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Ways to be green as the leaves change

As the summer months come to a close, we head into the fall reminded that school will start shortly and also of getting our gardens ready for fall.

Greening back to school

Going back to school is a great time to teach reuse by looking at items from last year’s school year that still are in good shape and may be repurposed for this new year.

Reuse the school items from last year. Pencils, pens, binders and not completely used spiral notebooks easily are reused.

If needed, consider green purchasing for school supplies such as reusable/washable lunch bags, containers for food and reusable water bottles.

Check winter clothing to ensure that you are not overbuying for the fall and winter seasons. Donate or give away clothes that are no longer fitting.

Buy green products or post-consumer content products. Carpool students to school or consider safe walking paths for students.

Get involved in school policy on recycling not only of paper products but of composting and help in student involvement. Don’t overbuy products for school. Only what is needed.

Outside preparations

Composting is another way of becoming a more self-sustainable family by preventing greens (vegetable/fruit/plant matter) and browns (dried yard waste) from being landfilled (15 percent to 20 percent of landfill volume).

Our office is selling single-body composters that may be stationed anywhere in your yard for $50.

Please see the Land Use Department web page for more information on composting and vermicomposting (with red wiggler worms).

Plant trees that will provide shade to the home once mature.

Take older summer compost and add that around trees and bushes such that it is tilled into the soil. This will help aid fertilizer for spring startup.

Reduce pet’s carbon paw print

We love our pets and our planet. As we balance our lives by trying to reduce our carbon footprint, we also need to look toward our pets who also have effects on the planet.

Neuter and spay your dog or cat.

Consider buying less chew toys beyond what is needed as all of the materials use resources and energy to produce. Buy green pet toys that are ecofriendly or simply make your own toys.

Consider feeding overweight pets a little less as all of the meat that is used in the creation of pet food has its effect on the environment.

Buy pet food that has a better concentration of quality protein instead of fillers. This change will create less waste products, which is good for the environment and those who pick it up for our precious pet.

Buy compostable poop bags for your dogs as plastic has an indefinite life in the landfill.

Help in the adoption process of cats and dogs by being a foster home. These pets are adopted more readily based on a friendly disposition and training.

Look into buying more natural compostable cat litter. Traditional cat litters are made from silica clay and do not break down in the landfill. Ecofriendly cat litter is made from natural materials such as sawdust, corn, wheat and nut shells and even green tea leaves.

Accessories such as bedding and leashes buy in moderation, and if there is an accumulation, consider donating the gently used items to the nearest animal control facility or shelter.

Fall garden plantings

For zone 5B, some vegetable plantings will allow for harvest such as arugula, bush beans, mustard, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, chard, cilantro, spinach and turnips. Have insulating fabric in the event that frost comes slightly earlier than expected.

Fall events

We will be having the following fall events for the community:

Electronic Waste Recycling Event –
8 a.m. to noon Sept. 22 at the Grundy County Animal Control facility rear yard. Free event.

Shredding Event – 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 21 at the Grundy County Administration Building, 1320 Union St., Morris. It is a free event.

Trashformation Competition for Children – For those in first to eighth grade. All sculptures shall be constructed from recyclable items. Prizes for first and second place for all grades.

Book drive results

Huge thanks to all of the residents and schoolteachers who participated in the Gently Used Children’s Book Drive this year. Our goal was 1,500 books. Once the drive was complete, we received notice that we had collected 5,500 books!

Thank you for your generous hearts in giving a book to children to read and cherish as their own.

Please feel free to contact my office if you should have any questions. I may be reached at either 815-941-3229 or

Thank you Grundy County for taking care of our Earth!

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