Wishing you a happy Earth Day

 

By Aqua Environmental Specialist Krista Scheirer

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the environmental movement that saw the passage of key legislation to protect our water, land, air and wildlife. This is a perfect time to reflect on Aqua's progress as an environmentally minded company, as well as the impacts we make in our daily lives. While we cannot be together this year to celebrate or participate in a Ripple Effect volunteer event, there are many ways to mark the occasion.

Recycle for our planet and to help fight COVID-19

Recycling is an important practice for the sustainability of our environment. It saves raw materials like trees, reduces water and energy consumption, and it minimizes landfill space. Recycling is also beneficial for our economy, providing materials for manufacturing and reducing disposal costs. Many of the items flying off shelves to combat the COVID-19 pandemic are made from recycled materials, and manufacturers need us to recycle correctly now more than ever.

It’s important that we all do our part to keep the stream of recyclables flowing, and that requires using proper recycling practices to reduce contamination. If a dumpster or truckload of recyclables contains non-recyclable items or food residue, the entire batch may be treated as trash instead.

Recycle often, Recycle right

Earth Day is a great time to review proper recycling steps to practice at home and at work. A few tips include:

  • Check with your recycling provider to see what can and cannot be recycled. Each location may be different, so if you are unsure, it is best to ask or take your recyclables home. As a general rule, you should not include latex materials, cloth, foam products, disposable paper products, medical waste, construction debris, electronic waste, loose bottle caps, or cords/hoses.
  • Most single-stream recyclers do not accept plastic bags, so you should keep your recyclables loose and not in a trash bag. You can recycle plastic shopping bags at some grocery stores.
  • Rinse and dry empty containers. Food, residue, or liquids can contaminate an entire batch.
  • Flatten cardboard and paperboard, and do not include packing materials.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. It is better to trash a potentially recyclable item than to risk spoiling an entire batch.

For more details, visit Waste Management’s Recycling 101 website. For information on how to recycle other items, check out Earth911.com.

Aqua Environmental Specialist Krista Scheirer.

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Watercolor Tips and Techniques

If you’ve been finding yourself stuck on the couch lately, it might be time to get creative! Arts and crafts are a fun and productive way to spend your free time, and watercolor painting is an enjoyable and easy medium to create a masterpiece. We’re here to demonstrate three unique techniques to help you WFH (watercolor from home).

 

If you don’t have watercolor paints around the house, don’t worry—you can easily create your own by combining acrylic paint with water. Just choose your favorite colors and slowly mix in the water until you get the thin, watery consistency of the examples below.

 

 

Salt and Watercolor

The creativity doesn’t have to stop at adding water. Use other household objects like salt for a grainy, textured pattern in your painting. The key to this technique is salting the paint while it’s still wet.

 

  1. Start by painting a small area to ensure it won’t dry up too quickly.
  2. Next, pour some salt on the wet portion of the paint. You can add as much or as little as you’d like!
  3. Finally, once the paint is dried, wipe off the salt to reveal your unique pattern.

 

 

Pro tip: Try out different kinds of salts (such as sea salt) to achieve different sizes, textures, and effects.

Watercolor Drip

This next effect doesn’t require any add ons—just gravity. Make sure you have a paper towel or newspaper underneath your paper for this one since it can get messy.

  1. Choose your watercolor and add a generous amount of water to your paintbrush.
  2. Mix the water and paint together on your canvas, add even more water, and tilt your paper upright to allow the paint to drip. It’s as simple as that!
  3. If the paint is not dripping enough, continue to add water to the painted section with your brush.

 

 

Wet on Wet Blending

 

One of the best things about painting with watercolors is the ability to easily blend colors and create beautiful, unexpected patterns. Combining more than one color while they’re still wet allows them to bleed into one another and create a classic watercolor look.

 

  1. Start with the base color of your choice.
  2. Slowly add other colors and let the water blend them.
  3. Continually add water to help the natural blending process.

 

The best part about this technique is its unpredictability. Just let the water guide your design and see what happens.

 

 

There are plenty of ways to get crafty and creative if you’re stuck indoors. You can even combine all three of these techniques to create a new masterpiece every day! Don’t forget that anyone in the family can be an artist—just add water.

 

 

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