SHN suggests September to-do list

Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) advocates for evidence-based community actions and education that will result in a positive impact on our environment and quality of life. This month, SHN suggests the following sustainable things-to-do:

Sustainable transportation: Fall brings cooler nights and more rain, so check tire wear. (Use a quarter to measure remaining tread depth, which should be a minimum of 1/8” for safe stopping in wet weather. If Washington’s hair doesn’t get cut, you need new tires soon.)

Recheck wipers and washer fluid. Think ahead to colder weather, and use fluid rated to at least  -20F.

Set up carpooling arrangements for school or work, and turn off your engine while you wait. Each day, U.S. drivers waste more than 3.8 million gallons of fuel in idling. The break-even point for gas consumption by turning off your engine and restarting later is a mere 10 seconds.

Bicyclists should recheck lights. Increasing darkness makes bicyclists harder to see. The fall equinox means that sun may blind drivers on east-west streets in the mornings and evenings. Blinking lights help, but may not be sufficient.

Environmental health: Plant trees—fall rains and warm days encourage root growth. Reduce your lawn and expand flowerbeds to include plants as food and habitat for pollinators. Aerate your lawn to reduce soil compaction. Rain and cooler temperatures make fall the best time of year to broadcast grass seed; we recommend a lawn-seed mixture of tall fescue for hardiness and microclover for nitrogen capture, which reduces the need for artificial fertilizers. Microclover also remains greener during drought and is pollinator-friendly.

Solid waste: Recycling is easy in Cuyahoga County, as all basic recyclables now can be put together in one blue bag. Recycle cans, glass bottles, milk and juice cartons, paper and box board, and plastic bottles and containers. Cardboard should be flattened and tied, or stacked inside another box. Recyclables often comprises half of a household's waste. Cleveland Heights and University Heights collect recyclables placed near your garbage on trash day.

Cleveland Heights also has a drop off location for styrofoam—the solid blocks from packages (no peanuts or food packaging)—at the community center, and a drop for technotrash at the CH Service Center on Superior Road.

More recycling information can be found at  and For more information about SHN, visit


Sustainable Heights Network

Sam Bell, Laura Marks and Ditte Wolin, members of SHN's steering committee, collaborated on this article. SHN welcomes new members for its four subcommittees: transportation, environmental health, solid waste and energy.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:46 AM, 09.01.2016