Spring will be here before we know it, and it will be time–once again–to clean up the yard in preparation for summer activities. How do you usually clean your yard in the spring? I have found that some tactics are more environmentally-friendly than others; how green are your cleaning habits? If you use chemical sprays or burn things that are unhealthy to breathe in, you may want to rethink your spring rituals. Try the following tips for green cleaning your yard in the spring.
1. Get rid of unwanted items in an environmentally-responsible manner. Do you just toss everything at the end of the driveway or drop it off at the city dump? These things could potentially be recycled or disposed of in a more eco-friendly way. In my city, we are allowed to take yard waste once a month to be disposed of responsibly. Donate items that are still usable and recycle things that are recyclable. Do your research and dispose of your unwanted items in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.
2. Use green, nontoxic cleaners and sprays. Many chemical sprays, such as fertilizers and pesticides, may be harmful to both the earth and your family. There are many nontoxic sprays or alternative remedies available to us that are just as effective. When you are cleaning outdoor surfaces, such as windows, consider less harmful alternatives (such as vinegar). I make a lot of my own cleaning products.
3. Choose latex or non-oil-based paints for the house or furniture. Some paints and other surface coatings emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to inhale. Most latex (water-based) paints have low VOCs, as well as vegetable-based solutions and other alternatives. Some brands advertise that they are “green,” but you should be safe with nearly any latex coating.
4. Conserve water and other valuable resources. Does your water bill skyrocket in the summer? You will probably want to water your yard in the spring so it will look nice all summer long. Try various tactics to conserve water, such as fixing leaks and limiting the sprinkler use to a certain amount of time each day or every other day. Also, choose solar lights to help conserve outdoor energy consumption.
5. Compost materials that can be composted. Yard materials and food scraps can make a great supplement for your garden (that is not harmful to the environment). Gather up your yard waste and mix it with leaves to create a healthy, nutritious compost for your garden. Do not use animal waste or meat scraps. For the best results, start composting in autumn when leaves begin to fall.
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