Spotlight: Tips from the Environmental Committee
In each edition of the newsletter, we’ll be putting a spotlight on a committee, commission, or board. To kick-off this series is the Environmental Committee:
About the Environmental Committee
Our City’s Environmental Committee has a vision “to create and maintain a sustainable community.” Its mission is “to improve social, economic and environmental well-being by fostering partnerships through education, guidance, and outreach.”
While the Committee is currently busy drafting a comprehensive work plan for adoption by the City, it is also looking for ways to inspire green-thinking and practices that can be put into action immediately by our eco-conscious residents. There are always ideas posted on the ES Green page (http://www.elsegundo.org/esgreen/) but with summer upon us, the committee would like to offer some seasonal suggestions to make a change that makes a difference.
Although we had a very wet winter, we can expect the drought/deluge cycle to continue. Watering your plants and lawns efficiently is still crucial for water reliability. First, it’s not necessary to water lawns and plants every day. As a general rule, more plants are killed through over-watering than under-watering.
You can save water (and money) by implementing the following watering tips:
- Check your sprinklers to make sure they aren’t over-spraying by watering the pavement around your yard.
- Ensure that all the sprinkler heads are working properly–no geysers!
- Set your automatic timers to water your yard after 7:00pm or before 6:00am so that the sun doesn’t evaporate all that water usage.
- Collect extra shower water—when you are running it to wait for it to warm up, stick a 5-gallon bucket in the flow—and use that on outdoor plants.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
After a wet winter you may find your trees growing quickly. Please keep in mind our bird friends before tree trimming and cleaning roof gutters. The federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits any person, unless permitted by regulations, to damage any eggs or nests. Additionally, the California Fish and Wildlife Code states that “It is unlawful to take, possess, or needlessly destroy the nest or eggs of any bird.” Most local bird species nest in the Spring (starting in March), and finish nesting in the late Summer (end of August). Before removing branches and leaves, make sure a bird survey is conducted so no harm comes to any nests or eggs.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, ROT
No matter what the season, always keep in mind these practices of “The 4 Rs- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.”
The first R, Reduce, reminds us to think about making less of what we purchase, what we throw away, and how we shop. You can practice reducing the amount of waste in your household by choosing to buy products that do not create excess waste and have to be added to landfills. When shopping, choose to not buy single serve products. Buy products that have very little packaging, or at least packaging that can be easily recycled. Stop buying bottled water—just refill reusable bottles or use glasses when at home. Bring reusable bags on every shopping errand. Kick the plastic baggie habit altogether: use reusable bags and containers in lunches, at picnics, and for storing leftovers.
The second R, Reuse, reminds us to use items more than once before putting them in the trash. This practice saves money and creates less waste in our landfills. Instead of throwing things away that you might not use anymore, why not give them to someone else or donate to charities? You can also reuse items like cups, plates and cloth napkins instead of using disposables. Again, if you kick the plastic baggie habit and switch to reusable bags and containers in lunches, at picnics and when storing leftovers, that will be a notable cost and waste savings.
The third R, Recycle, reminds us that it is important not to throw everything in the garbage. There are lots of things like bottles, cans, cardboard and paper that can be used to make other products. You might be surprised to learn that recycled products can be used to make all kinds of things; for example, a recycled soda bottle can be used to different plastic items, like combs. Check out the list of all the household items that can be recycled through residential pickups in El Segundo on this webpage.
Also recognize that certain items cannot be recycled or tossed into landfills due to their toxicity, such as:
- Christmas light strands
- Batteries and all items that use batteries such as toys, flashlights, etc.
- Electronic devices such as cellphones, computers, audio and video equipment, etc.
- Old chemicals such as lubricants, paints, and cleaners
- Mercury containing equipment (like thermostats and light ballasts) and mercury containing items such as old thermometers and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
- Acids & drain cleaners
- Antifreeze, brake fluids, transmission fluids, gasoline, oil & oil filters
- Paints & thinners
- Lawn & garden chemicals, i.e. fertilizers and pesticides
- Solvents & degreasers
- Poisons & pesticides
- Pool chemicals
- Expired or unused medications
- Sharps (syringes, needles) and other medical waste
- Aerosol cans, including inhalers
- Household cleaning products
These items must be disposed of through a hazardous waste handling company or by bringing them to a free Hazardous Waste Collection site, one of which is conveniently hosted by our neighboring Hyperion Treatment Plant (7660 W Imperial Hwy, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293) every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00AM – 3:00PM. For more details on Household Hazardous Waste, see the ES Public Works webpage.
Last, but not least, think about the final R—Rot! In household terms, rot refers to compost. Composting is not a dirty business but nature’s way of recycling. Leftover fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, rinsed egg shells, leaves and yard trimmings can easily be broken down into nutrient rich soil for gardens, flower beds and garden containers. Composting actually incorporates the first 3 R’s by reducing what we put in the trash, reusing what might be wasted and recycling food waste by changing it into nutrient rich soil.
Show us what you are doing to be green on any social media platform by hash-tagging a photo with #GoGreenGundo, and know that our committee is grateful for your support in making El Segundo a more sustainable, eco-minded community.