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Sustainability in Your Backyard

  • The Collaborative's "Park-a-Lounger" from Park(ing) Day 2008.

Hang out in the Collaborative's "backyard" on PARK(ing) Day and get some ideas on how you can embrace sustainability- even in your tiny city backyard!  If you can't wait, here's the list of resources we'll be sharing at PARK(ing) day on Friday, September 18 at 1216 Arch Street.

We encourage everyone to come by and check it out, along with the many other exhibitions around the city. Find all the locations here on google maps. Our installation will be an example of a sustainable backyard with native plants, recycling stations, and salvaged materials, not to mention the hammock.

Salvaged (re-claimed/ re-usable) materials: *Craigslist's For Sale section for furniture, architectural materials, garden supplies, etc: * ReStore is a great architectural salvage company located in the northeast: * Kevin Brooks Salvage is a sustainable demolition & salvage company in north philly:* Provenance is an historic architectural salvage company located in Fairmount: * Your neighbors!  People routinely throw out furniture and like items that can be re-purposed for re-use.  So grab that chair out of the trash, wash it, sand it, repaint it, or re-upholster it, or maybe it's just perfect as-is.

Recycle: Philadelphia accepts #1 and #2 plastic narrow-neck bottles (look for the number in a triangle on the bottom of the container), glass jars & bottles, metal cans, paper (mail, phone books, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, etc., but NOT food-soiled paper like pizza boxes), and flattened cardboard.  Every 10 aluminum cans recycled saves 4 pounds of carbon and every 10 glass bottles recycled saves 3 pounds of carbon.  Just by recycling paper offices can reduce 50% of the waste sent to landfills. * For all your recycling questions like what you can recycle and where to get a bin: * The official recycling site for the City of Philadelphia: * Watch a video on how single stream recycling works:

Compost: Philadelphia does not (yet) have a municipal composting program for the majority of organic waste.  However, the Fairmount Recycling Center takes lawn and tree clippings.  Try saving your kitchen scraps from fruits, vegetables, and coffee grounds in a composting bin or container.  Compost helps plants grow strong and healthy, creates deeper topsoil, recycles nutrients and saves lanfill space. * Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center: * Backyard recycling resources for Pennsylvania: * How to build a compost bin: * Composting basics:,7518,s1-3-79-3,00.html * Compost ingredients:,7518,s1-3-79-829,00.html

Grow your own food: There are numerous workshops that take place in Philadelphia every year where you can learn how to garden/ grow your own food.  Whether or not you have a backyard, a small patio space, or access to a roof you too can grow some of your own fruits and veggies.  Fresh veggies are not only healthy, but they forego the energy used in canning and freezing processes.  If you like flower gardening, consider planting native species which require less maintenance, are better adapted to survive extreme temperatures and droughts, often require less water than non-natives, and provide plenty food for bees, birds and butterflies. * Philadelphia Horticultural Society sponsors a wide variety of events and learning programs about gardening: * UC Green has some great how-to resources on planting trees and beautifying neighborhoods: * Greensgrow Farms located in the northeast not only sponsors a variety of workshops from composting to growing vegetables but they also have a great selection of quality veggie starter plants and native species to boot: * The basics on growing your own plants from seed:,default,pg.html

Conserve Water: * Get a free rain barrel from the Philadelphia Water Department and use the water for irrigation: * Build a rain garden: * Plant native varieties:

Other tips for greening your backyard: * Use solar lights available at Home Depot or Lowe's. * Don't have a yard?  Learn the basics about how to green your roof: or even start a kitchen garden up there:




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