4 Ways to Help the Environment for Earth Day in Greater Lansing

Earth Day is drawing near, and as we listen to our annual reminders to “love our mother,” some people may be looking for ways to help the environment.

Whether you’re supporting local causes or bringing things into your own garden, here are some easy ways you can “go green” on Earth Day.

Composting 101

In 2019, the MSU Food Waste Action Group found that each person wastes almost a pound of food a day. Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of food waste you landfill. Capital Area Recycling and Trash encourages residents to compost leaves, grass waste, garden waste, and other types of organic waste. At lansingmi.gov/1895/Backyard-Composting you will find instructions on how to compost in your own garden.

Do you need a compost bin? Instead of going to a chain store for supplies, consider building your own container out of old pallets. There are a number of tutorials available online, and you get the added benefit of being able to reuse an item intended for the landfill. You can purchase pallets for reuse from the MSU Surplus Store at msusurplusstore.com.

If you live on the east side of Lansing you also have access to the Eastside Compost Company. A 3.5 gallon bucket is available for a one-time fee of $ 10. Once a week or every week, the service comes and picks up your bucket and replaces it with a clean one. Their prices are $ 6 per pickup and are billed monthly.

Save the bees

Bees play an essential role in the ecosystem. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 75% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators, such as bees, to reproduce. Over 100 of these species are cultivated in the United States.

As national organizations work to save pollinators, you can help save the bees from your garden.

A bee pollinates lavender flowers at the Sixteen Sprigs lavender farm in Lansing.

Planting pollinator-friendly flowers and building houses for bees are just a few of the ways you can support pollinators in your neighborhood. Visit pollinators.msu.edu and click Plants For Pollinators for tips on planting a bee-friendly garden.

If you want to flex your DIY muscles, the website also has instructions on how to build and manage a bee hotel that provides habitat for bees that nest in the tunnel.

A native bee walks around an artificial nesting complex in the MSU Bee Research Area at the Clarksville Research Center on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.  Dozens of different plants will be planted on the property, which is surrounded on three sides by grain fields, to measure what attracts bees best.

Buy local groceries

In addition to minimizing your own environmental footprint, there are numerous local food efforts that help increase it.

According to MSU Extension, the farmers’ markets encompass the three pillars of sustainability: social, ecological and economic. By buying from local farmers, you minimize the environmental costs associated with transporting food to market.

Jane Bush, General Manager of Grazing Fields, is showing some of the cooperative's pork products at Allen Farmers Market in Lansing on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

In addition, a 2015 survey by the Farmer’s Market Coalition found that 81% of local farmers use sustainable practices to reduce pollution and water use, and promote healthy soil and diverse crops.

You can find your local market at lansing.org/things-to-do/greater-lansing-area-farmers-markets/.

Support clean energy

Lansing Board of Water and Light customers who wish to obtain their energy from renewable sources can sign up for the Greenwise Renewable Energy Purchase Program. In addition to your regular electricity bill, you can purchase 250 kWh of energy blocks for $ 3.25 each, which will be added to your normal electricity bill. Customers who subscribe to a number of blocks that are at least equal to their annual usage receive 100% of their electricity from renewable sources.

You can call 517-702-6483 to sign up for the program. Visit lbwl.com/greenwise for more information.

Contact Message Assistant Kyle Davidson at 517-377-1039 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jrndavidson.

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