Standing amidst an array of rain barrels and composting units designed for homeowner use, Supervisor Kate Murray, Councilwoman Angie Cullin and a group of environmentally-conscious residents kicked-off Hempstead Town’s home grown “eco-heroes” initiative. With almost 2,000 residents pre-registered, America’s largest township is poised to distribute rain collection barrels and composting units to area homeowners who plan to conserve water with rain barrels and reduce the amount of household waste entering the waste stream through composting. Also at the “eco-heroes” press announcement were Town Clerk Mark Bonilla and Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin.
“I am excited that our township has almost 2,000 home grown ‘eco-heroes’ who are committed to making our planet a healthier place for our families and future generations,” said Murray. “Our ‘eco-heroes’ will be conserving tap water by utilizing rain barrels for gardening, and composting will decrease materials entering the waste stream while reducing the need for purchased soil additives for gardeners.”
The Town announced that it would be offering the rain barrels and composters at substantially reduced prices compared to typical retail costs a few months ago. Both of the items are being offered at a minimal cost of $45 each, about half the retail price of store bought products. Pre-registered residents are being contacted by the Town, and will be provided first priority to receive the items. Residents who have not pre-registered may call the Town’s sanitation department at (516) 378-4210 to be placed on a “first call – first served” list behind pre-registered residents while supplies last. The units are available to Town of Hempstead residents only.
“I am in awe at the number of people who signed up for this program,” stated Cullin. “It’s encouraging to see how many neighbors care about the environment.”
Murray explained that the Town got into the rain barrel and composting unit business because it is important for government to take an active leadership role in encouraging people to be responsible stewards of the planet. Town officials also noted that family use of rain barrels and composters provides an educational opportunity, especially for young people. Murray observed that these two programs allow neighbors to demonstrate to others that we can effectively make a genuine difference in improving the environment.
“Rain barrel usage and composting provides us with an opportunity to teach young people about our planet, conservation, reuse and recycling,” said Murray. “What’s more, families are demonstrating to others that we can make a real and positive difference in the health of our planet.”
The 50-gallon rain barrels being offered to neighbors are designed to integrate into homeowner gutters and leaders, collecting rainwater from roofs. While the water is not potable, it is ideal for watering gardens and lawns. During a heavy rainfall, a typical roof can provide hundreds of gallons of water. By recycling/collecting rainwater, it is estimated that tap water usage can be reduced by as much as 40% during certain periods. Murray and Cullin noted that in addition to water conservation, rain barrel usage could help lower water bills. Experts also indicate that using rain barrels helps reduce harmful storm water runoff into area bays and waterways.
“One of the great benefits of using a rain barrel, beyond conserving an important resource, is that homeowners can reduce their water bills,” said Cullin.
Hempstead Town’s Compost Wizard Jr. is a 7-cubic foot composter made of 100% recycled resin. The round composting drum sits on a roller base, allowing for easy turning/aeration of organic material and more effective breakdown of leaves, grass and other composted items. Typically, composting involves the mixing of equal parts “greens” (fresh, moist, nitrogen rich materials such as grass, flowers, plants, fruit and vegetable scraps) along with “browns” (dead, dry carbon-rich materials such as brown leaves, dry plant material, pine needles, potting soil, old bread, sawdust, wood ashes, etc.). Combining “greens” and “browns,” oxygen and water acts upon the organic matter and breaks it down into a rich and healthy soil additive. The Town will provide residents with instructions for composters to help avoid pitfalls such as composting odors.
“I salute our home grown ‘eco-heroes’ for taking a leadership role in keeping our planet ‘green’,” concluded Murray. “By offering composting and rain collection programs, we’re getting neighbors involved in a process that helps the planet, educates young people and demonstrates to others that it is easy to ‘go green.’”