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Medicines and Sharps Disposal – Consumer Survey

Attention LA County Residents!

Unwanted and expired drugs in the home can be dangerous. They can cause accidental poisonings in children, the elderly, and pets. Unwanted and expired drugs can also cause harm or even death when used by curious teens and young adults. Used needles, syringes, and lancets (sharps) can cause accidental injuries and infections if they are not properly disposed.

Los Angeles County is working to make it easier for residents to safely dispose of unwanted medicines and sharps. To do this in the best possible way, your input is needed. Please fill out this short survey to let us know which disposal options would work best for you and to share your thoughts on this issue. The survey is in English and Spanish and will close on January 11, 2016.

English survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/medicinesandsharps
Spanish survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/medicamentosyagudos

Click here to view flyer.

For more information on the County’s efforts please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/pharma.htm

Christmas Tree Recycling!

Your Gift to the Earth!

It’s that time again to recycle your Christmas tree! The City of Torrance will recycle Christmas trees as part of your curbside collection for those unable to use the green waste container during December 28, 2015, through January 14, 2016.

Trees can be up to six (6) feet long without needing to be cut. Then, place the tree at the curb at least four feet from your automated containers by 7:00 a.m. on your regularly scheduled collection day between December 28, 2015, and January 14, 2016. A separate truck will collect the trees to use as mulch and landfill cover.

Christmas trees put out for collection before or after the recycling collection dates, flocked trees, or trees not put in the green waste container, must be cut up and placed in the automated refuse container for removal.

Note: The large item collection program will not be available during the curbside Christmas tree recycling program. Remember that it takes at least a week to schedule the large item pick up, so please plan accordingly. For further details visit the Public Works Christmas Tree Recycling webpage.

For those not serviced by Torrance Sanitation, LA Sanitation offers several tree drop-off locations. Drop-off locations are open for ONE DAY ONLY, please visit the webpage for the date, locations, and all the details.

For more information, call City of Torrance Public Works Department at 310-781-6900.

Below is a list of other recycling options:

  • Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
  • Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden. If you have a neighbor with a chipper, see if he will chip it for you.
  • Paths for hiking trails: Some counties use the shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers!
  • Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas. (It’s a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.

Carton Recycling!

When the contents are gone, let the carton live on!

The Carton has a simple, classic design that has been part of daily life for generations. What makes these cartons such a smart choice today? Cartons are light-weight, recyclable and made mainly from paper, a renewable resource. Classic yet current – cartons help meet our present needs without compromising tomorrow’s resources.

Cartons are a type of packaging for food and beverage products you can purchase at the store. They are easy to recognize and are available in two types—shelf-stable and refrigerated.

Cartons are mainly made from paper in the form of paperboard, as well as thin layers of polyethylene (plastic). The shelf stable ones have also a thin layer of aluminum. Shelf-stable cartons contain on average 74% paper, 22% polyethylene and 4% aluminum. Refrigerated cartons contain about 80% paper and 20% polyethylene.

Products in Shelf-stable Cartons

  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Soy and grain milk
  • Soup and broth
  • Wine

Products in Refrigerated Cartons

  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Egg substitutes
  • Soup and broth

In Torrance, Cartons are recyclable through our Curbside Recycling program. Shelf-stable and refrigerated cartons are accepted! When you recycle cartons you are doing more than keep them out of landfills. You are contributing to a new product, conserving energy and protecting the environment.

Cartons when recycled become toilet paper, napkins, tissue paper, and even building materials. When the contents are gone, let the carton live on! Sign up at CartonsLivesOnCA.org to get a FREE recycling refrigerator magnet and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Click the video to learn more about what Cartons become when recycled.

October is Children’s Health Month

Protecting Children this October!

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is devoting Children’s Health Month to the issues of climate change and children’s health. We believe that a public health response to these issues, combined with raising awareness in the general population about the threats and how to prepare for and respond to them, is the best way forward.

We know that living with climate change will have consequences for our health, and we know that these consequences will be different for children than for adults. Across the country, children’s health will be affected – but not always in the same ways.

Some climate change related developments will be particularly challenging for children with asthma and allergies, as heat, air pollution, and a longer allergy season all combine to worsen symptoms. Some children live in parts of the country where drought is present; others will see more rainfall and storms. Biting mosquitoes and Lyme disease-carrying ticks are expected to be more problematic for children as the climate continues to change.

Across the country, children who live in poverty will face even more challenges as the climate changes, thus requiring appropriate public health awareness, preparation and response.

The EPA has developed an action step for each day of October to help keep your children safe.

The EPA is also hosting a number of nationwide Children’s Health events. Local Children’s Health Month Event:

  • Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit and Exposition
    This summit provides an opportunity for participants to learn how to create healthy and efficient learning environments. EPA Region 9 staff will provide a panel presentation about what measures can be undertaken during energy efficiency upgrades to create healthier school environments. EPA Region 9 staff will also have an outreach table with information on various healthy school topics including indoor air quality, lead paint hazards, PCBs, integrated pest management, and more. This event is open to the public. Please see the summit website for information on how to register.
    Date: October 28 – 29, 2015
    Location: Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, CA
    More Information: Please contact Eric Canteenwala (canteenwala.eric@epa.gov) or at 415-972-3932.

For further information on the EPA’s Children’s Health Month visit their website.

Kiss the Ground!

Why Soil?

Soil is a vital part of the natural environment! Therefore, building and maintaining healthy soil is important.

Below are a few benefits healthy soil provides for our environment, according to Kiss the Ground:

  • Less CO2
Soil carbon sequestration is possible when soil is healthy. Plant photosynthesis uses sunlight to combine carbon dioxide and water to produce carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are used to build plant structure and 30-40% of them are pushed through the roots to feed fungi and bacteria who use it to build soil organic matter (storing in carbon in the ground).
  • Drought Resistence
Healthy soil contains soil organic matter. Soil organic matter (humus) can retain 20x its weight in water, allowing for continuous, easy access for plant/micro-organism use. Additionally, healthy soil allows infiltration of water, reducing runoff into oceans and restoring our water tables.
  • Clean Water
Soil organic matter (humus) is 50% carbon. In the soil, carbon acts just like your own home carbon water filter, capturing heavy metals and toxins that are unwanted in the water supply. Additionally, healthy soil reduces the need for toxic chemicals and the consequent contamination of our watersheds.
  • Restored Habitats
Healthy soil is full of life. In fact, it’s the most biodiverse place on earth. There are more organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil than all of the people on planet earth. When the soil food web is activated, diverse plants and animals can return and above ground habitats can be restored.
  • Healthy Food
You can’t have healthy, nutrient-dense food, without healthy soil. The healthy soil matrix is full of life, working in concert with the plant. The plant feeds the organisms and the organisms access minerals with enzymes, etc, for the plan from the soils substrate. For example, today you can find oranges grown from poor soil that don’t contain any Vitamin C.

Visit Kiss the Ground to learn more about the power of healthy soil.

Keep Back to School Shopping Green!

Waste Reduction Before School!

Summer is almost at an end and the new school year is just around the corner. Manage back to school shopping by practicing the “3 Rs” of waste reduction!

There are lots of ways to make sure you do your part to reduce, reuse and recycle when heading back to school.

  • Reduce
Before hitting the stores; take a look at what is left over from last year. Buying large quantities only saves money if you actually use what you buy. Avoid ending up with more than you will need. Click here for Tips on How to Reduce Waste when back to school shopping.
  • Reuse
Are there supplies that can be purchased used? Can you make any supplies out of recyclables you may already have around the house? Shop at thrift stores and encourage your kids to take good care of supplies so they last longer. Friends, family and neighbors are also a good source for borrowing or sharing supplies. Make sure you limit the amount of waste you create every day and try to donate supplies that are in good condition.
  • Recycle
Buy supplies made from recycled materials. Look for pencils, paper, binders, and notebooks made with recycled paper. Most major stores have recycled-content options.

Save money and save the environment when heading back to school! Visit CalRecycle for further Back to School Waste Prevention tips.

“One Person’s Trash…”

Your Guide to Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling

New – recycling electronic newsletter!

Save paper and check out the latest environmental news from the Public Works Department!

  • Sign up to have our next issue delivered directly to you!
To have future issues of this newsletter sent directly to your email, please send your name
and email address to ASherman@TorranceCA.Gov. In the subject line, please say: “Add me to e-newsletter list.” Your email address will only be used for purposes of this newsletter.

Visit the Torrance Public Works website for more information.

Safe Disposal of Pesticides!

A Guide on How to Handle Old or Unused Pesticides!

Plants, insects, bacteria, fungi and other organisms are a natural part of the environment. Some can benefit people, while others can be pests that you may need or want to control. You can choose from many different methods to control a pest. One method is to use a pesticide.

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances used to destroy, suppress or alter the life cycle of any pest. It is important that pesticides are used only where they are absolutely justified. It is essential that you carefully identify the pest you wish to control and then fully consider all the control options. When using a pesticide you must always follow label directions.

Most common pesticides contain toxins and are categorized as household hazardous waste (HHW). Improper disposal of pesticides can result in accidental poisonings of children, pets, and wildlife, so it’s important that you avoid certain habits when getting rid of leftover pesticides.

  • Do NOT pour leftover pesticides down the sink, into the toilet, or down a sewer or street drain.
  • Never reuse pesticide containers to carry or store other items, especially food or drinks. When empty, triple-rinse and dispose of the container according to label instructions.
  • Never puncture or burn a pressurized or aerosol container – it could explode.

Follow these safety recommendations for safe disposal of pesticides and their containers:

  • The best way to dispose of small amounts of excess pesticides is to apply them for the specified pest according to the directions on the label.
  • If you have no further use for them, ask your neighbors whether they have a similar pest control problem and can use them.
  • The donated pesticide must be in its original, fully-labeled container.
  • Make sure that the person who receives it can read and follow the label directions.
  • Always follow the label directions for disposal.
  • Drop off at a Household Hazardous Waste Round-Up or permanent location.
    Visit Los Angeles County Sanitation District website for more information on upcoming events and locations.
  • Hyperion Treatment Plant S.A.F.E. Center
    7660 W. Imperial Hwy., Gate B
    Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
  • Gaffey Street S.A.F.E. Center
    1400 Gaffey St.
    San Pedro, CA 90731

Visit the City of Torrance Public Works Household Hazardous Waste homepage for more information.

Water Regulations & Conservation!

Remember the 2-6-8-10 Plan!

On May 5, 2015, City Council approved activation of Level 2 water requirements due to the severity of the drought and to meet the new state regulations.

The Conservation Ordinance applies to the entire City regardless of retail water supplier.

Level 2 -Water Use Requirements and Regulations:

  • Calls for up to 30 percent water use reduction
  • No outside watering fro 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Outdoor watering limited to two days a week for 10 minutes per area or irrigation station
  • Fix all leaks within four days
  • No watering 48 hours after rain event
  • Certain restrictions on filling and refilling of pools, spas and ponds
  • Provides for administrative rules to implement the ordinance

Permanent Requirements In Effect at all Times:

  • No excessive runoff from outdoor watering
  • No washing of exterior surfaces
  • No washing of vehicles with “open hose”
  • All water features must have a re-circulating system
For more information on restrictions and regulations, visit this Torrance Public Works webpage.

Remember the 2-6-8-10 Plan!
2 Days a week
6 PM – 8 AM Watering Times
10 Minutes/area (watering station)

Water is a limited and valuable resource. Use it wisely and conserve for tomorrow.

Water Conservation Tips for the Home:

  • Check faucets, pipes, and toilets for leaks
  • Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
  • Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads

Water Conservation Tips for the Yard and Garden:

  • Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it
  • Don’t run the hose while washing your car
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks

Click here for a list of 100+ WATER USE IT WISELY conservation tips.