2016 Coastal Cleanup Day is Another Success!

Volunteers at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay ready for a cleanup.

Volunteers at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay ready for a cleanup.

Last Saturday thousands of volunteers showed up in San Mateo County to clean up litter on shorelines, beaches, parks and neighborhoods in honor of Coastal Cleanup Day.

From Brisbane all the way down to Pescadero, over 3,871 volunteers of all ages showed how much of a difference one event can make. In just three hours volunteers collected an estimated 22,299 pounds of trash and 3,754 pounds of recyclables from over 33 sites on the bayside and coast by climbing hills and even wading through water! For a few volunteers it was worth it because they were lucky enough to uncover a few of the most unusual items of the day, such as a backpack full of crabs in Half Moon Bay and an old police radio in Burlingame.

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Stay Food Safe When Going Back to School

father_son_foodSummer is over which means the kids are back in school and you are back to packing lunches on the go. Before you start packing, Environmental Health Services want to remind you about a few food safety tips that will prevent your little ones (or not so little) from falling ill because of improper food handling.

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Environmental Health Helps Clear Invasive Species at San Bruno Mountain

Environmental Health Services staff helping out at San Bruno Mountain.

Environmental Health Services staff helping out at San Bruno Mountain.

On a foggy San Mateo County day, 35 Environmental Health Services employees volunteered to help remove invasive plants on the Bog Trail near Colma Creek at San Bruno Mountain State and County Park.

Staff spent two hours working with the San Mateo County Parks Department to remove invasive species like Cape Ivy, Radish and Poison Hemlock from taking over local native plant habitats covering over a quarter acre.

We thoroughly enjoyed being outside despite the dreary weather.

Check out some of our photos below:

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Get Ready for the 32nd Annual Coastal Cleanup Day


There are over 30 locations in San Mateo County to help clean up!

Join us on September 17th 9am-Noon to participate in California’s largest volunteer event that helps clean up and protect our beaches, shorelines, creeks, neighborhoods and parks in San Mateo County. These locations have historically been collection spots for trash and debris, and if not removed, can be harmful to marine wildlife and human health.


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Recycle Used Motor Oil Filters (But NOT in Your Garbage or Recycle Bin)

A used oil filter may contain up to 10 ounces of used motor oil inside.

A used oil filter may contain up to 10 ounces of used motor oil inside.

What happens when a used oil filter is improperly disposed of? The oil trapped inside the filter will ooze out and contaminate our streams, neighborhood streets, and the local landfill.

Once oil contaminates a landfill, over time it can gradually reach underground water sources. The California Department of Resources Recycling & Recovery (CalRecycle) estimates there are at least two million gallons of motor oil lost when filters are not properly recycled at a used motor oil and filter collection center.

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Dropping off Your Household Hazardous Waste is as Easy as 1-2-3!

San Mateo County's Household Hazardous Waste Program is a "full-service" program.

San Mateo County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program is a “full-service” program.

San Mateo County has offered a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program for over 24 years for residents to drop-off a variety of HHW such as cleaning chemicals, batteries, paint, fluorescent lights, propane tanks and more.

The program is free to residents and continues to be a popular way to get rid of unwanted toxic waste.

Next time you use the program – whether it is at our permanent facility in San Mateo or one of our temporary events in Daly City, La Honda, Menlo Park, Pacifica, Portola Valley, or South San Francisco – here are some quick tips to help you help us make the program a success for everyone.

  1. Make an appointment. You can do so online at smchealth.org/hhw or by calling (650) 363-4718, select option 3.
  2. Gather your waste in a sturdy box. Don’t mix waste and make sure they are in their original containers. Check our website for a list of accepted waste. The limit per appointment is 10 gallons or 50 pounds.
  3. Arrive at your designated time. The HHW program is “full-service” so stay in your vehicle while we take the waste directly from your car. Just make sure to place it all in an easily accessible location for staff to reach.

And that’s it!

Visit smchealth.org/hhw for more information on how to make an appointment and what wastes are accepted.

Housing Pilot Program Off to a Robust Start

San Mateo County's Augmented Pilot Program

San Mateo County’s Augmented Pilot Program

Since January 2016, the San Mateo County Augmented Housing Inspection Pilot Program, approved by the County Board of Supervisors in 2015, has hit the ground running and is showing positive results. In just six months 76% of the health and safety violations reported at 348 apartment complexes targeted by the pilot have been resolved.

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Safer Cleaning Alternatives in the Bathroom

girlcleaningIt’s inevitable that toilets get stained, drains get clogged, and mildew develops in the shower. But before you grab a conventional cleaner with harsh chemicals found at the grocery store, protect your health and your wallet by creating your own bathroom cleaners from safer ingredients.

Here are some bathroom ingredient essentials you will need: Continue reading

Green Grocery Shopping

Make your next grocery shopping experience a little greener!

Make your next grocery shopping experience a little greener!

Shopping green isn’t just about remembering your reusable bag. There are many other choices while grocery shopping that benefit the environment and your health.

The very first green choice you can make comes before you grab your reusable bags and head to the store; it starts with making your grocery list! As you make your list, check kitchen cupboards and your refrigerator. You may still have vegetables that can be incorporated into the upcoming week’s menu. Not only will you save money by not having to buy extra items, you will be helping to reduce food waste. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that we waste 30-40 percent of our food in the U.S.

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Stay Food Safe this Summer Grilling Season

Delicious ribs

Have a food safe summer.

With the dog days of summer upon us, it’s the season to take extra precautions when handling, cooking and serving food for your backyard barbecues or outdoor picnics.

While the warmer weather may be ideal for summer grilling, it also creates an ideal environment for bacteria and pathogens to grow in food and cause foodborne illnesses.

Luckily, we have compiled a list of simple steps to help you stay a grilling superstar and not the one who ruined Uncle Joe’s barbeque by making everyone sick.

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