19 Things You Can Do To Improve The Environment

Posted to Environmental, Services on Jul 2, 2019

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Step 1: Turn it off
Energy conservation is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Leaving your electrics on standby needlessly uses up energy – hit the off switch and you could see huge improvements, most noticeably in your energy bills!

Step 2: Invest in eco-friendly technology
Want to go further than simply turning it off? Make sure that the technology or appliances you have are is as energy-efficient as possible. This way, you’re using much less energy for the time that the product is on, saving money, and reducing your energy output.

Step 3: Switch to renewables
Installing solar panels or changing your energy supplier to one that’s 100% renewable is a great eco-friendly tip for any home.

Step 4: Eat less meat
Being careful with what you’re consuming is at the heart of being more eco-friendly, and cutting down on the amount of meat you eat can have a huge impact on reducing your carbon footprint. For more information, read “The Ecological Hoofprint” by Tony Weiss

Step 5: Don’t waste food
More than half of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted, report says. A whopping 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada – 35.5 million tonnes – is lost or wasted, according to a new report, and about a third of that wasted food could be “rescued” and sent to communities in need across the country.

Step 6: Compost
If you have let your food go that little bit too far past its ‘best by’ then you need to be sure to compost it rather than putting it in the garbage. Not only will this help create a natural fertilizer and keep your garden green, it’ll also reduce the amount of waste going to landfill - and as it won’t break down anaerobically, there will not be a build-up of methane gas.

Step 7: Recycle everything
Although our recycling markets are declining, continue to recycle in case new markets develop. The main thing is to recycle products that are truly recyclable and make sure it’s clean.

Step 8: Try to cut out plastic
Plastic seems to have found its way into every single aspect of our lives. However, giving it up isn’t as difficult as you might think – bring a canvas bag with you when you go shopping, buy your fruit and vegetables loose and don’t buy bottled water.

Step 9: Use LED light bulbs
Not only do LED light bulbs last longer than conventional bulbs, they’re far more efficient too! This means that you’ll be using less power and having to replace your light bulbs less frequently – everyone’s a winner. What's more, they're available in a range of brightness and designs so you can really tailor the lighting to your needs or to suit the room.

Step 10: Insulate your home
Homes that aren’t well insulated are much harder to keep warm when it's cold, and cool when the weather is hot. Insulating your home is one of the best, ecofriendly things you can do for your home. However, spray foam produces a lot of GHGs during installation so best to use other types of insulation. See https://www.buildinggreen.com/news-article/avoiding-global-warming-impact-insulation to learn more.

Step 11: Fix it, don’t throw it
Repairing or fixing something is more environmentally friendly than simply throwing things away, although the latter may seem easier and cheaper sometimes. The internet gives you access to the tools and information you need to fix practically anything, and if you still can’t fix it then why not try and turn it into something else? Sign up to participate in a REPAIR CAFÉ.

Step 12: Use eco-friendly cleaning products
A lot of cleaning products have a lot of harmful chemicals in them that aren’t environmentally friendly to create or dispose of. In fact, repeated exposure to these cleaning products can affect your health as well as the environment. Green cleaning products use more natural and organic methods of cleaning which are far less harmful.

Step 13: Drive Less
If you can make the journey by foot, bike or public transport, then do it. Driving isn’t very eco-friendly and can really add to your carbon footprint. When you do have to drive, make sure that you get the most out of your vehicle by keeping the speed down, ensuring tires are properly inflated and that the engine is running smoothly.

Step 14: Use your microwave
Honestly, you’d be surprised by how much more energy efficient microwaves are compared to conventional ovens. While you’re already surprised, you may as well continue to be shocked with some of the awesome things you can cook in a microwave (hint: it’s not just ready meals).

Step 15: Buy local
From clothes to food, the closer to home these products are made and bought, the less carbon is created with their transportation. Not only that, but you’ll be supporting the local economy which means that in time you’ll likely have even more local items to choose from.

Step 16: Don't fly
Flying is one of the most environmentally damaging things you can do. Why not stay a bit closer to home and explore some beautiful local nature? Camping, hiking and cycling are all great things to do and are extremely low carbon.

Step 17: Grow your own
Growing your own vegetables isn’t just a good way to save money, it’s also a great way to cut down your carbon footprint and be eco-friendly. Don’t have any outside space? Windowsill boxes are a great way to brighten up your view, filter the air coming into your home and offer plenty of space for herbs and small vegetable patches.

Step 18: Plant some trees
Ecological sustainability is very important when it comes to eco-friendly living. Without a stable ecosystem, things start to fall apart. Making sure that we’re planting more native trees to replace those that have been felled to make room for developments is something that more people and businesses need to do to protect the environment and improve air quality.

Step 19: Choose your personal care wisely
When it comes to personal hygiene there are some things you ca do for a truly eco-friendly lifestyle. Avoid chemicals and opt for natural cleaning products. You can also buy personal care products that have less packaging.

This article has been modified from The Ultimate 20 Step Guide to Eco-friendly Living 

Animal License Application Form

Posted to Administrative, By-Law, Downloads, Services on Jun 27, 2019

Municipal Facility Rental Agreement Form

Posted to Administrative, Downloads, Services on Jun 27, 2019

Your Septic System Health: Dos, Don'ts & Maintenance Tips

Posted to Environmental, Services on Jun 21, 2019

What you put into your septic system greatly affects its ability to function and perform its job as intended. A septic tank and system contains living organisms that breakdown, digest and treat sewage waste. These systems are not designed to treat any garbage or waste other than sewage waste and any solids that shouldn’t enter the tank will simply build up and eventually need to be pumped or removed. The more solids that go in will increase the frequency that the tank needs to be pumped and, can cause damage to the tile field. Tile field failure will cause the complete system to stop functioning.

Educating all members of the household in the operation and care of the system and what should and shouldn’t be put into the system can save a lot of problems and money while prolonging the life of your system. This also protects the health of your property and the surrounding environment.

Septic Installation

If you are planning an addition to your dwelling that involves 15% or more floor area, an increase in the number of bedrooms or, an increase in the number of plumbing fixtures you may need to enlarge or even replace your existing system;

Do

  • Contact your local Municipal Building Department regarding any planned expansion or build,
  • Use a professional licensed contractor or designer.

Don't

  • Expand the size of your residence, add a suite or apartment, or a business such as a Bed & Breakfast or daycare without having your existing system checked,
  • Attempt to repair or install your system without the assistance of a qualified contractor,
  • Make or allow repairs to your system without the proper permits in place.

Septic Waste

Do

  • Dispose of solids appropriately. Only flush sewage wastewater and toilet paper,
  • Dispose of chemicals etc. at approved waste sites,
  • Dispose of grease with regular garbage or compost if applicable,
  • Try to avoid use of household bleach and disinfectants,
  • Return leftover medications to your pharmacy.

Don't 

  • Put cigarette butts, paper towels, tissues, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers etc. into a septic tank,
  • Put food scraps, coffee grounds, and other food items down the drain.
  • Put solvents, oils, or any other chemical into the system. These will poison the system and cause the breakdown of solids to stop, damage the tank and tile field,
  • Put cooking grease down the drain. This can solidify and plug pipes and tile field,
  • Allow water softener backwash drains to be connected to the system.

Tile Bed or Drainfield

Do

  • Watch for settlement on or around the tile field that would allow water to drain on to or pond,
  • Keep the area grassed to avoid erosion and promote evaporation in the bed area,
  • Keep the area protected to prevent vehicles or any kind from travelling over the bed,
  • Keep shrubs and trees a minimum of 3 meters away from the edge of the bed.

Don't

  • Allow vehicles (cars, trailers, snowmobiles etc.) to go over the tile bed,
  • Plant any shrubs, trees or vegetation on the bed whose roots will plug the tile,
  • Alter drainage that will permit water to flow onto the bed area,
  • Build any structures on the bed area. Any building is to be minimum 5 meters away from edge of bed,
  • Install automatic lawn sprinklers in the area.

System Maintenance

Do

  • Learn the location of your septic tank and tile field,
  • If equipped, inspect and clean the effluent filter located at the outlet of the tank annually as a minimum,
  • Keep the tank access lids accessible for pumping, inspection, maintenance etc.,
  • Have your septic tank pumped every 3 to 5 years or as required by an approved contractor,
  • Have your system inspected annually,
  • If equipped, have the sewage ejector pump or effluent pump inspected and maintenance performed annually or as necessary,
  • Call a licensed contractor or professional if you experience problems or require repairs,
  • Keep a record of your system permit, repairs, pumping, inspections and other maintenance activities.

Don't

  • Ignore the system (out of sight, out of mind) and assume that it is working properly. For example, a cracked or leaking tank may not show up in the operation of the plumbing system of your home but, can cause environmental damage and contamination of surface or ground waters.

10 Ways to Improve Recycling in Highlands East

Posted to Environmental, Services on Jun 21, 2019

As you know, the Blue Box recycling program has been in effect in the Municipality of Highlands East for many years. But did you know that Recycling is mandatory for municipalities and is becoming more expensive every year to administer? In 2018 Highlands East paid $80,000 to haul and process 430 tonnes of recycled materials that is generated by our residents and businesses. Each municipality must develop its own waste management and recycling program and must be in compliance with the Environmental Protection Act.

There have been many recent media articles and broadcasts regarding recycling markets becoming less and less profitable which may cause some materials to no longer be accepted as part of our recycling program in the very near future. We all need to be mindful of these developments and attempt to change our purchasing habits to reduce our overall impact on our environment.

The residents of Highlands East are committed to the recycling program, but there are many things that can be done to ensure our program is successful.

Recycling Tips

  1. Take some time to review what is recyclable in Highlands East. It might not be the same in other municipalities. There is a downloadable recycling guide on the municipal website that will help you understand what is, and isn’t, recyclable. 
  2. Make sure you only place acceptable items in your recycling. Otherwise the entire contents can become contaminated and will be rejected by the recycling processor. Posting the Recycling Guide where you store your recyclable materials may help remind you about what should go into each container.
  3. Rinse bottles, jars and other containers. If they are not clean they may contaminate other material that is deposited into blue box for recycling.
  4. Try to buy items with minimal packaging.
  5. Try to use reusable containers/bags when shopping.
  6. Try to choose retailers that reduce packaging.
  7. Use refillable containers for drinks. Plastic bottles and paper cups are a large portion of recycling materials and are getting more difficult to process and sell in the recycling market today.
  8. Share magazines and newspapers with friends.
  9. Consider taking a plastic bag when you go for a walk to pick up garbage and recyclables.
  10. Choose to compost to lessen the impact on the landfill. The added bonus is the composted material goes back in your garden.

The Municipality has invested in the establishment of a new Waste Info App to be added to the website in the near future and this resource should be able to address any questions/concerns you may have regarding recycle and waste programs at our landfills.

Fraud Alert: Watch out for local Fire Department Phone Scams

Posted to Fire Rescue, News & Notices, Services on Jun 7, 2019

Be advised, the Municipality of Highlands East Fire Departments, other Fire Departments of Haliburton County and the Firefighters Associations DO NOT solicit funds over the phone. We have received reports of such calls happening throughout the County. Always be vigilant, and never give out personal information or money over the phone.

2019 Tax Rates

Posted to Services, Taxes on May 22, 2019
  County Municipal School Total
Residential 0.00210683 0.004782 0.0016100 0.00849883
Commercial 0.00312380 0.007091 0.0103000 0.02051480
Commercial Vacant 0.00218666 0.004963 0.0087550 0.01590466
Industrial 0.00361975 0.008216 0.0103000 0.02213575
Farmland 0.00052671 0.001196 0.0004025 0.00212521
Managed Forest 0.00052671 0.001196 0.0004025 0.00212521

Get your Questions Answered at the Highlands East Visitor Information Centre mid-May through Thanksgiving

Posted to Activities, Administrative, Events, News & Notices, Services on May 22, 2019

The Highland East Vistor Information Centre is located at 2786 Essonville Line in Wilberforce (at the Curling Club) and is open daily, mid-May through Thanksgiving from 10:00AM through 4:00PM (closed Tuesdays) and offers mineral permission to collect forms and directions, geocaching information and GPS rentals, trails, events and other general area information.

Contact the Info Centre at 705-448-2981 Ext. 432 or email jvanier [at] highlandseast [dot] ca.

 

During the off-season please call Joanne Vanier, Community Economic Development & Committee Coordinator at 705-448-2981 Ext. 433 or Tracy Millar, Receptionist at 705-448-2981 Ext. 421 or by email at info [at] highlandseast [dot] ca

Private Road Grant Program and Application Form

Posted to Applications, Downloads, Roads, Services on May 16, 2019

The Municipality of Highlands East has established a grant program for the improvement of private roads. The By-Law, Policy and Application form is available for download below.

Download File

Emergency Preparedness Week 2019: Are You Ready?

Posted to Fire Rescue, News & Notices, Services on May 8, 2019
Emergencies can happen anytime. Are you ready?

2019 Emergency Preparedness Week's theme is “Are You Ready?” and focuses on the importance of individuals and families being prepared for emergencies before they happen. Download the Emergency Preparedness Pocket Guide which features updated information on how you and your family can prepare for an emergency and follow the links below for additional specialized preparedness guides:

Download File