Lifestyle Bits

Compliled by Mary Romano

April Showers, May Pesticides?

As spring approaches, so do the plans for using pesticides in places unimaginable. Your neighbors may be planning to spray their trees, and your weed supervisor may plan to apply chemicals to the roadside right-of-way.

If you are in an urban area, you can be forewarned about pesticide use by being placed on the pesticide-sensitive registry (everyone is sensitive to chemicals in some form or dose). Call the Colorado Department of Agriculture at 303/239-4140, and have them send out a registry form to be signed by your doctor. Then, urban ornamental applicators must pre-notify you so that you can shut windows and otherwise protect yourselves from the spray.

Local weed-control programs are mandated by the state noxious weed law. Too often, herbicides are selected for weed control based on chemical company research. Many times suitable alternatives are available, which local homeowners and or volunteers can effectively help to research and implement. If you would like more information on weed controls, ask your weed supervisor or call Angela at 303-433-2608.


Learn More About Shattuck Superfund Site

Shattuck Chemical Superfund site is located in a residential area of central Denver. The radioactive waste has been mixed in a crumbly concrete and left in the neighborhood. After complaints from Mayor Webb of Denver, Rep. DeGette’s office, other elected officials as well as neighbors at the site, the EPA is forming a blue ribbon panel to look at alternative disposal technologies. If you are interested in learning more about this or other Colorado Superfund sites, please call Joan Seeman at 303-738-8407.


Master the Science of Composting

Denver Recycles, the Denver Public Works recycling program, is offering a 10-week "Master Composter Training and Outreach Program." Composter trainees receive 40 hours of instruction in composting, bin construction, environmentally responsible waste management and community outreach. The course costs $25, and participants must return 40 hours of community service—teaching composting to Denver residents—within one year of the course.

Only 30 trainees are selected annually for the program. If you are interested, call Denver Recycles at 303-640-1678.


WoodWise Tips

• Reduce—Reduce junk mail. Send all variations of your name and address to the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service at P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, New York, 11735-9008, to get your name off mailing lists. Share a newspaper or magazine subscription or replace it with online news services or radio shows. Use your local library instead of buying books.

• Reuse—Avoid paper cups by investing in a reusable travel mug. Use ceramic or recycled plastic, instead of paper cups and plates, and washable fabric instead of paper tissues, towels or napkins. Reuse one-sided paper for child’s play or grocery lists. Set up a special box or clipboard for scrap paper. Bring reusable containers to restaurants, for take-out meals or leftovers and to the supermarket for bulk foods. Buy from used bookstores.

• Recycle—Recycle all your waste paper. If your curbside program doesn’t take junk mail, try taking it to work or a drop-off center. Donate your old clothes to the needy or resell them.

• Buy Recycled—When you need a product, buy one that is a forest-friendly alternative. The days when recycled paper products didn’t perform well are long gone. Now competition and consumer demand have generated many top quality choices for environmentally conscious consumers. Post-consumer waste papers are less expensive than they used to be. In some product categories, recycled papers are actually less expensive than their virgin counterparts. Buy stationery made from tree-free paper or recycled paper with at least 50% post-consumer waste. Recycled paper alternatives are available in many greeting cards, toilet paper, notebooks, computer paper and more.

• Consumer Choice—Look for organic cotton, linen or hemp instead of rayon. Silk and wool are also good choices. While regular cotton fabric is more forest-friendly then rayon, it causes other environmental problems due to the pesticides used. Buy used clothes, especially children’s items and casual wear. Share or swap clothes with friends and co-workers. Buy the grade of lumber that matches your job needs. Only some projects require large, flawless pieces of lumber that come from big trees in ancient heirloom forests.

• Consumer Voice—Ask Home Depot to stock environmentally preferable lumber, independently certified according to Forest Stewardship Council standards. Ask your local copy shop to stock tree-free or recycled paper with at least 50% post-consumer waste. If they don’t know where to buy this kind of paper, they can get assistance from ReThink Paper, 415-398-2433. Industrial hemp can be used to make high-quality fabric. It uses less water and pesticides than cotton. However, industrial hemp can’t be grown legally in America. Write the Department of Agriculture and tell them you support a responsible permitting system for growing industrial hemp. Mail to: Mr. Don Glickman, Secretary, USDA, 14th & Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250. Write your favorite book, newspaper or magazine publishers and ask for guilt-free reading material, printed on recycled paper with high post-consumer waste content or on tree-free paper.


For more WoodWise ideas, including:

• WoodWise Office Tips
• Tips for Building or Renovating Your Home
• More Addresses of Junk Mailers
• Ready to mail postcards & sample letters
•Resource Directory, with products and services and where to go for more information on becoming WoodWise

Please request the WoodWise Consumer Guide from Co-op America, 1612 K Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006 phone 800-58 GREEN or 202-872-5307; fax 202-331-8166, or check out the online version at www.woodwise.org.



For more ideas on how to STOP JUNK MAIL:!