Tips for keeping summer eco-sweet


This week’s column has a particular summer focus on all things environmental, sustainable and organic.

Keeping the stink out — If you participate in Boulder County’s alternate-week curbside compost pick-up you may have noticed the collection bin can get especially odorous in the summer.

Marti Matsch, Eco-Cycle communications director, recommends that any countertop container you’re using to collect kitchen scraps be made of either ceramics or stainless steel, with a charcoal filter. Also consider stowing scraps in a compostable bag in the freezer until pickup time. As with the bigger plastic bin for curbside pickup, rinse any containers out thoroughly every time they’re emptied and put a little baking soda at the bottom.

Great eco-deals — Speaking of Eco-Cycle, if you don’t check the newsletter or website occasionally, you may be missing out on all the latest great stuff Boulder County’s recycling center offers. For example, there is the Zero Waste Picnic Kit. If you’re planning a picnic for up to 10 people you can buy a nifty, compostable set of dishes, flatware, napkins, etc. for a stealin’ $15. For more than 10 people, there’s a Zero Waste Event Kit that includes disposal containers, signs and everything you need for a tidy, recyclable soiree. (Price is variable but affordable.)

And don’t forget the upcoming Eco-Auction, to be held Aug. 22 through Sept. 5, in “nonprofit partnership” with eBay. This is an Eco- Cycle fundraiser offering unique, previously owned “cool but unwanted stuff.”

For information on this and other goodies, visit index.cfm if you can’t find it at McGuckin.

Wooden shovels are one of those items Brian Athearn, lawn and garden section buyer for McGuckin, has had on a wish list for years.

“They’re lightweight, and snow won’t stick to ‘em.” Athearn says. “I’ve got one, other people I know have them, but wooden shovels wear out after awhile. Last time I saw a label it said, ‘Made in West Germany.’ We don’t know who’s making them these days, if anyone is.”

McGuckin prides itself on being stocked with stuff you can’t find anywhere else. As with the shovels, the wish list has items once carried but lost when a manufacturer discontinued the line or a distributor went out of business.

The list also has things McGuckin never carried but are customer requests — and this is where you can come in. Having a problem finding just the right kind of hydroponic equipment? Want something greener than an item destined to wind up in a landfill? You can pick up a comment card at any McGuckin cash register station, and write down what you’re looking for, whether you’re sure it exists or not. Yup, those cards are actually read.

This week Athearn starts his seasonal rounds of garden hardware trade shows that may run until early October. If he finds his wish list items at a good price (independent hardware stores can’t buy in the same bulk as the big-box chains), they will start showing up in McGuckin aisles in early 2011.


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