1 Thing: How to keep it sustainable while cleaning up after a storm

How to make natural disaster clean up more earth-friendly

October 4, 2018

If you had a chance to see the destruction that last week’s storm caused in southeastern Minnesota, you may be thinking, “How do we clean this up?” It’s a question that I asked myself as I drove past the airport in Faribault to see building debris tangled in the woods across the street. When disaster strikes, there are  ways of cleaning up that are more sustainable, a few are below.

  • Food Waste in a Power Outage:
    • Try not to open your fridge if possible.
    • Foods in a closed full freezers can stay fresh for up to 48 hours.
    • When food does go bad, compost as much as possible.
  • Organic Waste:
    • Leaves, branches, and smaller twigs can all be composted.
    • For larger trees or branches, cut them into firewood and keep them local.
    • DO NOT transport firewood more than 10 miles to prevent spread of invasive species.
    • Use less of small engined appliances like leaf blowers, a rake works just fine and has an added bonus of a great work out.
  • Building/Household Waste:
    • Recycle as much debris as possible.
    • Glass, metals, and cardboard can all be recycled normally.
    • Be careful when handling broken glass or shards of metal — wear gloves!
    • Always keep yard waste separate from building waste for healthy composting and clean recycling.
    • Try salvaging clothes and furniture by cleaning and repairing, rather than throwing out and buying new.

It’s important to remember that safety is the number one priority when cleaning up after a storm.

The quicker the debris is picked up, the less of a danger it will be if another storm is approaching or winds come back. All-in-all, we can all do more to prevent disasters from being even worse by purchasing more sustainably, composting as much as possible and recycling more than just paper.

When a storm strikes, make this the 1Thing you can do to help make our world a better place.