Eco-Friendly Ways to De-Ice the roads and sidewalks

With snow and ice piling up, you may be tempted to turn to harsh road salt and other chemicals to combat slippery surfaces.

You’re not alone—but before you head to the hardware store, consider these green alternatives (the Earth and your pets will thank you).

Driveways and walkways

Sand: While not the best at melting the snow, sand provides increased traction on surfaces, and can help your card from getting stuck in a snow pile.

Sugar beet juice: The juice from sugar beets is an even better ice-melter than salt, and is much easier on plants and metal surfaces.

Coffee grounds: Like sand, the grainy texture of coffee grounds works wonders at providing increased traction on surfaces. It also is slightly better at melting snow and ice because of its dark color (which attracts more sunlight).

Pickle brine: It might seem like this isn’t a very salt-free alternative, and you’re right. But when mixed with water, pickle juice has a similar effect as sugar beet juice, only with less staining power, and is still safe for plants and animals (and won’t corrode sensitive surfaces).

Windows and delicate surfaces

Vinegar-water: Combine three parts white vinegar with one part water, and you have yourself the ultimate window de-icer. Spray on car windows if you’re in a hurry to defrost. 


A popular and relatively safe DIY de-icer uses dish soap and rubbing alcohol diluted in water.

If you must use a commercial de-icer, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are slightly less harmful to plants (and work at much lower temps) than rock salt (sodium chloride). Urea can work as a de-icer, too. Used sparingly, urea can be beneficial as a fertilizer. But it can also lead to eutrophication in downstream waters and burn plants at higher concentrations.

The EPA maintains a list of de-icers that meet their Safer Choice Standards. These Safer Choice standards do not guarantee absolute safety to humans, pets, and the environment. But they do exclude the most harmful ingredients while assuring comparable product performance.


Before reaching for de-icer, consider materials like sandbox sand or kitty litter that won’t melt ice but can provide traction. Fireplace ash is another choice; depending on your soil type, this could be beneficial to your plants. Alfalfa meal is another material that may serve as a fertilizer while also providing traction.

Be the Good Neighbor!

Elderly or physically limited neighbors can’t apply your new de-icing knowledge without risking injury. About 100 Americans die shoveling snow every year. If you can make the time, offer to help clear a neighbor’s sidewalk to help prevent falls or worse. It’s a great way to establish a new relationship and make your community a better place.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and there a plenty of people finding a way to remove snow and ice inventively without the use of harsh chemicals. 

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator


Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment.

Benefits of Recycling

Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators

Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals

Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials

Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials

Saves energy

Supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources

Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States

Steps to Recycling Materials

Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous loop, represented by the familiar recycling symbol.

Step 1: Collection and Processing

There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs. Visit How do I recycle… Common Recyclables

After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand in the United States and the world.

Step 2: Manufacturing

More and more of today’s products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include the following:

Newspapers and paper towels

Aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers

Steel cans

Plastic laundry detergent bottles

Recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches.

Step 3: Purchasing New Products Made from Recycled Materials

You help close the recycling loop by buying new products made from recycled materials. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content. When you go shopping, look for the following:

Products that can be easily recycled

Products that contain recycled content

Below are some of the terms used:

Recycled-content product – The product was manufactured with recycled materials either collected from a recycling program or from waste recovered during the normal manufacturing process. The label will sometimes include how much of the content was from recycled materials.

Post-consumer content – Very similar to recycled content, but the material comes only from recyclables collected from consumers or businesses through a recycling program.

Recyclable product – Products that can be collected, processed and manufactured into new products after they have been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials. Remember not all kinds of recyclables may be collected in your community so be sure to check with your local recycling program before you buy.

Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include the following:

Aluminum cans

Car bumpers


Cereal boxes

Comic books

Egg cartons

Glass containers

Laundry detergent bottles

Motor oil



Paper towels

Steel products

Trash bags

EPA released significant findings on the economic benefits of the recycling industry with an update to the national Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study in 2016. This study analyzes the numbers of jobs, wages and tax revenues attributed to recycling. The study found that in a single year, recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for:

681,000 jobs

$37.8 billion in wages; and

$5.5 billion in tax revenues.

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator

Save Energy

Easy Ways to Save Energy at Home and Spend Less

Consider these steps to cut your home’s energy consumption, keep utility bills low, and lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Energy-efficient home upgrades are not only environmentally responsible, but they can also save you a lot of money over time. Even small updates, such as swapping old lightbulbs for LED versions, can make a huge difference. And while large-scale changes like replacing windows or adding insulation help reduce energy consumption in the long run, a lot of energy-saving updates can be accomplished in a day or less. Another reason to consider? Many of the energy-efficient renovations you can make to your home qualify for tax credits. Below, see some of the top home improvements for reducing energy consumption and saving on your utility bill.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room. If that’s difficult for you or your kids to remember, buy lights with occupancy sensors that automatically turn off when there hasn’t been any movement for a period of time. Consider dimmer switches that let you reduce lighting when you don’t need it and have occupancy sensors. Dimmers can easily replace a regular switch and keep a low profile.

Leaving gadgets and charger cords plugged in when not in use can account for as much as 10% of a home’s energy use. Simply unplugging what’s not being used can make a big difference on your energy bills. Instead, plug devices into a power strip that you can switch off when not in use. Remember to unplug what you can when you leave your home as well.

Do your laundry in cold water. Many of today’s detergents and fabric softeners are much more efficient and don’t necessarily need hot water. Using cold water means you won’t have to waste energy to start up the water heater.

In the summer months, line-dry your laundry instead of using a dryer. Reducing your use of a dryer can save up to $100 a year in operating costs. Plus, line-drying is easier on your clothes, so you save what you would otherwise spend on wear and tear.

Lower the temperature on your water heater. Most water heaters are set much too high at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Save energy by turning your water heater down to 120-110 degrees. Don’t worry, the water will still be comfortable.

Replace incandescent bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) versions. According to, LED lightbulbs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. While more expensive than traditional bulbs upfront, LED lightbulbs save money over time thanks to their long lifespan.

Simple things, such as making wise decisions when choosing home appliances, understanding your daily energy consumption, and developing some simple energy-saving habits are just some of the ways to save energy in our home.

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator

Zero Waste

Sometimes the process of becoming zero waste can seem overwhelming.

Whether you’re just starting to learn about it, or you’ve been working towards it for months now, you’ve probably figured out that it’s not something that happens overnight.

It’s hard to change the ways we’ve done things all our lives.

One of the most overwhelming aspects of modern life is knowing about major global-impact issues like climate change and plastic waste pollution and feeling like there isn’t much that We can do to really change things.

Take all that plastic we go through day in and day out. It’s about the stuff that comes with food and bottled drinks, cosmetics, carryout containers, bags and wrappers — more than 40% of all plastic made is packaging, which is used only once or twice before being thrown away. Don’t we feel at least a little guilty when we toss one plastic snack wrapper or coffee cup after another into the trash?

If not, maybe we should. According to a recent analysis examining global plastic waste generation between 2010 and 2016, the United States was responsible for more plastic trash than any country in the world. That’s millions and millions of tons of plastic waste. Per capita, that boils down to nearly 300 pounds of plastic trash per person(!) per year.

Will it be recycled? Some will, yes, but not that much. It’s estimated that only about 9% of plastic waste generated in the U.S. is recycled and that the rest ends up in landfills, incinerators and, unfortunately, marine environments such as rivers and oceans. And there, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it will remain for hundreds of years.

How can we stop plastic pollution from filling our oceans and endangering wildlife and the environment? Simple: Every one of us, from world leaders and corporate leaders to individuals, needs to take urgent action to reduce how we use and dispose of plastic. 

Here are 9 of the best plastic-free products:

1. Reusable grocery bags 

Opt out of plastic bags at the market. Grab a tote bag — charity and thrift stores and online marketplaces like Etsy are great places to look, or learn how to make your own! 

2. Package-free haircare 

Shampoos and conditioners typically come in plastic bottles, which can be a nightmare for anyone looking to cut plastic waste out of their bathroom. 

Ditch the plastic and go naked with the solid shampoo bars and conditioners. Making haircare solid eliminates the need for plastic bottles, reducing the environmental impact enormously and saving tons of plastic from ever being produced or entering landfills. They’re easy to travel with because they are small and won’t spill in your bag, and they’re very easy to use.

Animal cruelty-free shampoo bars that last up to 80 washes. 

The zero-waste shop Package Free also has multiple options for package-free haircare. And if you’re not a fan of bar soaps for hair, the shop also carries refillable conditioners (packaged in aluminum) that are vegan and chemical free. Opt out of the pump and go for the cap for a fully plastic-free conditioner.

3. Reusable drinking straws

Plastic straws litter our oceans, causing harm to wildlife and are polluting our environment. How we can  solve this everyday problem?

You can find plastic-free straw options at Package Free and Public Goods

4. Plastic-free dish soap

Zero Waste Outlet offers a plastic-free vegan dish-washing block that can last you up to six months of use. You can also purchase its three-piece dish-washing kit that includes the soap block, a palm pot scrub brush, and a bamboo soap dish.  

5. Reusable water bottles

Instead of buying plastic bottled water or using disposable cups, try out a stainless bottle.

6. Reusable and plastic-free food storage and service

The easiest way to protect yourself is admittedly pretty difficult: getting rid of plastic food storage containers. No more pop-top plastic cereal containers or zip-top plastic baggies, no more reheating your soup in the quart-sized plastic takeout container it came in. It’s a big change to make, so we did our part by rounding up some of our favorite nonplastic food storage containers in stainless steel, bamboo, cork, silicone, glass, linen, and wood. Refrigerate, freeze, and microwave to your heart’s content.

7.Make laundry day plastic-free

Liquid laundry detergents packaged in plastic containers can be easily switched out for more environmentally friendly, natural soaps.

8.Waste-free skincare accessories 

Disposable cotton rounds and their plastic packaging are wasteful. The Waste Less Shop for reusable facial rounds, which come in two colors for different applications. The rounds come with a wash bag to keep things clean and plastic-free. 

Switch out the plastic shaving razors for reusable metal razors with replaceable blades instead.

9.Plastic-free oral hygiene

Innovative companies now offer plastic-free dental hygiene alternatives including tubeless toothpaste products and bamboo toothbrushes. Bite, for example, offers tube-free oral care tablets that come in glass jars and act in the same way that toothpaste does to clean your teeth and freshen your breath.

It can seem like a big ask at first, with everything seemingly wrapped up in plastic from food to everyday household products. The good news is that there are eco-conscious brands that want to reduce the amount of plastic you bring home. Finding replacements you can trust can feel overwhelming, but it helps if you know where to start looking.

To Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator

Sustainable Clothing 

One of the best parts about autumn is the sweater weather. Instead of purchasing an entire new wardrobe, consider rewearing your old clothes or visiting a local thrift store. 

Choosing to go thrift shopping reduces waste significantly, since fewer clothes will need to be produced. Less clothing means fewer textiles and fabrics will end up in enormous piles in a landfill. Fashion trends may come and go, often far too quickly for the planet.

If you do buy new clothes, keep in mind that the material of your clothing is important in making sure it lasts a long time. Silk, cotton, linen, wool, and cashmere (organic only) are more durable than materials like polyester, nylon, and spandex, which are synthetic and tend to release microfibers that pollute our waterways. Natural fibers are better for your skin and the environment.

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator

 Enjoy Nature

Experience the beauty of the outdoors by going out for a walk and enjoying the falling leaves. There is nothing like having a picnic with family and throwing a frisbee around during fall festivities. You can also decorate your home with items found in nature or a local pumpkin patch.

Fall — the best hiking season! Larches glowing gold in the high country, maples and alder blazing orange and yellow, and crisp blue skies. 

The very nature of hiking makes it a very ecological-friendly activity already. You use your own legs to propel yourself, no gas or harmful emissions. Hiking teaches us to live on less, make do with whatever we packed, appreciate water and natural resources.

Hiking trails are accessible for everyone who wants to explore them, but not all trails are created equal.

Some trails are suitable for people who want to take it slow and easy — whether they’re grandparents with kids, individuals who use wheelchairs, travelers just out for a stroll, or the visually impaired.  

Click on the link below to find out more about Top Hiking Trails Near me :

For a wheelchair or stroller-friendly click here

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator

River Health

Students for Environmental Action ( SEA) Club are pleased to invite you for a talk on “River Health”

Wednesday, October 12 in Monte Cristo 111 at 1:30 

Doug Ewing, an environmental activist and hero, will be speaking about his efforts to clean up the Snohomish River near where he lives.

The main areas of concern with respect to local rivers center on reducing input of garbage, removing existing garbage,  ending the use of lead in the sports of fishing and hunting,  and making a true assessment of the impact to riparian health from motorized watercraft. 

For more information click on the links below:

Recycling Fall Leaves 

The autumn season often brings many changes like going back to school, drops in temperatures, and even different vegetable sprouting from the ground. But one of the biggest and most noticeable changes year after year is leaves turning colorful shades of red and orange, eventually making their way to the ground, scattered across your yard.

But instead of immediately throwing leaves away after you remove them from the yard, consider recycling them for different uses and projects. Here are a few ways we can recycle leaves. All of which save room in the trash can and keep our yard in its best shape.

Garden Compost

Leaves make a great addition to homemade compost whether we’re composting with a bin or yard pile. Combined with kitchen scraps, grass clippings and other compostable materials, leaves decompose and create nutrient-rich compost for our garden. 

Winter Mulch

As winter approaches, we can eliminate the expense and hassle of purchasing mulch by recycling leaves into our own DIY mulch.  We can use freshly fallen leaves, dried leaves or a combination of both. Simply rake the leaves into a pile and redistribute them over garden plants or trees that need extra winter protection. The natural leaf mulch will decompose over time so there is no need to remove it after the winter season is over.

Craft Projects

Most craft projects will not use the large amount of leaves accumulated throughout the fall. However, drying and preserving a few to use in craft projects is a great way to recycle leaves and provides free, natural material for our projects. To preserve leaves for use as art, clean and dry them before laying flat between two sheets of wax paper. Stack them in between two heavy blocks of wood until they dry or use a homemade botanical press.

You can make holiday yard decorations using large amounts of leaves and heavy-duty trash bags. Fill the bags with leaves and shape them into pumpkins, scarecrows, snowmen and other yard decorations. Paint the bags and place them throughout your yard. Make a string garland, display them in a bowl or just scatter them on the table for a pop of fall color.

Using colorful leaves is simply the easiest and most festive way to celebrate the turn in the weather, and what’s more, they are free! 

Click Here for the Best Leaf Craft Ideas! 

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator

Sustainable Lifestyle 

Environmental problems are at the top of the list of the most relevant issues. In response to this issue, more and more people are getting started with a sustainable lifestyle and taking care of the ecology. 

Can one student change the state of the environment? Well, every student who begins to change their lifestyle in order to protect the environment will be able to make real changes to the overall picture. Below are some simple tips to change not only the ecological situation, but also change the life for the better.

1. Reduce Plastic Use and Sort Your Trash

The first point to start is to try to reduce plastic consumption. Give preference to products that have eco-friendly packaging, avoid plastic tableware, and so on. 

2. Get A Coffee Mug and Refillable Bottle

According to statistics, students drink coffee for various reasons, but it does tend to be a daily ritual. To reduce it, consider buying a reusable coffee mug for these purposes. The same goes for the water bottle. Grab a refillable water bottle and take a big step in the fight against plastic.

3. Buy a Bamboo Toothbrush

A bamboo toothbrush is a must-have for every eco-conscious person. Firstly, such toothbrushes are eco-friendly. Secondly, they are really pleasant to use and more effective than plastic toothbrushes.

4. Eat Healthy 

Most of the food students choose involves various packaging and containers that take a long time to decompose. Therefore, switch to a healthy diet, choose fresh fruits and vegetables and prepare your own food, this can change the situation for the better.

5. Save Energy

Everyone talks about saving their time, but they sometimes forget about saving energy. Let’s say, for example, you left your laptop on charge for a whole day, even though it is already fully charged. During this time, your laptop continues to consume power. Therefore, make it a habit to turn off all devices and equipment. This can save between $100 and $200 per year. Turning off lights in room not in use can also help save energy.

6. Control Your Water Consumption

It is worth paying attention to water consumption too. For example, when you brush your teeth, you can turn off the water until you need it to rinse your brush. There is research that shows by 2030, demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40%. So, it is worth considering using water rationally.

7. Choose Used or Recycled Notebooks and Books

Did you know, the average US person uses 700 pounds of paper per year? For this reason, it is worth paying attention to what you buy. Today there are notebooks created from recycled materials, which can do a lot to help save the forests. In addition, the cost of such notebooks are typically in the same range as ordinary ones. And such notebooks and notepads also have excellent designs for every taste.

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator

Sustainable Transportation to Campus

Welcome to a new school year! 

Everett CC has

many ways to support staff and students in getting to and from campus in sustainäble ways.

Due to the rate of emissions that are produced by each and every vehicle on the road, students and staff are encouraged to carpool when possible. 

Cut costs, avoid parking hassles and help preserve our environment by sharing a ride to campus.

Cost: $10.00 + $4.50 processing fee (non-refundable) + tax (9.9%) = $15.94 per quarter

To learn more how to apply click here:

There are also alternative means of transportation outside of driving a vehicle. EVCC offers ORCA passes (prepaid bus passes) for staff and students at a discounted rate.

To get started on a student ORCA bus pass, the Cashiers Office will need a completed Student Orca Bus Pass Agreement


To learn more about about bus pass click here :

Another option is riding a bicycle. Everett CC provides bike fixing stations and there are 2 bike lockers on campus to keep equipment safe and secure while working or in class.

For more information on sustainable transportation options, check out our webpage:

Looking for more sustainability? Check out the EvCC Sustainability Blog or the newly redesigned EvCC Sustainability web pages!

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator