Saving the planet and money

Sometimes there are things we would like to do to help conserve the environment, but the cost can be prohibitive to someone on a budget. Luckily, there are quite a few things we can do in our lives that benefit the earth and our balance in our bank accounts. One simple step we can take to help save the earth and the environment is to install rain barrels.

The water the barrels collect would normally flow off the roof, into roof gutters, over the road, and into the storm water system. Often, the water that flows over paved surfaces picks up pollutants such as oil, sediment, and chemicals which then wash into our lakes and rivers. Rain barrels prevent this by greatly reducing the amount of storm water washing over our driveways and roads.

Using a rain barrel can also help decrease your water bills. Residential water use increases 40-50 percent during the summer as we water our lawns and gardens. The water rain barrels collect can be used to water lawns and landscaping plants during dry summer periods. It is estimated that using rain barrels to water your lawn and gardens can reduce summer water use by more than 1,000 gallons - greatly reducing your summer water bill!

Rain barrels can be purchased ready to use. If you would like to save initial costs, you can easily construct a rain barrel with reused 50 gallon plastic barrels or an inexpensive garbage can. The top of the barrel should be screened to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the barrels. Then a hole is drilled towards the bottom of the barrel where a spout is fastened. All the materials for this project can be purchased at a hardware store for around $15

One important thing to remember is the water collected in rain barrels is not safe for human consumption. (Birds and other animals are up on the roofs and the bacteria from their droppings can wash into the barrel). The water is safe for lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers.

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