SHN suggests sustainable tips for November

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. For more information, visit

Solid Waste: Pack-and-ship stores in the Heights and nearby will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Check with the store, or call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council (800-828-2214) to find a drop-off site.

Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground [material] and athletic flooring. The closest sneaker collection drop-off site to the Heights is Nike Factory Store in Aurora Farms.

Energy Savings: Switch to electricity from renewable energy sources. In Ohio, 82 percent of electricity is generated by coal or natural gas; both are greenhouse gas sources that contribute to climate change.

Why not sign up for electricity created by renewable energy? Cleveland Heights has a contract with First Energy Solutions that allows residents to sign up for 100-percent renewable energy at a fixed rate of 6.03 cents/kWh. Call 1-888-254-6359.

Transportation: Snow usually starts in earnest around Thanksgiving. For cars that have dedicated snow tires, November is the month to swap them on. Check the brakes while you’re at it, and check tire wear. With snow comes salt, and the need for a trip to the underbody car wash. This is a good month to replace wiper blades.

Cyclists: Wear highly reflective clothing and use lights.

Environmental Health: With windows closed for winter, this is a good time to concentrate on the indoor air quality (IAQ) inside one’s home. Most “air fresheners” only mask odors, neither cleaning nor eliminating them. Air fresheners and most scented candles are petroleum-based, so they emit toxic fumes that family members breathe.

Try cleaning the house with gentle cleaners and distribute flow-through boxes of baking soda in rooms that are prone to odors, such as kitchen and bathrooms. Scented laundry detergents may also trigger allergic reactions in family members or even co-workers, as you carry the scents into your workplace. Try detergents labeled “Free and Clear.”

Want to monitor your IAQ? Affordable home IAQ monitors measure particle count (dust levels), total Volatile Organic Compounds, and Carbon Dioxide. The results can be displayed on the device and transmitted over Wi-Fi to your smart phone or tablet to show current readings as well as monthly trends.

Sustainable Heights Network

SHN members Allen Wilkinson and Jan Kious wrote this article. Wilkinson is a retired NASA researcher whose home has geothermal HVAC, and 100-percent composting and rainwater capture. Kious has lived in Cleveland Heights since 1974. Her goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the area through reduction of energy use and switching to energy from 100-percent renewable sources.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 2:49 PM, 11.07.2016