Green Tips

EPA-approved faucet aerators could save billions of gallons of water nationwide!

It’s obvious that turning off the water when brushing your teeth will save water, but a simple device attached to your faucet spout could help you conserve water without even thinking about it!

A faucet aerator is a small screen that attaches to water spouts and helps mix air into the water stream, reduce the temperature and flow rate of the water.

If every home in the U.S. used WaterSense-labeled aerators, we could save a total of 64 billion gallons of water and $1.2 billion in water and energy costs nationwide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

faucets-aerators-infographicAerators cost as little as $2 and are easy to install. With technology ever-improving, it may be time to update your aerator and conserve even more water.

 

Visit the EPA’s website to learn more.

 

Recycle Your Christmas Tree!

Don’t throw away your Christmas tree – recycle it! If you bought a live tree, you can transplant it outside, but if you bought a cut tree this holiday season, there are several local entities that will recycle it. Once recycled, trees can be chipped into mulch, sunk into ponds to create feeding areas for fish and placed in lakes and rivers to create soil erosion barriers, among other options.

Below is a map of some places to recycle your tree:

Celebrate Texas Native Plant Week!

October 18-24 is Texas Native Plant Week. Celebrate by planting native varieties! Fall is the best time to place many native plants in your garden. Native plants are beautiful and hardy, Galveston Bay- and wildlife-friendly, and can save you money in the long-run! Click on the links to learn more:

Go Organic in Your Yard

Go organic in your yard to keep it healthy and use less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Going organic can save you money in the long run, keep toxic chemicals out of the neighborhood environment and out of our waterways and Galveston Bay. If you fertilize, be sure to try an organic alternative. See Five Tips for Organic Lawn Care on the Upper Texas Coast and NewsRadio 740 KTRH GardenLine’s organic fertilization schedule.

Outdoor Watering – Timing Matters!

The rains have shut off and your yard is stating to get crispy again.  To save water and money, don’t water in the heat of the day when much of what comes out of your sprinkler is lost to evaporation.  Instead, water in the early morning hours so more of that water makes it into the soil where it is needed.  See other outdoor and general water conservation tips here: http://takecareoftexas.org/water/water-conservation.

 

Have a Greener 4th of July!

We hope you have a fun and safe 4th of July. And we hope you can take some simple steps to make this 4th and other holidays easier on Galveston Bay and our little planet. You can use many of these holiday tips everyday, such as using less disposable dinnerware and packaging or cleaning and reusing plasticware, to help the environment! Find out more at Earth 911.com’s 8 Ways to Green 4th of July.

Mulch Saves Time, Money & Helps the Environment!

Want to protect your plants from the summer heat, save water, reduce weeds, AND help the environment at the same time?

Then place mulch around trees and shrubs, in flower gardens, and in vegetable gardens! Shredded pine bark mulch and native hardwood mulches are good choices. A layer of mulch reduces weeds and keeps soil moist and soil temperatures moderate.

How to do it… Make sure there is adequate soil moisture before placing it. Wait until after a rain or if the soil is dry, simply water before you place the mulch. Add a deep enough layer of mulch; three inches or more will do the trick. Water in the mulch after you’ve placed it down. Replenish your mulch when the layer becomes less than 3 inches.

Don’t Mow Too Low… and save your lawn, the environment and your money!

Here are some lawn maintenance tips that will keep your lawn healthy, help the environment, and save you money at the same time:

First, do not mow your grass too low. Grass that is mowed at the proper height has a healthier root system and uses less water than a lawn that is cut close to the ground. Set your mower to the recommended heights referred to below, or even higher.

Second, do cut off too much at each cutting. Mow often enough so that you do not cut off any more than 1/3 of the grass length to ease stress during our hot summers.

Third, don’t bag your grass clippings; leave them on the lawn. You’ll allow nature to work by recycling nutrients that are released as the clippings decay back to the earth and build healthy soil. This is much more aesthetically pleasing if you do not mow too low and easiest if you use a mulching mower.

In addition to using less water, healthy grass needs less fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Bottom line, you spend less money and prevent harmful pollutants from running off your lawn and into our waterways by not mowing too low! Find out how low to mow different types of grass and other helpful hints by clicking on Texas A&M University Turfgrass Program’s Turf Answers 4 You – Mowing.

Green Spring Cleaning and Pest Control

Keep yourself, your family, your pets and the environment safe by using less toxic cleansers and pesticides in your home. Lower your exposure to potential toxic compounds by using common household items like baking soda and vinegar to make cleansers for kitchen, bathroom and more. And be sure to try the more natural pesticides!  Click on http://www.cleanwaterways.org/downloads/HC_HHW_Less.pdf to find recipes for less toxic alternatives.

Have a Green Spring Break!

If you are staying close to home for Spring Break, take your family to one or more of our many wonderful local nature centers, preserves, state and local parks, or wildlife refuges. Or, when was the last time you took your kids fishing? We know some spots!  Even if you don’t have younger ones in the house, head outside yourself!  Here are some ideas:

Nature Centers, Education Centers, etc.

State Parks

Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas

Find fishing access locations using the GLO’s Texas Beach and Bay Access Guide.