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Recycle Your Old TV!

Keep landfills toxic free!

If you recently upgraded to a big, new flat-screen, make sure you responsibly dispose of those big, boxy TV.

According to The New York Times there are more than 200 million of these TV units sitting in American homes just awaiting disposal.

All types of electronic waste present a challenge for recyclers, but CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) televisions and monitors are particularly difficult to deal with.

More than 40% of all the lead that leaks out at our landfills and contaminates our land and water comes from electronics thrown in the trash. And your old TV set alone contains up to eight pounds of lead. New legislation has ruled that all electronics are now considered a form of hazardous waste.

Because of this new designation, we can no longer include computer monitors or TV sets in the large item collection program, and no electronic materials can be disposed of with regular trash. These items must be safely disposed of or recycled.

Here are some options in the City of Torrance:

  • Attend a free Household Hazardous & Electronic Waste Collections run by the County for free recycling or safe disposal at the regular. These free periodic events occur at least once a month in the South Bay area. Click here for the schedule of upcoming collection events, or call 1-800-238-0173.  These events are for residents only, not businesses.
  • Visit S.A.F.E. Collection Center,  a free permanent drop-off facility that all Los Angeles County residents can use for recycling or safe disposal of electronics and other hazardous wastes. Location at 1400 N. Gaffey St. San Pedro. Open every Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 3 pm except holidays and rainy days. For additional information, call 1-800-98-TOXIC (1-800-988-6942) or  click here to visit their website.
  • Take your old TVs to Walser’s Art Supply, a certified drop off for electronics recycling.  They will accept materials from both residents and businesses. Please click here for their flyer for their location, drop-off times, and other restrictions. Click here to visit their website.
  • Donations are always a possibility.

For more information, visit the City of Torrance Public Works Department Electronic Recycling webpage or call (310) 781-6900.

 

Recycle Used Oil and Filters!

It’s Quick, It’s Easy and It’s the Right Thing To Do!

Every year approximately 13 million gallons of motor oil that has been sold to the public is unaccounted for. California has no record of that motor oil being recycled. What happens to it? Maybe it is disposed of improperly… thrown down the storm drain, poured down the drain, poured on to a patch in the back yard, or thrown into the garbage.

  • Did you know that used motor oil never wears out? It just gets dirty and can be recycled, cleaned, and used again. If these contaminants reach the ground, they can seep into our water supply and cause serious pollution. If they are released into our storm drain system they get washed away with the next rains directly into the ocean!
  • Yes, used oil is very recyclable. Used oil can be re-refined or processed into fuel oil.
  • Oil filters contain used oil and steel. Both are valuable nonrenewable resources.

When you take your used oil to a certified center for recycling, you are protecting the environment, and conserving a valuable resource. That’s a winning combination!

Find a Certified Collection Center in the City of Torrance!

For more information on used oil and filter recycling visit CalRecycle.

Reuse Waste Tires!

The Beauty of Old Tire Recycling!

About 290 million used tires are thrown away every year. Of those, 55 million tires end up being thrown into landfills or are disposed of illegally on roadsides and properties around the country. These waste scrap tires pose a potential threat to public health, safety, and the environment.

The good news is tires can be reclaimed and reused as fuel, engineering projects, roads, mats, flooring, and even playgrounds.

There are also creative things you can make with already used tires. Here you have some clever ideas how you can re-purpose all that rubber:

  • Create interior and exterior furniture. Tires are a perfect circular size for ottoman chairs and are great as the base of a table.
  • Build a tire swing for your backyard. Kids and adults alike enjoy the classic activity of swinging on old tires.
  • Make a planter for your garden. Rubber tires provide the ideal material for a planter.
  • And many more… Checkout some other great ideas for recycling old tires on Pinterest.

Let us know some of your old tire recycling ideas in the comments section!

Also don’t forget to join the City of Torrance on February 21st for a FREE waste tire collection event from 9am to 1pm at Torrance City Hall Parking Lot, 3031 Torrance Blvd. Open to residents of Torrance and Gardena. Visit our EVENTS webpage for event details and flyer.

Storm Drains are for Rain!

Keep the Drains Clean!

Everything that goes in a storm drain comes out in the ocean!

Unlike water that goes to the sanitary sewer system, storm water is not treated or filtered before it is discharged to the ocean. Polluted runoff can have harmful effects on wildlife and the recreational uses of streams, creeks and beaches.

Do not dump trash, debris, or liquids down the storm drains, gutters, or streets.

There is plenty we can all do to help!

  • Keep trash and litter out of drains, especially cigarette butts. In fact, 32% of litter at storm drains is tobacco products. Always throw your litter in the garbage.
  • Remember to scoop your pet’s poop. Unscooped poop gets carried by overland water contaminating our waterways. Carry a pet waste bag with you on walks and dispose of them properly.
  • Keep cars well maintained to prevent leaks. Do not dispose of automotive fluids in the street, gutter or in the garbage. It is illegal! Visit 888CleanLA.com for the location of a center that recycles these fluids or go to a local household hazardous waste roundup.
  • Do not overwater lawns. Overflowing water will cause toxic fertilizers and pesticides to run into the street, down the storm drain and into the ocean. Please use fertilizers and pesticides wisely, not before a rain, and water carefully. There are also biodegradable and environmentally-friendly products for outdoor cleaning and landscape maintenance.
  • Do not sweep, wash, or blow grass clippings or other lawn debris into the street. They can clog catch basins. Properly dispose of green waste by placing into the green bin provided by the city.

You can keep your community clean, protect our area waterways and make the beaches safe by following these simple steps. Help keep the City of Torrance beautiful!

Composting!

From Garbage To Your Garden!

Compost is the single most important supplement you can give your garden soil.

With compost, you are creating rich humus for your lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.

Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can and offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Composting is free, good for the environment, and explained by this simple formula:

Air + Water + Carbon + Nitrogen = Compost


  • Air. Like most living things, the bacteria that decompose organic matter, and the other creatures that make up the compost ecosystem, need air. Compost piles need spaces for air to flow. Occasionally turning your pile moves new material into the center, and helps improve airflow into the pile.
  • Water. Compost microbes also need the right amount of water. Too much moisture reduces airflow, causes temperatures to fall, and can make the pile smell; too little water slows decomposition and prevents the pile from heating.
  • Carbon ingredients. The microbes that break down organic matter use carbon as an energy source. The most common high-carbon ingredients are leaves, straw, and corn stalks. These ingredients are called browns.
  • Nitrogen ingredients. Microbes need nitrogen for the proteins that build their tiny bodies. Ingredients high in nitrogen are generally green, moist plant matter, such as leaves, or an animal by-product, such as manure. These ingredients are called greens.

Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio
The secret to a healthy compost pile is to maintain a working balance between these two elements. A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen. A simple rule of thumb is to use two-thirds brown and one-third green materials. If in doubt, add more carbon!

Once your compost pile is established, add new materials by mixing them in. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion.

A new composting bin is now available through the City of Torrance Public Works Department


The Envirocycle mini composting bin is great for small areas like patios. Comes fully assembled Spins in place on its own base for aeration. Made with a high percentage of Post-Consumer and Post-Industrial recycled plastic (BPA Free).

Go to Envirocycle.com for more information about the bin.

To purchase ($70 each, Torrance residents only, cash or check only), contact Public Works at 310-781-6900

Check Your Number!

Fewer Oil Changes Equals Good News

Did you know that your car may not need an oil change as often as you think? Fewer oil changes saves you time and money, and helps protect the environment. Simply check your owner’s manual or consult your authorized dealership for the recommended oil change interval number for your vehicle.

CalRecycle’s new motor oil campaign, Check Your Number, urges Californians to check the recommended oil change interval for their car in their owner’s manual. They’ll likely save time and money in service costs and do the environment a big favor — without hurting their car or compromising auto performance in the least.

The old standard of 3,000 miles is woefully out of date and no longer applies to most cars. Many cars, even older models, can be driven up to 5,000, 7,500, 10,000, and even 15,000 miles before needing an oil change.

By volume, used motor oil is one of the largest hazardous waste streams in California: Almost 115 million gallons are sold in the state each year. While about 70 percent is collected after use, it continues to be a serious environmental problem because it is insoluble and contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals. It makes its way into lakes, streams, and oceans via the storm water system and endangers fish, waterfowl, insects, and other aquatic life. In addition, one gallon of used motor oil can foul the taste of 1 million gallons of water.

Drivers can do their part to help the environment by simply looking up the recommended oil change intervals for their cars and changing their habits accordingly. Advances in modern engines and improved oil formulas have made the 3,000-mile oil change obsolete. Under normal driving conditions, cutting back to the automaker’s recommended intervals will not affect your car’s engine, its performance, or your warranty.

Check your number today and save time, money, and the environment! Visit CheckYourNumber.org or Recycle Torrance Check Your Number page to learn more.

 

Reduce Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint!

Remember to Scoop that Poop!

The truth is, owning a medium size dog can potentially be just as bad as owning a gas guzzling car. Unscooped poop gets carried by overland water contaminating our waterways. The U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that pet waste can spread parasites including hookworms, ringworms, tapeworms, and Salmonella. When infected dog poop comes into contact with your lawn, the poop will eventually “disappear”, but the parasite eggs can linger for years!

Cats aren’t off the hook either! Two million tons of cat litter gets sent to landfills each year, and most of it is not biodegradable.

It’s important to consider your pet’s carbon pawprint!

Here are a couple of tips on lowering your pet’s environmental impact:

  • Using biodegradable doggie bags to scoop your pet’s poop.

  • Green your kitty by using biodegradable litter made from sawmill scrap, waste from wheat or corn, or even recycled tires.

Do you know of other ways to reduce your pet’s pawprint? Feel free to share them in the comments section!

Christmas Tree Recycling!

Your Gift to the Earth!

With the holiday season now over, the year’s largest waste period is in full swing. The largest item of waste being the Christmas Tree!

Did you know approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year? So, what can we do to help?

Well, from December 26, 2013 through January 9, 2014 the City of Torrance will recycle Christmas trees as part of their curbside collection for those unable to use the green waste container.

To recycle unflocked Christmas trees curbside, remove all tinsel, ornaments and stands. 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 26, 2013, and January 9, 2014. A separate truck will collect the trees to use as mulch and landfill cover.

Another alternative for next holiday season is investing in an artificial tree that you can use for years and years. Not only will you save the environment a bit of grief, but you will also save money. Not to mention not having to think about throwing a whole tree away every January.

For more information, call City of Torrance Public Works Department 310-781-6900 or click here to go to the City of Torrance Christmas Tree Recycling webpage.

Plastic-Free Living

An Eco Friendly You!! Going plastic-free can be great for your personal health and your personal space.

There are many reasons to reduce the amount of plastic we buy. First, plastic is made from nonrenewable resources extracted in ways that pollute our air and water.

Second, plastic is made from chemicals, and some have been found to be toxic to both the environment and to human health, like hormone-disrupting bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been present in many hard plastic bottles and metal-based food and beverage cans since the 1960s.

On the basis of recent studies, both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have some concern about the “potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”

A phthalate is a plasticizer that is added to plastics to increase their flexibility. Phthalates are found in everything from toys and food packaging to nail polish and wall coverings, and, according to the Environmental Working Group, they have been found to disrupt the endocrine system.

Lastly, single-use disposable plastics live forever in landfills and very few types of plastic are widely recycled.

With that in mind, here are some practical ways to reduce your plastic use:

  • Bring your own bag. When making your shopping list, always add a reminder to bring your own bags with you to the store. Even before heading to the mall, remember to bring a bag so you don’t have to use any of the plastic store bags. I found this great tip from Rodale.com: “If you forget your reusable bags, carry your items out by hand. After doing that a few times, you’ll probably NEVER forget your bags again.”

Of the 380 billion disposable plastic bags used each year in the U.S., only 1% are recycled.

Reuse!!

Reuses for Rubber Bands

Stop carelessly tossing rubber bands and start reusing them with the help of these inspirational ideas.

We each accumulate a fair number of rubber bands. They are wrapped around our mail, the broccoli we buy in stores or at farmers markets, the newspapers delivered to our homes and many other everyday items. Rubber bands are not compostable or recyclable, but don’t throw them away because they can be reused.

One of the most innovative ways to reuse rubber bands is rubber band lamps (see above). Made by Bath, England-based Orchard Studio, these lamps are created from reclaimed rubber bands and are cool and colorful.

Another designer, Christiane Diehl of Hanover, Germany, reuses rubber bands to make rubber band jewelry (right).

Here are some ideas you can use at home for reusing your rubber bands:

  • The United States Postal Service (USPS) reuses rubber bands. You can leave them out for your mail carrier or take them with you the next time your visit your local post office. You can even bundle them and drop them into any blue USPS-designated mailbox.
  • Wrap a rubber band or two around the lid of a jar to make a stubborn lid easier to open.
  • Keep a desk drawer more organized by using rubber bands to wrap around pencils, pens, markers and crayons.
  • Keep your sewing basket better organized by wrapping rubber bands around your spools of thread to keep them from unraveling and tangling up.
  • When mixing up cake, pancake or muffin batter, wrap a rubber band around the top of the handle of your spoon to stop if from slipping into the mixing bowl.
  • Secure rubber bands around the shoulder areas of a hanger to help keep clothing from sliding off the hanger.
  • This rubber band maternity trick helped me through two pregnancies. Continue using your jeans throughout your pregnancy by threading a rubber band through your jeans buttonhole and then around the button.

Do you know of other rubber band reuse ideas? Feel free to share them in the comments section!