Tuesday, September 2, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Environmental update: Save water and money this fall

By
From page A13 | October 08, 2013 |

It’s that time of year again! Reducing the amount of water you use from November to February can have a large effect on your water and sanitary sewer bills because sanitary sewer rates are calculated using your average winter water consumption.

In the winter, water used for irrigation is at a minimum, so this methodology places an emphasis on estimating how much water is actually going into the sewers.

To conserve water and save money, be sure to re-set your irrigation timers for fall and winter.  Check for leaks inside and outside your home. If you are refurbishing your garden this fall or planning some new landscaping, consider xeriscaping.

While xeriscape translates to mean “dry scene,” in practice it means landscaping with slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water and reduce yard trimmings. Fewer yard trimmings can reduce the amount of labor needed to maintain your landscape.

Xeriscapes generally require less fertilizer and fewer pest control measures than traditional landscapes. Since pesticides and fertilizers can inadvertently harm beneficial organisms, as well as impact air and water quality, reducing their use is a good idea. Using less of these materials also saves money.

For more water conservation tips, visit Public-Works.CityofDavis.org/Water.

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The city of Davis is offering free composting classes at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, and Thursday, Oct. 24, in the Game Room of the Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.

The first 80 Davis residents who sign up for a class will receive a free food scrap collection pail. In order to receive the pail, you must pre-register and attend the class. Pails will be distributed at the end of the class. Class attendees who live in Davis can also enter to win a free worm compost bin.

In addition to backyard composting and worm composting, this class will place a particular emphasis on simple, pest-free methods of composting food scraps. After attending the class, Davis residents can sign up to receive a starter set of composting worms for $5 and residents of single-family homes can receive a backyard compost bin for $10.

To register for the class, RSVP on Facebook (facebook.com/DavisRecycling.org/events), call the Public Works Department at 530-757-5686, or email me at PWWeb@CityofDavis.org.

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This month marks the three-year anniversary of the Yolo County Central Landfill accepting household hazardous waste every Friday and Saturday. Have you taken advantage of this wonderful opportunity yet?

If you have automotive fluids, paints, pesticides, used syringes or empty propane canisters, you can dispose of these safely for free every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the landfill at County Roads 28H and 104.

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Are you looking for ways to reduce your waste size? Here’s an easy way to start —bring your own bag with you when you shop. Most of us have a stockpile of reusable bags at home. The trick is to get into the habit of bringing them inside the store with us. Here are a few hints that may help you start a new enviro-healthy habit:

* Include a bag in your shopping list as Item No. 1;
* Put your coupons in your bag and keep it by the door;
* Keep reusable bags in the trunk of your car and put a small note on the dashboard to remind you to bring them;
* Keep a few compact reusable bags in your purse, jacket pocket or backpack;
* Decorate your own bag — make it fun to take along;
* Put your bags back in your car or bike basket after emptying them;
* Leave your bags in the driver’s side pocket of the car; and
* Hang bags on the front door knob.

It may take some time to get used to bringing your own bags, but after a while it will become second nature. Remember to wash your reusable bags as well — especially if they’ve held meats or fresh produce. Just like you wouldn’t reuse a plate without washing it, you need to wash your reusable bags, too. I just toss our reusable bags into the washing machine and hang them up to dry.

— Jennifer Gilbert is the city of Davis’ conservation coordinator. Reach her at PWweb@cityofdavis.org

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