Eco-Friendly Projects To Try This Summer

1. Plant A Tree

Although it is a simple task, planting a tree or multiple trees can have many lasting benefits for you, your family and all humans on earth. Planting a tree not only benefits our environment, but can have a positive impact on the way people live socially and economically. Before you and your family plant a tree this summer, read below to find out all of the ways in which you will be helping to improve the quality of life for humans as well as the health of our environment.

Social Benefits Trees

It might come as no surprise that being surrounded by trees and green spaces can help to reduce the stress that we feel on a daily basis. In fact, it has been shown that patients in hospitals will recover more quickly when they simply have a hospital room with a view of the trees outside. Additionally, it has been reported that when children spend some of their day outdoors and surrounded by trees, they are able to better learn the information they are taught in school. Studies have also shown that the presence of trees in urban areas can reduce crime rates.

Economic Benefits of Trees

You can personally reap the economic benefits of planting trees on your property. When you strategically plant trees on the west and northwest sides of your home, you are helping to block mid to late afternoon sun. This means that your home will require less air conditioning and consequently, you can enjoy lower energy bills. To reduce the amount of sun that spills into your windows at sunrise and sunset, plant trees on the east and west sides of your home. However, make sure you trim and prune the lower branches so that you can still enjoy a nice outdoor view through your windows. Even planting shrubs around you home’s foundation can help to conserve energy in your home, as these shrubs will serve as a windbreak for chilling winter winds.

Aside from helping to reduce your energy bill, planting trees around your home can help to increase the value of your property by up to fifteen percent. Studies have shown that homes with trees and shrubbery are more valuable than comparable homes that lack landscaping and greenery in the yard.

Environmental Benefits of Trees

Perhaps the most impactful reason to plant trees with your family this summer is to benefit the earth’s environment. Trees not only look attractive and make people happier, but they also help to improve our health as they enhance the air quality by filtering out harmful pollutants, including ozone, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. Without trees, humans would have less oxygen to breathe. In fact, approximately one third of the earth’s oxygen comes from the trees in our rainforests. Trees also help to decrease stormwater runoff which can help to cut back on erosion as well as pollution in our waterways. This benefit even reduces the harmful effects of flooding, as trees assist in the absorption or evaporation of water that contributes to flooding. Many species of wildlife in the world also benefit from the presence of trees, as trees provide them with the habitat, food and protection they need to survive.

How To Plant A Tree

First, it is important to consider when you will be planting your tree. Late summer and early fall are the best times to do so, as freshly planted trees need time to establish themselves before they are exposed to stressors such as high heat in the middle of summer. Next, prepare the hole where you will bury your tree. Dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the root ball of your tree. Make sure you are careful with the tree’s rootball and that it stays in tact during the planting process. Once your tree is inside of the hole, situate the tree in whatever orientation you like. Then, refill the hole with the dirt you initially dug out. As you refill the hole, check the tree trunk to make sure that it is standing up straight. After the hole is refilled and the tree is secured, install tree stakes. Drive the tree stakes into the ground under and through the tree’s root ball. Do not tie the stake too tightly to the trunk, but just tight enough that it sufficiently supports the tree. If you are planting a large tree, it may need additional tree stakes for proper support. Soon after you have planted your tree, it is time to start watering it. Water your tree every day for a few weeks after you have planted it and by this point, the roots will be established and will have started growing throughout the surrounding soil. At this time, gradually reduce how often you water the tree. Avoid using fertilizer during the early stages, as this can harm the tree’s growth.

As you plant a tree with your family this summer, you can be proud that you are helping to contribute to a higher quality of life for your fellow humans. Planting a tree is a gift to the earth as well as a gift to our future generations.

2. Set Up A Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater harvesting is the act of collecting rainwater to be used for various purposes around the home. The average roof will collect six hundred gallons of rainwater for every inch it rains. Instead of letting this water run off into your yard and go to waste, you can set up a rainwater harvesting system to conserve the water and use it around your home. These systems are easy and affordable to make and can even save you money on water bills. When harvesting rainwater, you are able to collect approximately eighty percent of the rain that falls onto your roof and other catchment areas.

In addition to the economic benefits of water harvesting, there are many environmental benefits as well. As water is pumped through waterways by water treatment plants in our cities and towns, greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are released. By harvesting rainwater and using less water produced by our city’s water plants, we can help to cut back on the emission of these greenhouse gasses. Additionally, when water reaches the pavement during storms and floods, it will eventually either reach a body of water, or it will enter our city’s sewers and end up in our rivers and lakes. If a storm is large enough, the runoff water can exceed the capacity of the sewer infrastructure and push raw sewage into bodies of fresh water. This combined sewage overflow can be hazardous to the health of our city’s populations. Collecting the rainwater that drains from your roof can lessen the amount of surface runoff water which reduces the chances of this sewage overflow. Your garden will also benefit when you start harvesting rainwater. Since rainwater is a natural and pure form of water, it is better for the health of your garden plants than other water sources that have been treated with chemicals.

3. Upcycle Your Junk Mail

Even if you have done your part and gone paperless to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive, chances are that you still receive mail which will inevitably make its way into your trash can or recycling bin. Instead of throwing this spam away, you can reuse your junk mail in a variety of different ways.

Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

Many times, the inside of a junk mail envelope will be printed with a snazzy pattern. You can turn the envelope inside out and use it to send snail mail to any of your far away friends or family. You can also use these envelopes to store clipped coupons for grocery shopping.

Let Your Kids Get Creative With Your Junk Mail

As children like to draw and color, they usually do not require a fresh, clean sheet of paper to do so. After you have gone through your mail and picked out all of the junk pieces, give that paper to your children and let them draw and color on these otherwise useless pieces of scrap paper.

Use Your Junk Mail To Write Shopping Lists and Other Notes

Instead of using fresh paper to write disposable lists, including grocery lists, find paper in your junk mail with space to write and use these pieces to jot down notes and lists that will eventually need to be thrown away. This will help you to conserve clean paper for other more sustainable and lasting projects.

4. Grow Your Own Produce By Planting Seeds In Your Garden

Growing your own produce has many benefits including for the environment, for your wallet and for the enjoyment of eating. Shopping for produce plants at local nurseries can limit your selection, but when you plant your own seeds in your garden, you are giving yourself more variety to choose from. You can also enjoy the added perk of knowing where your seeds come from. You have the freedom to choose from heirloom, organic, non GMO or open pollinated seeds that give you more autonomy over the food you are consuming.

Planting your own seeds in a garden on your property is also better for the plants health. Often times, when you purchase seedlings from a nursery, the plant has been sitting stationary in a pot for too long. Planting and growing your own seeds allows you to know precisely how long the plants have been sitting there and gives you more control over the quality of fertilizers and soil used to encourage the growth of your plants. This allows for healthier and higher quality plants. In addition to the growing healthier plants, you will also save money by starting fresh in your garden through plants seeds from a packet. You will usually pay about the same price for one potted seedling as you will for an entire packet of seeds, meaning you will get way more bang for your buck by planting your own seeds.  You can also store seeds for a long period of time if you leave them in a cool, dry environment. This will help them to last longer and provide the fruits and vegetables you need over a few seasons.

The environmental impact of planting your own seeds is also great. Seeds weigh much less than seedlings do, so the energy used to transport seeds as opposed to seedlings is much less. There is also less packaging and water used in the production of seeds. Many seedlings are not grown organically which means that during their production, harmful chemicals have been used to establish them. You can also plant your own seeds in compostable containers like egg cartons, which is a more eco friendly alternative than the plastic pots used to hold seedlings in nurseries.

5. Make Natural, Eco Friendly Cleaning Products For Your Home

Keep your home happier and healthier by concocting eco friendly cleaning products. These DIY products use natural ingredients that will not affect your family’s health and will also save you money in the long run.

All Purpose Cleaner

To make an all purpose cleaner at home, simply combine one half cup of vinegar and one fourth cup of baking soda into two liters of water. This solution can be used to remove water deposit stains in the shower, on chrome bathroom hardware, windows, bathrooms mirrors and more.

Carpet Stain Remover

Making a carpet stain remover at home only requires white vinegar and water. Simply mix equal parts of these two ingredients into a spray bottle and spray directly on a carpet stain, allowing the mixture to set for several minutes. Then, clean the sprayed stain with a brush or sponge using soapy, warm water. You can also make a cornstarch stain remover for grease spots. Dust cornstarch over the grease stain and let it sit for fifteen to thirty minutes before vacuuming.

Ceramic or Glass Stovetop Cleaner

Cleaning your ceramic or glass stovetop is easier than you might think. Simply mixing soap and water to clean these surfaces will usually do the trick. You can also combine water and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply to the surface. Then, powder the stovetop with baking soda. Cover the area with a damp towel and let it sit for half an hour before wiping clean with a damp cloth.

All of us at Natran Green Pest Control hope you enjoy these eco friendly projects! We appreciate your efforts in helping to make the environment a cleaner and safer place for everyone.

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