Last Saturday, the UM FLAT held its first Work Day for the fall semester. FLATmates and volunteers sanded and varnished the front porch, pressed nine gallons of apple cider and weeded and mulched several garden beds. These three projects represent the triple R’s of the dictum: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Power tools can be expensive, and for most do-it-yourselfers, sporadic use hardly justifies the investment. Luckily, the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD) has a tool library which allowed the UM FLAT to check out electric sanders for free. The varnish was purchased for a few dollars from Home Resource, a business which collects and sells reusable building materials to reduce waste and support a more sustainable community.
Sometimes when it rains, it pours. Anyone with a fruit tree would most likely agree. The UM FLATmates and volunteers made cider with apples donated from the neighborhood, Environmental Science Professor Vicki Watson and the Great Bear Foundation. While apples can last up to six months in a refrigerator or cellar, turning them into cider is another way to reuse excess fruit – especially if space is limited.
Gleaning fruit is also a good practice to reduce human-wildlife conflict. Bears often wander into yards to feast on easy food sources, which puts them into close contact with people and pets. The Great Bear Foundation and its volunteers collect fruit, host cider-making events and lend out its cider press to community members. For more information, visit the Great Bear Foundation website.
In August, strong winds knocked down a significant number of large branches and trees around the University of Montana campus. This wood was recycled into mulch, some of which was generously donated to the UM FLAT to cover several garden beds. A thick layer of mulch can help suppress the growth of weeds, retain moisture and add nutrients back into the soil.
To learn more about reducing, reusing and recycling, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/recycle