By: Michelle Salyer
By now, we all know the importance of “going green” and most likely, we’ve made a few changes here and there. We bring our cloth grocery bags to the store, we’ve replaced our old light bulbs with compact fluorescents and faithfully drag our recycling bins to the curb. Short of making our own bio fuels or installing a windmill in the backyard, that’s about all we can do, right? Not necessarily. There are still plenty of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle that are surprisingly simple, inexpensive and easy to implement.
Consider these ways to reduce your burden on Mother Earth:
Paint your house green: The terms paint and eco-friendly don’t normally go together, but Sherwin-Williams now offers a line of “environmentally preferred” GreenSure® products including low-odor paints made with sustainable raw materials such as soy and sunflower oil.
According to Scott Martinelli, manager of the Sherwin-Williams store in Rockledge, “Our GreenSure products are extremely popular in Brevard. Homeowners are becoming more environmentally aware and demand products that are safe for their families as well.” Visit SherwinWilliams.com for Brevard locations and more about the company’s green initiatives.
Save face (and trees): Mary Kay has just launched a new line of Botanical Effects skin care and with the new line comes more eco-friendly packaging made of 50 to 100 percent post-consumer resin (PCR) material that would otherwise sit in a landfill. Bottles and cartons are made from Forest Stewardship Council certified material, which supports sustainable forestry worldwide. And, Mary Kay representatives manage their own local businesses, so much of the money spent stays in Brevard County.
Do bamboo: When it comes to sheets, pajamas and other clothing, bamboo is quickly gaining favor as an alternative to cotton, not only for its softness and moisture wicking abilities but its green properties as well. Theresa Mitchell, owner of The Bath Cottage in Cocoa Village explained, “Bamboo is completely sustainable. It requires no pesticides or fertilizers to grow and only what is needed is harvested so the plant continues to grow. Cotton requires two pounds of fertilizers and pesticides for every pound grown.”
Redecorate without shopping: With budgets tight these days, many homeowners are looking for ways to make what they already own a little more appealing and functional.
“Interior rearranging is a great way to repurpose the furniture and accessories you already own,” said Michelle Croswell of Home Sweet Home Design. “Think outside the box, look at pieces with fresh eyes and think what other function they could serve. For example, a changing table can enjoy a new life as a bar cart when you paint it and add wheels.”
Eat organic foods: Have fresh, organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to your door by local companies such as Fresh Box Organics. Choose from four fruit, vegetable or combination boxes starting at $25 weekly. Not only will customers feel better physically, they’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping a good cause.
According to Fresh Box Organics owner, Lucinda B. Clark “…Being as I know what it is like to feel the pangs of hunger as a child, we donate a portion of our sales and all left over produce to the Women’s Center of Brevard which helps feed battered, abused, and struggling single mothers and their children in Brevard County.”
The Happy Healthy Human in Indian Harbour Beach also offers daily and weekly food boxes of “the freshest, most nutritious fruits and veggies around, along with the best wheatgrass and microgreens in the world.”
Consign or donate clothing: Consign last year’s clothing and pick up something “new” at local consignment shops such as Suntree Consignment Boutique on Suntree Blvd. or Champagne Taste in Cocoa Village.
People often have misconceptions about consigned clothing, said Jean Lehmann, owner of Suntree Consignment Boutique. “They might think it is old and smelly, and it certainly is not.” Lehmann often carries brand names of clothing, shoes and accessories including Jimmy Choo, Lilly Pulitzer, Chicos, Brighton, Movado, and White House/Black Market.
“These are the kinds of things that someone has lovingly shopped for but for one reason or another are just hanging in the closet, giving them that guilty wave that it’s still hanging there and hasn’t been used,” said Lehmann. “At least when they bring it to me, they get some money for it. It’s a win all around.”
Clothing that remains unsold after the consignment period can be donated to Prevent! of Brevard.
Recycle old electronics: Brevard County Waste Management offers free residential curbside pickup of household electronics such as computers, laptops, scanners, printers, fax machines, TVs and more.
Consider composting and collecting rainwater: Locally owned franchises of Ace Hardware stores offer plenty of easy-to-use systems for composting and collecting rainwater. Not sure how to start? The University of Florida offers composting tips at compostinfo.com.
Take advantage of free mulch: Brevard County residents can get free mulch or take yard waste to any of the following locations:
Mockingbird Mulching Facility
3600 South Street
Central Disposal Facility
2250 Adamson Road
3379 Sarno Road
Keep it off the curb: Donate furniture, appliances and other large reusable items to Goodwill, Brevard Sharing Centers, or The Salvation Army, where donations translate to jobs, services and supplies for fellow locals in need. Many locations, such as the Central Brevard Sharing Center will pick up donations upon request.