Every year, around this time, people start to escape the confines of their winter shelter to enjoy the warmer weather that comes with spring. With more activity happening outside we have to think about the environment. There are several easy ways to improve the quality of the environment and to keep things cleaner for everyone.
One easy task is the pick up after your pets. If pet waste is not disposed of properly, it can be washed away with rain and contaminate our streams and creeks. Most storm water systems go straight to waterways, and 25% of the bacteria in samples collected from local waterways belong to pet waste. One tip is to carry disposable bags when you take your dog for a walk, not only are you helping with the environment but your neighbors will appreciate it also! If you take your dog for walks at a local park, look for the pet waste stations that most parks provide now. If there are none, please contact your local Parks Department about installing a few in your favorite parks.
In the spring, flowers start to bloom and people start tending to their gardens. One type of garden that is beneficial along with being beautiful is a rain garden. Rain gardens are a great way to help with storm water run off and flooding. Pick a low lying area in your yard, but don’t pick a spot that water pools; this means the soil is slow to absorb and you will drown your flowers. Make sure your garden is at least 10 feet away from your house; this will prevent damage to your foundation. Pick native plants to put in your garden. They will grow well in Kansas City’s up and down weather and do not need much tending. Some native plants are Cardinal Flower, Purple Cornflower and Black-eyed Susan. Please contact WPC at 816-325-7711 for a brochure about native plants in the Kansas City area.
Rain barrels are also a nice addition to anyone’s home. Rain barrels collect excess rain water by attaching to down spouts on your home and the water can be used later. Watering your garden with the water collected in your barrel is a good way to reduce your use of water from your hose. Also, rain barrels are a great way to get your kids involved. Help then decorate the barrel with paint that adheres to plastic well. Let them decorate it however they like and you can educate them on the benefits of a rain barrel. Please visit http://www.lawrencerecycles.org/pdf/facts-rainbarrel.pdf for more information about rain barrels.
Spring cleaning is common this type of year. It is the time to de-clutter after the holidays and get your house ready for warmer weather and possibly more company. There are several ways to go green with your cleaning. One way is to make your own cleaning products. Store bought products work great but are filled with toxins that can potentially harm you and make it difficult to dispose of later. Vinegar and baking soda are two household products that can make a good cleanser. Another tip is to open the windows in your home. This will help clear the air of those harmful toxins from the cleaning supplies. Using a mop or a broom works greats on many levels. These products do a good job cleaning, they do not require electricity to run and you could even burn a few calories in the process!
The last thing that should be known is where to dispose of those hazardous materials. The Kansas City Household Hazardous Waste Facility will take most household cleaners and anything else that says DANGER, WARNING or CAUTION on the label. They also take paints and old car fluids. For more information on what the facility takes please call either Kansas City at 816-513-8401 or WPC at 816-325-7711. You can also visit http://www.ci.independence.mo.us/wpc/ for more information about upcoming HHW Mobile events.