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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping

EPA-greenscaping

The EPA provides programs for GreenScape Partners and Allies that assist company and group participants with savings and conservation

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Millions of tons of waste materials are hauled away, buried, or burned each day from landscaping and grounds keeping operations—trees, shrubs, brush, lumber, asphalt, and concrete, just to name a few. Consider the millions of gallons of water, pesticides, fuels, and oils in use each and every day. The costs of these materials—both economic and environmental—can be easily reduced or eliminated with updated landscaping methods.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) GreenScapes program provides cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for landscaping. Designed to help preserve natural resources and prevent waste and pollution, GreenScapes encourages companies and homeowners to make more holistic decisions regarding waste generation and disposal. This reduces impacts on land, water, air, and energy use.

Their helpful website has both tips and in-depth information about best practices for large-scale and small plot landscaping to save water and environmental impact.

The GreenScapes Alliance is a voluntary partnership program that aims to combine government and industry into a powerful, unified influence over the reduction, reuse, and recycling of waste materials in large land use applications.

Online resources include publications, guidance, and research documents as well as on-line calculator tools that can aid in your decision making and implementation of more sustainable landscape design, construction, and operations & maintenance. Web links provide additional information related to sustainable landscape design, construction, and maintenance.

Roads and highways, golf courses and ski resorts, commercial buildings and industrial sites—the widespread use of economically and environmentally costly landscaping is everywhere. By simply changing these large-scale landscapes to "GreenScapes" and focusing on the "4 Rs"—reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy, you can help improve both your bottom line and the environment.

Reduce

Reducing the production of waste is the first and most important step toward efficient material use. When planning a new landscape design or updating a current one, avoid products that require frequent replacement or regular maintenance to reduce future waste.

Reuse

Reuse serves as the second key component to environmentally beneficial landscaping. Reuse of products prolongs the useful life of these materials, thus delaying final disposal or recycling. Many items can be reused effectively without adding much time or energy.

Recycle

Recycling is the segregation, collection, storage, and removal of recyclable or compostable materials from the municipal solid waste stream. Recycling minimizes waste generation by recovering and reprocessing usable products that might otherwise be disposed of (e.g., plastics, green trimmings, food waste).

Rebuy

Rebuying means re-thinking your purchasing habits. Look for products that meet your needs but have a better environmental profile than your current product purchases. Consider biobased, recycled content, and other environmentally preferable aspects in your purchasing decisions. Recycled products, for example, are often more durable than those made with virgin materials, saving money and raw materials over time.

Rebuying is key to sustaining recycling markets, and it aids in the development of technology that conserves resources and prevents waste. Work with your managers, clients, suppliers, and vendors to identify and establish specifications to purchase various environmentally preferable products.

The EPA provides programs for GreenScape Partners and Allies for participants who include landscape contractors; golf facilities; the highway and street construction industry; parks and recreation operations; schools; hospitals; state, city, and local governments; industry associations; . . . just to name a few.

CONTACT:
EPA Greenscape program information: www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/green/



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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