June 2013 - Our Daily Green

Sunday, June 30, 2013

EquityLock Protector Giveaway

In a world of the 3Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle, there is also a 4th R to consider. Repair. But how many times do we cringe when the repair bill can exceed the price of replacement? For some folks, it's reached the point of not even attempting to fix a broken appliance, assuming it's less expensive to simply buy another and dispose of the broken one.

Most homeowner insurance policies do not cover appliance repair. With the EquityLock Protector plan, you'll safeguard up to $50,000 of the value of your property and ensure your six most essential appliances are protected, including:

  • washer
  • dryer
  • refrigerator
  • microwave
  • dishwasher
  • range/oven/cooktop
Obviously, replacement is not the most earth-friendly solution. Repair is nearly always preferable to replacement and our sponsors today at EquityLock are offering one lucky reader:  

    Giveaway
  • 6 months of EquityLock Protector (usually $79.95 a month, that’s over $470 in total value) FREE
  • $15 EquityLock Home Improvement Cash (cash card to use at all good home improvement stores) FREE
To qualify, please take the quiz below and leave a blog comment. We will choose one recipient on July 14, midnight EST to win.
Disclosure: Our Daily Green has received 6 months of EquityLock Protector as compensation for offering this giveaway. This is not a review or endorsement, but rather a blog giveaway... Good luck! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

What you should know about recycling your green waste and soil

Green waste includes any off-cuts that have come from the garden, such as tree trimmings, lawn clippings and soil. The process of recycling your green waste involves the collection and processing of these organic products into quality compost material. This process is probably more detailed than you would think. Your green waste begins it’s journey once you take it to a recycling center, such as The Green Centre, or throw it into your green bin. First, it goes through a huge, industrial grinder before being laid out into rows where it is  covered with a thermal material. Then, it is exposed to heat for at least 3 days, killing anything that may interfere with the compost quality. It is then passed through another cleaning process where a magnet pulls any remaining metals out, until finally, only the good quality, and usable compost is left.

In Australia, garden and food organics form around 30% of household’s overall waste, and it also happens to be incredibly harmful to the environment if dumped in landfill. In fact, around 90% of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills are a result of decomposing organic material, which could be avoided if it was just recycled. Using compost on in your yard reduces the need to water by an average of 30% and can reduce water run-off by more than 70%. Good quality compost actually acts as a soil conditioner, returning essential nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Every single Australian is responsible for about 400kg of household rubbish a year, and an estimated 180kg of this is comprised of potentially recyclable food and garden waste. If a simple solution to reducing your carbon emissions exist, why not take advantage of it and take the steps to recycle your green waste. The simple action of separating your waste could end up saving the world.


Today's post has been sponsored by: 








Monday, June 24, 2013

"World’s Greenest Office Building” Makes Net-Zero Look Easy (reprint from YES! Magazine)

It’s a commercial office space equipped with composting toilets, rainwater showers, and a stairway designed to be so beautiful that no one ever takes the elevator.
Document Actionposted Apr 22, 2013
Bullitt Center
The Bullitt Center in Seattle. Photo by Ben Benschneider.
Peering down Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the Bullitt Center appears to be just another high-end commercial building—until you look up and notice the roof, which is overlaid with shiny silver photovoltaic panels that extend far beyond the building’s exterior walls. Even in the cloudiest of cities, the panels generate all the electricity the six-story structure requires.
The building is a project of the Bullitt Foundation, which calls it “the greenest commercial building in the world.” The foundation, which was founded in 1952, has focused since the 1990s on helping to create cities that function more like ecosystems. Its new building provides office space for eco-conscious tenants, but also functions as a learning center that demonstrates how people and businesses can exist in harmony with nature.
The Bullitt Center was built according to a demanding green building certification program called the Living Building Challenge, which lists net zero use of energy and water among its many requirements. The standards specified by Living Buildings far surpass those of the better-known Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program, which even at its highest level still produces buildings that harm the environment.
Jason McLennan, the founder of the program, says the goal of the Living Building Challenge is to create a structure that is in harmony with nature. “Even when buildings are promoted as 10 to 30 percent greener than the traditional code, the building is still extremely harmful to the environment.”

A tour of the world’s greenest office building

It turns out that making a building beautiful can help to make it green. In an effort to encourage people to take the stairs instead of the elevator, the architects of the Bullitt Center created an “irresistible stairway” encased by floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow for an abundance of light and offer captivating views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains.
Office spaces are airy and bright, so the center requires no artificial illumination even on the dreariest Seattle days. And since most of the walls are made of glass, employees can see straight through one side of the building to the other, creating a feeling of community and openness.
What do tenants think of the space? “Everybody seems to be wildly enthusiastic,” says Bullitt Foundation president and CEO, Denis Hayes. “Psychological studies show that people perform better when they have the diorama going by outside—they are happier, healthier, take less sick leave, and are more productive.”
With no on-site parking for cars, tenants are encouraged to ride bikes to work and park them in a space the size of a three-car garage. And for those who arrive sweaty from the bike ride in, rainwater-fed showers are available on every floor.
While some developers may argue that it is too expensive to build this way, the Bullitt Center’s initial costs were only one-fifth above average for an office building of its class. And that’s not mentioning savings from energy and water bills, which will amount to zero when measured across 12 months.
The sewage bill is also zero because the building requires no hookup to the city’s sewer system. Composting toilets produce biologically pure waste, which is mixed with King County’s compost facility to produce agricultural grade compost.
The Bullitt Foundation hopes others will replicate their building. Bankers, developers, appraisers, insurance companies and government officials are invited to visit the center to learn more about building and investing in sustainable buildings.
McLennan concludes by suggesting that the Bullitt Center demonstrates the viability of taking a stronger approach to sustainability. “Washington is the least sunny state in the United States, and this building is still able to obtain 100 percent solar,” he says. He hopes that the Bullitt Center’s example will help to encourage others to build more enjoyable, sustainable, and affordable buildings around the world.

Samantha ThomasSamantha Thomas wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Samantha is Project Consultant for DreamChange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a better world for future generations, by building cultural bridges between people, societies and corporations. She is also a freelance writer, green business consultant, and eco-fashion model based in New York City.

First Energy offering Ohio residents energy conservation kits: enroll today

save electricity
(this article first appeared on my Examiner column)

First Energy is offering Ohio residential customers an array of energy conserving devices for the home, including nine compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), a smart strip/surge protector, a furnace filter whistle, and two LED night lights. The program began June 1, 2013 and will continue until 325,000 kits are mailed out. If demand exceeds the kits, First Energy will reevaluate the program to see if it needs to be continued.

There is no additional cost for these kits, although it has already been built into residential bills. These energy saving programs are already on the electric bills, at a cost of approximately 13-cents a month for 500 kilowatts of energy. Over a three year period, the additional cost is under $5.00.

These kits are part of First Energy's compliance with Ohio Senate Bill 221 which requires utility companies to reduce consumption.

The cost of these kits, as with the costs of all other mandated PUCO-approved residential energy efficiency programs, is paid for through a charge included in all residential customers' bills. Offering these kits is one part of our Ohio Energy Efficiency Program, which was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. These programs are necessary to comply with state mandated energy efficiency requirements included in Ohio Senate Bill 221.

This program is available to Ohio residential customers of the Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison, and Toledo Edison. To enroll, you will need either an invitation code (which would have been on an insert in your monthly bill) or your 12 digit account number, which can be found on the upper right hand corner of your electric bill.

To enroll: CLICK HERE

Friday, June 21, 2013

What to know when you have your air conditioner serviced

air conditioning service calgary
image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
This is the time of the year as the temperatures heat up, that the whirs of air conditioners fill the air. Air conditioning can use a lot of energy, but with proper maintenance and operation, your unit will run efficiently, saving you energy. If your air conditioner isn't working its best, knowing what to talk to about with the service technician will also save troubleshooting and maximize your service call. When the homeowner calls for service, it's important to know what will be checked and what sort of maintenance will be performed to make sure the service call is a good investment. An informed consumer won't have to pay for product and service they don't need.

Clean evaporator coils and condensation trays are not only important for the unit to run efficiently, but also to ensure good indoor air quality. Dirty coils and trays can grow fungus which would be released into the air. This sort of cleaning, as well as the air filter and blower wheel, will be part of any service call.

When your technician checks the refrigerant charge level, understand that it's just as important that it not be overfilled. Also, the technician should be able to show you exactly where the leak happened and fix the source of the leak as well. If a tech cannot show you where the refrigerant leaked out and tries to explain that "after time units just need recharging", they are not qualified as a technician and you should ask them to leave.

A well trained technician will know your unit's specifications and not simply "top off" the refrigerant, which when poorly handled, can be harmful to the environment and may worsen the unit's performance. The refrigerant should be added slowly in small amounts, with a few minutes time between adding amounts, which allows the temperature and pressure time to stabilize.

Today's post has been brought to you by calgary plumber and air conditioning service calgary, to help consumers understand what to look for in qualified service. We are happy to share this information with our readers. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Introduction to Permaculture

Intro to Permaculture (via http://www.thebestgardening.com)
The use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, etc. is at an all-time high, especially among large agriculture growers.  Why?  Modern agricultural practices involve growing single crop species in high-density plantings in hundreds of acres of fields at a time.  Now if you…

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gardening isn't all about the harvest: Regina Brett (syndicated column)

Gardening isn't all about the harvest: Regina Brett (via Cleveland.com)
View full sizeLynn Ischay, Plain Dealer file Gardening grows on you, even if nothing grows in your garden. I just finished planting a 4-by-14-foot garden in the backyard. This year it will be different. This year the tomatoes will form perfect orbs. This year the rabbits won't eat the pepper leaves…

Origami-Inspired Self-Irrigating Garden Kit (Kickstarter Campaign)

This Origami-Inspired Self-Irrigating Planter May be the Coolest Urban Garden Kit Yet (via The Cultureist)

With the sale of vegetable seeds surpassing that of flowers for the first time since the 1940’s it’s clear that more people are looking to producing their own food. The Patch Planter takes the guesswork out of the equation by providing the plant with the exact amount of water it needs, making care…

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Green cleaning goes past the home

  • Green Cleaning in the Home and Wider Organizations: Just like charity, equality and many other issues, being green begins at home. The use of environmentally friendly cleaning products is gaining popularity as we realize the potential dangers of using chemicals in our homes, not only to the environment but also to our well-being too. Many household cleaning products contain chemicals that could potentially harm our environment, including pesticides and bleach. While many have began to think about the cleaning products they use in their homes, how much have companies thought about their own cleaning?
  • Cleaning Outside of the Home: Think about the amount of cleaning that is done outside the home. Your office, for example, will get cleaned at least once a week, and the toilets more often. Hotels, hostels and hospitals clean their rooms and do tons of laundry every day. Lots of cleaning, using lots of chemicals, occurs all the time, and we don’t even think about it. It makes you feel that the world is very big, and what you do is very insignificant. However, though you might be a drop in the ocean, the ocean is made up entirely of drops. What you do in your home has an immediate effect on the environment and those around you, and has an indirect effect on the wider world.
  • Industrial Cleaning: Industrial cleaning has yet to really catch on to green cleaning products. Most industrial cleaning companies hold on to the view that ‘it doesn't work as well’, which, frankly, is simply not true. There are many great eco-friendly cleaning products that do the job to the same standard as any chemical, but it’s better for the environment and for people.
  • Cleaning Products: Green Kleen from AD Goddard, for instance, is an eco-friendly all purpose cleaner that can be used on everything from cars to floors. It is non-toxic, completely biodegradable and 100% water soluble. It has no fumes or odors and doesn't contain bleach or ammonia. Despite the fact that it doesn't contain chemicals it is effective at removing everything from oil and grease to soot. Their Eco Carpet Cleaner is made from all natural materials and will clean, remove stains and deodorizes all types of carpet in a single application. 
  • Green Cleaning Everywhere:  If you’re an industrial cleaning company, or you employ one, then make sure that you (and they) are being as green as possible. There are many ways to employ a green ethic in the industrial cleaning field, from the cleaning products and systems that you employ, to the policy on waste products. 

AD Goddard
Today's post has been brought to you by a sponsor.
Our Daily Green is proud to support any company that reduces their use of toxic ingredients. 



YoKids sMOOthies Review


Just in time for summer travel, Our Daily Green has a special review for our readers. It's hard to find healthy food on the road. When we were contacted by the folks at Stonyfield to do a review of their newest yogurt product, we were thrilled.

We have a darling niece and nephew who love to help out Aunt FreshGreenKim with reviews, especially if it's something to eat! When we received our coupons for 6-packs of YoKids sMOOthies, they went straight to our favorite little ones and we patiently awaited their input.

The kids loved them! In their own words, as told to my sister-in-law,
Layla says: Yummy! Really yummy! I love them sooo much too! Louie says: Very creamy. I really like their strawberry banana! I like yo kids better than [other brand, non organic] yogurt smoothies.
The picture below has a cute story. They loved testing the sMOOthies so much, but my sister-in-law couldn't find her camera and made them wait to finish the last two. But my little niece secretly drank one and put the empty in the recycling bin. Shen she confessed that she drank one of the last smoothies, there was only one left for my nephew.

organic yogurt drink by stonyfield
Therefore, the pictures shows my triumphant nephew enjoying the last remaining smoothie and my sad niece learning a lesson .
They said, "Thank you for the free organic goodness!"

Even more interesting, their mom had the opportunity to explain why the strawberry yogurt wasn't bright pink or red like the others they have had. Thanks to Stonyfield for leaving the dye out of YoKids sMOOthies!

If you'd like to win free Stonyfield Yogurt for a year, CLICK HERE to enter their Facebook contest.


Ingredients:
CULTURED PASTEURIZED ORGANIC LOW FAT MILK, ORGANIC SUGAR, ORGANIC CARROT PUREE, ORGANIC STRAWBERRY PUREE, ORGANIC BANANA PUREE, NATURAL FLAVOR, ORGANIC TAPIOCA STARCH, ORGANIC RADISH AND ORGANIC BLACK CURRANT JUICE CONCENTRATES (FOR COLOR), VITAMIN D3. CULTURES: S. THERMOPHILUS, L. BULGARICUS, L. ACIDOPHILUS, BIFIDUS, AND L. RHAMNOSUS

Monday, June 10, 2013

It’s a Biofuel, It’s a Rubber Glove…No, It’s Guayule!

It’s a Biofuel, It’s a Rubber Glove…No, It’s Guayule!
(via Clean Technica)
  Federal researchers have been calling Guayule the biofuel plant of the future for a while now, and it looks like they’re ready to bet the ranch on it. Well, maybe not the whole ranch, but the Department of Energy’s high-tech funding agency, ARPA-E, has just awarded $5.7 million to a new partnership…

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Natural weed control for patios

Summer time means patio time. One of the popular choices for professional patio paving,  is System Pavers interlocking paving stones. These strong stones come in a variety of different shapes, styles and colors and can be selected to match the existing architectural style of the home or building exteriors to make a completed whole.

To enjoy the outdoors and have a smooth surface that endures all types of weather, homeowners choose patios by System Pavers. Designing the patio stones are available that will look amazing with the home or commercial setting where the patio is to be installed. Mediterranean, contemporary and old European styles of paving stones are manufactured by System Pavers. One or two colors that match the home's exterior can be selected for a solid color or two-toned patterns. The stones are chosen as functional patios for outdoor entertaining, quiet gardens and active use such as basketball practice.

patio paving
photo courtesy of: wikimedia commons
Regardless of the type of patio paving a homeowner chooses, they will still want to control the weeds. One of the most effective ways to kill weeds growing between the pavers is boiling water, which will kill all vegetation, without chemicals. The pavers are heat safe and will not crack and the weeds will be gone. Another method to remove weeds is a solution of vinegar and water, with a few drops of dish soap, which serves as a bonding agent, although vinegar works best on baby seedling plants, not established ones. A last solution is rubbing alcohol, used in the same way with a few drops of dish soap. It draws the water out of the plant causing it to dry up.

The shape of the terrain and the size of the area where the patio is going are significant elements. These factors help determine the shape of the patio and the pattern in which the stones are laid. The stones can be laid in uniformly strait lines or swirls, circles and other geometric patterns. Using the Patio Space owners can begin using their patio soon after all the planning, designing and installing is completed. Claiming the space means setting up the basketball hoop or putting out the outdoor furniture. Plants can take up residence in the planters instead of between the pavers. System Pavers helps make dream outdoor living spaces a reality.
Today's post has sponsored, but we're always happy to encourage our readers different ways to enjoy the outdoors. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Simple home remedies for carpet stains

ABC Rug and Carpet Care
image courtesy of: wikimedia commons
One of the overriding concerns of homeowners with children and pets are the possible toxins used to keep their home clean. The flip side is that having children and pets in a home make it difficult to keep it clean.

Our Daily Green is always happy to share simple, non-toxic, and even theoretically edible solutions to cleaning our homes. Carpets are one of the problem areas in the home, but we have several home remedies right in your cabinet when something gets spilled on the carpet.

One of the best instant deodorizers and cleaners for a pet stain is simple white vinegar. Just douse the stain with vinegar, place a thick towel on the stain, set something heavy on it to absorb the moisture and leave it sit for about an hour. After the stain is absorbed, let the fiber dry and the odor is gone with the stain.

For greasy stains, believe it or not, cornmeal will absorb the stain and fluff the carpet so it's as good as new. Just sprinkle the cornmeal on the stain, give it an hour to absorb the grease and vacuum. Cornmeal can also be mixed with baking soda and sprinkled around the entire carpet as a deodorizer.

After a rough day of cleaning up after the pets and kids, imagine your horror when the glass of red wine you were drinking to relax spills on the carpet. Again, you've got a solution right in your pantry. Don't rub the stain, but instead cover it with salt. The salt will keep the stain from spreading. Let it dry and vacuum it up.

This will keep your carpets clean and stain free in between professional cleanings, while keeping toxic chemicals to a minimum.

Today's post was brought to you by our friends at ABC Rug and Carpet Care




Refurbished outdoor furniture

Patio Guys
image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Now that the weather is warmer around the nation, folks are looking to relax outdoors, and breathe in some fresh air. An attractive and functional outdoor living space is one of the most popular trends in magazines and television programs.

If you haven't priced patio furniture lately, you may be in for some sticker shock. Quality outdoor furniture can be as pricey, if not more so, than indoor furniture.

Outdoor furniture needs not only to be comfortable, but also durable. We'd also like to make sure it's attractive. As I've gotten older, I've found myself lamenting our disposable word of poorly made goods and echo the refrain of my grandparents,  "they don't make things like they used to." But that does not need to hinder your outdoor living. Even if you don't have older furniture, combing thrift shops, flea markets and estate sales for quality vintage patio furniture can be half the joy of spending time outdoors, which also supports the green reminder to "re-use" as often as possible.

Even if it looks a little unsightly, an affordable way to enliven it is by refinishing it. Refinishing furniture can be done by professionals who can bring your old furniture back to life. It can be painted in brilliant colors that energize your outdoor space. If you want your outdoor decor to be more modern or contemporary, you can have your furniture painted in black, white or various shades of neutral. If your old furniture needs more than paint, professionals can also repair your broken or slightly damaged furniture. You can have furniture that looks new, but has the unique quality of a vintage piece without breaking the bank.

Today's post has been brought to you by a sponsor, but our love of re-using vintage items is one of the best things about being green. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sustainable Energy Forum: what I learned

subtitle: why shale gas/hydraulic fracturing is here to stay and what can a green minded person really do?

For many years now, Our Daily Green has wanted to tackle the topic of fracking. Years ago, we saw an alarming piece on 60 Minutes news show and started to dig a little deeper. The deeper I dug the more confused I became. There is so much money and opportunity in the prospect that a lot of propaganda is out there, making it difficult to separate truth from fiction. 

FrackingI spoke with professors of geology, I spoke to farmers, I spoke to environmentalists and business folk. Then a survey conducted by Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 58% of their participants didn't even have an opinion about fracking. 

With so much misinformation out there, I signed up to attend a Sustainable Energy Forum at our local university. Experts from all around the nation came to talk to the attendees, who included local business people, professors, students, and journalists. Strangely absent were any staunch environmentalists, at least not that I spoke with. 

Then the presenters began, they included politicians, researchers, government leaders, and utility companies. I listened with rapt attention expecting to hear about developments in the area of wind, solar, and water as energy sources. Instead the bulk of the presenters talked about shale gas, a fossil fuel. 

At this point in time, only about 13% of the United States power comes from renewable resources. In other words, 87% of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels. From listening to Cynthia A. Powell, PhD., Director Office of Research & Development for the National Energy Technology Laboratory, companies are looking more at more efficient uses of fossil fuels, instead of developing renewable resources. She explained that 57% of the energy generated is rejected energy, meaning the energy released is greater than the energy used in the process. 

Speaker after speaker at the forum addressed the ways that fossil fuel, and specifically the shale natural gas reserves are the immediate answer to our energy concerns. 

57% of energy is rejected
I share this information to encourage realistic discussion. Hydraulic fracturing will not be stopped. But it's reasonable to expect safety measures and environmental concerns to be addressed. I encourage all like minded folks to adopt some realistic approaches to these concerns. This is no time to be Don Quioxte chasing windmills (which would be an excellent source of energy, incidentally). Instead, we need to look at what the industry is doing and consider the ways we to make our concerns heard in a realistic voice. I have avoided this topic on Our Daily Green for far too long. I also am concerned but want to find realistic solutions to such concerns. 

In all fairness, our region's economy stands to benefit tremendously from fracking. And yet, serious concerns linger about the safety to our water supply and the stability. Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul? Are we selling our future for our present comforts? What else can an energy-minded green-thinking consumer do? Conserve energy whenever possible. Unless we do not use transportation, do not use plastic, do not drive, or do not use electricity, we are beholden to whatever source of energy our suppliers offer. 

Protest upon protest will not stop it.  It seems that a better use of our time would be to work with legislators trying to repeal the "Halliburton loophole" from the Bush-Cheney 2005  Energy Policy Act that exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. On May 2, 2013, The H.R. 1921: Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2013 was introduced and quickly referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. It has less than a 2% chance of getting out of committee. That's not acceptable. Contact the people on the committee and voice your concerns. 

5/9/2013--Introduced.
Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2013 - Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal the exemption from restrictions on underground injection of fluids or propping agents granted to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities under such Act.
Requires:
(1) state underground injection programs to direct a person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations to disclose to the state (or the Administrator if the Administrator has primary enforcement responsibility in such state) the chemicals intended for use in underground injections prior to the commencement of such operations and the chemicals actually used after the end of such operations, and
(2) a state or the Administrator to make such disclosure available to the public.
Requires a person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations, when a medical emergency exists and the proprietary chemical formula of a chemical used in such operations is necessary for medical treatment, to disclose such formula or the specific chemical identity of a trade secret chemical to the state, the Administrator, or the treating physician or nurse upon request, regardless of whether a written statement of need or a confidentiality agreement has been provided.
Authorizes such person to require a written statement of need and a confidentiality agreement as soon thereafter as circumstances permit.

For a continual update on the news surrounding this issue, Scientific American has published The Evolving Truth about Fracking for Natural Gas

We need to be informed, insist on regulations for safety, and conserve. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The do’s and don'ts of hiding your septic tank (guest post)

A septic tank in your garden isn't something you want on show and visible to all your guests. It’s a topic that usually doesn't come up very often and is often classed as taboo. Many people have tried to disguise their septic tanks in a number of different ways, and whilst some have worked nicely, some ideas have had some severe side effects. This list of do’s and don’ts can help you have the ideal garden you always wanted, without any unsightly contraptions in sight:

a better service
image courtesy of: wikimedia commons
  • DON’T plant trees or large bushes next to the tank – Large bushes and tree roots can often grow into the septic tank, and depending on the size, can sometimes pierce it. This can cause a huge mess that can cost a lot to clean up and replace. Trees should be at least 25 feet from the drain field. 
  • DO add a large potted plant – Depending on where the septic tank is placed, a large potted plant can disguise the access hatch or cap. By keeping the plants in a pot you can avoid the roots interfering with the pipework or even the septic tank its self.
  •  DON’T cover with grass – Remember there still needs to be access to the septic tank on a regular basis, so anything that acts as a permanent cover will restrict this. Although having an even finish is aesthetically pleasing, especially if the tank is in the middle of your garden, you do need to think practically.
  • DO add a rock or feature – A nice collection of small rocks, real or fake can be creatively placed to create a stunning feature. As they can be removed and are not a permanent feature, when the time comes to empty the septic tank they can be easily moved.
  • DON’T put topsoil over the access point – In winter months this can freeze and prevent access to the septic tank when it needs emptying. 
  • DO add a statue – If you like the idea of statues or gnomes in your garden, this could be a creative way to hide your septic tank. The attention will be drawn away from the tank and up to the statue. If the statue is big enough it may cover the access point completely.
  •  DON’T install any fencing – This is not a total no-no, it just has to be done carefully. If fencing is placed around the edges of the septic tank it needs to be relatively shallow. It can’t be dug in too deep as this can affect the pipes running to and from the tank.
  • DO plant shrubbery or tall grass around the tank – Certain plants with fibrous roots are okay to plant around the tank. As they don’t have widespread roots they are not likely to have an impact on the tank or piping. The can also act as a nice barrier and disguise.
  • DON’T plant vegetables or fruit around the tank – Having edible items around your septic tank is never a good idea. They should be kept well away from the drain field area to avoid any contamination.

Now that you know how to disguise your septic tank, you can enjoy your garden without the irritation of having an eyesore in full view.

This post was written by Ekta Mair, a gardening enthusiast with a creative mind, she recommends A Better Service, an experienced and high class waste removal company.