Mayor's View: Spring cleaning good for more than just your garage

By Mike Nichols

Mayor, Solana Beach

Warm weather and the arrival of spring bring the annual tradition of "Spring Cleaning." It is this time of year that we get motivated to organize the garage, clean-out attic or basement, clear off the decks and patios, and get things ready for another wonderful Solana Beach summer!

Well, if you are like me, then you will likely find things in this process that you no longer want or need. Many of these items, such as clothes, furniture, books, small appliances and toys may still have life in them. Challenge yourself to really consider diverting as many of these discarded items away from the local landfills by donating them to charity.

Charities are always seeking items that can be reused and possibly resold at thrift stores. In these tough economic times, especially, donating goods to thrift stores can provide others a means to purchase gently used items at a significant discount, while also helping nonprofits generate income.

When cleaning out the garage, you are likely to find old and broken electronics, half-empty cans of paint or oil, used batteries, or other toxic products. These items are not suitable for donation to charity and are commonly referred to as "Household Hazardous Waste" (HHW). HHWs can pose serious risks to the public's health, safety and welfare. Because of this, and their ability to create tremendous environmental harm if not disposed of properly, it is dangerous and illegal to discard HHWs into the trash, storm drain or down the sewer.

The city of Solana Beach offers a door-to-door (or at home) HHW collection services for a small co-payment of $10 to assist our citizens in properly and legally disposing of these toxic substances. This home pick-up service is free of charge for residents over the age of 65 or homebound.

Residents can also take their HHWs to either the Vista or Poway collection facilities free of charge; but considering the price of gas, it is likely more economical to call for home pickup.

Information on HHW disposal services is available on the city's Web site (

www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us

) or by calling the city's environmental specialist at 720-2477.

When tackling spring cleaning at your home this year, please think twice about helping others and helping the environment. Diverting solid wastes from landfills and properly disposing of household hazardous wastes is everybody's responsibility.

   
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