Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Cleaning

  • ½ full pump-spray bottles of insect repellant
  • 2 ltrs Draino
  • 1 gallon eggshell interior latex (low VOC)
  • Batteries, batteries, batteries
  • Expired antihistamines
Minutes ago these things were removed from my garage by the toxic waste specialists at Sunset Scavenger Co. Thanks, guys!

I knew this stuff couldn't go into the regular garbage. So it accumulated for more than a year while I procrastinated. Finding the right resource was not difficult here in San Francisco: we benefit from one of the first permanent facilities in the country to help residents safely dispose of hazardous household waste. The most common wastes received are leftover paint, motor oil from cars, paint thinner, and old garden products such as pesticides.

What a relief to get that stuff out of my home --- and relief at the happier outcome for the ecosystem. One of the main reasons to keep toxins out of the routine garbage is to prevent these chemicals from contaminating our drinking water. It looks like some new funding may become available for programs like this. In a January news release The Environmental Working group said
(President Obama) will transform this (financial) crisis into an opportunity to use federal resources to green homes and offices and to update the grid, something we should have done three decades ago.

We are encouraged that President Obama intends to seek funding to protect our dwindling supplies of fresh water from toxic pollutants and to ensure that clean drinking water is available to every community. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has focused much of our research investigating contaminated tap water systems throughout the country – many burdened with an antiquated infrastructure woefully in need of updating.

We urge the Obama administration and Congress to give top priority to updating the nation's drinking water systems…We’ve known for years that the nation’s drinking water is contaminated with unacceptable levels of toxic contaminants (emphasis mine).
San Francisco’s “Toxics Reduction” program is well respected: it provides a few jobs, improves environmental justice and promotes health for the entire community. I hope more counties will develop this kind of service!

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