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By Samantha Gamez

Go “green” is a buzzword in politics and in the media. Everyone seems to have an idea of how to make life more environmentally friendly. It’s hard to figure out where to start, so here are some easy tips on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle this summer.

Hazardous Waste
Hazard materials often have designated places to be dropped depending on the city. Bryan College Station residents can drop their hazardous wastes at Twin Oaks Landfill’s Household Hazardous Waste and Computer Event on October 21. Other wastes such as used oil and oil filters, auto batteries and antifreeze can be dropped at Twin Oaks Landfill year-round. See a full list of accepted hazardous waste items at www.twinoakslandfill.com.

Water
Water conservation can be as simple as switching to an energy efficient shower head or taking a five-minute shower instead of a bath, according to the Texas Water Development Board. Running only full loads in your washer and dishwasher and installing faucet aerators also decreases indoor water usage, according to The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Regularly check for pipe leaks, particularly in the toilet, which makes up about 30 percent of indoor water usage.

Outside, changing your garden and lawn watering schedule to an early morning or late evening time can ensure the water has time to soak into the ground. Switching to a sprinkler that produces a fine mist instead of an oscillating sprinkler also helps spread the water evenly across the lawn and allows for the water to be absorbed more easily. The City of College Station is holding a seminar on July 22 at the CSU Meeting & Training Facility to show how sprinkler maintenance and tips can make your watering schedule more efficient and cost effective.

Other water saving resources:
Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District at www.brazosvalleygcd.org

  • Rain Barrel Rebate

City of College Station at www.CSTX.gov

  • Free Landscape Irrigation Checkup
  • Watering Recommendations
  • Water Conservation Rebates

Food Waste
In 2014, the United States put more than 38 billion tons of food into landfills and combustion plants as reported by the Environmental Protection Agency. Food waste is rarely discussed, but there are ways to help reduce the amount of food we put in our trash.

The best offense is a strong defense, and that is true of combatting food waste. Planning meals for the week before grocery shopping helps eliminate unnecessary food purchasing according to the EPA. Buy what is needed instead of what is wanted.

Even with the most proactive defense, food spoils. Instead of tossing all your food waste in the trash, try making a compost bin. Simply toss your fruit and veggie scraps into a pile with dry leaves, twigs, and grass clippings, and let Mother Nature take over. The pile decomposes into a fertile soil full of carbon and nitrogen that will help boost the life of your garden according to the TCEQ. Compost bins can be purchased at any outdoor store or you can make your own.

A few simple changes can make a huge difference in the grand scheme of the environment. Implementing one or two of these tips into your home can help minimize waste.

Recycling
College Station residents receive curbside recycling by Brazos Valley Recycling through the City of College Station utilities. Recyclables (plastics 1 and 2, paper, glass, aluminum or metal cans, paper, and cardboard) must be placed into the designated bin; BVR pickup is the same day as trash pickup every other week. Bryan residents can purchase the same monthly service for $9.95, also through BVR. Other recycling options include Brazos Valley Trash Valet  & Recycling and Texas Commercial Waste. Anyone in Bryan College Station can drop recyclables at the Bryan Drive In Recycling Center in the parking lot of the Bryan Walmart Supercenter.

More resources: www.bryantx.gov, www.cstx.gov, www.brazosvalleyrecycling.com, www.bvtrashvalet.com, www.texascommercialwaste.com

Old appliances can be taken to local scrap dealers or donated if in working condition according to the TCEQ. Gently used clothes, toys, and household goods can also be donated. Local not-for-profit centers include The Hospice Thrift Shop, Twin City Mission, and Habitat ReStore.