Category Archives: Environment

Paint recycling bill being considered for a vote

PaintSideHouseWhat if there was a convenient way to deal with that oil-based paint that you’re currently taking to a hazardous waste facility or that latex paint that you’re drying out before putting in the garbage can?

Steve Dearborn, chief executive of Miller Paint, is advocating for that to happen. In a recent op-ed in The Olympian, he encourages the state legislature to pass the paint stewardship bill which would create a statewide paint collection program for the recycling or proper disposal of unwanted paint.

He cites among the benefits of such a program an end to the waste of leftover paint – a valuable resource for which a market exists. His Miller Paint customers each year purchase about 75,000 gallons of recycled latex paint made and sold in Oregon by Metro Paint.

He also calls attention to the benefits to the consumer and the environment. Residents and businesses with unused paint could, under this legislation, take it to a participating retail site. Such a program would help keep paint from being improperly disposed and possibly contaminating the land or waterways.

The bill, which was introduced in the legislature in January 2015, must come up for a vote in the House before the February 17, 2016 cut-off date.

El Nino winters can bring floods – take steps to prepare your home and business

Woman in flooded busienss_pomeroyohiobusiness2005CroppedCan you imagine standing in your home or business and seeing even a few inches of water? Is there anything you could do ahead of time to make this scene a little less devastating?

You might want to try some of this advice that is useful for both homes and businesses.

Have you ever been in flood?  Had you tried to prepare?  Were any of your efforts useful?

Clean Marina Washington announces winners of the Clean Marina of the Year competition!

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Foss Marina, photographed by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.

The Clean Marina program is proud to announce the winners of the first ever Clean Marina of the Year competition! Shilshole Bay Marina has won in the Public Ports Category and Foss Harbor Marina in the Private Marina Category. Both facilities are recognized for their exemplary leadership in pollution prevention and environmental protection.

Foss Harbor Marina switched to paperless billing and correspondence.  It also eliminated plastic and Styrofoam cups and transitioned to high-efficiency bulbs and fixtures to reduce energy consumption. Foss is very active in the local community working with organizations such as Citizens for a Healthy Bay and Tacoma Waterfront Association. Marina staff recently leveraged Clean Vessel Act (CVA) funds from WA State Parks to purchase and operate a sewage pumpout boat.  This provides free and convenient slip-side sewage disposal for tenants.

Shilshole Bay Marina is recognized for their work promoting Required Management Practices among their 1400 tenants, hosting an oil spill response trailer and developing a prioritized Environmental Management System to take a comprehensive look at potential environmental hazards. Tracy McKendry, Sr. Manager of Recreational Boating accepted the award on behalf of Shilshole saying, “We are extremely proud of our marina team and community.  It takes creativity, persistence and cooperation to continually work towards improving our environmental practices.  We are lucky to have such great partners in our environmental endeavors and would like to thank them for their continuing support.”

With over 70 Certified Clean Marinas in Washington State, this network of dedicated business owners and marine professionals are at the forefront of the exciting and innovative work being done to teach a new generation of boaters about how to care for and steward the marine environment for the future.

Celebrate Earth Day and make that trip

It may not seem that the simple act of gathering your unwanted household hazardous waste and making a trip to the disposal facility will “save the Earth”, but many small, individual actions add up to big results.

Thirty-two million pounds – that’s the amount of household hazardous waste people brought to the Wastemobile in 25 years. This came from individuals gathering waste from under their sink or off the shelf in their garage and making a trip to a disposal site.

Hazardous waste includes many things most of us wouldn’t consider hazardous:

  • fluorescent light bulbs and tubes (they contain toxic mercury)
  • any household cleaner with the words CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON on the label (that’s most of them);
  • the can of oil-based paint you didn’t use up completely;
  • household batteries (they contain lead) – yes, even the ones from your remote control units.

Will you join us and make that trip this spring?  Locations. List of what you can bring.

WM Contest winner 2_2014

The Wastemobile is back!

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Early signs of Spring include crocuses, magnolia blossoms, early-blooming rhodies and …. the Wastemobile!

Bring the hazardous waste that you’ve accumulated over the long winter to the first Wastemobile of 2015 in Bothell, WA.

Find it in the Seattle Times parking lot at 19200 120th Ave NE between 10 to 5 from February 27th through March 1.

Think you don’t have hazardous waste in your house, garage or shed? Chances are you do. Hazardous waste includes burnt out fluorescent bulbs, CFL bulbs (twirly bulbs), most unwanted household cleaners, batteries, and much more. Find a complete list here.

This great service is free because it’s already been paid for in your utility bill.

Seven simple steps to prevent children’s poisonings

It’s hard to keep an eye on small children all the time, and young children put everything in their mouth. Follow these simple steps to reduce the chance of a poisoning in your home.

Step 1. Make green cleaners – Household cleaners are the third most common reason for accidental poisoning of children. Reduce your child’s exposure to toxins and make your own green cleaners (PDF).

Green clean kit

Build your own green cleaning kit

Step 2. Buy safer cleaners. If you don’t have the time or interest to make your own green cleaners, buy safer ones. How? Read the label. Look in the lower left-hand corner for the words CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON. Avoid products that say DANGER or POISON. Instead, buy products that have WARNING or CAUTION. Labels with WARNING carry a higher level of hazard than CAUTION. Sometimes two products that do the same thing have different warning labels like these products below – one says WARNING and the other says CAUTION. The product with the word CAUTION is safer than the product with WARNING. Buy the product with CAUTION.

Which product is safer_DangerCautionHighlight

Step 3. Store products safely – Help keep kids safer by storing hazardous products away from their reach. Lock cabinets or take a new look at where you keep your products.

Blond girl under kitchen sink

Step 4. Store and use hazardous products away from food – Children and adults can easily confuse edible products that are in look-a-like containers. Contact the Washington Poison Center 1-800-222-1222 for free help in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances.

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Step 5. Dispose of unwanted or expired medicines at one of these free, medicine take-back locations. Store the medicines you keep safely by locking them in a drawer, cabinet or medicine lock box.

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Step 6. Keep hazardous materials in their original containers – Unmarked and reused containers are easily confused with food – like these containers below that were reused to store waste diesel fuel. If you have to store a product outside of its original container, clearly label and safely dispose of it.

diesel fuel stored in juice bottles_Kitsap Co Solid Waste

(Photo courtesy of Kitsap County Solid Waste)

Step 7. Take unwanted household hazardous products to one of these disposal locations. It’s easy to do and it’s free! Watch this video to see how easy it is.

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Two local artists’ perspectives on hazardous materials and you.

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© 2014 Edie Everette, HazMatters, comic book excerpt. Courtesy of the artist.

Two Seattle artists have created a comic book and short film that humorously connect hazardous materials, public health and the environment. Public Art 4Culture and King County’s Local Hazardous Waste Management Program commissioned cartoonist Edie Everette and animator Clyde Petersen to create a new kind of public service announcement, in both English and Spanish.

Everett’s comic, HazMatters, is a series of vignettes that explores how we live with hazardous products. The book cleverly reveals many ways household hazardous waste intersects with our everyday lives. It explores household hazardous waste and personal responsibility with stories full of questions, humor, and interactive activities. For a free copy of HazMatters by mail, call the Household Hazards Line at (206) 296-4692.

Petersen’s The Wild World of Pesticides is a short animated film featuring penguins and DDT that offers positive steps to reduce the use of toxic pesticides. It details the life and history of DDT and the positive steps we can take to reduce the use of toxic pesticides. A cast of stop-motion animated paper penguins living in a watercolor landscape tells stories of pesticide use in farming, landscaping and gardening. The film can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iKDgK1xllc

Both artists use visual storytelling to uncover a topic that can be confusing and overwhelming. They help explain what hazardous wastes are, their impacts on our environment, and how we can responsibly deal with them.

About the artists:

Edie Everette’s HazMatters (Porque los productos tóxicos son peligrosos), Everette is a visual artist, cartoonist and writer, gives a behind-the-scenes look into her HazMatters design process through her articles I am a Public Artist Part 1 and Part 2 on the 4Culture blog.

Clyde Petersen’s The Wild World of Pesticides (El Mundo Peligroso de los Pesticidas)  Clyde Petersen is an indie animator, musician, and a member of S.E.A.T. (Seattle Experimental Animation Team).

View the full press release.

Hidden hazards in the arts – Free workshop for artists

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Dave Waddell, with the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program’s Art Hazards Project, will give a free workshop for artists on hazardous materials in the studio.

He will share information and free safety equipment.

Artists may also schedule a free  studio visit to evaluate the hazards in their working environment. Vouchers are available to offset the 50% of the cost of safety improvements, up to $500.

Contact Dave Waddell at 206-263-3069 or dave.waddell@kingcounty.gov  to register for the free workshop.

What: Artists learn about hazardous materials in the studio & get free safety apparel and funding to improve safety

When: Wednesday, September 17 from 12:00-1:00 pm

Where:  4 Culture, 101Prefontaine Place, Seattle 98104

Wastemobile 25th Anniversary! Enter to Win Prizes

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Enter to win the contest here:  http://bit.ly/1nK7xvp

Thanks to 450,000 King County residents and qualifying businesses, the Wastemobile has collected more than 32 million pounds of household hazardous waste since 1989!

To celebrate, we are giving all King County residents who take their hazardous waste to the Wastemobile in August the chance to win an iPad or other gift cards. Just post your photo with you and your hazardous waste on the link below before taking your waste to the Wastemobile.

Thank you to our residents for helping to protect the environment and public health by safely disposing of your hazardous materials and keeping them out of drains and landfills.

Motorists: Fix leaks so you ‘Don’t Drip and Drive’

Drip and drive coupon

Get a coupon

Free visual leak inspections, repair discount

Motorists in King County can find an affordable fix and keep pollutants out of Puget Sound so that they “Don’t Drip and Drive.”

Every year, more than 7 million quarts of motor oil drips out of vehicles and onto streets and parking lots, much of it ending up in streams, lakes and Puget Sound.

The Don’t Drip and Drive campaign and participating repair shops across western Washington are offering car owners a free visual leak inspection – a diagnostic service valued at up to $80 – available now through September.

If the inspection reveals a problem, the car owner will receive a coupon for 10 percent off service to fix the problem (up to $50). Repair coupons expire Sept. 30, 2014. Find a list of participating locations, help to self-diagnose your leak, and print out a coupon at Don’t Drip and Drive.

“The main reason we have been participating in ‘Don’t Drip and Drive’ is that we are aware that fluids do leak from a surprising number of vehicles,” said Mike Lenci of Bellevue Auto Service & Electric, Inc., an EnviroStars-certified business. “We want to help to repair these leaks and give the motorist a substantial discount on the repair as well to help keep our water clean.”

Studies show that two-thirds of drivers will fix a leak within three months of finding it.

You can keep your car running great while protecting our local waters.