Did the groundhog see his shadow or didn’t he? Who do you trust? Punxsutawney Phil? Staten Island Chuck? Essex Ed? Is a rodent really a reliable weather source? Regardless of the temperature, Spring will be here shortly! This Spring, the Hudson County Improvement Authority will once again be selling compost bins and rain barrels at several locations throughout Hudson County. Could your home use a compost bin and rain barrel? Read on and find out.

A compost bin provides environmental, financial benefits while also providing plants and lawns with necessary nutrients. An organic material, compost can be added to soil to support plant growth. Certain food and yard waste can be placed into the composter saving them from being sent to a landfill in a plastic bag. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that these materials make up 20 to 30% of what a typical consumer throws away. When sent to a landfill, these materials, as they decompose, release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

The soil produced in a compost bin is rich in nutrients and can be placed on lawns, gardens and flowers beds. This material is also cheaper than the bags of compost purchased at the store. It is also a natural fertilizer and can eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.

Compost enriches soil which helps it to retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests. Compost also encourages the production of good bacteria and fungi which creates humus- a rich nutrient-filled material. Now don’t go grabbing a bag of pita chips, we said humus, not hummus! Humus is like a sponge which can hold up to 90% of its weight in water which allows it to remain moist for weeks longer than soil without humus.

What can be placed in your compost bin? Organic materials such as coffee grinds; fruits and vegetables; egg shells; grass clippings; leaves; nut shells; shredded newspapers; and fireplace ashes.

What should not be put in your compost bin? Meat or fish bones; yard clippings which have been treated with chemicals; and pet waste.

Interested? Find out how easy and fun it is to compost all while reducing your carbon footprint! And when your garden is producing record tomatoes this year, you will have the HCIA Blog to thank!

A rain barrel captures and stores rainwater as it drains from a roof connecting directly from a downspout. As it rains, the barrel fills with water to be used for watering plants, gardens and lawns. The barrel includes a spigot for filling watering cans as well as a connection for a hose. Utilizing a rain barrel helps not only to save money but also helps the environment.

The USEPA estimates that 40 percent of residential water use during the summer is the result of garden and lawn irrigation. Rain barrels provide a free water source for irrigation purposes. Industry experts state that a half-inch of rain fills a typical 50-55 gallon rain barrel. In addition, considering New Jersey’s current drought conditions, a rain barrel eases the demand on the area’s water supply.

The water captured in a rain barrel is also healthier for plants and lawns, cleaning the soil of salt buildup and supporting root development. Inorganic ions and fluoride compounds typically found in tap water can accumulate in the soil which can harm plant roots over time.

The use of rain barrels reduce the flow of storm runoff which picks up materials such as soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides and other contaminants which then can flow directly into streams, lakes and other bodies of water. These contaminants can increase algae growth which can make waterways dangerous to fish and humans. In addition, soil runoff in waterways effects the habitat for fish.

Industry experts also recommend combining the use of rain barrels with appropriate plant selection and mulching (with materials from a composting bin) to promote water conservation and an environmentally friendly garden!

We look forward to seeing you soon at one of the HCIA's Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sales. Check the HCIA Calendar for the Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sale schedule and Go Green this Spring!


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