Posts tagged ‘sustainability’
Recently we have addressed things going down our storm drains and their connection to our lakes along with the link between energy and water conservation. Today we are adding one more topic relating to healthy water. A lot of people do not realize that putting hazardous materials down the drain or toilet can have harmful effects on the environment, our health and can cause costly repairs to home sewer systems, as well as city systems.
Even though an item says “flushable” Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District recommends throwing these items away instead. Another option, when possible would be to use reusable items that can be washed instead of thrown away or flushed. Examples: cloth cleaning rags, cloth napkins, reusable shopping bags. If you have items you are not sure how to dispose of or which things should not be flushed this helpful flyer will be able to answer questions as well as provide locations to take special items for proper disposal. You can also visit http://www.madswer.org or call 608-222-1201.
Did you know that when you use water, you’re using electricity as well? In this area, most of the water that flows from your faucet and fills your toilet is supplied by city wells. These wells are maintained and operated by local Utility companies that pump and transport water to your home. Powering the wells has a cost which is paid by the Utility companies and then passed on to customers through utility bills.
By conserving water we are not only helping ensure a healthy water supply but we are also contributing to energy conservation. Here are a couple indoor efforts you can take to save water, energy and money.
A first step is to make sure that none of your indoor fixtures are leaking water. “For example, a leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water everyday. As little as one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year,” says Kristofer Canto, City of Fitchburg Sustainability Intern. Not only does this add unnecessary costs to your utility bill it is also using energy. A few places to check for leaks around your home include faucets, shower heads, washers, toilets and irrigation connections. One way to see if you need to check more thoroughly for leaks is (if possible) look at your water meter when you know none of your water using items are on. If the dial is turning, water is still being used.
Another step to take is to purchase WaterSense labeled products. This will help increase the efficiency of your household fixtures. “Installing a WaterSense labeled aerator for your kitchen or bathroom faucet is one of the most cost effective ways to save water and will increase the faucet’s efficiency by 30 percent,” states Kristofer Canto, City of Fitchburg Sustainability Intern. (Generally, aerators can be found for under $10.00 at your local hardware store.)
Installing an efficient toilet can provide equal performance while saving around 20 percent more water. Look for a WaterSense labeled toilet and it could save another $90 annually on a water utility bill and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet (based on a family of four). And if saving money on your utility bill isn’t enough of an incentive, the City of Fitchburg and the Madison Water Utility are offering Toilet Replacement Rebates! People can get up to $100 towards their new toilet if they replace older, less efficient toilets with a High Efficiency Toilet (HET) model. The HET toilets use on average 1.28 gallons of water per flush compared to some of the older models that use around 6 gallons per flush. That’s a big difference!
For additional details about the City of Fitchburg rebate visit: http://www.fitchburgwi.gov/departments/cityHall/publicWorks/PermitsApplications.php
For more details on the Madison Water Utility Program rebate visit: https://www.cityofmadison.com/water/inTheHome/toiletRebate.cfm
Don’t live in Madison or Fitchburg? Try contacting your local Utility company to see what types of rebates they may offer. You never know!
image source: thedailygreen.com
The Madison-based headquarters for American Family Insurance is set to become the first major private employer in Dane County to routinely divert food-related waste from the landfill. Very soon their food-prep scraps and used paper towels will be composted offsite.
Maggie Layden was an intern with the company last year when she came up with the idea. She was hired permanently in January and now leads the composting program. This change is part of the company’s “zero-waste initiative” which features other sustainability goals established earlier this year.
For now, American Family Insurance’s housekeeping vendor will be responsible for moving the organic waste from the kitchen to the compactor. Eventually employees will be asked to participate in a more hands-on way by adding their food scraps to separate collection containers within the café area as well.
American Family estimates they will generate around 40 to 50 pounds of food waste, along with 80 to 100 pounds in paper towels each week. This is on the low end compared to some other local businesses also participating in the pilot program.
While establishing programs for businesses, the City of Madison has also been working on a pilot program for curbside collection of organic waste for residential areas. These projects are being led by George Dreckmann, the city’s recycling coordinator. His goal is to take the organics recycling pilot program citywide to all businesses and residents by 2016.