Please-not plastic!

October 19, 2010

A greener way to pick up after your pet

Pets are usually walked for more than just exercise, and stooping and scooping is a good thing to do.   However, if you use plastic bags, you’re putting one of nature’s fastest degrading substances into something that degrades extremely slowly.

So it’s far better to use paper bags or biodegradable bags made from corn-based materials.  Then you can:

1. dispose of them in your trash – they’ll break down quickly in a landfill; or

2. compost them – but if you do, be sure to set up a separate compost for pet waste because it can carry some pretty nasty pathogens, and don’t use the compost on food crops.  Check out these composters designed specifically for pet waste and read some excellent guidance from Green Calgary; or

3. if you have the space, bury them several centimetres in the ground where they’ll quickly break down into plant nutrients (again, not in a food garden).

The key message: please don’t use plastic bags for pet waste!

The heat is on

October 5, 2010

A quick way to make your baseboards heat more efficiently

With the chill of fall in the air, it won’t be long before heating systems kick into gear – and energy bills rise.

Here’s an easy way to improve the efficiency of your baseboard heaters, be they electric or hydronic (water filled): just pop off the front cover and vacuum them.  The dust and dirt that accumulate in baseboards decrease the amount of heat they produce, and therefore increase the amount of energy required to heat a room.  Simply vacuuming off that dirt will improve air flow around those fins, and help your heaters work most efficiently.  (Just be careful not to ding those fins because damaged fins reduce a heater’s efficiency.)

Find more great tips on baseboards and how to improve their heating efficiency here.