Flaws of Single-Use Straws

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You spend minutes sipping through a straw but it can end up spending decades in the ocean because its plastic, and doesn’t biodegrade. Instead, it lingers as litter for an animal to mistake as food, or even worse, get stuck inside a sea turtle’s nose (yes, this has happened). For years straws remain the 7th most picked up litter item during worldwide events like Coastal Cleanup Day, and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t get them all. While companies like Starbucks have made commitments to phase out plastic straws by 2020, what can we as straw sippers do to prevent straw pollution? You as one person can do a lot.

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Good.

Paper or plastic? Go with paper instead of plastic straws. They are a little more expensive, but you can feel good knowing the straw will biodegrade when you are done sipping on it.

Better.

Go with a reusable straw. Keep a reusable straw on hand for any cold beverage purchases you make along the way. Places like Amazon, Target, and more sell these at a reasonable price. Enter to win a nifty collapsible keychain straw by visiting smchealth.org/ccd.

Best.

Go completely reusable. Purchase a reusable cold beverage container that comes with a reusable straw. This not only reduces straw litter, but single-use plastic consumption in general. Or, if straws aren’t a sipping staple for you, skip them entirely.

 

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San Mateo County’s Healthy Nail Salon Program

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Your nails may be pampered, but what about your lungs?

If you aren’t visiting a certified Healthy Nail Salon you may not be breathing as easy while getting pampered as you should be. Nail salon air is lurking with many toxic chemicals. Don’t get poisoned while getting pampered. Salons certified by San Mateo County use less-toxic products and a ventilation unit that filters fumes and nail dust so you can breathe easy during your next nail service. Certified salons have partnered with San Mateo County to provide you with a $5 certificate. Start receiving certificates throughout the year via email or text message by signing up at smchealth.org/healthynails.

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Click here for a printable $5 certificate valid at over 15 salons.

Medicine Disposal Bins Now at CVS!

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Now you can drop where you shop.

In 2015 San Mateo County joined many other counties in California and Washington to adopt ordinances that require pharmaceutical companies to fund the safe and convenient collection of unwanted or expired medicine for residents.

In 2017, 36 kiosks were installed throughout the County ranging from local pharmacies to police stations with over 31,000 pounds of medicine collected.

The Program just got even better with 14 new CVS kiosk installation sites making it even easier to get rid of medicine with over 50 drop-off disposal locations available for residents throughout San Mateo County.

Haven’t had a chance to clean out your cabinet? Now is as good of time as any to protect your pets from accidental ingestion, and teens from access to medicines no longer needed.

Remember, never flush medicine down the toilet, or dispose of it in the trash to help protect our environment and waterways from medicine pollution.

CVS Locations

For a complete list of over 50 locations in San Mateo County, visit smchealth.org/RxDisposal

Burlingame

1871 El Camino Real (650) 692-5065

Daly City

375 Gellert Blvd. (650) 994-0752

135 Pierce St. (650) 992-2521

Foster City

987 E Hillsdale Blvd. (650) 570-4693

Half Moon Bay

60 Cabrillo Hwy N. (650) 726-6684

Menlo Park

700 El Camino Real (650) 566-1405

Redwood City

1301 Broadway St. (650) 364-2111

1039 El Camino Real (650) 780-9910

San Carlos

11 El Camino Real (650) 595-8511

1324 San Carlos Ave. (650) 591-7659

San Mateo

77 Bovet Rd. (650) 349-6303

124 De Anza Blvd. (650) 572-2514

872 N Delaware St. (650) 342-7448

4242 S El Camino Real (650) 573-5401

 

Reduce, Recharge, Recycle

Measuring with digital multimeter of rechargeable battery

A multi meter is used to test battery life.

Batteries charge our world and power the devices that make our lives convenient. In an effort to reduce the amount of waste we generate, here are some simple tips for household battery use.

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Ditch the Disposables

Calling all campers! Beckoning all BBQers! Tempting all tailgaters! Summer is approaching, and we know you’ll be fueling up your portable stoves and barbeques to grill up the juiciest hot dogs and roast the perfect veggies. That means it’s time to go reusable with 1lb. propane cylinders.

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Campers power their portable stove with a refillable 1lb. cylinder.

 

Why go reusable? Continue reading

Cooking with Care this Holiday Season

Cooking at home can be a great way to spend time with family during the holidays. Keep everyone safe by following these tips on food safety in the kitchen.

Clean:

  • Wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Wash all fresh produce before cutting or consuming.
  • Prevent colds from spreading to your food. Keep sticky fingers out of the kitchen and cover foods if possible.

Separate:

  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat items like vegetables and bread to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Ensure raw eggs, meat, poultry and their juices stay separate from foods that won’t be cooked.

Cook:

  • Use a chafing dish to keep hot foods at 135°F or above.
  • Reheat leftovers quickly and thoroughly to 165°F.
  • Bake cookies according to instructions. It’s tempting, but don’t eat the raw dough!
  • If frying foods, be aware of the cooking times to ensure food is fully cooked and ready for consumption. Find out where to properly dispose of cooking oil after use here.

Chill:

  • Use ice bowls to keep food cold (below 40°F).
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparation.
  • Do not defrost food at room temperature. Opt for safe defrosting in the refrigerator, microwave or under cold running water.

What food tips or recipes do you have to share with us? Comment below and the first 10 participants will win a thermometer!

Happy Holidays from Environmental Health Services!

Safe Steps for a Successful Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Experience

If you have a variety of unwanted toxic items at home, the safest way to dispose of them is at a County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) event.

Before you load up the car and make an appointment, read on for tips to make your experience a safe and successful one.

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Put the Brakes on Frequent Oil Changes

Did you know many cars can go 10,000 miles without an oil change? We know you have got a lot of ground to cover and sights to see, so don’t waste time on unnecessary oil changes!

Reasons to change your car’s oil less often:
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Coastal Cleanup Captain Spotlight: Realtor by Day, Litter Hero by Weekend

“Everyone gains a better
understanding of watershed education when creeks, bays, and
inland areas are included in Coastal Cleanup Day activities.”
— Davena Gentry,
Bedwell Bayfront Park Coastal Cleanup Day Site Captain

Davena Gentry has been keeping the Bay clean at Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park for the past five years. As a realtor by day, Davena incorporates her love for the environment into her career, and has earned a Green Designation from the National Association of Realtors. She enjoys educating children about how litter flows downstream, where it often originates in creeks and streams before reaching the Bay and ocean.

Join Davena and many other earth heroes on Coastal Cleanup Day – Saturday, September 16th. Visit smchealth.org/ccd to find one of the 30 Bay or coast cleanup sites in San Mateo County!

Prevent Cigarette Butt Pollution

Milbrae Receptacle

Have you seen this receptacle before?  In 2016, four cigarette butt receptacles were installed in downtown Millbrae to help smokers have a place to stash their cigarette butts. The receptacles installed reduced butts by 49% near the installation area over a four month period.

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