As more and more of us realize how our daily lives can affect the environment, it is crucial for us to understand and implement ways to reduce our negative impact. Here on St. Croix, we are surrounded by the beauty that nature provides us, and yet it seems as if we are behind the times in trying to preserve that fact. So, what can we do? Here are a few simple ways you and your family can help to keep St. Croix Green…
Seek to reduce your personal impact by implementing small changes like reducing the amount of waste you produce. Re-use as many things as you can instead of tossing them. For example, composting is a great way to reuse biodegradable or green waste (coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit/vegetable trimmings, landscape/yard trimmings such as leaves and palm fronds) and composting reduces greenhouse gases from landfills, saves you money on fertilizers, and creates a nutrient-rich, chemical-free soil for your yard or garden.
Recycling whatever and whenever possible is a well known way to ‘go green’, and is always highly encouraged. However, proper disposal of household waste, especially hazardous materials, is also critical. Keep our island, it’s beaches and, most importantly, the surrounding ocean, reef and marine life safe and clean by picking up and properly disposing of your trash. If you pack it in, pack it out! The Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) has multiple programs in place to encourage recycling and proper waste disposal, and you can visit their website for more information. Also, the Peter’s Rest Convenience Center, located mid-island, opens at 6am daily for residential trash disposal and includes a bin for recycling steel and aluminum cans to benefit the St. Croix Boys and Girls Club, as well as accepting scrap metal, electronic and hazardous materials waste for proper disposal.
Reduce the amount of the non-renewable resources you consume. Conserve electricity by turning off electronics, lights and ceiling fans when not in use. Try hanging your clothes out to dry instead of using a gas or electric dryer. And, go solar if possible! Not only will these things save you money on your utility bills, but they will conserve non-renewable energy sources. Also, conserve water whenever possible by simply turning the faucet off when brushing your teeth or washing dishes, and by taking short showers, and running appliances like the washer and dishwasher only with full loads.
Seek out the businesses here on St. Croix that are striving to improve their environmental impact and promote eco-friendly tourism and commerce. The more we support those businesses, the more they can do for our community and our environment.Last, but certainly not least, teach your children and the youth of the community all of the things they can do to help, and get them involved! The best thing we can do to keep St. Croix green is to instill the value of reducing, reusing and recycling to the next generation.