AT HOME

Poet Cherrie Moragas perhaps said it best… “the revolution begins at home.” Start exploring changes you can make within your own family, and then carry those changes forward into the workplace, school and your community. From making the switch from plastic to reusable grocery bags to learning how to recycle properly so you’re not contaminating the recycling stream, these seemingly small measures will accumulate for big results. 

recycling

One of the easiest changes for most Gwinnett County neighbors to make, recycling is our first line of defense in diverting items from landfills. Many of our local haulers offer a recycling program with curbside pickup for residents. For more information about recycling, a list of items that can be recycled curbside and how to recycle those items that aren’t part of the curbside program, please visit our Recycling page.

composting

In the U.S., roughly 95 percent of food scraps are thrown away – eventually finding their way to our landfills. Studies indicate that food waste in landfills is one of the leading causes of methane – a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

As the ultimate form of recycling, the art of composting has been in practice the world over for centuries. In the most basic terms, composting involves the transformation of organic matter – such as grass clippings and food scraps – into a mineral-rich, soil-like material called compost. The organic material is naturally broken down by insects, earthworms, bacteria and fungi for an important renewed purpose – rather than serving out its purpose by taking up space in your local landfill. Compost acts as a natural fertilizer in potted plants, gardens, landscaping, and farms, as well as around trees and shrubs – reducing the need for commercial chemical fertilizers. In addition to being eco-friendly, composting is cost-effective. To learn how to start your own indoor or outdoor composting system at home, please visit our Composting page. (currently located at https://gwinnettcb.org/at-home/composting/)

smart home technology

Peppered among the latest trends in home design and construction – somewhere between using the outdoors to influence your interior décor and incorporating eye-catching, bold accent walls – the use of Smart Home technology is gaining steam for more reasons than one. While it can be a state-of-the-art answer to your home’s security and a wonderful option for streaming the soundtrack of your life through multiple rooms of the house, employing smart home technology can also prove an energy efficient solution. Environmentally focused Smart Home technology includes Environmental Hazard Monitoring, Home Automation and Energy Management. Each of those features are not only good for your wallet… they’re good for the environment! Need a little more convincing? Learn more on our Smart Home Technology page. (currently located at http://www.gwinnettcb.org/three-reasons-why-having-a-smart-home-is-smart-for-the-environment/)

do & don't

do...

Make the switch to Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that LEDs use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.

Only run the dishwasher with a full load.

This will help to save on CO2 emissions and energy costs.

Get creative and explore ways to Reduce and Reuse certain household items.

For example, you can use a set of matching spaghetti sauce jars to store loose nails, screws and bolts.

Trade your plastic water bottles for reusable water bottles.

The Water Project estimates that 80% of all plastic water bottles in the U.S. wind up in the trash – where they can take over 1,000 years to biodegrade.

Shorten your showers.

Cutting the length of your shower by as little as one minute can save up to 150 gallons of water per month. Shoot for five minutes or less to save up to 1,000 gallons monthly.

Wash fresh produce in a pan.

Was your produce in a pan of water rather than under a running faucet.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Check your septic system.

If you have a septic system at your home, have it checked and maintained regularly to make sure it is functioning properly.
Runoff from leaking or overflowing septic systems is a contributing factor to bacteria and nutrient pollution in our waterbodies.

Wash your clothes on cold.

By making the switch to cold water wash and rinse on your washing machine, you will not only extend the life of your garments,
but you could also eliminate up to 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Energy Star indicates that nearly 90% of a washing machine’s
energy is expended on heating water alone.

Cook at home whenever possible.

Food waste is a real issue in our country. A reported 50% of produce is thrown out annually. By dining in, you have more control over your portions
and can aim for zero waste – which is a lot harder to do when dining out.

Check your doors and windows for cracks.

Check where cool/warm air could be escaping, then seal and insulate around them when needed.

Foster a love of the outdoors and sense of environmental stewardship in your children.

Be sure to get outside and play whenever possible, take the kids on long walks, learn about the local flora and fauna together, explore a variety of local parks,
do some gardening together and really talk about steps you can take together as a family to protect your environment.

Embrace the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

We’ve devoted an entire page to recycling because it’s that important, but don’t discount the value of making a practice of reducing and reusing. You can reduce your carbon footprint using many of the tips included in this list of Do’s, but you can also to little things like purchasing products that require less packaging – really make “reducing” part of your everyday thought process. As for reusing, employ your powers for creativity and innovation to create craft projects for the kids, opt to buy used cars, shop at thrift stores and so much more.

Sign up for E-bills.

Replacing paper statements and bills with e-bills will significantly cut down on paper waste. You can also stop junk mail by calling the 800 number that appears on them to ask to be removed from the mailing list.

don't...

Let the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving.

Even one drip of water every second adds up to five gallons of water wasted each day, so just imagine what a full-on faucet could do.

Leave unused electronics plugged in.

Even when turned off, they still draw power and waste energy.

Buy single-use plates, cups and utensils.

For example, you can use a set of matching spaghetti sauce jars to store loose nails, screws and bolts.

Trade your plastic water bottles for reusable water bottles.

If you’re serious about protecting the environment, this is one of the first behaviors you should eliminate. Plastic cups, plates and utensils are making an ever-increasing appearance in our oceans. The price we pay in the long run far outweighs the convenience of not having to wash the dishes.

Contribute to the issue of nonpoint source pollution

that washes down storm drains and leads directly to our waterways. Examples of nonpoint source pollution include yard waste, fertilizer from overfertilized lawns, oil from leaking cars, animal waste and more.

Burn your yard waste.

Burning yard waste releases mold spores, which can aggravate allergies and cause respiratory issues. If uncontrolled, it could start a larger fire.

Water your lawn in the heat of the day.

Pay attention to county/city watering schedules and water your lawn in the early morning hours when the lawn is more likely to absorb it and less likely to simply evaporate. Also, only water your lawn one day a week – possibly skipping a scheduled watering if it rains. Established lawns only require one inch of water per week.

Allow your family’s favorite feline to be an outdoor cat.

USA Today reported that cats kill up to 3.7 BILLION birds each year in the U.S. alone. They also kill billions of mice, moles and rabbits each year. Each animal has a role to play in a delicate ecosystem and should not be needlessly killed.

Throw away gently used household items or clothing.

Consider donating them to a local charity.

Post Project Results Form

For Great American Cleanup

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GAC- Students Serving Seniors

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Dial-a-Dumpster

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Groom and Bloom

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Litter League

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