Clean, Green Fun for Kids!

Summer is just around the corner, although it may feel like it’s already started. Summer break is a great time to inspire your kids to appreciate our natural environment. Environmental activities help kids understand why the environment is important and provides them with the building blocks they need to live eco-friendly and sustainable lives. Check out these five simple eco-friendly activities for kids.

1-Recycle veggie scraps into compost

Did you know about 30% of our household trash is food waste? It’s easy to divert this “resource” away from the landfill through backyard composting. Composting is a fun and rewarding way for kids to watch natural processes in action and they’ll think twice about wasting their uneaten vegetables. Follow this easy guide and try out composting at home this summer.

2Plant a butterfly garden

Kid or adult, who doesn’t enjoy having butterflies around! Your garden will also attract hummingbirds, bees and other pollinators who need our help. It’s a great way for children to learn about the cycle of life and explore the relationship between plants and animals. Here’s an easy guide to get started. For examples of great plants for The Woodlands, check out this list.

3-Turn trash into treasure by making recycled paper

Here’s a fun way to show kids how paper that’s recycled curbside turns into something new. All you need are a few supplies found at home to make a brand new sheet of paper from old newspaper. Follow the instructions here.

4-Litter cleanup day

Enjoy a walk outdoors and help keep our community beautiful at the same time by picking up litter. The Township has litter grabbers and bags available for loan any time of the year. Check out The Woodlands Litter Cleanup Guide here.

5-Eco-movie night with Jack Golden

Grab the popcorn and settle in for movie night with a special online viewing of Garbage is My Bag: The Movie starring Jack Golden!

What do you do when a trash bag is so full you can’t fit it into the garbage can — or a town landfill is overflowing and polluting water supplies? ……..Call a “trashologist”!

In “Garbage is My Bag“ – an award winning performance program for school kids – Jack Golden is the comedic “expert”, Dr. T, who delves into a mountain of trash — and an even bigger bag of vaudeville and circus tricks — in search of answers to these questions. With a “Ph.D. in Garbology”, a zany and irresistible personality, and a marvelous trash-to-treasure-o-matic recycling machine, he juggles and jokes his way through a world of waste. Dr. T will teach you that rubbish is a resource that is just too good to throw away. Find your ticket to the movie here or watch the video below.


For more fun activities, check out The Woodlands Township’s Summer Action Guide here for programs by Environmental Services or Parks and Recreation.

Earth Day GreenUp: Join the Clean Your Block-Party this Saturday!

Join the green team of volunteers sweeping our community for litter this Saturday, March 26, 2022 at Earth Day GreenUp. Team up with family and friends to target litter in our parks and green spaces. Each year more than a thousand GreenUp volunteers remove over 4,500 pounds of litter - the equivalent of 76 of our curbside trash carts!    

On the day of the event, check in between 8 and 10 a.m. at one of eight Township parks. There you’ll receive disposable gloves, bags, a map to a nearby cleanup location and a limited supply of trash grabbers. Please bring your own reusable water bottle and work gloves. Once you’ve checked in it’s time to head out and clean up. The event runs until 11 a.m. but finishing earlier is fine.   

When you’ve returned bagged litter and equipment to the check-in site, it’s time to party! The Woodlands Township, your local Village Association, and event sponsors will host “clean your block parties” at each check-in site. Enjoy a pizza lunch and celebrate your efforts with your neighbors from 11 a.m to noon.  

On event day, remember:

* All participants will need to sign a waiver at check-in if they did not register online. Participants under the age of 18 must be signed in by a parent or legal guardian.

* Wear appropriate clothing – long pants and closed-toe shoes or boots are recommended.

* Remember hats, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, reusable gloves and water bottle.

Earth Day GreenUp is coordinated by The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department with support from Waste Management, Woodlands Water, H-E-B, Howard Hughes Corporation, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Papa John’s Pizza, Keep Texas Beautiful and The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. 

For more information, please email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or call 281-210-3800.   

Join Earth Day GreenUp 2022  

Online registration is now closed, but walk up participation is welcome.   

Check-in:  Saturday, March 26, 8 to 10 a.m. at a location near you.  

  • Cleanup:  8 to 11 a.m.  
  • Check-out & Clean Your Block Party: 11 a.m. to noon   
  • More Info:  Call Environmental Services at 281-210-3800   

Earth Day GreenUp 2022

Join the community-wide litter cleanup day!  

The 11th annual Earth Day GreenUp is nearly here. Team up with family and friends to target litter in our parks and green spaces. Each year more than a thousand GreenUp volunteers remove over 4,500 pounds of litter - the equivalent of 76 of our curbside trash carts!    

On the day of the event, check in between 8 and 10 a.m. at one of eight Township parks. There you’ll receive disposable gloves, bags, a map to a nearby cleanup location and a limited supply of trash grabbers. Please bring your own reusable water bottle and work gloves. Once you’ve checked in it’s time to head out and clean up. The event runs until 11 a.m. but finishing earlier is fine.   

When you’ve returned bagged litter and equipment to the check-in site, it’s time to party! The Woodlands Township, your local Village Association, and event sponsors will host “clean your block parties” at each check-in site. Enjoy a pizza lunch and celebrate your efforts with your neighbors from 11 a.m to noon.  

Earth Day GreenUp is coordinated by The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department with support from Waste Management, Woodlands Water, H-E-B, Howard Hughes Corporation, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Papa John’s Pizza, Keep Texas Beautiful and The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N.  For more information, please email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or call 281-210-3800.   

Join Earth Day GreenUp 2022  

  • Register through Monday, March 21 at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/greenup      
  • Check-in:  Saturday, March 26, 8 to 10 a.m. at a location near you. Walk-ups welcome.   
  • Alden Bridge: Alden Bridge Park   
  • Cochran’s Crossing: Shadowbend Park    
  • College Park: Harper’s Landing Park   
  • Creekside Park: The Lodge at Rob Fleming Park    
  • Grogan’s Mill: Sawmill Park    
  • Indian Springs: Falconwing Park   
  • Panther Creek: Ridgewood Park   
  • Sterling Ridge: May Valley Park   
  • Cleanup:  8 to 11 a.m.  
  • Check-out & Clean Your Block Party: 11 a.m. to noon   
  • More Info:  Call Environmental Services at 281-210-3800   

On event day, remember:   

  • Walk ups are welcome    
  • All participants will need to sign a waiver at check-in.  Participants under the age of 18 must be signed in by a parent or legal guardian.    
  • Wear appropriate clothing – long pants and closed-toe shoes or boots are recommended    
  • Remember hats, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, reusable gloves and water bottle   
  • Disposable gloves and bags will be provided   
  • A limited number of grabbers and vests will be available for groups that register  

Recycling Dilemma #1006 – Online Shopping

Shopping from the comfort of your home in your PJs is easy. Deciphering what to do with all the packaging that comes with those fabulous purchases is the hard part. Check out these tips to learn how to dispose of online shopping waste wisely.

Looking for ways to reduce packaging from online purchases? 

  • Try filling your cart throughout the week and combining purchases into one weekly delivery. Choose “Frustration-Free” Packaging to reduce extra boxes. 
  • Consider shopping at stores that use thoughtful packaging materials. As this concept becomes more mainstream, the demand will increase and gain popularity! 
  • Choose ground delivery to reduce air travel. This option can save you a bit of money and also reduces the carbon footprint of your package.  
  • Shop at local businesses and bring your own bag or containers.

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:  

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov


Feed Your Plants with Kitchen Scraps and Yard Trimmings

Would you like to waste less, eat healthier food, and grow thriving plants in your home and landscape?  With just a few small steps and habit changes, you can do this!  Take advantage of these ideas for thinking outside the box. 

According to a new report, “Food Waste in America”, by Recycle Track Systems 

  • Food takes up more space in US landfills than any other material. 
  • On average, each American can save one pound of food per day with a few simple steps. 
  • By simply putting our food to good use (consuming or composting) we will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 11%. In fact, it’s one of the easiest things we can do to fight climate change.  
  • Food-saving planning, shopping and storage strategies prevent most produce waste and save households an average of $1,600 each year. That’s enough to pay for more than an entire month’s worth of groceries for a family of four. 

What can you do to reduce food waste in your own home?  The organization “Stop Food Waste” suggests putting this cycle into action: 

Plan 

  • Before shopping, take inventory of your home food supply 
  • Create a weekly menu plan using the food in your refrigerator and pantry. 
  • Take advantage of the “Save the Food” Guestimator and Meal Prep Mate
  • Base your shopping list based on needed items. 

Store 

Eat 

  • Start 2022 with a “New Year’s Fridge Clean-Out”. Make a resolution to eat down your food before the next big shopping trip.  
  • Take advantage of “Save the Food’s” recipes for creative and tasty ways to make use of those odds and ends in your refrigerator or pantry. 
  • Check out these handy resources from “Stop Food Waste” like the “10-Minute Fridge Reality Check” and the “Food Shift Kitchen Guide” 

Compost 

  • Save vegetable and fruit trimmings, cores, peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and other compostable items. 
  • Start a compost bin in your backyard. 
  • Make backyard composting part of your food preparation routine. 
  • Place your grass clippings and leaves in your compost bin rather than curbside. Sure, yard trimmings collected curbside in The Woodlands are composted commercially, but why not save the good stuff for yourself? You’ll also reduce hauling and the green house gases that come with it.  

Create Compost in Your Own Backyard 

Let’s talk more about compost. Because, while we can all do better at reducing waste, there’s still going to be some great resources coming out of your kitchen. I’m looking at you carrot ends and egg shells. Don’t look a resource in the mouth, compost it! It’s easier than you think, and your plants will LOVE it. Backyard composting is the process of combining dry leaves, brown pine needles, green plant trimmings, and kitchen scraps to create a rich, slow-release fertilizer for your plants. 

Adding compost to soil is one of the best ways to improve soil quality and texture.  Here’s why. Compost contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – primary nutrients  gardens and landscape plants need. It also includes traces of other essential elements like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. These nutrients are released slowly, as opposed to fast-release synthetic fertilizers, and far healthier for your plants. Compost improves drainage and helps the soil retain moisture – less irrigating for you. In short, you’ll have healthier plants with less work, water, and money. 

Creating compost requires a few weeks to a year depending on how often you turn (or mix up) your pile. The more often you turn it, the faster the rate of decomposition. This is because the microbes that are the workhorses of decomposition need air to live. The more often the pile is turned, the more air is delivered to the microbes and the harder they work. I usually turn my pile about every two weeks. But, again, it’s up to you how often you choose to do it. I have some friends who are proud lazy composters and never turn their pile. They still create compost; it just takes longer.  

How can you tell when your compost is finished?  The material at the bottom of your compost bin turns a rich, dark brown color and smells and looks like fresh earth. 

Now comes the most gratifying part – using your compost!   

  • Sprinkle ½”-1” over your backyard vegetable garden and around your planting beds.   
  • Add 1/4” to the surface of indoor and outdoor potted plants.  
  • Make your own potting soil with one of these recipes from University of Florida soil experts.  
  • Or even brew a potent “compost tea” for container plants by steeping homemade finished compost in a five-gallon bucket of water for 1-3 days.  Strain the liquid and apply it to your plants. While research is ongoing, it is thought that compost tea not only provides nutrients but a host of microorganisms that boost plant health.   

Resolve now to reduce food waste, give our climate a hand, and help your landscape thrive in 2022. Learn more about backyard composting with our free, hands-on, backyard composting class on Saturday, January 8 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at The Woodlands Township Parks, Recreation and Environmental Services campus, 8203 Millennium Forest.  Experts from Montgomery County Master Gardeners Association will show you all you need to know. High quality C.E. Shepherd collapsible compost bins will be for sale for only $50 each.  Drop in – no registration required. See you there!