April is Earth Month—a month to celebrate the natural beauty around us and a month to become more aware of what you can do to help keep the Earth beautiful. The Grand Strand offers many ways to “go green.” Try a few of these out this year to reduce your ecological footprint.
The Three Rs
Reduce is the first of the three Rs used to help limit consumption. By consuming less, you’re cutting back on energy used to create new products and materials, as well as limiting materials that will eventually end up in the landfill. An easy way to cut back on the consumption of new products is to shop secondhand. The Grand Strand area offers many wonderful secondhand stores where you can find fabulous gently used products. Check out local Facebook “for sale” groups that are organized online communities to buy and sell your gently used items. Look for an area consignment shop and let them sell your items for you, splitting the profit.
Reusing items keeps thousands of pounds of waste from entering the landfill. Additionally, many stores offer incentives for reusing items. Target offers a 5 cent discount for each reusable bag you bring, and Starbucks offers a 10 cent discount each time you use a reusable cup. Many local grocery stores offer similar discounts when you bring your own reusable bag, and some offer recycling receptacles for the plastic bags you do use.
Recycling saves energy since less energy is needed to recycle a product than to create a completely new product. It also is a great way to divert materials from the landfill. Make sure you separate these materials at home and take them to your nearest recycling convenience center: plastic bottles, aluminum and metal cans, cardboard, glass jars and bottles, newspapers and phone books.
Santee Cooper and Horry Electric Cooperative both offer Green Power, which is generated from renewable resources such as wind, solar and landfill gas. This helps preserve the environment by reducing demand on non-renewable resources and increases our energy independence. Customers can voluntarily purchase blocks of Green Power for as little as $3 per month. For more information visit www.santeecooper.com or www.horryelectric.com.
Buy Local Foods
Shopping local is really a win-win—you’re reducing the amount of miles food has to travel to get to your plate (saving oil and gas) while at the same time supporting the local economy. Foods at farmers markets tend to be fresher. The Waccamaw Market Cooperative is a non-profit organization responsible for coordinating community-based farmers markets throughout Horry County. They are scheduled to open in early May. The locations include:
■ North Myrtle Beach Farmers Market– Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. First Avenue South Between Library and City Hall
■ Surfside Beach Farmers Market–Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Corner of Surfside Drive and Poplar Drive North
■ Carolina Forest Farmers Market– Thursdays, 1-6 p.m. 2254 Carolina Forest Blvd. Scheduled to open in July.
■ Conway Farmers Market–Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. 217 Laurel St. Downtown Conway
The Georgetown County Farmer's Market is scheduled for Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Corner of North Fraser Street and Indigo Ave.
Organize or volunteer at a beach sweep to pick up trash on the beach; volunteer with a local organization to Adopt-a-Highway and pick up trash along our roads; participate in Adopt-a-Landing to help keep our boat ramps and rivers free of litter.
The eighth annual Earth Day Music Fest is a three-day event featuring local and regional bands, a kid zone, an art garden and numerous vendors and non-profit organizations. April 17–19. Visit www.edmf.wordpress.com for more information.