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Earth Day Celebrated All Over the Web

Happy Earth Day! What are you doing to make your world a greener place? Well, on the World Wide Web, sites and search engines alike are showing their colors to support the movement to an ecologically-minded global community. According to Mashable.com: “Today, April 22, is the day when we celebrate our planet and its resources that should be preserved. In case you forgot, the web will remind you it’s Earth Day. As always, many popular websites are raising awareness about this day; this year Google is celebrating with an animated, interactive Doodle on its homepage and Yahoo also sports a cute animated logo in a similar vein. Ask.com, besides being dressed in an Earthy theme, offers the answers to some important questions about the environment.” “Besides featuring a special logo, Aol’s front page story brings some of the most amazing photos of the Earth taken from space, and Microsoft Bing regularly features some beautiful photos taken from all around the globe, and today is no exception.” Read the entire article here. Take a few minutes to search these holiday-related search engines to find Local Earth Day Events to attend. What you experience or learn could help you change one aspect of your lifestyle that could benefit the planet!  

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New Mexico Café’s Go Green

Albuquerque, NM kitchens and cafeterias are going green. According to a recent article from Newswise, local eatery, The Thunderbird café, has taken to composting their food waste. “The composting program began in March 2010 as a pilot to divert food preparation waste and leftovers from the regular waste stream that is sent to Rio Rancho’s landfill to a local business that recycles food waste into usable (and sell-able) compost. Except for a few initial burps, the program has been a success. “We had problems at first with getting non-compostables separated, but it’s gotten better over time,” café supervisor Steven Lassiter said. The composting program won Sandia’s 2011 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Excellence Award for the Risk Mitigation/Environmental Protection category. “During the six-month pilot last year, the café diverted more than 15,000 pounds of wet food waste from going into the landfill,” said Sandia/New Mexico’s recycling coordinator Sam McCord. “Thanks to the cafeteria staff’s successful adoption of the composting process and the great results, the program has been fully adopted this year,” McCord said. Sandia soon will divert more than one-third of Thunderbird Café’s routine waste into the composting program, he said. Sandia uses revenue from recycling paper and other waste materials to pay for the composting project. One goal is to reduce the cost of refuse disposal at the cafeteria. McCord also expects the program to expand into other food-service facilities at the Labs, such as the Tech Area 4 cafeteria, where bins are set up for diners to sort …

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Not Just Play Time: Mattel includes Composting in its “Design It, Make It, Live It” Sustainable Strategy

Mattel, one of the largest global toy producers, has included composting in its recent sustainable company-wide goals. From a recent press release: “Mattel is a company that is focused on playing responsibly in all that we do, which includes how we impact the world around us,” said Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, vice president of corporate affairs at Mattel. “From the products we make to the people who make up our organization, the Mattel organization is always seeking ways for the company to improve and evolve, to actively make the world a better place to live and play.” “Composting:  Mattel’s manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico, opened one of the region’s largest composting facilities in May 2010. The composting facility handles more than 50 kgs of food scraps from the facility’s cafeteria, as well as materials including coffee waste, paper and hand towel waste. The composting facility diverted nearly 15.6 tons of waste from the local landfill during a 12-month period. Mattel also shares the compost by-product with the employees and the local community, for use in personal gardens.” Click to read the entire press release. Composting is not just a priority for local government, waste management companies or individuals. The responsibility falls to each of us to make composting an everyday practice. Cheers to Mattel for expanding the eco-mindedness of their staff and company to the betterment of the world.

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It’s Monday Morning, Do you know where your Red Wigglers Are?

Well, a good answer would be “in my compost bin”, but it’s important to remember that although they’re pretty self-sufficient muscle-bound worms, they do need a little attention from their landlord (meaning you) on occasion since they can’t effectively send you a note saying “too hot in here” or “we’re a little thirsty”. There are four things you need to monitor to ensure the health and wellness of your red wiggler worms: pH levels temperature moisture content fresh air The proper pH level for a worm bin is pH is around 7.0, however, red wiggler worms can handle levels from 4.2 to 8.0 or higher. Use limestone to balance your worm compost bin’s pH levels, but be sure to use limestone only, not hydrated lime because that can kill your worms. Compost bin temperature should stay between 55 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Temps above 84 degrees can be harmful to your worms and temperatures below 50 degrees can slow your worms activity to a, well, crawl. While you don’t want a puddle in your worm compost bin, red wiggler worms need their sin to remain moist for survival so keep the bedding materials moist like soil would be. Keep your worm compost bin aerated so your worms have the fresh air they need to breathe. Your worms will work their best if the above conditions are met and will live long enough to spawn several generations of new worms, to keep your worm-investment costs down. They’ll work for you if …

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Worms in the Morning, Worms in the Evening, Check your Worms at Suppertime

As anyone who tends a vegetable patch or fruit field on their property knows that they take constant maintenance, at all times of day. Cutting and watering should be done in the morning or early evening, weeding can be done anytime and pest repellents should be applied at night to ward off nocturnal critters as well as those that munch by day. That being said, your compost bin and the red wiggler worms inside your bin need your attention, although not quite as often. Red wigglers are a variety of earthworm that is used most often for composting. They need a specific pH to thrive in their worm bin home as well as the right moisture levels, the right food and the right temperature to allow them to create the nutrient-rich compost you can then use to feed your veggies, fruits, plants, shrubs and trees. Add compost materials to your compost bin in the evening so your nocturnal worms can feed at their leisure. Red wiggler worms are also sensitive to light and direct sun, so try to open your bin only on foggy or hazy days, or at dusk. The same goes for checking the moisture and pH levels of your bin – do not open your compost bin between the hours of 10AM and 2PM, to keep the hottest/ most direct sun off your worms. If you’re an early riser, you can always manage your compost bin maintenance in the wee morning hours before 9, your worms may …

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Time to plant? Don’t forget the Compost

April is often the month that all the people that have been cooped up for months indoors begin to feel that urge to get back out into the yard and get to planting new bulbs, seeds or plants. If you’re ready to get your hands (and knees) dirty in your yard, don’t forget to add a little TLC (compost) to your planting efforts. Vegetable Garden Planting After you rototill your garden to expose the softer soil, layer on about 2 inches of compost from end to end an organic feed for your plants. Shrubs, Plants and new Trees When planting plants, shrubs or trees, leave about 3 inches at the top of the hole after you place the roots in and fill with compost. Cover with topsoil. Seeds and Bulbs Before placing your seeds or bulbs into the ground, sprinkle some compost around the soil then cover with top soil. Add a thin layer of compost to the top of the ground as well. Tip: Like with any other plant food or fertilizer, water well to push the nutrients down into the earth around the plants immediately after planting.  

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Upcoming Earth Day Composting Events

Earth Day is April 22, 2011 and communities around the country are gearing up to teach local residents the benefits and how-to’s of composting.  The process of composting is much easier than many people think and offers a great solution to reducing food and yard scraps waste in our dumps and trash heaps. The following events are a small selection of those planned around the country to celebrate Earth Day with composting initiatives. Don’t see a composting workshop in your neighborhood? Call you local Parks and Recreation department and see what they have planned for your local Earth Day celebration. April 16, 2011 – Composting Workshop at the Earth Day Fair in Portola Valley, California. Learn more about this event: http://almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=8661 April 16, 2011 – Porter County Indiana Earth Day Fair Composting Workshop. Learn more about this event: http://www.itmeanstheworld.org/ April 16, 2011 – Deerfield Beach Florida Earth Day Composting Workshop. Learn more about this event: http://www.deerfield-beach.com/ April 19, 2011 – Lexington, KY – Home Composting Management. Learn more about this event: http://www.topsinlex.com/ April 23, 2011 – Columbia Springs Canada Backyard Composting Workshop

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Earth Day is April 22 – Use the Day to Begin Composting!

Earth Day 2011 is April 22, and that means that our focus needs to turn to the steps we can each take as individuals to help improve the ecology around us. Composting is an obvious answer sine it allows us to reduce our garbage production by utilizing a bulk of our yard and food scraps as a basis to create nutrient-rich compost in our compost bins that can then take the place of chemical-based grass and plant fertilizers. Reducing garbage production slows the growth of our local dumps and trash heaps as well as reduces the harmful ozone-deteriorating gases produced by rotting food scraps. Replacing chemical-based fertilizers with compost in our yards and gardens reduces the harmful chemical runoff that often ends up in our local streams, lakes and waterways. They kill local wildlife and cause extensive damage to our natural water sources. Composting is not a complicated process – it takes a lot less time and effort than many people think, and the good that it can do both for the environment and your yard and garden are incredible. Even if you live in an apartment, you can have a compost bin or even compost with worms to do some good in your neighborhood.

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Welcome Summer by Revitalizing Your Worms!

Can you feel the warm sun on your face? Are you watching the big, fluffy white clouds track lazily across a deep blue sky? Spring is here and that means the red wiggler worms living in your compost bin may need a little TLC to revitalize them. Clean Up the Mess To make your compost bin a little more livable for your wiggly pals, try to remove any stray sticks or rocks that may have ended up in the bin. These barricades make it difficult for your wigglers to effectively do their job of aerating the compost and can slow down the process. Keep it Humid, but Not Too Humid Good humidity levels in your compost are crucial to keep your worms happy and munching away. The summer can bring dry heat that can make the top layer of your pile dry out and increase the temperatures of the bin beyond the composting temperature of 120 to 150 degrees F. To battle the dry-out and prevent a possible burn-out, move the bin to a shaded area in your yard during the hotter months. If necessary, trickle the hose over the contents to add a bit more hydration. Also, turn the materials a little more frequently to maintain proper moisture levels all through the bin. Bring Friends to the Party As living organisms, there is always a certainty that one day you’ll head to you bin and find a few of your wriggly little buddies has move on to that great …

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Three Uses for Compost in your Yard

So, you have all that nutrient-rich compost that your red wiggler worms made out of your food and yard scraps. You understand that compost offers a better option to your yard than chemical-based feeds and products, but exactly how can you use that compost around your yard? Cover it Up: Have you used mulch in the past to cover your flower beds and under shrubs to protect against drought and weeds? Your dense compost can offer the same protection, at a fraction of the cost. Spread 2-3 inches of compost around your flowers, your trees, under your shrubs and your entire lawn will benefit from the nutrients that naturally break down into the soil. Rich Soil Feed: No more store-bought yard or flower. Dig down into your garden as you plant and toss some compost down into the hole. Spread a little around in the top soil and water it down. Your plants and flowers will thrive. Refreshing Cool Drink: Compost tea is the natural equivalent of that container of garden feed you attached to the end of your hose or mix up for your sprinkler, without the harmful chemicals.

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