Highland Heights Green Task Force

Highland Heights, Ohio

Tips on how to be "Green"

It's not just big business and agriculture that are polluting our earth, our household habits are too.  The following are tips that will "green" your daily life.  To see if your where your go-to cleaning products rank check out the information provided by the Environmental Working group at: http://www.ewg.org.
If you have any of your own that you wish to add, please email Judy Dearden at

  Make your own cleaning and laundry products. View  http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm 
  - Use 1/2 cup of vinegar in your rinse cycle instead of fabric softener
  - Use more eco-friendly detergents.  Look for labels that indicate a product is readily biodegradable and 
  phosphate-free, and made from plant- and vegetable-based ingredients
  - Do not use mothballs, use lavender in your closets instead.
  - Go to a dry cleaner with a green cleaning process.  D.O. Summers, for example, avoids the chemicals that 
  numerous other dry cleaners use. 

Use hydrogen peroxide with approximately 15 drops of lavender essential oil to get rid of mold in the shower
- Use toothpaste (not gel) to clean marks off of tennis shoes
- Vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda or BonAmi and hot water, wait 1/2 hour
- dip in hydrogen peroxide
- Use club soda with sodium


- Find a friend or co-worker to carpool with.
- Ride your bike or walk.
- Use public transportation.  Consider using RTA's Park and 
  Ride Program.  
- Purchase items in bulk, or plan out your meals ahead of time and go grocery shopping only once per
- Park under a tree or garage so that your car doesn't heat up too much, reducing the need for
  excess air conditioning. 
- Do not store too many items in your trunk, the excess weight may require more gas. 
- Keep tires properly inflated. 
- Take advantage of a 4-day workweek if your employer offers the flexibility. 

What is the differnce between natural and organic?  To find out the difference between these and other labeling terms go to http://www.gcbl.org/forum/what-do-food-labels-really-mean.
Other Ways to Eat "Green"
Eat at restaurants that feature locally grown foods.  Some of the Cleveland area restaurants that offer this
    Bar Cento
    Baricelli Inn
    Carrie Cerino's Ristorante
    Fire Food & Drink
    Flying Fig
    Great Lakes Brewing Company
    The Greenhouse Tavern
    Light Bistro
    Lucky's Cafe
    Mustard Seed Market & Cafe

 - Eat less meat.
  - Eat meat and dairy products that have been raised chemical, anibiotic, and hormone-free.
  - Grow your own organic garden, or support a community garden to give yourself the peace of mind that you will not 
    be consuming chemicals or fertilizers.
  - Participate in a food co-op program.
  - Compost your food scraps.
  - Purchase organic products.
  - Purchase items that are in season.
  - Avoid purchasing items from a box.  Frozen foods require lots of energy to keep frozen in transport, at the store,
    and at your home.  In addition, they typically use more packaging materials than fresh foods.

Home Renovation:
Do not paint a baby’s room right before the due-date.  Renovate the room early so that it has enough time
  to off gas before the space is occupied.  Use low or no-VOC paint.
- Install appliances that have the Energy Star Label. 
- Install plumbing fixtures that have the WaterSense Label. 
- Use wood products that are Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) Certified. 
- Purchase local materials
- Purchase materials that contain post or pre-consumer recycled materials. 
- Purchase quality materials that are expected to last longer.  Example:  Class 4 shingles will last long, and 
  your insurance company may offer a discount if these are used. 
- Use compact fluorescent bulbs in locations that are at a low risk of having the bulb break.  Remember to
   recycle these at Home Depot.  Do not throw them in the trash since they contain mercury. 
- Install dimmer switches for your incandescent light fixtures. 
- Install permeable pavement. 

Indoor Air Quality:
- Do not use chemical air fresheners.  Most are made from a number of toxic chemicals.  Instead, make your
  own.  One way to do it is to soak fresh lavender in vodka.  Strain out the lavender and put the liquid in a
  spray bottle.  You can also use spices, fruits, etc.  

If you are painting/staining in your home, use a no or low-VOC product.  Most manufactures offer these types of 
  products, so make sure to look at the label before you purchase. 
- Open windows when weather permits to "air out" your home.
- Be careful with candles.  Paraffin wax candles, gel candles, and most scented candles are made from a number of
  toxic chemicals and burning them introduces these chemicals into your home.  If you love candles, be sure to get
  soy candles or candles with essential oils.  Read the labels carefully.
- Do not use chemical cleaning products.  Instead, it is easy to make your own from common kitchen items including
  vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. 
- Change your furnace/AC filters often. 
- Make your home a smoke-free area.
- Introduce plants into your home.  A study done by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America
  (ALCA) recommends using at least fifteen house plants in an average home under 2,000 square feet to improve air
  quality.  There should be a variety in the types of plants in your home since different plants help eliminate different
  toxins.  A few toxin-eliminating superstars include: spider plants, gerbera daisies, peace lilies, chrysanthemums, and
- Do not wear shoes inside of your home.  Remove them at the door.

Reducing Trash:
- Purchase products that are made of pre or post consumer recycled materials
Purchase products that have the least amount of packaging.
- Purchase durable items that are expected last a long time. 
- Attempt to fix broken items before disposing them.
- Purchase used items. 
Compost food scraps and yard waste
Donate gently used items (view the Local Resource Page of this website for local organizations accepting 
Be creative and think of ways to reuse old items (example, an old door can be used as a desk or
  work surface)
Go online; most companies offer “stop paper billing” so that everything is done online
Use reusable containers for your snacks/sandwiches instead of plastic baggies. 
Take a thermos with you to work  instead of purchasing coffee/tea in a disposable cup
- If you have a child in diapers, use compostable or cloth diapers and compostable wipes
- Do not buy bottled water.  Instead, fill up a re-usable bottle.
- Do not accept plastic bags from any retail store.  Instead, use re-usable bags. 

Rain Barrel:
It is estimated that lawn/garden watering makes up nearly 40% of the total water used by houshold in the summer months.  A great way to reduce your water bill and run-off is by catching rainwater and storing it for later use in a rain barrel.  The water from a rain barrel is ideal for watering plants or washing your car, but it is not recommended for drinking.  The city of Highland Heights requires that rain barrels are placed in the rear yard of a property, where they are not visible from the street.  Claire Posius offers Rain Barrel Workshops around the Cleveland area.   For information, contact Claire at 216.524.6580 x 16 or email her at cposius@cuyahogaswcd.org 
Rain Garden:
A rain garden is an landscaped area planted with perennial native plants that do well in wet conditions.  They are built in depressions which are designed to capture and filter stom water runoff from impervious surfaces.  Benefits of rain gardens include: they recharge groundwater supply, prevent water quality problems, provide habitat for birds and butterflies, and are a great looking landscape feature.  Fore further infomation, view the following manual. 

- Install a water garden.  For further information , see "Water" section on this page.
- Install a rain barrel to collect water runoff.  For further information , see "Water" section on this page.
- Plant native plants in your landscaping.  Native plants are adapted to living in our local weather and soil conditions and they do not need fertilizers or pesticides to survive. 
- Avoid invasive plants. 
- Avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  Use organic alternatives (such as chicken droppings).    
- Use a non-gas powered lawn mower. 
- Incorporate permeable pavers in your landscaping instead of traditional impervious pavement.

Personal Enrichment: 
The following links are good sources if you are interested expanding your personal knowledge about various environmental issues:

Environmental Website Links: 


Video Links: 
Video about the "life" of a plastic bag:

Video by Annie Leonard:












































































































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