world and how much is thrown away monthly, it adds up to a LOT of unnecessary waste. That’s right, it’s unnecessary.  

An average woman will use between 5,000 and 15,000 pads and/or tampons in her lifetime. And we all know the actual product is not just the problem: tampons and pads are usually packaged with plastic wrap and a plastic applicator (it is not easy to find the original, cardboard applicators these days). Pads incorporate even more plastic as they are made with a leak-proof base and other synthetic materials. The cardboard packaging boxes they are sold in create more paper waste.

As women, how can we avoid this? I have the answer: A menstrual cup. I know when I first heard about this and considered it about 10 years ago, I was like “no way.” However, after doing research on it, I opened my mind a bit and decided to try it back then, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:26 AM, 03.16.2021

The tale of the donut holder

I’m going to start off my column this week with a tale:

Your neighbor, Bob, decides he wants to start a donut shop in town. Good donuts are hard to find, so everyone thinks this is a wonderful idea. The city government even votes to give Bob a tax subsidy because they also strongly believe good donuts should be easily accessible to everyone in town.

Bob’s donuts are special, and with each donut comes a donut holder. It’s the way these particular special donuts are made and the use of the donut holder is unavoidable. You start buying a donut every day, so do your neighbors. You start noticing that you have much more trash, as donut holders are being thrown away every day. You also start to notice that your neighbors have the same issue, with their trash cans overflowing. Pretty soon, you start noticing empty donut holders on the streets, at the parks, and just about everywhere.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:48 AM, 03.02.2021

Become a recycling ambassador!

I recently earned the title “Recycling Ambassador” by completing an 8-hour program with the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District (CCSWD). Before you think this is an exclusive title, please know that you too can be a Recycling Ambassador!

What does this mean and how does one go about earning this title? A Recycling Ambassador is a resident of Cuyahoga County who has a passion for ensuring as much waste is kept out of the landfill as possible and knowing how to dispose of different kinds of waste properly. The program was taught by an employee of the CCSWD for four, two-hour sessions over four weeks on Zoom. The course is offered 3-4 times a year, with the next session starting Wednesday, March 3.

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 11:06 AM, 02.16.2021

No. 1 thing you can do to reduce your impact on climate change

In all of my columns, I write about simple actions each of us can take to help the earth, and when our actions add up collectively, we indeed make a difference. Today, my column is about the power you have, as an individual, to reduce the impact of climate change – the action you can take to reduce and redirect your food waste.  

Food waste accounts for about 40% of what is sent to landfill, and is therefore the largest component of what goes into the landfill. When food is sent to the landfill, it breaks down and it produces methane. Methane is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. What if I told you that very soon you could divert 100% of your food waste from the landfill without having to compost at home? It’s true!

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.19.2021

Greening your holidays

As we unpack and update decorations, purchase gifts, and replace electronics, it’s not easy to determine how to appropriately dispose of the things we no longer want. I am going to provide you with suggestions about how to discard of some of these things in ways that are earth-friendly.

Do you have old Christmas lights that no longer work? Please do not toss these into your trash. Rather, bring them to the Bay Village Hazardous Waste Collection on Dec. 18. On this date they will accept light strands for recycling. Please drop them off at the Service Center, 31300 Naigle Road, between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Are you purchasing new holiday lights? Please buy energy efficient LED light decorations to cut down your use of electricity during the holiday season.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:55 AM, 12.15.2020

Westlake Scout installs pollinator garden

In November, the city of Westlake gained a new pollinator garden, thanks to Grant Junkins, a Westlake High School senior who has lived in Westlake for 10 years.

The “Clague Memorial Pollinator Garden” is located at the Clague Playhouse on Clague Road, south of Detroit. The entire project was planned, developed, and led by Grant as part of his quest to earn Eagle rank as a Boy Scout. Grant is currently a Life Rank Boy Scout and has been involved with scouting since he was in second grade. He is working toward his Eagle rank in Troop 225 of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church.

Eagle is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve. To earn Eagle, specific criteria must be met that includes the earning of merit badges as well as completing service hours. Only 4 percent of scouts earn their Eagle rank!

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 10:05 AM, 12.01.2020

Cleaning during Covid

As with everything this year, we all need to roll with the punches – in other words, be ready for changes at any time. A recent change that is important for Westlake residents to be aware of: Simple Recycling has suspended service until the spring, unless we see a change for the better in Covid numbers. Bay Village residents: For now the city is still on the weekly route, however be prepared for this to change at any given time. Thank you to all of you out there who use Simple Recycling on a regular basis to keep as much out of the landfill as possible.

So, what to do with your stuff that you were going to put out on the curb for Simple Recycling? Easter Seals is still doing pick-ups in the area so please check their website, www.easterseals.com/noh, or call 1-800-708-2716 for details. Additionally, Savers in Rocky River is still accepting donations, but please make sure you confirm that before you drive over there. Donations to Savers also benefit Easter Seals and are tax deductible.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:22 AM, 11.17.2020

Political Signs: What do we do with them after the election?

Driving around Bay Village and Westlake, I am heartened to see so many political signs as it indicates an enthusiasm and energy for participating in this November’s General Election. Voter engagement is critical for our democracy and everyone should take part in our civic duty.

After an election I am always concerned about what happens to those signs which are used for only a matter of weeks. I know plenty end up in the landfill after every election and throwing them in the trash is the last thing people should do. So, what can you do with them?

First and foremost, if the sign is for a local candidate, you should contact them to see if they are collecting their signs back. This is actually quite common with local candidates, and many want their signs back. If giving the sign back is not an option but you know the candidate will likely be up for re-election at some point, please consider storing it for use the next time around. If neither of those are options, the next “greenest” choice is to reuse or repurpose them.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:20 AM, 10.20.2020

A new lawnmower for me

In typical 2020 fashion, when it seems that everything that can go wrong will, my 20-year-old gas lawnmower finally had its last grass cutting. Honestly, I'm not too sad about it. I don't love that we have to spend money on a new one, but it provided me an opportunity to buy an electric one!  

I have written about environmentally friendly mowers in the past, but never had any personal experience. I researched and read blogs about different options. There are two main brands that get the best reviews in the electric/battery powered lawnmower world: Ego and Greenworks. There are other brands out there that have great reviews, but I found that these two seem to be the major players. I decided on the Ego brand based on the size of my yard and how long I need the battery to last for one cutting.

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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 9:57 AM, 10.06.2020

Bringing back reusable bags

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the pandemic pollution, namely disposable masks and gloves and how the proper disposal of these items is very important to ensure that they do not make their way into the environment. This week, I’m going to revisit the plastic bag issue.

At the beginning of the pandemic, reusable bags suddenly were not allowed into stores, and for good reason as it was not well known how COVID-19 was spreading. However, we now know that the main risk (per the CDC) is to be in close contact with a person who has the disease. The CDC does state that it's not impossible to get it from a contaminated surface, however that is not the main source of transmission.

Also, when you think about grocery shopping, by the time the items get to the bagger, the customer has already touched them, the cashier has touched them, and the last person to touch them is the bagger.

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Volume 12, Issue 18, Posted 10:23 AM, 09.15.2020

Supplementing your children's e-learning

This school year is like none other and there truly are no good answers. Every parent of a school-aged child is completely stressed for a million different reasons. I have been thinking about some hands-on activities to do to supplement the virtual learning that kids will be doing on the screen.

I realize so many parents are both working and struggling to ensure their child doesn’t fall behind, so these are simple, family friendly activities that can be done anytime, and they will promote interest and learning in the environment and sciences.

First, I think a great thing to do (also happens to be the most simple), is to talk to your kids about how their actions impact the earth. For example, you can talk during a meal about avoiding single-use plastics, and how the lake and the oceans have so much plastic in them, and how they can make a difference by making smart choices.

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 9:18 AM, 08.18.2020

Pandemic Pollution

During the lockdown in the spring, the world was able to take a deep breath of fresh air as life came to a screeching halt. Cars and trucks were not being driven, factories paused production, and life slowed down. All of this added up to a huge decrease in carbon dioxide emissions and each of us could breathe easier for a while.

Now, as we have begun to live a little bit more “normally,” the world is facing another pollution problem: disposable face masks. Face masks are absolutely crucial to preventing the spread of Covid-19. Please use a face mask, disposable or otherwise, anytime you are in public and always follow local rules and regulations.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 10:08 AM, 07.21.2020

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