Posts Tagged With: green team

Green Tip #6: Rainwater Collection

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Five barrels across the Zoo collect rainfall – up to 9,256 gallons of harvested rainwater.

The Dallas Zoo Green Team is back just in time to help you go green for spring! This month, we are taking you on a learning adventure about rainwater collection. Here are some questions and answers to help you get started with your own rain barrel at home:

  1. What is rainwater collection?

Rainwater collection is simple. It’s the practice of harvesting and storing rainwater for later use. The practice dates back thousands of years in Thailand, China, Israel, and many other parts of the world.Garden Photo2 AA

  1. What can rainwater be used for?

Rainwater that you collect can be used for a wide variety of things including: landscape watering, gardening, in-home use, and wildlife and livestock watering just to name a few.

  1. What makes this a “green” practice?

Using rainwater can reduce the use and demand of municipal water, alleviating cities’ aquifers. It can also reduce the flow to storm drains, lessening their impact on erosion and keeping pollutants out of natural bodies of water.

  1. How much rainwater will I actually collect?

It varies by roof size and shape, but for every inch of rain falling on a 2000 sq. ft. roof, about 1000 gallons of rainwater can be collected. In Dallas, we have about 37 inches of rain a year, which could yield 37,000 gallons of water!

  1. Why should I collect rainwater?_MG_1202-flower and bee

If we haven’t convinced you yet, here are some awesome reasons to start your own rainwater collection:

  • Save money – using less municipal water will lower your monthly water bill, and in Texas, rainwater harvesting equipment is exempt from sales tax (Texas Tax Code §151.355). For more info, visit the Texas Water Development Board.
  • Grow healthy plants – rainwater is free of chlorine or other chemicals, meaning your plants and lawns will love it.
  • Help relieve drought – if you start collecting this spring, you’ll have water to use during summer droughts when there are restrictions on municipal water usage.

Spring showers are on their way, and we hope we’ve sparked your interest in rainwater collection just in time! Need a little help getting started? The City of Plano is currently selling a particular model of rain barrel and compost bin at a discount. For more information about composting, take a look at our previous blog. Before you start, check with your city office and take advantage of any discounts or incentives offered for rainwater collection.

Interested in assisting in a Zoo conservation project? Learn more about how you can be a part of Dallas Zoo’s Green Team.

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Green tip #4: Pack a trash-free lunch

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This month’s green tip is another double whammy: helping the earth and your pocketbook! Did you know that the average U.S. child produces 67 pounds of lunch trash per school year? That’s about a billion pounds a year going straight to our landfills. Fear not, you can help reduce that by following these lunch-packing tips.

1. Pack everything in a reusable lunch pail, instead of paper bags. Paper bags often end up in the trash, rather than the recycling bin. A reusable bag can be used year after year! They also come in all different sizes, shapes, colors, patterns, and materials.

2. Ditch the plastic sandwich and snack baggies! Swap them out for reusable containers and snack bags. Do you like having your foods separated, but don’t want too many bulky containers in your lunch bag? Try bento-style boxes! These containers have sections, so you can keep everything separated until you’re ready to eat. It’s a great all-in-one option.

3. Pack a reusable water bottle. These bottles can be filled with water, juice, or anything else and significantly reduce the amount of plastic entering our landfills. This one is a big money-saver, too, because 24-packs of water can cost about $10. For that amount or less, you can have unlimited refills on water!

4. Ditch the disposable plastic utensils. Pack lunches with reusable utensils made from bamboo, metal, or BPA-free plastic. Reusable utensils are more durable in the long run.

5. Try using cloth napkins. They are small enough to fit in with any load of laundry when they need cleaning, and save a lot of paper! You can find different designs and smaller sizes to fit your lunchbox.

These aren’t the only ways to have a trash-free lunch, but it’s a great start! Do more research and find ways for you and your family to reduce your waste. Are you already doing these things? Do you have any other tricks of the trade? Comment below and let us know!

Learn more about how you can be a part of Dallas Zoo’s Green Team.

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Green tip #3: Upcycling makes old products new again

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Our keepers are always looking for ways to repurpose things. When it comes to old Christmas trees, our tigers go nuts for this easy enrichment item.

You’ve all heard the phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but did you know there’s a fourth way to help the environment and it’s the newest trend in town? Repurposing or “upcycling” old items into new ones is a great way to save money, showcase your creativity and an even better way to be environmentally sustainable!

As you come up with new ways to save your pocket and the environment, look no further than the unused items in your home:

Old jeans are easily one of the most upcycled materials because of their durability and distinctive look. Try making blankets, pillows, backpacks, purses, wall storage and coasters with this great textile.

Rain boots or cowboy boots will look festive even after the insides have been worn down and damaged. You can use these as doorstops, planters, and even birdhouses.

Glass Jars and bottles are made to serve as a container when you buy them, so why not upcycle them to contain something else? Use beverage and jam jars as fun decorations, flower vases, toothbrush holders, jewelry holders, kitchen organizers and just about anything else you can think of!

If you run out of ideas on what to upcycle, recycling is the next best thing!

Learn more about how you can be a part of Dallas Zoo’s Green Team.

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