Living Space

Living Space: Be kind to the environment

Tribune Content AgencyApril 4, 2014 


Use a composter to turn kitchen scraps into a rich soil amendment.


After what could arguably be called the winter from hell, it is wonderful to welcome the light and warmth of spring. To get into the swing of things, why not make some green swaps around your home? They don’t require drastic changes, but are good for both your home – and the world.

House and yard

Get your green thumb back in shape by planting an herb garden. Why pay $4 for a paltry few stems of dill or basil when you could have all you want all summer long with a package of seeds that costs less than a dollar?

Another great swap: Add a composter to a corner of the garden that will turn your kitchen scraps into the rich soil amendment that gardeners call “black gold.” A composter that occupies about the same space as a compact trash can can produce compost from yard clippings and vegetable scraps in short order (Earth Machine, $109,

Replace old polypropylene throw rugs with all-cotton, jute or sisal options. A new and great-looking choice in natural floor coverings is bamboo, available in everything from rugs to flooring. Bamboo is sustainable, harder than some kinds of wood flooring and comes in a range of styles and colors.

In the kitchen

Do your part to reduce waste by swapping traditional plastic bags for compostable ones. Try Glad Bags Compostable Tall Kitchen 13-gallon trash bags ($5, or EcoGuard’s 33-gallon compostable lawn and leaf bags ($12,

For the counter, use a small composter for vegetable waste rather than tossing those carrot tops and slimy brown cabbage leaves in the garbage. Pick one with odor control, such as the Oggi Stainless Steel Counter Composter with charcoal filters ($31,

Plastic containers are great for curbing waste, but your collection can easily overflow the “plastic drawer.” Ditch all those used margarine tubs and cottage cheese cups for a quality set of food storage containers for cold foods (salads, cheese, fruit). Then, for safely reheating foods in the microwave, choose a set of glass containers that won’t leak chemicals, like Rubbermaid’s eight-piece nesting glass storage set ($25,

Easter cheer

On Easter (April 20), try a few easy green swaps for a less plastic-filled holiday. One big offender is Easter grass. Those little plastic shreds are not recyclable.

Instead, switch to a completely safe, natural and compostable grass like Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass ($8,, available online or in your local Whole Foods market. Line a real willow or other natural fiber Easter basket with organic grass. Fill your basket with small paper sacks filled with treats and goodies.

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