Category Archives: Sustainability

Educational & Informational Presentations


The Recycling Program staff of the City of Fresno is pleased to offer the opportunity to schedule a presentation or participate in a community outreach event, located within the city of Fresno, for your students or members of your service organization. To make arrangements, please click here or call the Recycling Hotline at 621-1111. Click the image to the left to visit our “Grow up Green” website where you can see a short video of a recycling presentation.

 

Schools

Recycling presentations are available to pre-k, elementary, middle schools, high schools and colleges, within the City of Fresno. Interactive and entertaining presentations cover information on recycling, resource conservation, and protection of the environment. Students will learn about the importance of recycling programs available to them in Fresno. Our staff is happy to work with you to relate the information and materials covered in your curriculum.

Each presentation takes between 45 minutes to an hour or can be tailored to meet your needs. Handouts, videos and visual aides reinforce the information. There is no fee and all handouts are free.

The program is funded by the City of Fresno and various state grants and focuses on the following areas of recycling:

Community Service Organizations

Recycling Program staff are available to make presentations to community service organizations within the city of Fresno. Topics include recycling, resources conservation, and protection of the environment. To schedule a presentation, please click here or call the Recycling Hotline at 621-1111.

Community and School Events

As part of our goal to educate the residents of the City of Fresno about recycling and protecting our natural resources, Recycling Program staff are available to participate in events, within the city of Fresno, that promote environmental awareness. They are also available to attend community-wide school events such as science fairs, career days and Earth Day events located within the city of Fresno. For more information, or to schedule a presentation or event, please click here or call the Recycling Hotline at 621-1111.

Additional Resources and Supplemental Materials

Educational Packets – includes information on Solid Waste and Recycling services and opportunities throughout the City of Fresno.

“Closing the Loop” Curriculum (grades K – 6) – provides current and accurate waste management information. Enables students to get involved with hands-on action-oriented projects. (Available online at www.CalRecycle.gov).

“A Child’s Place in the Environment” Curriculum (grades 1 – 6) – provides teachers with an environmental education program that encourages students to become environmentally aware and active. (Available online at www.ACPE.Lake.K12.ca.us)

“Teens for Planet Earth” Website (grades 9 – 12) – provides teens and adults who work with with teens, resources to carry out environmental service-learning projects in their community. (Available online at: www.teens4planetearth.com)

For more recycling information and links to games, click here to go to our “Kid’s Pages

To contact the City of Fresno Recycling Program, please click here or call 621-1111.

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How to Recycle Materials

Construction

From http://earth911.com

Consumers might not generate a lot of construction waste, but certain types of wood, brick and carpet that homeowners use fall under this category. Construction waste generally requires a truck to move it, so often collection programs aren’t available in cities.

Built for Speed: Habitat Raises an Upcycled Structure in 48 Hours

Scroll through to get an up-close look at the marathon construction process and see how far reused materials can truly go.

Tips and Disposal Guide

Some products we use around our homes contain hazardous ingredients. These include many household cleaners, nail polish remover, motor oil, weed killer, hobby supplies, car batteries, household batteries, fluorescent bulbs, sharps, some electronics and bug sprays.
hazardous_waste_2
Hazardous waste in your home?
Can it harm you, your children, pets and the environment?
The answer is YES!

Many household products are made of chemicals that can harm us. If these items are used, stored or disposed of improperly, you, your pets or the environment can be injured.

Hazardous materials dumped on the ground or into the gutter can contaminate soil and the underground water supply — Fresno’s primary source of water. This page provides you with a guide for the disposal of hazardous products.

Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Events
To protect you, your family, pets and the environment, these products must be used carefully and disposed of properly. Please don’t put HHW products in the trash, on the ground, down the sewer or into the gutter. Save them for a household hazardous waste drop-off event.

The City of Fresno and Fresno County co-sponsor two household hazardous waste drop-off events each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Dates are advertised in the Fresno Bee. To find out about the next event dates, call Fresno County, 262-4259 or Visit the Website.

(See our disposal guide below)

How can you tell if a product is hazardous ?
Check the label on the container for key words:


Things to keep in mind:

Purchase only what you need. Buy small amounts, check the label for the above key words and avoid purchasing hazardous products

Read and follow label directions carefully. When you must use a hazardous substance, apply only as directed and only as much as is needed.

Wear protective clothing such as safety glasses and gloves in well-ventilated areas.

Store hazardous products in the original containers, in a cool dry place, away from children, pets and food. Check for leaks. Do not mix products or store products together that may be incompatible. This may cause toxic themical reactions such as: explosions, fires, skin and eye irritations. Do not store hazardous products for more than one year from date of purchase.

Keep the number of the Poison Control Center visible and posted near the telephone in case of emergency. 1(800) 222-1222 You can also visit their website.

 

DISPOSAL GUIDE

Some important terms:

Explosive – Can catch fire, explode or give off dangerous fumes when exposed to water or air.
Reactive – Unstable chemicals that may react spontaneously with flammables, water, or other chemicals – may by explosive.
Poisonous / Toxic – May cause injury or death when inhaled (breathing), ingested (eating or drinking), or absorbed through the skin (touching).
Corrosive – Can “eat through” clothes, metal, etc. and severely burn skin.
Flammable – Can catch on fire.

All items listed (except weapons) can be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste Event. For information and dates call 262-4259 or visit the Fresno County Website regarding these events.

All starred (*) items can be dried out outside, away from kids and pets, then placed in the gray trash container.

These items are Corrosive & Toxic – Do Not Mix with Other Substances

  • Ammonia-based products
  • Bathroom/Kitchen cleaners
  • Bleach
  • Car Wax (solvents)
  • Chlorine cleaners
  • Disinfectant
  • Drain Openers
  • Glass cleaners
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Oven cleaners

These items are Explosive – Take to the Police or Sheriff’s Department

  • Ammunition
  • Firearms

These items are Flammable

  • Aerosol sprays
  • Disinfecting sprays
  • Deodorant sprays
  • Hairspray

These items are Flammable, Corrosive & Toxic

  • Asphalt
  • Driveway Sealants
  • Roofing Tar*
  • Rug & Upholstery Cleaner*
  • Rust Remover*
  • Thinners

These items are Flammable & Toxic

  • Cleaner/Degreaser
  • Copper Polish*
  • Diesel Fuel
  • Enamel
  • Floor polish*
  • Furniture polish*
  • Gasoline
  • Kerosene
  • Motor Oil
  • Nail Polish Remover*
  • Oil-Based Paint
  • Shoe polish*
  • Silver polish*
  • Spot Remover*
  • Stains
  • Solvents
  • Stripper
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Turpentine
  • Varnishes
  • Wood Preservatives

These items are Toxic

  • Abrasives
  • Antifreeze
  • Artist/Model Paint* (leftover paint must be taken to HHW event but a completely empty, dried out container can be placed in the blue cart)
  • Batteries(radios, toys, etc)
  • Car Batteries
  • Fertilizer
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Fungicides
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Medicine
  • Mercury (please click here for more information)
  • Mothballs
  • Latex Paint* (leftover paint should be soaked up with kitty litter and placed in the gray cart but the empty, dried out container can be placed in the blue cart)
  • Oil Based Paint (leftover paint must be taken to HHW event but a completely empty, dried out container can be placed in the blue cart)
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Scouring Powder
  • Water-Based Paint* (leftover paint should be soaked up with kitty litter and placed in the gray cart but the empty, dried out container can be placed in the blue cart)
  • Weed Killer

Earth Day – April 22, 2013

What do people do

The April 22 Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to earth. Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches. Some people are encouraged to sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.  Television stations frequently air programs dealing with environmental issues.

earthday

Public Life

Earth Day is not a public holiday and public life, with regard to transport schedules and opening hours for schools and businesses, is not affected.

Background

The April 22 Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.

Some people prefer to observe Earth Day around the time of the March equinox. In 1978, American anthropologist Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, founded by John McConnell. She stated that the selection of the March Equinox for Earth Day made planetary observance of a shared event possible.

bag-banner

Symbols

Symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include: an image or drawing of planet earth; a tree, a flower or leaves depicting growth; or the recycling symbol. Colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown or blue.

The “Earth Flag”, which was designed by John McConnell, has been described as a “flag for all people”. It features a two-sided dye printed image of the Earth from space on a dark blue field, made from recyclable, weather-resistant polyester. Margaret Mead believed that a flag that showed the earth as seen from space was appropriate.

 

 

Ground Squirrels in the Foothills

Squirrels

Try Grasscycling or Composting

What is Grasscycling?
Grasscycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving the clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly and release valuable nutrients back into your lawn. It’s simple, and it works! Grass clippings make up a big part of California’s waste during the growing season. To keep these out of the waste stream, try grasscycling!
Grasscycling provides free fertilizer and helps make lawns greener and healthier. Grasscycling reduces turf grass fertilizer and water requirements, which can reduce the toxic runoff that enters storm drains and pollutes creeks and rivers. Grasscycling reduces mowing time too since it eliminates the need to bag and dispose of clippings.
Grasscycling also reduces the amount of yard waste disposed in landfills. Lawns can generate 300 pounds of grass clippings per 1000 square feet annually. For more information on grasscycling from the California Integrated Waste Management Board, visit www.ciwmb.ca.gov.

grasscycle-pic

Backyard Composting
Backyard composting is nature’s way of recycling. Composting is fun, easy and educational. Decomposed organic material such as leaves, grass clippings, twigs, fruit and vegetables make a great soil conditioner. Compost made from leaves and yard trimmings is great for your landscaping. To learn more about composting, visit www.ciwmb.ca.gov. or the “Master Gardener’s of Fresno County” website.

Single people aren’t as good at recycling as couples are

What do you think? Are you single or in a couple…and does it effect your recycling habits?

Grist

Single people often face a stigma: The coupled-up among us just can’t figure out how anyone could live a full and accomplished life without a partner. And in most cases, this stigma is totally ridiculous and unjustified. Apparently not for recycling, though. In Britain, at least, single people just aren’t as good at it.

According to the Guardian, while 79 percent of mixed-sex couples recycle, only 65 percent of single people do. And the worst of the worst were single men, only 58 percent of whom could be bothered with the small task of putting paper, plastic, and metal products in a separate bin from their rotting food. 

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Protecting Wildlife from Trash

 

By Roberta C. Barbalace

Many solid waste companies and municipal landfills have the situation well in hand; do you?

Birds, mammals, and reptiles can be injured or killed by the trash we throw away. The magnitude of the problem is growing every day, especially because some types of litter do not readily disintegrate and therefore remain in the environment as a threat for decades. To help protect wildlife and natural habitats, local cleanup campaigns and recycling plans are now being implemented.

For more information about the Trash Knight system, please visit our website at www.trashknight.com.

The Litter Problem

The amount of litter that ends up spoiling the beauty of the natural environment is not surprising considering the amount of waste we produce. Glass bottles, plastic packaging, tin cans, newspaper, cardboard, and other types of garbage litter urban and rural landscapes everywhere. According to Wildlife Fact File, about 160 million tons of trash is thrown away every year in the U.S. or approximately three and a half pounds per person each day. Paper products alone account for over 40 percent of this garbage. Sometimes the wind blows trash from overloaded garbage cans and litters the environment. Naturally litter can last for a long time depending on the disintegration of the garbage. For example aluminum cans do not disintegrate, and some plastics take decades to break down.

How Litter Threatens Wildlife

Litter can be very harmful to wildlife. Discarded fishing lines can trap the legs, wings, or neck of waterfowl such as swans or moorhens. A fishhook may get stuck in a bird’s throat. Water birds suffer lead poisoning when they accidentally swallow small lead fishing weights. Broken glass can cut the feet of foxes, coyotes, or badgers, and unbroken bottles present a hazard to various small animals. Lizards often crawl inside bottles or cans to bask warm interior, to seek protection or search for food; but they may find it difficult to squeeze out again and can die of overheating. Small mammals in search of food often get their heads caught in the openings of jars. Replacing lids on bottles and jars before discarding can help prevent animals from becoming entrapped. Birds, fish, and mammals may be ensnared by plastic six-pack holders. This can be prevented this by cutting up the plastic rings so that they do not become traps.

Animals That Use Litter

Litter may appear to be helpful to wildlife. At night in some urban areas, foxes look for garbage on the streets. Often they feed on chicken bones, pieces of hamburger, and other leftovers from fast-food meals. During the day pigeons take over from foxes, these birds often flap around a food-laden garbage can of peck crumbs on the pavement. Gulls are well-known scavengers. These birds have greatly increased their number by feeding on thrown-away food. Inland, they gather in flocks over garbage dumps, where they eat even the filthiest scraps.

Human food is not necessarily good for wild animals. Deer, for instance, love bread and sweets. These purified grain products may form gummy masses in the stomachs of ruminants and interfere with digestion. Deer may actually die from ingesting too much food with a flour base. Discarded food can also become contaminated with microorganisms that cause food poisoning. More likely, however, the wild animals will become accustomed to free handouts and be unprepared to hunt for themselves if the source of human food is cut off.

How the Waste Industry is Protecting Animals

There was a time when many animals fell victims to discarded trash in municipal dumps. In addition to the waste itself, wildlife was threatened by heavy equipment workers who did not understand how their actions could threaten a fragile ecosystem. Animals were often struck by trucks or crushed by heavy machinery. Some became entrapped in trenches, open pits or pipes. While dumps still exist in some remote locations, most are being replaced by sanitary landfills.

The evolution of sanitary and secure landfills was accompanied by environmental planning that provided protection for wildlife and guaranteed that the land would be reclaimed for future wildlife inhabitants. Some methods of protection seem to be standard procedures at most landfills and many facilities have some pet project designed to provide for the safety and continued survival of some special creature.

Butterfield Station in Phoenix, Arizona serves as a good example of what precautions are normally taken at Waste Management Inc. (WMI) owned and operated landfills. The landfill is securely fenced to exclude many animals. Strict speed limits are enforced to protect animals from being hit. At the close of every day, all refuse is covered with a six inch covering of soil to keep animals from being injured by the debris. All truck beds and other such containers are covered with tarps to keep animals out. Domestic animals are not permitted in the landfill. Any escaped debris is collected from roadways and along the perimeter of the landfill on an on-going basis. Small waste containers are provided with animal proof lids to keep wild animals from getting to the waste. Many Waste Management facilities provide special roll-off containers for small towns and villages to use during community clean-up events.

It is common for landfills to have pet projects to protect individual species that are of particular concern. Kirby Canyon Recycling and Disposal Facility in Morgan Hill, CA with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, City of San Jose, researchers from Stanford University and consulting biologists have embarked upon a conservation plan to increase and maintain the population of the endangered Bay Checkerspot Butterfly. Approximately two hundred and fifty acres have been set aside for the checkerspot, which was nearing extinction in 1985. The Kirby Canyon Conservation Agreement, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1996, provides for: the setting aside of land; establishment of a trust fund for studies of the butterfly; management of cattle grazing to ensure appropriate balance of plant resources; habitat restoration and enhancement; and ongoing scientific monitoring of the Bay Checkerspot population. In addition, Kirby Canyon has set aside marshland for the preservation of the endangered Red Legged Frog.

Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility in Livermore, CA has implemented a special program to protect the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox. The protection program includes many projects to protect the San Joaquin Kit Fox. Exclusion zones are placed around dens. Limited disturbance of areas adjacent to construction and storage areas must be maintained. Escape ramps are constructed in all holes or trenches greater than 2 feet deep, and sides must have a slope no greater than 45 degrees. Pipes with a diameter of four inches or greater must be inspected for kit foxes before being buried, capped or moved. Vehicles observe a 20 M.P.H. speed limit except on county, state or federal roads. Staff and visitors are instructed not to harass any Kit Fox or other unidentified fox in the vicinity of the landfill. Feeding of wildlife is not permitted. Off road traffic is prohibited. General precautions that are followed at all landfills are observed at Altamont.

The Kettleman Hills Facility in Kettleman City, CA also has protection programs for the San Joaquin Kit Fox, Giant Kangaroo Rat, the Blunt Nosed Leopard Lizard, the San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel, and two state species of concern, the Burrowing Owls and badgers.

Landfills have made great strides in protecting wildlife. But everybody must become involved in protecting wildlife from household waste. Recycling reduces the litter problem. Improvements in package construction can reduce unnecessary waste and make them less harmful to wildlife. Proper disposal methods can help to keep litter that we accumulate from becoming a death trap to wild animals. If people learn to respect the environment and are aware of the threat trash poses to wildlife, they will be less likely to litter.

What You Can Do!

There are many things that your clubs, science classes and families can do to help protect animals from being injured by trash. Below are some ideas.

  1. Look at the products your family uses. Is there a lot of extra packaging that is not needed? Tell the company by letter, phone or e-mail. They have offices set up to handle such concerns. Don’t buy from companies who refuse to reduce unnecessary packaging.
  2. Check the trash that your family discards. Does your trash get placed in an animal proof container? That will help protect animals. It is still wise to check each item that you discard. What packages could injure animals? Cut up or tie plastic bags and six pack holders into knots to prevent injury to small animals. Remove can tops completely. Seal food in leak proof bags. Put lids on bottles and jars, or plug holes before disposing of them.
  3. Get involved with community cleanup projects such as Earth Day
  4. Better yet, make community clean up a routine. If you see trash in a field or along a road, pick it up (wear gloves or some other hand protection).
  5. Teach others about the need for protecting animals from trash.

 

TIPS TO ASSIST BUSINESSES IN ELIMINATING LITTER

Trash Knight Containers

  • Place an adequate number of trash containers in parking lots as well as inside and outside of all building entrances.
  • Establish a regular schedule for emptying trash containers. Avoid having trash emptied on an ‘as needed’ basis.
  • This will prevent trash overflows.
  • Replace broken, dirty or damaged containers.
  • Use only covered trash containers to eliminate trash from spilling or blowing out.

Employees

  • Establish the expectation that employees will pick up trash anywhere in or around your place of business. Let them know that it is not acceptable to walk past litter.
  • Removed trapped litter from fence lines on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • Establish smoking areas with appropriate ash receptacles for employees and customers.

Dumpsters

  • Place only tied bags of trash in outdoor dumpsters. This greatly decreases loose trash from blowing out of the dumpster during collection.
  • Call the city’s Solid Waste Department when your dumpster is near to overflowing, or if your current level of service is not sufficient. Change or increase scheduled pickups, if necessary.
  • Enclose dumpsters with fences or walls to minimize the amount of trash that will blow to other areas of your business or onto city streets and rights-of-way. Remove trash from the enclosure area regularly.

Policies

Commit to reducing loose trash from company vehicles by:

  • Requiring tarps on any vehicles transporting materials.
  • Requiring tightly sealed containers to transport materials that are not covered by tarps.
  • Instructing drivers to pick up any materials that have fallen off of their load.
  • Instructing drivers to discard cigarette butts in vehicle ashtrays.
  • Adding trash bags to company vehicles.

From Keep America Beautiful. For more information about eliminating litter, proper litter disposal or to learn more about our Trash Knight garbage system, please visit www.trashknight.com.

 

Trash Knight Facts

Q. What can the TRASH KNIGHT do for me?

A. The main use of the TRASH KNIGHT has always been to keep animals out of residential garbage, but it does other things as well.

1. The rolling and towable models are an excellent mobility aid for older folks or a simple convenience for anybody who doesn’t want to make multiple trips to the curb lugging heavy trash cans. Your garbage can be taken out on ‘trash night’ (the night before your trash service comes), to avoid having to take it out before dawn on ‘trash day’ for fear of animal intrusion.

2. The TRASH KNIGHT can get your garbage cans out of the garage. Tired of that odor when you go to get in your car?

3. The TRASH KNIGHT opens your cans for you. No more prying unsanitary lids off. Taking the garbage out is now ‘touchless’. Germaphobes rejoice!

4. Reduce your trash can expense. The Rubbermaid BRUTEtm trash can is an extremely  tough commercial grade product. They are expensive, but last a very long time, and the Trash Man can’t throw the lids when they are attached to the unit. In fact, my trash man likes the fact that he never has to pick up my trash so much that he has agreed to gently place my cans back in my TRASH KNIGHT rather than tossing them on the ground.

5. The TRASH KNIGHT can be used for storage of animal feed of almost any type. From rabbits to horses, one of our models can simplify feeding time and ensure varmint proof storage.

For more information about the Trash Knight garbage system, please visit www.trashknight.com.

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