Reserve your seat at www.bit.ly/FishFeastFrenzy!
I finally made it out to the Conservation Garden Park (CGP) in West Jordan. I briefly wrote about the CGP in a previous blog and I promised at the time that more information would soon follow. Here are some highlights from my trip.
The first thing I noticed once I arrived at CGP was the variety of plants. The whole idea behind CGP is to help educate people how to landscape a yard or garden that is water-wise. A lot of people assume because we live in a desert, that xeriscaping is going to be dry and ugly; however, this simply isn’t the case. The CGP provides example after example of plants that thrive in our dry climate, yet also provide beauty to our yards. The nice thing about CGP is they have labeled their flowers, shrubs, and trees similar to the way a museum would. This is super helpful because you can get names of plants that you might want to grow in your yard. If you’re planning to visit CGP to get ideas, be sure to take a camera to take pictures of the plants and their labels. Continue Reading »
Now that it is summer and we’re all outside having fun, working in the garden, and having barbeques, it’s a good time to think about getting rid of the pests. Nothing is worse than having to contend with the mosquitoes while you enjoy your dinner.
Many of the bug and weed killers on the market are bad for the environment and our health. The elderly and the very young are especially affected by chemicals being sprayed in the air. To avoid any problems and to minimize or even prevent environmental damage, try to find alternative solutions to your pest control.
To help, here are a few ideas:
Mosquitoes - Get an empty, clean two liter bottle. Cut the top of the bottle off where the bottle begins to curve. Recycle the plastic lid, but keep the bottle top to the side. In the bottle, mix 1/8 cup water and 1/8 cup sugar until dissolved. Add 1/8 cup yeast and mix it into the sugar water. Place the bottle’s top back onto the bottle upside down, tape it in place. Wrap black construction paper around the bottle. Place the bottle in a shady area of your yard where the mosquitoes are. Replace the sugar water and yeast mixture as necessary. If you have a big problem with mosquitoes, it may take a few weeks to notice a difference. Continue Reading »
With the last freeze behind us—or at least hopefully behind us—it’s time to get back to the garden. Growing your own fruits and vegetables can be a rewarding and fun way feed your family. I remember when my sisters and I were young we each had a small garden. Our parents allowed each of us to grow whatever we wanted. All I remember growing for sure is peas, but I know there was a lot more too. Getting outside and being responsible for my own plot of land was a good way to learn about how plants grow and where our food comes from. I also had to be responsible for weeding and watering the plants so they wouldn’t die in the hot Utah sun.
I have had a garden for most of my life and now that I’m an adult that hasn’t changed. I have three raised beds in my backyard and have just planted several kids of tomatoes, peppers, kale, zucchini, an English cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, and romaine lettuce. All of the lessons from when I was a kid still apply: I have to make sure to water the beds, go out periodically to pull weeds, fertilize, and maintain the plants.
Fertilizer can be a huge help to create healthy and high-producing plants. Your fruits and vegetables and grow faster and larger because of the added nutrients. Think of fertilizer as a vitamin. Although we might try to eat healthy, there are vitamins and minerals that we may still be lacking, so we take a vitamin supplement every morning. The same is true of our gardens. The plants may be in good soil and receive enough sun, but fertilizer can help to ensure the plants are getting the energy they need. Continue Reading »
It seems that no matter how hard we try to keep things clean, there’s always some dust or a smudge to take care of. When you go shopping at Harmons there’s over an aisle of cleaning supplies to choose from to help clean your house, workplace, car, clothes, and everywhere and everything else.
Not all cleaning products are equal when it comes to being green. To help you decide which cleaning supplies are the most earth-friendly, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, created a labeling program called Designed for the Environment. There are thousands of items on the market that have been tested by chemists at the EPA. Those chemicals that meet the EPA’s standards for being earth-friendly, receive the label to help consumers easily know which chemicals they can purchase if they’re trying to reduce harm to the environment.
There are all sorts of Green Labels out there; the EPA’s Designed for the Environment is only one example. However, there is a term called greenwashing that can be applied to products that claim to be better for the environment, but in fact do less good than they say and in some cases do even more harm. Hopefully, the chemists with the EPA and other researchers awarding products with earth-friendly labels are taking all of the issues into account before awarding a product. The old adage “consumers beware” comes to mind. If you’re trying to reduce harm to the environment by purchasing earth-friendly products, it’s important to be aware of misleading or false advertising. Continue Reading »
Here at Harmons we do a lot of composting. Most of the compost from the stores comes from the produce department when we need to dispose of fruits and vegetables that no longer meet out quality standards as well as the trimmings from cut fruits and vegetables. Other departments also contribute to composting including the delicatessen, meat, and floral departments.
Composting is a key ingredient for Harmons to reach its diversion rate goals. (In case you need a refresher, a diversion rate is what we are able to divert from a landfill to a recycling facility.) Before Harmons began composting, our total store diversion rate was around 25-35 percent. As soon as we started composting our diversion rate went up to 50-70 percent. The Harmons Floral Design Center composts all of the floral clippings and consistently runs at a diversion rate above 85 percent.
Our compost is picked up and taken to a facility where it can be combined with other composting programs. Often these other programs come from the county and cities that have curbside composting and therefore includes a lot of yard waste. Because Harmons store locations composts mostly fruits and vegetables, our compost is the darling of the recycling facilities. Composting is a complex mix of different ingredients; fruits and vegetables will help the yard waste break down better and provide essential nutrients to the finished compost product. Continue Reading »
Did you know that Harmons has dietitians in some of our stores? Our Bangerter Crossing, City Creek, and Station Park Stores employ dietitians who provide many amazing services to our customers. The dietitian team also provides a lot of great services to Harmons Associates. For a little over a year they have been writing “Harmons Great Health Tips of the Day.” Recently, they took the opportunity to remind Harmons Associates about Red Air Quality and I wanted to share some of the information with you.
As most of you are aware, every winter the Wasatch Front experiences long periods of smog. The smog is caused by particulate matter in the air. These small particles are too small to be seen, but they can have a huge effect on our health and quality of living. Those with respiratory illnesses like asthma are often advised to stay indoors during yellow and red air quality days. The very young and the elderly are also advised to stay indoors for their health.
In addition to the negative health effects, no one, healthy or not, wants to breath in dirty air. Our temperatures in the valley become colder than they would be without the smog because the warmth from the sun cannot get through the air to warm the ground. Our beautiful views of the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains are ruined. People who are active outdoors are advised to stay inside and they find it difficult to maintain their active lifestyle they, and so many in our state, love.
The bad air in the valley affects all of us and it will take all of us to solve this problem. If you have a wood burning stove, avoid using it on bad air quality days. If it’s a red air quality day, it’s actually prohibited to burn wood unless it is your only way to heat your home.
Carpooling and taking public transportation is highly encouraged all year long, but especially on bad air quality days. Make sure when you do go out to run errands, you do it in a smart and effective way. Try to avoid doubling back and driving all over the valley, try to use your car as little as possible. Also, don’t idle your car. If you have to wait in a drive-through at a bank or restaurant, turn your car off for the few moments that you are waiting.
It’s a good idea to be aware of the quality of air. You can watch or listen to the news or you can visit http://www.airquality.utah.gov/aqp/slc.html. This way you will know exactly what you can and cannot do. But remember, even on green air quality days, it’s still a good idea to take action to minimize pollutants from going into the air and our environments. If we take the right actions every day, good air or bad, we can lower the number of bad air quality days we’ll have.
Another holiday season is almost past. The question now is what to do with the tree? For many of us that means boxing the tree back up and placing it in storage for another year. But there are still a lot of people out there who purchase the real deal. Disposing of a tree can be a daunting chore. However, thanks to your garbage collectors, getting rid of the tree can be super easy.
For those who live in unincorporated Salt Lake County or in cities that use the County’s services for garbage pickup, you can leave your tree on your curb starting January 4th running through the rest of the month. You don’t need to place it in a garbage can, just leave it on the curb and it will be picked up. The tree will then be turned into mulch at the landfill so you can feel good about recycling your Christmas tree. Just make sure to take off all of your ornaments and lights.
In the city of Orem there are going to be approximately 17 different drop-off locations where you can take your tree. Information is being sent out with your utility bills.
For those in Ogden City, if your tree is six feet tall or less you can take your tree to the Green Waste Facility located at 1845 Monroe Blvd.
Layton residents can leave their trees on the curb starting December 27th through January 15th to have them picked up.
Similar to Orem, residents of Roy can take their trees to a drop off location. Many of the parks in the city will have dumpsters for trees only. The dumpsters will be in place starting December 31st through January 6th.
In Washington County you can contact Allied Waste at 435-628-2821 to schedule a pickup for your tree. This is a free service, you just have to call and plan ahead with Allied Waste. The tree will typically be picked up on your usual trash pickup day and can be left on the curb for collection.
If you live in an area not mentioned, for example Murray City, contact the sanitation department for the city or county you live in. Many cities and areas have drop off locations to help with Christmas tree disposal.
Recycling your Christmas tree, no matter how simple, may seem like a chore. Just keep in mind that it’s only once per year and it’s the thing to do to Be Green.
On November 15th, Harmons celebrated America Recycles Day. Previously mentioned on this blog, Harmons watches our diversion rate. That’s the amount of recycling materials we are able to divert from a landfill to a recycling facility. I wanted to share some numbers with you.
From January to August of this year, Harmons locations were able to divert over 4 million pounds of cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and paper.
Most of our stores participate in a compost program. For the same time period listed above, those locations were able to divert 2.4 million pounds of compostable materials.
These numbers are huge and they are growing! All of our stores have made great strides in being the best at Being Green.
There is a lot that you can do too. If it’s available in your area and you aren’t already participating in a curbside recycling program, it’s easy to do. In Salt Lake County, you can recycle at home the same way we do at Harmons. It’s called comingle recycling. That is when you are able to put all recyclable materials in to one container. All of your plastic, paper, metal, and cardboard can go into large blue bins, similar to the large bins you use for your garbage.
For those of you in Washington County, there are many drop-off locations for you to take your recyclable materials to. You will want to find an easy way to sort the recyclables and then drop off your recyclables to the drop off locations. We even have them in our parking lot at the D.C. Center Harmons.
There are now many options on the market for composting containers. In the past composting could be a dirty business—and a smelly one too. Many of today’s composters are able to be closed up tight to prevent these kinds of problems and complaints.
You may not be able to track a diversion rate like we do at Harmons, but you will notice a marked change in where your waste is going. At my house, we often fill up the blue recycling container but not the black garbage container. This would be even truer if we composted. Not only would our garbage can have hardly any waste in it, but our gardens would be full of valuable nutrients which would minimize or eliminate the need for fertilizers come this spring.
Think about what you can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Little changes can add up quickly to make a huge impact!
Thursday, November 15th is America Recycles Day. Started in 1997, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day in the USA dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products. On this day there are thousands of events held across the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and to encourage Americans to sign personal pledges to recycle and buy products made from recycled materials.
Harmons will also be celebrating this day by hosting shredding events, using only paper and reusable bags, giving out some reusable bags, and having fun with recycled uniforms.
Shredding Events on Thursday, November 15th:
Rocky Mountain Document Destruction will provide Free Shredding of Confidential Documents and Hard Drives
Harmons Taylorsville – 5454 S. Redwood Rd
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Harmons Draper – 672 E. 11400 S.
2:00 PM-5 PM
Bring your confidential documents and hard drives to be shredded on site. All shredded material will be recycled. Open to all businesses and residents, no limit to the amount of material you can bring. Visit rmshred.com/why-shred/knowledge-center/ for information on why it is important to shred sensitive documents.
FREE Reusable Bags
For those signed up to receive text alerts from Harmons, you will receive a special offer on America Recycles Day. Just show the text on your phone to your cashier and receive a free Harmons reusable bag. (Valid November 15th ONLY, with any purchase. Must show the text message on your phone to the cashier.) To receive this offer and other deals, text HARMONSDEALS to 45995.
Throughout the day we will be randomly giving away reusable bags in all of the stores. We will be using all paper and reusable bags on this day.
Reused and Recycled Uniforms
On America Recycles Day our front end associates will be practicing the second of the 3 R’s, Reuse. They will be reusing and recycling their own Harmons t-shirts to wear as their uniform for the day. They will be wearing t-shirts from a variety of past Harmons events, sponsored activities, and special days. A lot of the shirts have fun stories behind them, so be sure to ask what their t-shirt is about.
Over the past several years we have been working hard to improve recycling and diversion efforts throughout the company. The process is ongoing and continually having to adapt to be effective and successful. While we continue to learn and improve, there are a few things we have been working on that we are proud of: