Monday, April 28, 2014

Green Mowing

April showers bring May flowers...and the beginnings of grass mowing season. Traditional lawn mowers are gas guzzlers that pollute the air and produce unwelcome noise. You can avoid these irritants if you opt for a greener machine. Electric lawn mowers run on batteries so there's no gas or oil to buy. They are much quieter while still providing great power. While they can be expensive, you should remember that you'll be saving dollars by not purchasing gas and by reducing  maintenance costs. It's also very easy to start. Simply push a button. Goodbye frustrating pull cords! Most come with same features as the gas burning kinds like side discharge, bagging capability and blade height adjustment.

Another option is the push reel mower. This mower seems a bit old fashioned to many people but it is gaining in popularity because of it's many benefits. It is less expensive than other mowers and definitely safer. All you do is push and the rotating blades act like a pair of scissors. It's better for your lawn and provides a super workout. The grass clippings that it leaves behind are excellent for the health of your lawn. No toxic fumes, no pulling your back while you repeatedly try to start it...a reel mower is an exceptional buy if you have a small to medium size yard.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Problem with Plastic Bags

Most of us accept them without thinking twice. We give our groceries to the clerk and she automatically puts them in a plastic bag. Usually a lot of them. Items already in a sack, like a bag of potatoes, get put in another bag as well. It's so commonplace, everyone does it, and no one seems to think about the consequences.

And there are many consequences. Over a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. Only a very small percentage are recycled.  That leaves an enormous amount of plastic floating around our Earth. Many end up in landfills, where it will take up to a thousand years for them to break down. Hundreds are blowing around your town right now, ending up in trees or sewers. More are in our oceans and streams where they kill marine life. Even when the plastic does degrade, its' remnants contaminate the water and soil.

Many countries have taken action by either banning or taxing plastic bags. A few are China, Australia and Ireland. In the United States, several cities are taking action as well, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and The Outer Banks in North Carolina. Many more have legislation in the works. This movement is not going to go away. Plastic bags create too many environmental issues and cost retailers thousands of dollars. The best alternative is to get reusable bags and to use them. Most stores sell them for a low price or you can make your own. Take an old pair of jeans or a t-shirt, cut them up, and sew three sides together to make an up cycled bag. If you can't sew, pull out the glue gun. There really is no reason not to do it. Once you get in the habit of carrying reusable bags with you, you'll soon forget those flimsy, toxic plastic bags. Our world depends on each of us to think and make a conscious decision about what's important to us- destructive convenience or the future of our planet and wildlife.