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Recycle Old Paint!

Recycling leftover paint in California just got more convenient!

PaintCare, a non-profit organization, helps to dispose of paint properly and for free by creating a stewardship of drop-off locations.

Latex, water-based, and acrylic-based paints can be recycled and made into new products, such as concrete, cement and other additives. It’s always good to recycle your paint to conserve resources.

Oil-based paints, however, are considered household hazardous waste (HHW) and should NEVER be tossed in the trash! Even if paint is dried, oil-based paint should be disposed of at the local HHW facility listed below.

S.A.F.E. Collection Center
1400 N. Gaffey St.
San Pedro, CA 90021
Open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm. Except Holidays and rainy days.

To recycle latex paints, remove the lid from the can and allow the paint to dry out and harden completely. Once the paint has dried completely, it’s ready to be recycled. Bring your cans to a recycling facility.

Below are local PaintCare sites where you can take your unwanted paint:

These sites accepts latex and oil-based house paint, stains and varnish in containers up to 5 gallons in size. These sites do NOT accept aerosols (spray paint or other spray products), containers without original labels, or containers that are empty or leaking.


If you have leftover, unwanted paint that is in good condition, you can donate it to nonprofits and other groups in your area for reuse in remodeling, set design and other applications. Such as high school drama departments, community theater groups, schools, charities and places of worship

Steel paint cans are also recyclable. To recycle, the paint can must be completely empty prior to placement into your Gray curbside recycling bin.

For more information on paint recycling and disposal visit www.PaintCare.org.

America Recycles Day!

On November 15th Keep America Beautiful!

Each year on November 15th, millions of people across the country participate in America Recycles Day a national initiative by Keep America Beautiful.

America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. Since its inception in 1997, the ARD campaign has grown to include millions of Americans.

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash in a single day, but Americans only 35 percent of the country’s waste is recycled. America Recycles Day better informs people about the importance of recycling at home and work and buying recycled products.

Events Near You!

There are many events throughout California already registered on the official America Recycles Day website. These events provide various recycling opportunities and information through educational fairs focusing on broad interpretations of reduce, reuse, recycle and re-buy.

Visit the official America Recycles Day website for information about events near you!

Take the Pledge!

Take the America Recycles Day online pledge to find out what materials are collected for recycling in your community. Pledge to reduce your personal waste by recycling and to recycling more. Encourage one family member or one friend to take the pledge too.

Visit the America Recycles Day website to take the pledge!

Visit IWantToBeRecycled.org!

Visit IWantToBeRecycled.org to find your nearest recycling center, and learn the facts about what materials can be recycled and what they can become in their new lives.

California Native Gardens!

Create beautiful gardens that use less water!

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record. The state has continued to lead the way to make sure California is able to cope with an unprecedented drought. Native plant gardens are one way of creating a drought-resilient yard.

Native plant gardens minimize the amount of water used by individuals and communities.

Here are 5 things to know about the drought, according to bewaterwise.com®:

  • It’s one of the worst in California’s history
  • Storage levels are dropping, preserve our reserves
  • Conservation is key in hot summer and fall
  • Limiting outdoor water use equals big savings
  • Find water-saving tips and valuable rebates at bewaterwise.com®

There are many benefits to having a drought resilient garden! You save water and money by having a native garden instead of a thirsty lawn. They are low maintenance, use little to no water, and don’t need soil preparation or fertilizing. The beautiful landscaping will also increase your homes’ curbside appeal.

Native plants attract wildlife into your yard! Drought-tolerant native plants buzz with bumblebees, butterflies and ladybugs. The native plants attract not only insects but also birds, including warblers, wrens and hummingbirds.

Below is a list of some of the top California native plants:

  • Tree Mallow (Lavatera bicolor)
  • Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea)
  • Concha California Lilac (Ceanothus ‘concha’)
  • Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)
  • Coral Bells or Alum Root (Heuchera)

There are thousands more to choose from. Visit bewaterwise.com® for catalogues of plants, garden ideas, rebate information and conservation tips.

Household Hazardous Waste!

Dispose of HHW properly!

Household hazardous waste, or HHW, is any discarded material that threatens public health, safety, and the environment due to its chemical nature. Throwing these materials in the trash, down storm drains, on the ground, or in the sewer system puts oceans and groundwater at risk. HHW must be recycled or safely disposed of at specific facilities or in special programs.

Here are some proper ways to dispose of HHW:

Visit the S.A.F.E. Collection Center, a FREE Permanent Drop-Off Facility

The S.A.F.E. Collection Center is located at 1400 North Gaffey St. San Pedro, CA 90021. The site is open SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS from 9:00 A.M. TO 3:00 P.M. except Holidays and rainy days. Click here to visit their website.

Go to a Los Angeles County Department of Public Works FREE one-day, periodic HHW collection event

Nearly every weekend, there is an event somewhere in L.A. County that provides a safe and convenient way to dispose and recycle household hazardous waste and electronics. The next collection event will be held at the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson on Saturday, October 18th. Click here to view the event flyer.

What you CAN bring to a Countywide HHW collection:

  • Motor oil, oil filters, brake fluid
  •  Used antifreeze
  • Paint, paint thinner, turpentine
  • Cleaners with acid or lye
  •  Pesticides or herbicides
  •  Household batteries or car batteries
  •  Pool chemicals
  •  CRTs, old TVs, misc. electronics
  •  Mercury thermometers or thermostats
  •  Used Needles or Sharps (In a Sharps container or sturdy box labeled “SHARPS”) (Click here for more information)
  •  Unwanted or expired prescriptions (Click here for more information)

What you CANNOT bring to a Countywide HHW collection:

  • Explosives
  • Ammunition
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Trash
  • Tires
  • Business Waste
  • White Goods (stoves, fridges, etc.)
  • Controlled Substances
  • Biohazardous Waste (blood, urine, etc.)

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.

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

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!

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!