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Erie County, partners observe Earth Month with sale on rain barrels, compost bins

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Mon, Apr 11th 2016 12:10 pm

Department of Environment and Planning, WNY Stormwater Coalition Partner to Protect the Environment, Promote Composting

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning and the Western New York Stormwater Coalition are collaborating to promote water conservation and composting by making compost units and rain barrels available to local residents, helping to reduce stormwater runoff and promote home composting for more nutrient-rich soils. Residents are encouraged to celebrate Earth Month every month by adding a barrel and bin to their yards and helping to create a cleaner, greener Erie County.

"Everyone has a role to play in protecting our environment, and this collaboration between the Department of Environment and Planning and their partners will make it easier for residents to do their part in reducing runoff and creating their own compost," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "I encourage residents to use these barrels and composters and improve not only their own home gardens, but our overall environment, as well."

There are several environmental benefits associated with rain barrels. Foremost among these is the barrels' role in reducing stormwater runoff, which is water that is not absorbed by the ground during rain events but rather "runs off" roofs and paved surfaces, transporting pollutants into waterways.

Water harvested by rain barrels can be used for watering lawns, gardens and potted plants, and for washing patio furniture and yard tools. The water conserved in rain barrels also contains natural nutrients that make it better for plant applications than tap water, which has chlorine and fluoride in it. In addition, gardeners utilizing rain barrels can minimize or eliminate their usage of chemical fertilizers.

Composting yard trimmings and food waste is a simple way to recycle nutrients and return them to the soil. The addition of compost enriches soil and will stimulate plant growth, also reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Composting has the added benefit of reducing the amount of solid waste that would otherwise go to a landfill.

The rain barrels and compost bins can be purchased online at www.erie.gov/stormwater.

Orders must be placed by May 20; anticipated date for pickup is June 15.

There will be two locations for pick up: one in Tonawanda and one in Orchard Park. Buyers will select their preference at the time of order, and will be contacted by email in June to provide directions and specific dates and times for pick up.

Prices for the barrels, bins, and composting tools are below:

  • Rain barrels, $58.49 each (tax included)
  • Compost bins, $41.08 each (tax included)
  • Kitchen compost container, $5.74 each (tax included)
  • Compost turner tool, $16.03 each (tax included)

For more information, contact the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning at 716-858-6370.

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