Monthly Environmental News
Spring into Action
Exercise Caution When Choosing Pesticides
With spring comes new life and new opportunities to make better decisions for your garden and the environment. With all the new growth, pests are not far behind. Please make careful choices when purchasing pest control products.
After the highly publicized voluntary recalls of diazinon and chlorpyrifos (Dursban) as home and garden pesticides, consumers might think that most products on store shelves are safer. But this is not the case. A new class of pesticides has become prominent: pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are designed to kill a wide variety of pests, such as lawn grubs and ants. But pyrethroids are highly toxic to beneficial insects like ladybugs, earthworms, and lacewings, which help to keep problem pests in-check. Once these beneficial insects and the natural checks and balances they provide have been eliminated, pests are free to multiply. Pyrethroids are also priority pesticides of concern because they have been linked to widespread toxicity in California surface waters.
Garden pesticides are a particular problem when it comes to stormwater pollution. Once they are washed away by rain and watering, pesticides flow into storm drains, polluting local creeks and the Bay, and harming fish and other aquatic life. Tips to avoid toxic choices while maintaining beautiful yards and gardens are:
- Read labels. The word “pyrethroid” may not appear on a label, but look for these active ingredients: permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, lambdacyhalothrin, and tralomethrin. Active ingredient names ending in “-thrin” are usually pyrethroids. Download a free pocket guide that gives examples of products without pyrethroids at www.ourwaterourworld.org.
- When shopping, seek the least toxic products. Look for shelf signs with the Our Water, Our World name and logo, which draw attention to safer choices. Participating stores include Orchard Supply Hardware, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Summerwinds and Yamagami’s Nursery.
Compost with Success
Over one third of the waste entering landfills is organic material, with food comprising 15% of the total waste stream. Composting is a beneficial option to reduce the volume of wasted organic material, and it produces a valuable product that enhances soil and benefits new growth. Rotting organic matter turns into methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. What can you do to help our environment? Place all food scraps directly into your yard waste cart, or wrap them in newspaper or a paper bag first. The City provides free compost to its residents from the last weekend in March through October 19 on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 am – 11 am at 12100 Stevens Canyon Road.
For the best gardening results, mix compost with 50% dirt. Compost is intended as an amendment to the soil; unblended compost is nutrient-rich and may burn plant roots and lawn if applied directly. The free compost comes from Cupertino’s food and yard waste collection program through Recology and is processed at South Valley Organics, Inc. through a strict quality assurance program. For more information please contact Environmental Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org 408.777.3354.
Cupertino Will Become a Clean Zone - No Butts about it
Cupertino’s parking lots, curbs and creeks have been negatively impacted by litter. To prepare for the new State mandate requiring the City to reduce 100% of its litter by July 1, 2022, and to reduce 40% of the litter by July 1, 2014, anyone caught littering in Cupertino will be cited and fined a minimum of $100 for a first-time litter violation. Locally and nationwide, cigarette butts are the number one littered item. The problem is that litter doesn’t stay in one place. When it lands on the ground, if not swept up or cleaned up, litter may be carried by wind or rain to stormdrain inlets that are designed to divert rain to local creeks to prevent flooding. When litter enters the drainage system it has begun its journey, first to our creeks, then to the Bay and on to the ocean. Please do your part. NEVER litter our environment. When safe to do so, pick up litter and properly dispose of it and consider joining an on-land or creek cleanup event. Visit www.cleanacreek.org to find local events.
2013 Garage Sale Date Set
The Citywide Garage Sale will be held on September 21 and 22 this year. Look for sale details in next month’s Scene and on our website at www.cupertino.org/garagesale in the coming months.
What Do You Do with Household Hazardous Waste?
Contact Waste Management (WM) At-Your-Door service to collect your household hazardous waste. An appointment for collection can be made at www.wmatyourdoor.com or by calling 800.449.7587.
Help Water Flow
Keeping debris out of creeks helps water flow. Creeks are a valuable natural resource that support sensitive wildlife and ecosystems and also serve as natural drainage systems that carry storm water away from homes, roads and businesses safely to the bay. For our waterways to carry runoff during heavy rainfall, it is important to keep creeks free of trash and debris, which can impede the flow of water and cause flooding. While most people realize trash and chemicals should not go into a creek, many don’t know that yard waste, leaves and soil also pollute a creek and can obstruct water flow, resulting in flooding and erosion.
Use Reusable Bags in Cupertino
Starting October 1, 2013 retail stores in Cupertino will no longer be allowed to distribute disposable, thin plastic carryout bags. Recycled paper bags may be distributed by retailers with a minimum charge of ten cents per bag. This bag charge will increase to twenty-five cents on January 1, 2015. For additional information, please visit www.cupertino.org/reusebags or call 408 777-3354. Free reusable bags are available at the Cupertino City Hall for Cupertino residents.