What is Sustainability / Your Ecological Footprint / Click & Act / Tips
What is Sustainability?
Below are some links to various sites that include definitions, examples, etc. of sustainability that may be helpful:

What is Global Climate Change/Warming?
Below are some links to various sites that include definitions, examples, etc. of global climate change/warming that may be helpful:

Your Ecological Footprint
Below are some sites that offer Ecological Footprint Calculators that allow you to calculate your own footprint on the earth:

Some of these files are in PDF format for Acrobat 5.0.  Click here to get a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0.

Click and Act
         Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) 
         Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) 
         Lithium Ion (Li-ion) 
         Small Sealed Lead (Pb)* 

        * weighing less than 2 lbs./1 kg.

    These batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop  computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote control toys.  The Program has various recycling plans for communities, retailers, businesses and public agencies.   For more information contact: http://www.rbrc.org/call2recycle/

  • Recycling Strange Stuff - For a guide to hard to recycle materials see:   www.obviously.com/recycle
  • Reducing Credit Card Offers - To reduce the amount of credit card offers you receive by mail, call 1-800-353-0809 or write to:
    TRW Inc.
    P O Box 919
    Allen, Texas  75002
  • Reducing Advertising Mail - To learn more about how to reduce the amount of advertising mail you receive click here.
  • Earth Saving Tips From Earth Share -See Earth Share's website to learn of many earth saving tips including how to prepare yards and gardens for Winter in environmentally friendly ways, ideas for environmental classroom activities, information on how to save money on energy bills, and more!!    http://www.earthshare.org/get_involved/earth_saving_tips.html

Natural Home magazine offers readers information on what it calls "earth-inspired living." Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the magazine's editor-in-chief, has these suggestions for homeowners: 
  • Vacuum the coils on the back of your refrigerator every six months. This will keep the compressor pump from having to work so hard. 
  • Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. They will use only three-quarters as much electricity to produce the same amount of light and last four times as long as incandescent bulbs. They will pay for themselves in two years. 
  • When boiling water for pasta, put a lid on the pot to bring it to a boil more quickly. Save the water in which you boil pasta or corn to water your plants. 
  • If your stove has burner pans, keep them clean so they will reflect more heat. 
  • For your refrigerator to be most effective, keep it three-quarters full. 
  • In the morning after you make coffee, pour it into a thermos to keep it hot and unplug the coffee maker. 
  • Buy chemical-free products. Use your grandmother's techniques, such as baking soda to clean, borax to disinfect, and vinegar to cut grease. 
  • Don't use antibacterial products to avoid building up super-strains of germs. 
Chefs Collaborative, a national network of more than 1,000 members of the food community who promote sustainable cuisine by celebrating the joys of local, seasonal, and artisanal cooking, list some of the ways they run their restaurants sustainably that could be applied in the home kitchen: 
  • Use Web sites such as Seafood Choices Alliance or Monterey Bay Aquarium to guide you to sustainable choices in fish. Use the Internet to research options for meats. Check out local butchers and ask questions: Has the animal been given antibiotics and hormones? What is it fed? Is it free-range?
  • Learn to cook with the seasons; use available local ingredients whenever possible.  You can also switch recipes to use those that are timely. Compromise a

  • little if you have to, depending on where you live. For example, don't give up if you can't find organic. Try to find pesticide-free. Sometimes farmers are in transition or don't want to pay the fees to be certified organic.
  • Composting is probably the biggest difference you can make.  It reduces your contribution to land fills and feeds your soil. Use the Internet to learn how to compost at home. Reuse plastic containers from yogurt and other purchased products.  At home we use Ziplock bags when necessary, but you can use them more than once.
No Butts!  from Planet Ark:  This article from the site offers some in depth information regarding cigarette butts and their footprint on the environment.

Earth Share's Spring 2003 Tips included the following:


Got a nasty cleaning problem this spring? Spots on carpets, couches, or clothing can require heavy-duty cleaners to remove. Some of these cleaners contain ingredients that can pollute the air and water — and endanger your and your family’s health.

Many stains can be easily and safely removed from clothing and household furnishings, increasing their quality and prolonging their useful life. Often, the only ingredients you need to remove stains are common household materials.  Below are few examples of common stains and the ingredients to remove them. When treating any stain, try testing a small portion of the stain first to be sure it works. 

  • Adhesive tape: Freeze with ice; scrape off. 
  • Candle Wax or Crayons: Cover with brown paper bag and iron at low heat.
  • Chewing Gum: Freeze with ice; scrape off.
  • Chocolate Stains: Club soda.
  • Coffee Stains: Moist salt.
  • Coffee Pot Stains: Mix ice and salt.
  • Cola Stains: White vinegar.
  • Grease: Borax on a damp cloth.
  • Ink Spots: Cold water, one tablespoon Cream of Tartar, one tablespoon lemon juice.
  • Mildew: Equal parts salt and white vinegar.
  • Oil: White chalk rubbed into stain before washing.
  • Perspiration: Vinegar or lemon juice. 
  • Pet Stains: Warm water with a drop of liquid dishwashing detergent.
  • Porcelain Stains: Baking soda.
  • Rug Stains: Club soda. (Treat immediately!)
  • Rust Spots (on clothing): Lemon juice, salt, sunlight.
  • Rusty Bolts: Carbonated beverage.
  • Scorch: Grated onion.
  • Upholstery Spots: Club soda. (Treat immediately!)
  • Water Marks: Toothpaste. Also try: rubbing toothpowder on wood; or spraying with a water mist, then putting a paper bag or towel over it and ironing at a low heat.
  • Wine Stains: Salt.
"GOING NATURALl" - from Home Composting Made Easy by C. Forrest McDowell, PhD & Tricia Clark-McDowell

It is possible that not all your yard waste can be recycled in a compost bin - you may have too much or your bin is already full and in use.  Important alternatives (if allowed in your municipality) can be characterized as "natural systems" - letting raw nature help out.  These techniques especially increase worm life in your soil - that's good, real good!

Soil Incorporation

Also called trench composting.  The basic premise is simple:  BURY YOUR WASTE!!  This can be done for kitchen waste or other yard debris.  Just dig a trench 10 - 12" deep, throw in items, chop & mix with soil, then cover with remaining soil.  In a few months the rotted materials will have been incorporated into the soil and you can plant above them.

Sheet Composting

This mulching technique is useful for copious amounts of leaves, clippings, etc.  (No food wastes)  Simply lay them down throughout the garden, or rototill them into the soil (late autumn is best or at least 2 months before planting time.)  Mulching is critical in helping to retain soil moisture, and in erosion and/or weed control.


Definitely a worthy alternative to composting grass clippings.  Grasscycling is the practice of leaving grass clipplings on the lawn or using them as mulch.  It is a simple, natural approach to lawn care.  Grass clippings are 75-85 percent water, so they decompose quickly and release nitrogen and other nutrients back into the lawn.

Covered Wind Row

This heap-like pile is generally long, narrow, and high (up to 4-ft or higher).  It is very simply layered as waste materials come available and kept covered with plastic.  Decomposition occurs within its own time and speed but eventually happens.  (If disposing food scraps in this pile, make sure they are well covered/buried within it.)

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Prepared by Kim Buchanan.
Document URL:   http://www.sc.edu/sustainableu/PersonalAction.htm

This page copyright  © 2006, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.