Accessories: Furnish the Room

Chapter 7

I remember my Dad describing what it was like to grow up during the Great Depression. Possessions were well-made and valued. Clocks, shoes, and appliances were repaired, not thrown away and replaced. Outgrown clothes became "hand-me-downs" to younger siblings or cousins. He would lament the wastefulness of society with plastic appliances that were cheaper to replace than repair and furnishings that were disposed of rather than refurbished.

Over the past few decades, society has finally embraced the 3R's —Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Communities actively recycle glass bottles, metal cans, and newspapers. Our children don't think twice when disposing of a drink can in the recycling bin. It's just what we do. But when it comes to purchasing materials and furnishings for our garden, we have not fully embraced or even understand what makes a product "green." The standard approach to refurbishing the garden is to demolish unwanted vegetation and structures, haul them away to the landfill, and then bring in brand new materials, often shipped great distances or manufactured with considerable resources and energy without considering the environmental impact.

There are many products that claim to be "green" and the information in this chapter will help the reader sort through all the options and make informed decisions.

Over the past few decades, society has finally embraced the 3R's —reduce,  reuse, recycle. Communities actively  recycle glass bottles, metal cans, and  newspapers. Our children don't think twice when disposing of a drink can in the recycling bin. It's just what we do.

But when it comes to purchasing materials and furnishings for our garden, we have not fully embraced or even  understand what makes a product "green." The standard approach to refurbishing the garden is to demolish unwanted vegetation and structures, haul them away to the landfill, and then bring in brand new materials, often shipped great distances or manufactured with considerable resources and energy without considering the environmental impact.

Check back soon for a peak inside this chapter with additional information about choosing paving materials...

Paving Materials

With a wide variety of paving materials available, a number of factors will determine how green your choices are,
including the following:

  • Raw materials: are they mined from a local quarry or recycled material? Are there environmental impacts with extraction and manufacture?
  •  Permeability: to slow runoff of rain water, capture pollutants, encourage percolation into the ground, and protect water quality. Permeable paving is always preferred.
  • Reflectivity: light-colored paving reflects sunlight, reducing the heat build-up in your yard and the environment and lessening the impactupon global warming.
  • Embodied energy: is your lovely paver imported? Where was it manufactured and how was it shipped?

The following table ranks paving choices in these terms and notes the
basic pros and cons of each. Choose the material with the least impact on
the environment that meets your needs.

Contact Us

Sarah Sutton
1700 Shattuck Avenue, #87
Berkeley, California 94709
Telephone: 510-685-0021

 

Resources

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