Tag Archives: environment

Garden Questions? Call the Garden Hotline 206-633-0224

Garden hotline croppedIs this the right time to plant tomatoes? Where can I find good soil for my raised beds? How can I win my battle with slugs?

Home gardeners and landscape professionals can get expert advice by calling the Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224, Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Want to take a class, come to an event or watch a video?  Or do you prefer to email your questions? Visit www.GardenHotline.org

Helpful staff offer advice managing plant pests, encouraging helpful insects, reducing water use, managing rain water, planting for wildlife, building soil, mulching, chemical-free gardening, natural lawn care and much more.

Would you rather let others do the work for you?  Find an environmentally responsible landscaper by searching the database at www.EnviroStars.org

Let us help you have a happy spring season!


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.

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


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.

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.

Multi-Agency Collaboration: A Success Story

Elliott Bay from downtown Seattle

Elliott Bay from downtown Seattle

What is a model for successful multi-agency collaboration? According to the Northwest Center for Public Health Practices it is
• a common mission
• consensus-based decision making
• continuous improvement and
• innovative approaches
The Center features the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County who has used these approaches to successfully collect and dispose more than 1.4 tons of hazardous waste in 2011 alone. Read more at


Businesses: Prepare for Floods

Even if your business is not in a flood zone, it could still be flooded.  And business owners are liable for any contamination and clean-up caused by their hazardous products or wastes. Where to start?  Reduce the number of chemical products you store and safely dispose of your unwanted hazardous products and wastes.  If your business is in King County, these free services can help with that:

  • Call to schedule a free on-site visit to help you evaluate your business process and the wastes you generate.  206-263-8899 or toll free at 1-800-325-6165, ext. 3-8899
  • Find out if you qualify to dispose of wastes through the Local Hazardous Waste facilities and the Wastemobile
  • Not sure if a product or waste you have is hazardous? Call our Business Waste line at 206-296-3976.
  • Receive 50% or up to $500 of costs to manage, dispose, reduce or recycle hazardous wastes.

More safety tips for Businesses are at our website.  If you have friends who don’t have access to the web and could benefit from printed information, download this flyer for them.

October is Children’s Health Month!

October is Children’s Health Month!

EPA has put together a fabulous organizer’s tool kit for the month including a beautiful logo, tips to promote prenatal health and four fact sheets about the environmental health disparities in Black, African American, Hispanic and Latino American Children. Check out the wonderful information that EPA has put together at their website.

Eco-Logica – the Northwest’s first Spanish/English environmental magazine

Garbage in a landfill

I recently learned of the first Spanish/English magazine in the Northwest — Eco-Logica. I encourage you to check out this great online resource covering ecology, education, science and technology.  Eco-Logica features articles on Puget Sound, how to reduce your use of plastics, what we as individuals can do about the oil spills, and more!  Instead of complaining about other people polluting the air, water and environment in general, it gives specific things we as individuals can do to contribute less to the problem. For example in their article on Garbage,  there’s a great discussion on how we as consumers feel pressured to buy the newest and latest trends so we fit into society. The more we buy, the more garbage we eventually generate. Their advice?  Don’t buy what you don’t need. Instead, reduce, reuse and recycle. It’s definitely worth checking out. http://www.ecologicamagazine.com/index.html?utm_source=August+2012+Newsletter+v2&utm_campaign=Aug+12+e-news+main+group&utm_medium=email

Johnson & Johnson will remove chemicals of concern from adult and baby products

Johnson & Johnson will phase out chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems from its baby and adult products over the next 3 ½ years. The product brands include  Aveeno, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Thanks to the  Campaign for Safe Cosmetics  for their persistence in their work to get this agreement from J&J. More here. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/jj-removing-harsh-chemicals-products-2015-17010871

A chemist talks about asking the right questions

Chemist John Warner talks movingly about how his work as a chemist changed after his son’s death in Asking the Right Questions, an essay for This I Believe, a public radio show. John Warner is co-founder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry.

Now, I believe the most important question — the right question that has not been asked — is a simple one, really: “Why?” “Why do we have hazardous chemicals?” “Why do we make things the way we do?”

I believe that the right questions are not being asked enough. And perhaps more troubling, the response rings out: “But that’s the way we’ve always done it!” And that is exactly the point. We chemists need to take a look at our relationship with the community we serve, focusing on the cumulative effects of the compounds we release into the environment. We can start by changing the way we teach chemistry to future chemists and to the general public.