Live Green

You can make an impact on our community by making eco-friendly choices every day. Using reusable grocery bags, conserving water and pursuing alternative fuel options all help to maintain West Michigan resources. Below are actions you can do to help make a difference!

RECYCLING

Cutting down the amount of trash you send to the landfill is a good first step in reducing your environmental footprint. What can be recycled depends on where you live.

Please note that WMEAC is no longer a collection site for CFL light bulbs.

Check the recycling facilities for your area:

Reduce Pollution

The Great Lakes region is intimately connected to one of the largest fresh water systems on Earth, a full 20% of the world’s fresh surface water. Unfortunately, this great privilege is being threatened by the leading source of water pollution: incorrect management of rain and stormwater.

Communities can take action against rain and snowmelt flowing off of our yards, roofs, and sidewalks and washing pollution into our water systems.

Rain barrels capture runoff from roofs, and rain gardens and have been proven an effective and easy strategy for managing community storm water issues and improving water quality. 

Sustainable Stormwater Tips

PET WASTE

Pick up pet waste and dispose in a trash can, don’t leave it on the ground or throw down the storm drain.

FERTILIZERS

When using fertilizers, choose slow-or timed-release, phosphorus-free fertilizers and always apply according to instructions. Never applied right before a rainstorm.

MEDICINES

Don’t flush old medicine, go to wmtakebackmeds.org for drop-off locations.

STORM DRAINS

Never dump anything down a storm sewer or drain. Keep storm drains clear of leaves, snow, and other debris. Consider adopting a storm drain!

WASHING YOUR CAR

Wash your car on the lawn or gravel, not your driveway. That way the soapy water can soak into the ground, instead of flowing into the river or storm drain.

SOAPS

Always use non-toxic, biodegradable soaps when washing vehicles or outside surfaces.

HAZARDOUS WASTES

Take household hazardous wastes, like used engine oil and leftover paint, to a recycling collection center. Check your local facility.

SALT

Minimize use of salt for snow and ice control. Use magnesium or calcium chloride alternatives if possible.

ADD PLANTS

Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by adding flowers, herbs, and native plant gardens.

PICK UP LITTER

Always pick up litter from the ground, to prevent it from getting into waterways.

GRAVEL

Choose gravel or paving stones instead of concrete, where possible.

RAIN BARREL

Use a rain barrel to collect runoff and prevent it from entering the watershed. The rain water collected can be used to water gardens and lawns. Sign up for one of our workshops today.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are planted areas designed to collect and absorb runoff from a roof or parking lot, the way nature intends rain to soak into the soil. Rain Gardens naturally protect our water sources by reducing the amount of water and pollutants, and they look great doing it!

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER GREEN CLEANING

– Never make a household cleaner in an old cleaning bottle. The ingredients could react with old contents.
– Avoid direct contact between pure essential oils and skin, eyes, or surfaces. They can harm you and remove paint or finish. Use a small amount and keep away from children and pets.
– When using a recipe, order matters. Always follow the directions to avoid soap clumping and other reactions.
– Borax can bother your eyes and is harmful if swallowed. Keep away from children and pets.

Essential oils are an optional ingredient you can ad to make the recipes more effective. Different oils have different benefits. Some of these include: antiseptic, disinfectant, insecticide, insect repellant, and fungicide. These oils also have a great scent.

Avoid direct contact with skin. Use sparingly and only in diluted form. Some oils can ruin paint or other finishes. Some are not safe to use while pregnant — basil and pennyroyal.

The oils evaporate quickly, so tighten lid and tape shut if possible. Essential oils can be found online or at health food stores.

Antiseptic:
– Eucalyptus
– Lavender- Lemon
– Orange
– Peppermint
– Tea Tree
– Rosemary
– Thyme
– Juniper (cedar)

Disinfectant:
– Eucalyptus
– Lavender
– Lemon
– Orange
– Peppermint
– Tea Tree
– Thyme
– Juniper (cedar)

Bactericide:
– Eucalyptus
– Tea Tree
– Rosemary
– Thyme

Fungicide:
– Lemon
– Peppermint
– Tea Tree
– Rosemary
– Thyme

Insecticide:
– Eucalyptus
– Lavender
– Lemon
– Orange
– Rosemary
– Juniper (cedar)

Insect Repellant:
– Lemon – Orange
– Peppermint
– Tea Tree
– Rosemary
– Thyme
– Juniper (cedar)

1. Warm water
2. Vinegar

Fill a spray bottle one quarter of the way with warm water. Pour vinegar into bottle until three quarters of the way full, then cap and shake. Finish filling the bottle with warm water, then cap and shake.

1. Baking soda
2. Water

Using a spray bottle, coat the oven with water. Sprinkle bottom of the oven with baking soda to cover, then dampen bottom of the oven with more water. Let it sit over night and scrub out stains. For the sides of the oven, make a paste with baking soda and water and spread all over.

1. Vinegar
2. Warm water

For mopping, pour 1 c. of vinegar in a bucket and add warm water. Or, fill spray bottle with 50/50 solution of vinegar and warm water. Spray on floor and wipe clean with a rag or mop.

1. Vegetable oil-based Castile soap
2. Warm water

Add 2-3 drops of the Castile soap in a bucket and fill it with warm water. Mop as usual.

1. 16 oz. spray bottle
2. Borax
3. Vinegar
4. Vegetable oil-based soap
5. Hot water
6. 2-3 drops of essential oil (optional)

Add water and 1 tsp of Borax in the spray bottle. Shake until the Borax is dissolved. Add 2 tbsp. of vinegar and shake again. Then add 1/4 c. of soap and oils.

Call the Kent County Health Department at (616)632-6912 OR Call WMEAC at (616)632-7100

ENERGY-SAVING TIPS

Saving energy at your home is not just good for your pocket book, it’s also good for the environment! We have compiled a list of a few energy saving tips for you at your home.

LIGHTS

Turn off the lights when you leave the room

ELECTONICS

Turn off electronics when you aren’t using them.

FAUCET

Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.

VENTS

Keep items away from vents to keep from blocking them.

SHADE

Plant a tree to provide future shade for your home.

RECYCLE

You can recycle cans, paper, glass, and plastic.

LIGHT BULBS

Replace conventional light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.

CONSERVE

Use both sides of a piece of paper.

DOORS AND WINDOWS

Keep doors and windows shut tightly when the heat or air conditioner is on.

KEEP WARM

Keep warm during the winter by wearing extra layers instead of turning up the heat.