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Environmental Advisory Council

Earth Day is on April 22.  Here are some ways to celebrate for the whole year:

5 ways to help the planet in 2021

Ditch the glitter

When tiny pieces of plastic enter the ocean, fish, seabirds and other marine life gobble them up. Sure, it’s fun, but glitter is still plastic, and “all that glitter goes down the drain into our waterways,” says Laurie David, co-author of Imagine It!:  A Handbook for a Happier Planet. Last year, scientists found the highest concentration of dangerous-to-sea-life microplastics ever measured on the ocean floor, about 1.9 million pieces in 11 square miles. Even if you’re not glittering your kids’ art projects (colored salt or rice is a good substitute), check your makeup kit. That added sparkle may come from microplastics. Instead, consider products that use synthetic mica, a sparkly but biodegradable alternative to plastic glitter. (Many examples can be found through an online search for “synthetic mica.”)

Try a new way to compost

Food scraps and yard waste make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away. Composting is “one of the biggest ways to have an impact and reduce waste,” says Kathryn Kellogg, author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste.  Food scraps don’t break down in landfills; they take up space and release methane, a big contributor to global warming. Home composting doesn’t have to stink or attract rodents. In fact, Bokashi (loosely translated from a Japanese word for fermentation) composting uses microorganisms to effectively “pickle” food waste (including meat scraps, bones and oil) into a nutrient-rich mix that can be dug into soil, where it breaks down completely within a few weeks. (More information on Bokashi composting: Bokashi composting)

Embrace Earth-friendly fashion

11.3 million tons of textiles went into landfills in 2018.  “If we can keep the stuff that’s already been made in circulation a little longer, there’s less impact on the planet from production,” says Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). That means, think before you buy. Could you patch the jeans you have, shop an online second-hand store like thredUP or buy from Patagonia’s Worn Wear line of clothing made from recycled garments? Or maybe you could trade your jeans for something else in a local BuyNothing group (members gift each other stuff they no longer need or want). If you are investing in a new pair, consider companies like Levi’s and Madewell, which have partnered with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program, which gives discounts to those who turn in a pair of jeans before buying a new one. Patagonia also gives you a store credit for returning merchandise to them when you no longer want it.

Quit the plastic habit

We eat, swallow or breathe 2,000 particles of plastic a week, about the weight of a credit card. If we don’t cut back on plastic, scientists predict that the amount dumped in our oceans (11 million metric tons each year) will triple in 20 years. It’s so pervasive, in fact, that if you take a minute to walk room by room through your home, you’ll see it everywhere, says environmental activist David. “You will be floored.” It all adds up: If you floss every day, you’re tossing 7.3 little plastic floss containers every year—not to mention shampoo bottles, kitchen sponges and plastic straws. Instead, try products that are made with non-plastic or biodegradable materials or with containers that can be refilled or reused (such as shampoo bars, reusable produce bags, zero-waste dental floss and laundry detergent sheets.   Examples of these products are increasingly available at neighborhood grocery stores, including Giant, Whole Foods, and Weaver’s Way, as well as Target and Walmart.  There are many options for online purchase, as well.).

Be food smart

We throw away 30 to 40 percent of our food supply—219 pounds per person—in the U.S. every year. The majority of food waste happens in grocery stores, restaurants and food service businesses, but it happens at home too. Every person who eliminates a little food waste “saves money and saves landfill space,” says Hoover. The longer your food stays fresh, the less likely you are to toss it. (For more information on this issue: The Impacts of Food Waste

(adapted from Parade, April 9, 2021 by Kathleen McCleary)

And here’s a sixth way:

Plant a native tree (or several!)

Planting native trees is one of the best ways we can help our planet.  Among their many benefits, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby helping to mitigate the problem of excessive CO2; they provide food and habitat for birds, insects, and other wildlife that are necessary for a healthy ecosystem; their fallen leaves enrich the soil as they decay and, when shredded, act as a wonderful mulch for cultivated gardens; their leafy branches intercept and hold rainfall, which can lessen the storm water burden in our municipalities; plus, they are beautiful to look at.  For lists of native trees and where to obtain  them, look here: PA Native Trees and Plants; Where to Buy Native Plants

For more ideas about helping the planet, check out the US EPA website: US EPA Earth Day

 

RADON IN THE HOME

 An estimated 40% of Pennsylvania homes have higher levels of radon than national safety standards, due to the state’s geology. However, residents can perform a simple test to detect this gas.  Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer with about 21,000 deaths per year. 

Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.

Winter is a good time to test for radon because doors and windows are generally closed, providing more accurate results. Simple radon test kits are inexpensive and are available at home improvement and hardware stores.  A fee is required for test results using these kits.

Use your test kit in the lowest lived-in area of your home.  Follow the directions enclosed with the test kit and expose the test for the number of days specified.  Complete the required information, seal the test kit, and mail the kit immediately to the lab. 

Contact the Radon Division if you have questions.

Radon Hotline: 800-237-2366

Phone: 717-783-3594

Slf Swatter

Spotted Lanternfly Swatters

The Lower Gwynedd Township Environmental Advisory Council has purchased Spotted Lanternfly swatters to distribute to residents. Since Pike Fest, where we were planning to distribute them, has been cancelled for 2020 we are looking for other ways to get them in the hands of our residents to help in the battle against these invasive bugs. Please fill out this form: https://bit.ly/LGTEAC-SLFswatter to request a swatter or two (limit 2 per household) and someone from the EAC will be in touch regarding getting them in your hands.

Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) Information

Below are numerous links to articles, websites, and guides pertaining to the Spotted Lanternfly, that the Lower Gwynedd Township's Environmental Advisory Council has compiled. These links are meant to provide helpful and factual information to the residents of Lower Gwynedd Township.

The EAC has taken a proactive approach to combat the SLF infestation. EAC members and volunteers have been monitoring select areas of township trails, parks, and individual trees to identify SLF emergence from egg masses (too high up in the trees to scrape) and arrival to capture early nymphs using sticky tape. In addition to sticky tape, it is imperative that protective covering (e.g., chicken wire with fine screening or window mesh on top, window screening tacked to the trees with push pins) be placed above the sticky tape in order to avoid unwanted capture of small mammals, birds, beneficial insects and pollinators.

EAC members will place laminated signage in areas being monitored. Please download the signage via the link below:

Everything You Need to Know about Spotted Lanternfly and Management

Native Pollinator Demonstration Garden

Township residents may notice a colorful new addition to the Community Center at Penllyn Woods Park.  In October 2020, the Lower Gwynedd Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) installed a new pollinator garden directly in front of the building. The garden is filled with native, pollinator-friendly plants. Stop by, check out the garden and learn how to design and install a pollinator garden at your home.

  • Choose native plants-they share a long evolutionary history with our local pollinators.
  • Select a variety of plants- different bloom times provide pollinators with food all season long.
  • Avoid modern hybrids- often pollinators can’t locate nectar or pollen through the numerous and showy petals.
  • Plant close together and in drifts- this helps pollinators locate the plants.
  • Save garden cleanup for the spring- many pollinators overwinter in hollow stems, attached to plants or in leaf litter.

Here are two websites to help you get started:

  1. https://extension.psu.edu/planting-pollinator-friendly-gardens
  2. https://www.pollinator.org/guides

 

Rain Gardens

What is a Rain Garden?

  • A rain garden is a garden of native flowers, shrubs and other plants used in a small depression designed to temporarily hold and then soak in rainwater.

What are the Benefits of Rain Gardens?

  • Stormwater runoff carries fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste, engine oil, deicing salts and other contaminants directly into local streams. Stormwater causes flash flooding which erodes stream banks destroying habitat and altering the natural flow of the streams.
  • A rain garden soaks up rainwater runoff from roofs, driveways, walkways and compacted lawn areas.
  • Rain gardens remove up to 90 percent of nutrient and chemical pollutants and soak up 30 percent more water than an equivalent patch of lawn.

Where do I put my rain garden?

  • Choose an area where you want to soak up rainwater, at least 10 feet from the house.
  • Rain gardens can catch water from downspouts as well as water that drains off roads and walkways.
  • Do not place a rain garden in areas that are consistently wet. Rain gardens should drain completely within 24 hours (Refer to Penn State Extension link listed below).
  • Before you dig, call PA One Call (800-242-1776) to locate underground utility lines.

Choosing the Right Plants

What about mosquitoes?

  • A rain garden is not a pond and should drain within 24 hours, which is not long enough to allow mosquitoes to breed.

For More Information

For a comprehensive guide to rain gardens, see the following:

Source: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-build-rain-garden-to-filter-run

Source: Haverford Township Environmental Advisory Committee

Battery Recycling!

In 2018, the Lower Gwynedd Township Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) initiated a battery recycling program through Battery Solutions. This program ensures that end-of-life management of batteries from collection to recycling is done in a compliant manner with respect to the environment. The battery collection tube is conveniently located in the vestibule of the township building for easy drop-off.

Battery Recycling Results 2020:

795 pounds of batteries were recycled in 2020 and include the following categories:

  • Lithium Primary: 2 pounds
  • NiCad Dry: 9 pounds
  • Zinc Carbon: 768 pounds
  • VRLA Small: 12 pounds
  • Alkaline Large: 4 pounds

Battery Recycling Results 2019:

643 pounds of batteries were recycled in 2019 and include the following categories:

  • Alkaline/Zinc Carbon: 605 pounds
  • Lithium: 5 pounds
  • Nickel Metal Hydride: 6 pounds
  • Lead VRLA Small- 201: 27 pounds

Battery Recycling Results 2018:

371 total pounds of batteries were recycled in 2018 and included the following categories:

  • Alkaline/Zinc Carbon-116: 309 pounds
  • Alkaline-127 (Large): 52 pounds
  • Mixed Buttons: 10 pounds         

For more information and to learn about the benefits of battery recycling and the types of batteries we accept, please visit the Battery Solutions website https://www.batterysolutions.com.

EAC News & Events

Save Your Batteries!

And bring them to the township building for recycling! The Lower Gwynedd Environmental Advisory Council installed a battery receptacle in the vestibule and invites township residents to dispose of your household batteries there rather than sending them to the landfill.

Household batteries include standard alkaline, nickel cadmium (NiCd), lithium, button batteries and more (no car batteries!). Some small electronics like cell phones are also accepted.

Please see specific instructions (you may need to tape batteries) and a list of acceptable batteries at the receptacle, which is located next to the prescription medicine receptacle in the township building.

  • Alkaline
  • Zinc-Carbon
  • Nickel Cadmium-Dry
  • Nickel Cadmium-Wet
  • Nickel Iron-Wet
  • Nickel Metal Hydride-Dry
  • Nickel Metal Hydride-Wet
  • Lithium-Ion
  • Lithium Primary
  • Mercury
  • Silver Oxide
  • Coin/Button Cells
  • Hybrid Automotive Battery Packs
  • Electric Automotive Battery Packs
  • Lead Acid of All Types

Recycling Requirements

Alkaline Batteries:

  • No Alkaline Battery is to be taped
  • Damaged Alkaline batteries can be comingled with the other Alkaline batteries

Plastic Bags:

  • Do not leave plastic bags filled with batteries in the vestibule or collection tube
  • Please empty the batteries in the collection tube and recycle the plastic bags at home or elsewhere

Lithium-Ion Batteries:

  • All Lithium-Ion batteries are to be taped with the Scotch tape provided in the vestibule or from home
  • Damaged, defective, recalled, leaking or bulging Lithium-Ion batteries are ONLY to be dropped off on WEDNESDAYS between the hours of 8AM-4PM
  • One damaged battery is to be placed in one of the plastic bags located in the special metal container (iRecycle Kit DDR 4) located in the vestibule
  • The plastic bags are to be placed inside of the special container and surrounded by the vermiculite provided
  • Instructions for packaging damaged Lithium-Ion batteries and other batteries are posted on the bulletin board

General Guidance:

  • Please keep in mind that huge volumes of batteries cannot be placed on the outside benches or on the floor of the vestibule
  • Small batches of batteries are to be dropped off and placed in the clearly marked collection tube
  • WE DO NOT ACCEPT CAR BATTERIES

Household Batteries:

These are the most common types of batteries powering devices you use every day. Some are rechargeable, you can plug them in to charge and get multiple uses before the battery needs to be replaced. Some are non-rechargeable or single-use, once they are fully discharged, they should be recycled.

Rechargeable Batteries:

Non-Spillable/Sealed Lead Acid: small to medium dry-cell batteries, sealed, rechargeable

Lithium-ion (Li-ion): small dry-cell batteries, sealed, rechargeable

Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd): small dry-cell batteries, sealed, rechargeable

Nickel Metal Hydride: small dry-cell batteries, sealed, rechargeable

LOWER GWYNEDD TOWNSHIP DOES NOT ACCEPT ANY INDUSTRIAL BATTERIES!

Refer to the following website for more information: Battery Solutions

Growing Greener Basin Naturalization Project- Phase 2

Lower Gwynedd Township began Phase 2 of the Basin Naturalization Project, which is funded through the Growing Greener Grant. The two Township-owned basins located in the open space area of the Spring House Farms Development were retrofitted as part of this project. The slideshow below was presented by the EAC to give a background and overview of the entire project.

EAC-Basin Project Slideshow

Recycling Information

Hello neighbors:

We hope you and your families are safe and remain safe throughout the COVID 19 pandemic. Thank you for continuing to abide by CDC regulations.

Lives have changed dramatically due to COVID 19 as many have lost their jobs and/or are balancing childcare, education and working from home.

As such, many may be working on checking off that never-ending "to do" list for home and yard projects in addition to what is already on their plate. More people are ordering via curbside pick-up and delivery, which results in the use of more plastic, more paper bags, more pizza boxes, etc. Some residents might be purging items located in attics, basements and clothes closets. So, what does one do with all of the excess trash and materials? Knowing how to recycle correctly and donate non-perishable items is key! To read full article and access associated links please click here!

The Impacts of Food Waste

Did you know that the United States is the global leader in food waste?  An astonishing 30-40% or 40 million tons of food end up in landfills every year!  Food is the largest component taking up space inside US landfills. But why does the US waste so much food when there are so many individuals and families living with food insecurities?  There are many factors that explain this trend.   Food in the United States is abundant and less expensive than in other countries.  These factors can contribute to the lack of appreciation of food.

More than 80 percent of Americans discard quality, consumable food because they misunderstand labels on the packaging.  Expiration labels on food state things such as “sell by,” “best before,” and “use by,” which can be confusing.  Many people simply throw away the food based on these labels. 

People may overestimate the amount of food they need which often results in food being thrown into the garbage.  Likewise, many people order take-out food but they might not consider eating leftovers. 

Wasting food has detrimental environmental consequences because an enormous amount of water and energy is used to produce food.  Food waste in landfills generates greenhouse gases, such as methane, carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons, which contribute to global warming and climate change. 

Several states are taking action to curtail food waste and increase food recovery. Legislators in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont have passed laws that restrict the amount of food waste going to landfills.    

Efforts are filtering into US school systems too, for example Maine and Rhode Island have introduced legislation to reduce the amount of food waste in schools. On a national level, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a goal in 2015 to reduce food waste by half by 2030.

Here are some simple actions individuals can take to preserve food: 

  • Freeze food that can’t be eaten immediately
  • Donate food to food pantries or give leftovers to those in need
  • Plan meals and only include needed ingredients on your shopping list
  • Fruit and vegetables with blemishes taste the same and usually cost less. Simply cut out the blemished area.

Sources:

                https://www.rts.com/resources/guides/food-waste-america/  

                https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home      

                https://www.usda.gov/foodwaste/faqs

                https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/united-states-2030-food-loss-and-waste-  reduction-goal

 Recycling of Broken Christmas Lights (full strings)  

iGreen Electronics- 250 Corporate Drive, Reading, PA 19605          http://www.ingreenrecycling.com/

Recycling of Gently-Used Items:

https://www.nike.com/help/a/recycle-shoes

http://atrscorp.com/

https://www.gogreendrop.com/

https://retrievr.com/location/montgomery-county-pa/

Foam Recycling

#6 Foam - White styrofoam, usually marked with a #6 chasing arrows recycling symbol, can be dropped
off at Northeast Foam Recycling, now located in Chalfont- 90 Hamilton Street, Chalfont. For more information check out Northeast Foam Recycling | Facebook

Other Helpful Environmental Articles and Links:

Welcome to Bird Town!
What Do Those Signs Mean?

Bird Town

By Steven Saffier, Audubon Pennsylvania

Lower Gwynedd township has become the 24th Audubon Bird Town in Pennsylvania and the fifth in Montgomery County. The Township’s Environmental Advisory Council, will work closely with Audubon Pennsylvania and community partners to provide information to residents on ways to create healthier, more sustainable and bird-friendly landscapes while addressing issues such as stormwater management and pesticide usage.

The township is in the Wissahickon watershed, an area of land that contains quality habitat and a critical part of the Atlantic Flyway, the super-highway of bird migration. Lower Gwynedd, with its open space, trail system, and wooded developments, provides rich resources to wildlife and opportunities for people experience nature in their backyard and beyond.

Homes and other properties can be an important part of healthy habitat and can be recognized through Audubon’sBird Habitat Network; residents can register their property, learn more about how to care for the nature around them, and receive incentives such as a business discount card. Homeowners can go to http://pa.audubon.org and select the “register your yard” button to start. There is useful information on the website to help you improve your ecological footprint.

Stewardship workshops, bird walks, and other presentations are being scheduled for Bird Town residents. Please check the website and be sure to like us on Facebook (birdtownpa) where updates are posted.

Township Newsletters

Eac Logo

Mission Statement

To educate, facilitate and promote sustainable practices within Lower Gwynedd Township and the greater community through educational workshops and programs, articles and community events.

Who We Are

Lower Gwynedd Township residents dedicated to ensuring a greater quality of life for our community through educational outreach, involvement and best practices.

Contact us at EAC@lowergwynedd.org.
Like us on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/LowerGwyneddEAC/

Current Program Development

  • Organize and offer stormwater management events:
    • Rain barrel workshops and giveaways
    • Native plant giveaways and corresponding outreach
    • Develop articles regarding sustainable practices for inclusion in the spring and fall township newsletters
    • Provide “how to” steps and information regarding stormwater management practices on township website
  • Promote the Four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover
  • Educational outreach to encourage residents, schools and businesses to promote sustainable practices
  • Support Lower Gwynedd Township's annual e-waste collection events
  • Promote the use of reusable water bottles and cloth shopping bags
  • Encourage active participation in wildlife habitat creation and preservation
  • Provide stormwater management awareness and education
  • Support the recycling efforts of businesses in Lower Gwynedd Township:
    • "I Like the Pike"
    • Revitalization in accordance with sustainable / green infrastructure practices
  • Partner with Wissahickon School District on sustainable projects with the goal of student body involvement
  • Battery recycling program

Initiatives & Accomplishments

Growing Greener Watershed Protection Grant:

  • Facilitated application for 2016 Growing Greener grant
  • Educational outreach pertaining to Basin Naturalization Projects / Rain Garden

Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) Management Options:

  • Management options for homeowners/businesses
  • Walks and talks regarding the SLF

Naturalized Landscapes and Education Outreach:

  • Low maintenance homeowner lawn care practices
  • Promote benefits of native plants and removal of invasive plant species
  • Encourage active wildlife habitat creation and preservation
  • Benefits of pollinators/ensuring their survival
  • Native plant plug and tree giveaways
  • Mike McGrath (You Bet Your Garden) presentation/ community event on organic and sustainable lawn care practices
  • Planted native tree species on Ingersoll / Clayton House
  • Provided instruction on proper composting techniques, tree planting and care

Sustainable Practices:

  • Outreach to residents, schools and businesses to promote sustainable practices
  • Promote use of reusable water bottles and cloth shopping bags
  • Support township’s annual e-waste collection events
  • Partner with Wissahickon School District and student body on sustainable projects
  • Establish outreach through Facebook page

Birds and Bird Town:

  • Conduct bird walks at Penllyn Woods and Christmas bird counts at Treweryn Farm Trail
  • Established township as an Audubon Society-designated Bird Town in 2015

Like us on Facebook

EAC Year End Report-2020

Lower Gwynedd Township

Administration Building
1130 North Bethlehem Pike
Spring House, PA 19477

COVID-19 Restrictions: Access to the Township Building is by appointment only.

Phone: (215) 646-5302 Fax: (215) 646-3357 contactus@lowergwynedd.org

Hours
Mon-Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm