HHGTF 2011 Meeting Notes

Highland Heights Green Task Force – Serving the Greater Hillcrest Communities & Beyond

Photo of Green Grasses during Daytime

Agenda December 7, 2011

HHGTF Year-End Business Meeting

This meeting was a business meeting that summarized accomplishments from 2011 and discussed ideas for 2012. Judy Dearden mentioned the following information:

  • Applied for a grant from Fiskars. It is to be determined if we receive the grant. The money would be used for the City’s Green Space.
  • Twenty bags of recycling were collected for the month from the new recycling bins that have been placed at the City Hall Complex.
  • There is a discussion of Millridge Elementary starting tumbler composting. The HHGTF will try to continue trying to help them achieve this in any way we can.
  • The HHGTF will have a table at the Green Dream which will take place on April 20, 2012, at the Beachwood Community Center. For more information, view the calendar on the Homepage of this Website.
  • HHGTF Meetings in 2012 will continue to be on the first Wednesday of each month.

Judy then reviewed ideas for the 2012 Speaker Series Topics and officers were elected. For the list of officers, view the Homepage of this website. There was also a discussion of having a membership fee for 2012. Overall, 2011 went well. The recycling bins that the HHGTF received in a grant for the City Hall Complex were a great success. Everyone has learned a lot from all of the Speaker Series we’ve had. It is the goal of the HHGTF to have more projects in the future. Thank you all for a great year; our first year!

Agenda November 2, 2011

Home Energy Audits & Alternative Energy Sources

Discussion with Clint Cravens

Clint Cravens from Green Street Solutions began the evening with a discussion on Energy Audits. He mentioned that his company has been in Cleveland for approximately three years. When they come to your home, they ask to see energy bills for an entire year. It takes them approximately 3 to 4 hours to do the initial walk-thru of your home. They take thermo-graphic images of walls, conduct indoor air quality and carbon monoxide tests, and a blow test to expose air leakage location. They then go back to the office and do virtual models of the home with all of the information that they’ve composed. They then come back to the homeowner with an assessment of what they suggest should be done to increase energy efficiency in your home. They not only conduct the audits, but they also have the capabilities to do all of the improvements to the home as well.

Insulate & Seal

He suggested that it is most important to properly insulate and air seal the home first. Air sealing and insulation will give you the most “bang for your buck.” Air sealing is very important. Once you have air sealed and insulated, then he’d suggest getting a new efficient furnace, and after that, it is worth considering new windows. Before replacing windows, take a look at adding new storm windows. It is also important to look at insulating plumbing pipes. A faucet furthest away from the hot water tank should take no more than 28 seconds maximum to heat up. If it is more than that, then you will be wasting, on average, over 27,000 gallons of water per year just waiting for the faucet to heat up.

Green Street Solutions can offer the consumer 27-45% in savings if consumers follow their suggestions. Go to Green Street Home for more information. It was also mentioned that Dominion has offered rebates since 2010 for homeowners so that is also something worth looking into!

Solar Panels

Then, a representative from Bold Alternatives spoke about solar panels in residential settings. The typical payback is approximately 10 years if you add solar panels to your home. A micro-inverter would be recommended for residential use. With this system, meters can go backward on sunny days. You pay the utility company for the net number of times your meter spins forward. Panels should aim south for the best results. There should be approximately a 3-4” air gap between the panels and your roof. They are made from tempered glass and can withstand up to one-inch hail. Go to Bold Alternatives for more information.

Light Bulb Efficiency

The evening concluded with a discussion from our own Rick Evans, an engineer on lighting. He mentioned that the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 has two phases. The first phase requires that all general-purpose light bulbs be 30% more efficient by 2012. The second phase will require that all general-purpose lights are to be at least 45% lumens per watt by 2020. A lumen determines the lamp’s brightness; it is a unit of light. A watt is the electric power consumption.

Rick then discussed the different types of bulbs that can be purchased.

  • Incandescent: Will be removed from sale between 2012 to 2014. It was invented in 1879 by Thomas Edison. It has an approximate life of 1,000 hours. The danger of one is that it can produce minor burns and cuts from broken glass. The efficacy is 12 lumens/watt (about 2%).
  • Halogen: Will be removed from sale in 2020. It was invented in 1959. Life is about 3,000 hours and it has the same dangers as an incandescent bulb. The efficacy is 16 lumens/watt (about 3%).
  • Compact Fluorescent: It was invented in 1974 and has a life expectancy of 5,000 hours. Frequent on/off cycles can reduce their life. The dangers are cuts if broken, and mercury contamination. Make sure to properly dispose of these bulbs (for example, take them to Home Depot). The efficacy is up to 62 lumens/watt (about 10%).
  • LED (light-emitting diode): invented in 1995 with a life expectancy of anywhere between 20,000-60,000 hours. They have no dangers associated with them. The efficacy is up to 70 lumens/watt (about 11%). LED bulbs are slowly beginning to come down in price.

Agenda October 5, 2011

Water Conservation: What’s in Our Water?

The evening began with Judy informing the group that on the recent Paper Shredding Day that the city had collected approximately 8,000 pounds of paper, bringing the total for the year up to 18,000 pounds!

About the Sewer District

Then, Beth Toot-Levy, the Senior Environmental Specialist from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District spoke. The sewer district is an independent political subdivision of the State of Ohio and services 62 departments. She mentioned that the sewer district treats wastewater, but will include stormwater management soon. She mentioned that the city is responsible for the sewers on the street, but that they are responsible for the larger mains.

The sewer district has three treatment plants in our area. Approximately 120 million gallons are treated per day at the Southerly Plant, 33 million at the Westerly Plant, and 120 million gallons at the Easterly Plant. The solids from the “Easterly” Plant are pumped to the Southerly Plant where they are incinerated.

The Treatment Process

The Process begins with a preliminary treatment of raking out larger items. Then, there is a primary settling process where the solids settle. Then it goes into the secondary treatment, either a filter process (West) or activated sludge process (East and South). There is then an aeration process and a final settling. The collected solids are handled by centrifuges that spin the water out or incinerate bio-solids. The incineration process will be replaced with fluidized bed incinerators soon. Fluidized bed incinerators will reduce the amount of ash produced; it burns hotter and more efficiently. The East and West Plants discharge effluent directly into Lake Erie. The effluent is tested for metals, phosphorus, e-coli, etc. before it is discharged. They have invested in generators to ensure the function of plants in case of a power outage.

Don’t Dump These Down the Drain!

Items that are dumped down the drain, end up in Lake Erie. Our drinking water does have minimal traces of caffeine, ibuprofen, etc. due to people dumping these items down the drain. The traces are very low, however, so Beth advised that it is nothing to worry too much about those.

However, it is important NOT to dump the following down the drain:

  • Fats, oils & grease
  • Pharmaceuticals – take them to “Operation Medicine Cabinet” take-back events or excessively wrapped in duct tape and thrown away.
  • Fragrances
  • Lotions
  • Mercury thermometers – these should be taken to Home Depot or can be traded in at the Sewer District
  • Sharps or needles
  • Paint or paint thinner (or just about anything you store in your garage)
  • Latex paints should be dried out and thrown away.

All other hazardous items should be disposed of during the city’s Hazardous Waste Collections.

History of the Landscape of Ohio

Then, Barb Holtz from the Cleveland MetroParks spoke. She discussed the history of the landscape of Ohio. The original, natural landscape was able to heal itself from floods. She mentioned that in 1780, 95 percent of Ohio was forest, but by 1900, only 12 percent was a forest. Swamps were drained for farmland, the land was cleared for houses. Ohio drained about 90 percent of its natural wetlands. The clearing of the natural landscape developed into a flooding problem because few trees and swamps were remaining. The settlers of Ohio changed the landscape, causing a problem, and then there was a need to fix the new problem. People then fixed the problem by incorporating drain tiles into construction, moving water to where we wanted it to be, and incorporating retention and detention basins into the new landscape.

Our Watershed

She mentioned that we are in the Euclid Creek Watershed which is approximately 24 square miles. A small portion of our city is also part of the Chagrin Watershed. The Euclid Creek Watershed has an average of 2,833 persons per square mile while the Chagrin River Watershed has 621 persons per square mile. Because of the high concentration of people, we need to be aware of chemical runoff and invasive plants in our watershed, which eventually ends up in the Lake. To help with this, we can install rain barrels and rain gardens, limit chemical fertilizer usage, pick up our pet’s waste, and safely discard medication.

Agenda September 7, 2011

Business Meeting

Unfortunately, the speaker, Tim Cole from Ohio Technical College, was unable to attend, but we do plan on rescheduling his talk. We then decided to use the evening for a relaxed chat and business meeting.

Thanks went out to everyone that volunteered for the “Green Vendors Fair” at this year’s Community Home Day.

Judy read the Income and Expenses year to date. She then passed the donation box around to cover the cost of the raffle items from the Green Vendors Fair. With that being accomplished, names were drawn for the raffle items. Mary Fash’s name was drawn for the recycle bin, however, she said she already had enough, so she picked another name, and the winner was Jeanette Evans. We then picked a name for the 7th Generation cleaning products, and Jeanette Evans won again. Jeanette was very happy, as she was hoping to win.

Judy passed around printed information about events of interest around Cleveland and Highland Heights. She reminded everyone that our city would be having another Shred Day on October 1st, and a Rain Barrel workshop is now scheduled for Oct 19th.

Business cards for Roger Vozar from the online news media the Patch were passed out in hopes that more people would start viewing it. Select Patch then choose Hillcrest Patch.

Jeanette Evans volunteered to send a follow-up letter to Tom Evans and Judy Dick regarding the purchasing of the recycle bins.

There was then a discussion about having a FreeCycle next summer and trying to reschedule the e-Recycle drive for next spring. Mary Fash agreed to check with the high school to see if perhaps the Key Club or National Honors Society might be interested in helping with these events.

Agenda July 6, 2011

Speaker Series:

Sustainable Home Renovation

7-9 pm at the Community Center

Julia Cyganski, Registered Architect and LEED AP BD+C, and Amanda Tharpe, Interior Designer, and LEED GA presented ways to renovate your home sustainably. The evening began with an introduction to LEED. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED-certified buildings are designed to lower operating costs and increase asset value, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, be healthier for occupants, and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. LEED promotes sustainability in design, but it was noted that you can still bring sustainable ideas and techniques to your design without getting LEED certified.

Urban Heat Island Effect

They then continued to explain what the urban heat island effect is, and ways to help reduce it. On average, the temperature in a city is 10 degrees warmer than in a surrounding rural area. The main cause of the urban heat island is a modification of the land surface by urban development which uses materials that effectively retain heat. Typical dark asphalt roofs, for example, are hot and absorb 70% or more of the solar energy striking them. White or lighter color roofs (cool roofs) absorb 35% and stay between 50-60 degrees cooler. A lighter color roof will then help reduce the outdoor temperature, and help reduce the temperature inside of your attic space which will help reduce your cooling costs in the summer months. If you purchase new shingles, look for ones with an SRI (Solar Reflective Index) value of 29 or greater to help with this. In addition to a light color roof, the lighter color pavement around your home will also help reduce the heat island effect.

Properly Vented Attic

It is also very important to have a properly vented attic. Most older homes typically are not vented properly. Proper ventilation helps prevent ice damming in the winter, extends the life of your shingles by keeping the roof cooler in hot weather so shingles will not buckle, warp or crack, reduces cooling costs by allowing hot air to escape the roof, helps reduce moisture build-up and the growth of mold. Look for shingles (and all building materials) that have a better warranty. For example, with shingles, the energy used to manufacture a 50-year shingle is the same as that used to manufacture a 15-year shingle but will end up in a landfill at a slower rate. Also, look for Class 4 shingles since they are rated to withstand hail damage so most insurance companies offer a discount if these are used on your home.

Product Life Cycle-Cost

It is also important to look at the life-cycle cost of a product. Even though it may be a few extra dollars upfront, it may save a lot in the long run. Metal Shingles are one such example of this. Even though they cost about 2 times more than asphalt shingles upfront, they can last up to 100 years so you get a lot longer use out of them. Metal shingles can come in a similar look to asphalt, can easily be a cool roof depending on the coating, are easy to install, will not chip, rot or crack due to harsh environmental conditions, do not support fire, retain their value throughout their entire life cycle, and are fully recyclable at the end of their service life.

Building Materials

All building materials have pros and cons, so it is important to do some research on your own before purchasing. It is also important to do some research on what products are made of. Look for products that are either made of recycled materials, or that can be easily recycled at the end of their use. Linoleum, for example, is a very sustainable flooring material. The general public, however, tends to confuse it with vinyl composite tile, which is not sustainable because they have a similar look. There are also numerous countertops made out of recycled glass which can be purchased at local places such as Virginia Tile or Stoneworks. Make sure you shop around.

Save Money & Be More Sustainable

  • Update older plumbing fixtures to newer more efficient fixtures. Look for the WaterSense label. Consider installing a foot pedal faucet or a dual flush toilet.
  • Update older appliances with newer ones that have the Energy Star Label.
  • Install a rain barrel to help water exterior plants.
  • Install the previous pavement.
  • Consider installing light tubes in darker areas of your home that do not have natural light, such as an interior hallway or bathroom.
  • Install dimmer switches where possible for incandescent fixtures.
  • Consider how items can be refinished or reused in a creative way before throwing them away. Can old wood floors be refinished? Can cabinet faces be refinished? If you are purchasing new cabinets, can your old ones be reinstalled in your basement or garage for extra storage? How can you reuse items, for example, an old door can be used as a work surface.
  • Consider donating items to charities.

Habitat For Humanity

The evening then concluded with a representative from Habitat for Humanity. He explained that Habitat builds using energy-efficient techniques and materials because the homes are intended for a lower-income population. Residents will be able to have lower utility bills in their homes. Habitat recycles anything they can, and they have been able to reduce their construction waste by 93%. He mentioned that volunteers are always needed. He also encouraged people to donate to the restoration. He mentioned that the store always has to change stock, so new treasures can always be found. For further information, view the following website: Gchfh.org.

Agenda June 1, 2011

Rethink Our Habits: Getting Toxins Out of Your Home

7-9 pm at the Community Center

Our speaker began the evening with an overview of chemical-containing items that should be avoided. Some of the items she mentioned that should be avoided include:

  • Cigarettes
  • Formaldehyde
  • Gasoline fumes
  • Computers
  • BPAs
  • Plastic-lined canned foods
  • Teflon and Teflon on food liners
  • Bleach
  • Chlorinated water
  • Foods with preservatives & food coloring
  • Flea collars
  • “New car smell”
  • Never use any type of plastic in a microwave. She recommends using glass containers instead. She mentioned that heat can leach the plastic into the foods we eat.
  • Acidic items such as juice leach plastic into the beverages we consume.
  • Flame Retardants
    Most mattresses contain a flame-retardant chemical on them. Wool is a natural and flame-resistant material. Doctors can provide notes for people with allergies so that mattresses can be purchased that do not contain flame-resistant chemicals.
  • Stain and wrinkle-resistant clothing
  • Fragrances; most contain petroleum.
    Some of these items include:
    • Candles with chemicals
    • Chemical detergents, fabric softeners & dryer sheets
    • Perfumes
    • Chemical air fresheners, etc.

Be wary of items labeled as “unscented” because they can still contain chemicals.
“Fragrance-Free” is the more desired term to look for when purchasing items since they do not contain chemicals.

Aveda Cosmetics

Two representatives from Aveda Cosmetics then spoke about their company. Aveda (located in Beachwood Mall) has a green ingredient policy in that the overall environmental impact is considered with each ingredient. Every ingredient is biodegradable and naturally derived. Approximately 90% of all raw ingredients are organic, and there is no animal testing.

The company not only thinks about the environment with their ingredients, but they think about packaging and how it affects landfills and the environment. Their aerosol sprays do not contain CFCs. All of their containers can be refilled. They use minimal packaging material and all of their bottles contain almost 100% post-consumer recycled plastics. They have a great cap recycling program. They accept all caps from soda and water bottles and laundry detergents within the store that later get crushed down and reused into their packaging material. They do not accept pump or spray caps and metal caps. Feel free to drop off your caps the next time you visit the mall. Visit their website for more information on the camp program, and to learn more about their products, packaging, etc. Aveda Website

Judy Dearden then concluded the evening with some extra tips for “greening” your home. For a complete list, view our Facebook page.

Tips Included for “Greening”

  • Use fans when sitting outdoors to prevent mosquitoes instead of sprays or candles.
  • Sprinkle Borax and confectioner’s sugar around ants (but keep your pets and kids away from this).
  • Baking soda will soften your water when doing laundry and can help get rid of pesticides on produce.
  • Lemon juice with the sun is a natural bleach on clothing.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleach. (Warning: do not combine hydrogen peroxide with anything that contains chlorine).
  • Club soda with sodium works well for cleaning windows and mirrors.
  • Most essential oils are antibacterial.

Judy also recommended a few books about the topic including “Green This!” by Deirdre Imus and “The Naturally Clean Home” by Karyn Siegel-Maier.

Agenda May 4, 2011

Speaker Series:

Organic Gardening & Composting

7-9 pm at the Community Center

The meeting began with a brief overview of events. It was mentioned that approximately 67 pounds of medicine were collected at the Highland Heights Police Department for the “Operation Medicine Cabinet” event held on April 30th.

Judy Dearden also mentioned the idea of adopting the highway as it runs through our city. Volunteers will be needed to collect the trash that collects on the side of the highway approximately four times a year.

Beyond Pesticides Ohio

Jason Smith from Beyond Pesticides Ohio then presented on organic lawn care.

  • According to Jason, approximately 30-60% of the urban freshwater used in the summer months is used for watering lawns.
  • Yard waste, mostly grass clippings, accounts for 20% of all municipal waste collected.
  • Suburban lawns in the United States are given more pesticide applications per year on average than are used in agriculture.
  • These toxic pesticides and herbicides create health problems for people, pets, and wildlife and contaminate our air and water.
  • Most people don’t see the health effects of the exposure until years later.
  • Children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that make them more vulnerable.

Health Statistics

Jason Smith cited these:

  • Home and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia by almost seven times.
  • Exposure to home and garden pesticides can increase a child’s likelihood of developing asthma, autism, hyperactivity, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction.
  • People exposed to glyphosate found in Round-Up are 2.7 times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Dogs exposed to herbicide-treated lawns can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma and may increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times.
  • Of the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and 11 are deadly to bees.
  • Pesticides are not safe, and it is against federal law to make any claim of safety, even when used as directed.
  • As we use more chemical pesticides, plants are becoming more immune so new products are getting more toxic.

Cleveland Heights was the first city to ban chemical fertilizers from city property back in 1985. Other areas that have also banned their use include New York City, San Francisco, Middleburg Heights, and Canada. Organic lawn care has many benefits including saving money, water, time, and the environment, helping to clean up waterways, and reducing yard waste. When looking for an organic lawn care company, make sure you understand what they use. A company only needs to use 25% organic material to call themselves organic so you need to be careful. Ask what kind of fertilizer is being used. One that contains more than 10% nitrogen is too much. Ask what they do for pre-emergent weeds. A good response is that they use grass seed, and over-grassing to prevent weeds.

Organic Lawn Tips

  • Fertilize moderately with organic products in spring and again in early fall to encourage root growth. Not all fertilizers are bad; compost is a great fertilizer as is composted chicken manure.
  • Aerate. Soil compaction invites weeks and makes it difficult for air and water to enter the soil. Once your soil is returned to good health, the earthworms and birds will help keep it aerated. If a screwdriver will not push easily into your soil, it is too compacted.
  • Water your lawn less often but for a longer duration to encourage deeper roots.
  • Mowing the grass high will keep the sun out enough to discourage weeds from germinating and encourage deeper roots. Leaving clippings on the lawn will add nitrogen to the soil.
  • Think about replacing portions of your lawn with ornamental grasses, and native plants.

Native Plants

Presentation by Garrett Ormiston- Natural History Museum

Garrett Ormiston from the Natural History Museum then continued to talk about native plants. According to him, native plants are those that persisted locally before European colonization. The benefits of planting native plants include: providing shelter and food for wildlife, they use less chemical care, and they are more tolerant of local soils and weather conditions so they use less water. Native plants that grow close to a bed help reduce weed growth because there will not be as much room for weeds to grow as in a typical mulched “ornamental” bed. Garrett warned to not use invasive plants which are defined as exotic and extremely aggressive and may pose threat to native ecosystems. They lack natural predators which keep them under control in their native locations. It is costly to remove invasive plants, compete against native plants, and they reduce biodiversity. Garret then went on to show images of several native plants. Many nurseries (including the local ones in Highland Heights) have native plants. Make sure to look and ask for them.

The Basics of Composting

Judy Dearden then presented the basics of composting. She mentioned that the following reference guide was good to look at Cuyahoga Recycles Composting Guide. She mentioned that the benefits of composting include the following: reduces waste, free source of fertilizer, reduces water, improves plant health, generally lessens weeds when used as mulch, and helps to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers resulting in a safer home environment.

The Four Basic Ingredients
  1. Nitrogen: green material, i.e. grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, flowers, green leaves, hair, manure, seaweed, tea bags.
  2. Carbon: brown (dry) yard and garden materials, leaves, hay, wood sawdust, unbleached paper towels, shredded paper, pine needles.
  3. Water: moist as a wrung-out sponge.
  4. Air: bacteria and fungus in compost need oxygen to live and work.

Make sure to mix and turn your compost. Do not use meat or dairy products, materials treated with pesticides or herbicides, and do not use grass only, or else it will start to smell. You want to make sure you have a mixture of green and brown material. The best way to learn about composting is to begin and test it out.

Agenda April 11, 2011

Speaker Series:

Community Garden & Food Co-ops

7-9 pm at the Community Center

The meeting began with a brief overview of events. It was mentioned that approximately 10,000 pounds of paper were collected at the City’s Shredding Day that took place last week. Also, there will be an event called “Operation Medicine Cabinet” that will take place on April 30 from 10 am-2 pm. Bring all unused medicines to the Highland Heights Police Department so that they can be properly disposed of. This will prevent a medicine from getting into the wrong hands, or into the water system. Make sure to take your labels off of the bottles, and all bottles will be recycled. Last year, approximately 9,000 pounds of medicine were collected!

The Park Plans Reviewed

Cathy Murphy then showed and reviewed the two plans that the landscape architect presented at the last Council Meeting which was held on April 5. The first option kept the existing parking lot that is on the site, incorporated a gazebo in the center of the space, a playground and two bocce courts, an ice skating rink in a natural depression area (for the winter), and a community garden in the Northwest corner. The second option removed the existing parking. Cathy mentioned that the second option was pretty much ruled out at the Council Meeting because it would cost a lot to add a new parking lot, and there would only be one main entrance that would be shared by the City Hall Complex and the new green space.

Public Concerns

A few of the comments that the public had about the plans included:

  • The need for a compost area on site.
  • The need for visibility from Highland Road.
  • Need for water on the site. The water to the old Church has been capped off. Rain Barrels were mentioned to collect water from the Gazebo’s roof.
  • The community garden should not be on the Northwest corner because it didn’t seem to make sense to tear down trees to build a garden.
  • The playground could be near the trees to provide shade for children.
  • The playground shouldn’t be near the Community Garden. The landscape architect will rework these initial schematic ideas.

Since warmer weather is quickly approaching, it seems that the goal for this year is to install the gazebo and perhaps install the community garden in the fall so it is ready for planting next spring. The city has budgeted $50,000 for this green space this year. In addition, the Lion’s Club will contribute $5,000 to a gazebo structure. It was also mentioned that the Rotary Club is interested in having an area where vegetables could be grown and then donated to the seniors in our community.

Community Garden Ideas

Noreen Paradise then spoke about her ideas for the community garden. She is involved with the Highland Heights Garden Club and mentioned that the Garden Club was willing to help assist with registration, educate gardeners, etc. Noreen envisions that a family would pay somewhere between $10-20 for a lot, and they would commit to upkeep their lot for the year. Families could only pick from their garden and they could not use pesticides. She also envisions an herb garden that the Garden Club would be involved with where people could randomly pick from. She sees the community garden as a place for education.

Cathy then emphasized the need for a committee to be established for the community garden. She mentioned that would help speed things along. In addition, the committee could make the rules, etc. It was suggested that Judy Dearden and Noreen Paradise head this Community Garden Committee. It was also mentioned that other city’s community gardens need to be visited to get ideas.

Fresh Fork Market

Presentation by Trevor Clatterbuck

The evening then continued with a presentation by Trevor Clatterbuck from Fresh Fork Market. He explained that a CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, where someone purchases directly from one farmer. His company is different in that he facilitates the combination of products from approximately 70 different farmers. Families can purchase packages that change every week as the season changes. Products include meats, cheese, produce, etc. All foods are supplied by farmers within a 70-mile radius. All items are pesticide-free. All animals are fed a grass-based diet, pasture-raised with no hormones. Packaging is done on-site to ensure fresh delivery. The closest drop-off point to our community is in Beachwood. For more information about visit the Fresh Fork Market.

Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District

Presentation by Claire Posius

The evening then concluded with a talk by Claire Posius from the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District. She did the rain barrel workshop in our community last year. This year, she hopes to install a rain garden. She said that most of Highland Heights is part of the Euclid Creek Watershed, which eventually empties into Lake Erie. She explained that turf grass has roots that are only as deep as the grass is tall. Therefore, it almost acts as an impervious surface. Native Plants in a rain garden, however, have roots that grow very deep. These plants help to filter out pesticides before it enters the watershed. Therefore, she doesn’t recommend using any plants that you’d eat in a rain garden. Claire mentioned that a rain garden should not be installed in an area that already collects a lot of water; instead, it should be located a little uphill so it collects water as it comes down. Claire will need volunteers to help with the labor of the installation. She mentioned that the new green space would be a good location to help educate the public about rain gardens.

Agenda March 2, 2011

Speaker Series: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

7-9 pm at the Community Center

Jeff Riebe, a naturalist, began the evening with an introduction to recycling. According to him, recycling is defined as the reuse of materials in either their original or changed forms. Benefits include having cleaner earth, conserving wildlife, conserving natural resources, creating jobs, reducing pollution, and saving money. He continued with a list from the National Parks Services that indicated the number of years that it would take items to degrade.

Degradation Rates of Common Items
  • Plastic bag = 10-12 years to degrade
  • A foam cup = 50 years to degrade
  • Disposable diapers = 10-20 years to degrade
  • Fishing lines = 600 years to degrade
  • Plastic bottles = 450 years to degrade
  • Plastic from a 6-pack = 100 years to degrade

J&J Refuse & HH

Presentation by Don Johnson and Cassandra Carlisle

The evening continued with a presentation from Don Johnson and Cassandra Carlisle, both from J&J Refuse which is a trash/recycle company that Highland Heights uses. They began their presentation with a history of recycling in which they mentioned that the first recycling center was established in New York City in 1867.

Why Landfills?

According to them, landfills are the safest and most economical way to house trash. It was described that when a landfill is first formed, they remove a large amount of earth in an area, and line the bottom of that “hole” with thick plastic material. They then place a layer of “soft” trash over the liner so that the plastic does not get punctured. As the landfill is filled in, the sides are also lined with this plastic. The perimeters also have monitoring wells installed. Eventually, when the landfill is full, the liner is placed on top so that all the trash is entombed and then earth and topsoil are placed over it. Sometimes, landfills are then converted into parks or other types of green spaces.

Brief History of J&J Refuse

J&J Refuse began as a coal mining company. When they had the hole from the mining, they then decided to dump trash into that hole. Now, the company has grown and has 230 trucks. The recycling center is in Canton currently. For now, they have a dual-stream system established in which they have two separate trucks that come around, one for trash, and one for recycling. The recycling truck separates paper from the other commingled items, so for now paper goods must be bundled separately from the other recyclable items. J&J is in the process of building a new facility in Twinsburg that should be completed by December 2011. At that time, they will change over to a single stream system. They will then be able to combine paper with all other recyclable items. In the future, one truck will pick up both recycling and trash.

J&J Refuse asks that for now, residents place the following in a recycle bin or blue bag:

  • Aluminum cans, bimetal cans
  • Clear, Brown, and Green glass jars and bottles
  • #1 and #2 plastics

They ask that residents place the following items in brown bags, or tie them together:

  • Newspaper, Magazines, Catalogs
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Telephone Books
  • Mail (no envelopes)
  • Printer/copier paper
  • Chipped Board

They do NOT accept plastic bags, egg cartons, antifreeze or motor oil containers, envelopes, or aluminum foil. They mentioned that it is okay if residents do not take the tops off of plastic bottles. It is also okay if residents do not remove the paper off of cans or bottles. There is no need to scrub your recycling items clean but please do not have large food particles on them.

It is encouraged that all residents recycle as much as possible. It was mentioned that in 2009, Highland Heights recycled 23.48% while in that same year Beachwood recycled 71.73% of their waste!

Agenda February 2, 2011

HHGTF Business Meeting

7-9 pm at the Community Center

The second meeting of the Highland Heights Task Force was a business meeting that focused on the approval of an agenda for the year, discussion of how/where to advertise our group, and discussion on how to get funding.

Judy went through the agenda that was created.

Discussion Items

  • Discussed proposed topics for each month as well as possible speakers and/or videos that would correspond with the topics.
  • The agenda was approved
  • Judy will work on getting confirmation from all of the speakers. Once confirmed, they will be added to the “Upcoming Schedule of Events” above.
  • It was also mentioned that speakers should be videotaped so that residents who are unable to attend an event can still view it online.
  • In addition to the monthly topics, events were discussed for the year. These included the idea of a FreeCycle, a booth for us and other green vendors at Home Days, etc.
  • Judy mentioned that there will not be a rain barrel workshop by Claire Posius in Highland Heights this year, but that she may try to do installations instead.
  • The possibility of installing a rain barrel at a future Community Garden was discussed.
  • It was mentioned that the High School only recycles paper right now and that it would be nice to try to get them to do more.

Advertisement is needed so that the public becomes aware of our group, and our events.

Ideas for Promoting the Group

  • Panera, Library, and other information boards around the area
  • Getting into the city newsletter
  • Getting on the electronic message boards in town
  • Beginning a Facebook Page
  • Having a link from the city’s website to our website
  • Getting mentioned in the Mayfield School Newsletters

Our group will need funding to help pay for various items. Judy mentioned that one recycling bin costs between $45 – $69. She discussed the possibility of having several boxes that could contain hard bottle caps for Aveda, styrofoam for Buckeye Industries, #5 Plastics for Whole Foods, etc. We will need to find volunteers to run the contents of these boxes to those companies. However, the transport of these items will need to be during normal business hours which may be an issue. Some of the funding ideas that were discussed included contacting local businesses for a donation, doing a “Can Drive” or something similar at established events in the city, such as summer baseball games, where there is already a group of people, and looking into grants (example the Ohio EPA).