Happy Earth Day! Let’s celebrate by thinking about making simple everyday changes in our barns to be more environmentally friendly. Going green doesn’t have to be an economic burden either; it also can save your facility money. Let’s reduce, reuse, and recycle into a better world and more savings.
Start by thinking about the most significant resources your barn uses every day. Many barns utilize an exceptional amount of water, electricity, and plastic.
To reduce electricity usage, ensure you use fluorescent or LED lighting. Fluorescent and LED lights use between 20-25% of the electricity incandescent lights do and can last 9-20x longer. Another way to reduce electricity is to install motion detector outdoor lights. The lights will turn on as you walk up to the barn but turn off after everyone has gone. Finally, an immediate solution would be to create a barn rule that the last person in the barn turns off all the interior lights. These three easy steps will save the planet and your electric bill.
Using water at the barn is a core necessity, but there are a few ways we can reduce the amount we are wasting. Instead of dumping water buckets daily, consider buying a colander to “fish” excess hay out of the buckets. It will save time and water for you and your staff. For outdoor water troughs, situate your gutters to run off into your troughs. This will reuse rain and snow water and help save time in refilling outdoor water. Finally, create a barn rule that limits excess water use. This can include not rinsing the wash rack after a bath or turning the hose off when you are scrubbing your horse. These inexpensive solutions can help drastically reduce your water usage.
Plastic is everywhere. From our water bottles to our fly spray bottles, there is no way to avoid it in our barns, but we can plan to reduce consumption. To minimize plastic usage, consider buying in bulk. For example, buy fly spray by the gallon and use refillable 32oz spray bottles. Also, for bathing, consider concentrate shampoos like Orvus or TendaPods to reduce the amount of packaging needed for your products.
Every barn has a feed room that’s full of supplement buckets, feed bags, and spray bottles. Instead of chucking them in the trash, consider how you can reuse them. Supplements such as Quiessense, Bonafide, and Apple-Dex come in containers that are great for water, bathing, grooming, travel, and more. The never-ending supply of feed bags is excellent for instant trash cans and training tools. If you are crafty, they even can be repurposed as gift wrapping.
Finally, it is important to learn what you can recycle in your area. Products such as supplement containers, soda cans, plastic bottles, and paper can be recycled. Even horseshoes can be recycled in metal bins.
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