Green Norman

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Environmental Control Advisory Board

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July 24 DIY Rain Chain Workshop

DIY Rain Chain Workshop

July 24, 2022, 1-2:30 PM at the at Lake Thunderbird State Park Nature Center (1201 Clear Bay Ave):  DIY Rain Chain Workshop. Supplies will be provided for the first ten registrants. Registration:

July 30 Clean-Up and Workshop

Clean-Up and Workshop

July 30, 2022, Love Your Lake Clean-up and Workshop at COMCD Offices 12500 Alameda Dr. registration

Tips for Conserving Water

A hand catching a drop of water

Every drop counts! Here are some great tips for conserving water!



Never use your toilet as a waste basket.

Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.

Take short showers instead of tub baths. Turn off the water flow while soaping or shampooing.

If you must use a tub, close the drain before turning on the water and fill the tub only half full. Bathe small children together.

Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it -such as watering a plant or garden.

Kitchen and Laundry:

Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.

Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin. Use a vegetable brush.

Do not use water to defrost frozen foods, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Use a dishpan for washing and rinsing dishes.

Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher.

Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal

Operate the dishwasher only when completely full.

Use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.


Sweep driveways, sidewalks and steps rather than hosing off.

Wash the car with water from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.

When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.

Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.

If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter.

Lower pool water level to reduce amount of water splashed out.

Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when pool is not being used


Repair all leaks. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. To detect leaks in the toilet, add food coloring to the tank water. If the colored water appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking. Toilet repair advice is available at

Install ultra-low flow toilets, or place a plastic container filled with water or gravel in the tank of your conventional toilet. Be sure it does not interfere with operation of the toilet’s flush mechanism.

Install low-flow aerators and showerheads.

Consider purchasing a high efficiency washing machine which can save over 50% in water and energy use.


Water Efficiency Measures for Landscaping


Detect and repair all leaks in irrigation systems.

Use properly treated wastewater for irrigation where available.

Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best). Do not water on windy days.

Water trees and shrubs, which have deep root systems, longer and less frequently than shallow-rooted plants which require smaller amounts of water more often. Check with the local extension service for advice on the amount and frequency of watering needed in your area.

Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only - not the street or sidewalk.

Use soaker hoses and trickle irrigation systems.

Install moisture sensors on sprinkler systems.


Have your soil tested for nutrient content and add organic matter if needed. Good soil absorbs and retains water better.

Minimize turf areas and use native grasses.

Use native plants in your landscape - they require less care and water than ornamental varieties.


Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and cut down on weed growth.

Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage movement of water to the root zone.

Raise your lawn mower cutting height - longer grass blades help shade each other, cut down on evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.

Minimize or eliminate fertilizing which requires additional watering, and promotes new growth which will also need additional watering.

Ornamental Water Features:

Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. Use signs to indicate that water is recycled. Do not operate during a drought.


food service foam

Take out containers (clamshells), cups (without paper labels), bowls (that individual servings of beans, potato salad & slaw come in), etc., can be any color as long as they are "CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!"


"Clean" means no remaining FOOD, DRINK OR DIRT. What was in the cup or on the plate is unknown.

Stained items are "clean" if you can rub your thumb over the stained area and your thumb doesn't look shiny afterward. Some items may just need to be wiped with a napkin (sandwich crumbs). Others may need soap & water (chips and dip, spaghetti, refried beans, etc.).

We cannot put dirty foam in the densifier. It contaminates all other clean foam and makes it worthless. It makes the densifier sticky which causes crumbled foam to clump up and jam the machine.

packaging foam

A Reminder: Foam packaging or food service products "break or snap in two" when bent. If foam bends, it's #4 plastic, not the #6 that can be recycled through densifying. Packaging foam must have all TAPE and PAPER LABELS REMOVED before recycling. Some foam may have cardboard backing that also needs to be removed.



"Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)," the #6 in the recycle triangle found on plastic containers, and named "Styrofoam" by its inventor, the Dow Chemical Corporation, is a known carcinogen if eaten, burned in incinerators, or left to leach into the soil by placing it in the landfill instead of being recycled. It will essentially remain, crushed, dirty and broken, 500 years from now; It doesn't decompose. The cup you drank your morning coffee from will remain in the environment "forever."

"Foam" wreaks havoc on the environment. One of the main concerns is that it's not biodegradable and therefore takes up a lot of space in landfills, which adds to the pollution problem. If littered, EPS foam sometimes breaks into smaller pieces that are more difficult to clean up. Another argument against EPS foam is that it's made from nonrenewable fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals, which can also contribute to pollution. EPS foam sometimes makes its way into waterways and can have disastrous effects on animals that may confuse it for food or nesting material.

In 2019, coalition of local churches called "Churches Caring for Creation," decided to work together to develop a program with the goal of safely recycling #6 plastic. This goal has spread to the public collection of foam in 6 central Oklahoma communities.


The foam logs are placed on pallets and stored under a protective cover because plastic deteriorates when exposed to light. (Think about plastic outdoor furniture left out in the sun.)

A major national plastics recycler has expressed interest in securing our densified logs. They will sell and transport the foam to manufacturers who make new items from recycled foam. Some of these items include picture frames, crown molding and decorative trim for ships, motor homes and airplanes in which keeping weight to a minimum is beneficial.

It’s more economical to make new foam items from recycled foam than using virgin chemicals. Any proceeds of this sale will be returned to the foam densifying program to pay for equipment, gasoline, and densifying supplies.


A "Styro-Station" where foam can be dropped off for safe recycling is located at:

University Lutheran Church & Student Center

914 Elm (1ST block south of Lindsey)

*Styro-Station is easily accessed off the church parking lot located on College, behind the church.

Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A drop-off box is placed outside the door if the office is closed.

Items to recycle include foodservice containers and packaging foam, but no packaging peanuts. Because all foam must be "clean,Clean, CLEAN" to densify into

solid plastic logs, all items brought to recycle must be grease-free, food and drink-free, and have tape and paper labels removed.

++ Please bring egg cartons WHOLE as they are recycled to a family poultry farmer in Seminole, OK.


reduce reuse recycle

Public Libraries in several Central Oklahoma towns are hosting collection/densifying events in 2022. Additional dates will be added as they are scheduled.

(Saturdays from 10 - Noon unless noted otherwise.)

06/04 – Noble Public Library 06/25 – Shawnee Public Library

07/09 – Norman Public Library (Central) 08/06 – Moore Public Library

08/13 – Norman (HHWF) 08/27 – Noble Public Library

09/10 – Newcastle Public Library 10 – Noon

             Blanchard Public Library 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

09/17 – Shawnee Public Library 10/22 – Norman Public Library

11/12 – Norman (HHWF)

1/7/23 – Shawnee Public Library


Timely Topic of the Day

Facts on Composting
Yard by Yard image
Mission Accomplished

City of Norman Accomplishments

  • Leader in Norman, Renewable Energy & Energy Conservation
  • Recycling, Household Hazardous Waste & Compost & Yard Waste
  • Seasonal Cleanup, FOG Program & Water Conservation & Protection

Water's Worth It™

Water's Worth It™