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Keeping freshwater beaches fresh starts with you

The sun is shining, and it’s time to head to the beach! Many beach visitors – ducks, geese, dogs, and humans – contribute to high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Make sure you are doing your part to keep King County’s swimming beaches clean and enjoyable for everyone! 

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Keeping freshwater beaches fresh starts with you

June 01, 2021

The sun is shining, and it’s time to head to the beach! Many beach visitors – ducks, geese, dogs, and humans – contribute to high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Make sure you are doing your part to keep King County’s swimming beaches clean and enjoyable for everyone! 

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My, how your garden grows—with pollinators!

June 01, 2021

Gardens are not only pretty to look at, they can also help sustain our ecosystem by serving as a home for pollinators. Pollinators are birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small animals that help plants reproduce. Creating a natural garden that attracts pollinators will help make a difference in creating a sustainable environment for current and future generations. 

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Oh, the places you'll go: Career paths within hazardous waste management

May 31, 2021

Congratulations, graduates of 2021! Are you wondering what to do next? This month, we spotlight several Haz Waste Program team members who will tell you what it’s like to work in the areas of Haz Waste Policy, Prevention, and Collections Programs. For people who care about the environment and human health, opportunities await within the hazardous waste management field!

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The mountains are calling! What's in your backpack?

May 04, 2021

Hazardous chemicals are not part of the ten essentials for hiking and camping, but they can creep into backpacks nonetheless. And they can eventually contaminate the land and water—remember, rain picks up whatever it touches, and carries it to the nearest waterway. That’s hardly what anyone wants to do when basking at a mountain overlook, glen of wildflowers, or alpine lake. 

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Fun in the sun starts with sunscreen!

May 03, 2021

Spring is here, and now is the time to find an earth-friendly sunscreen that keeps your skin protected while you enjoy the outdoors. Whether you spend time outside every day or once in a while, you need sunscreen if you’ll be in the sun for longer than a few minutes. Review these tips and recommendations before shopping for earth-friendly sunscreen options.

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Nix noxious weeds with natural yard care

March 31, 2021

There’s a pep in our step these days because it’s officially springtime. With increasing sunshine and warmth, you might be looking at your yard with visions of a lush garden or lawn. Don’t let noxious weeds put a damper on your goals. Before you turn to chemical products, try safer alternatives that keep people and the environment safe from hazardous exposure.

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County and state work towards ban of toxic chemicals in food packaging

March 31, 2021

In recent months, several companies announced plans to eliminate PFAS (also known as forever chemicals) from their food packaging. State and local governments are also looking at this issue. Washington has enacted a bill that will phase-out PFAS in food packaging as soon as safer alternatives are available.

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What the Gorilla Glue incident tells us about black hair products and reading labels

March 02, 2021

A woman’s TikTok videos went viral after she applied Gorilla Glue, a heavy-duty adhesive, to her hair and couldn’t get it out after months of trying. People had a good laugh thinking about using glue in place of hairspray. But, even if you just use regular gel to make sure your hair is laid, it’s still a good reminder for all to double-check what’s in your bathroom cabinets. Even better, read the label before you buy. 

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Home Collection Program for seniors and people with disabilities resumes March 10

March 01, 2021

King County seniors (65 years or older) and residents with disabilities who don’t have a vehicle or cannot access a collection site can call to schedule a free at-home pickup of hazardous waste. The pickup will follow strict Public Health guidelines from Seattle & King County to protect our workers and customers. Please visit our home collection page for more details including COVID-19 safety protocols.

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Know before you buy – not all pesticides are registered as safe and effective

March 01, 2021

In January, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Amazon to stop selling illegal pesticides on its website. Between 2013 and 2018, the EPA claimed that Amazon had over 4,000 products that violated these rules. The illegal pesticide problem has decreased in recent years, but it has not disappeared. Amazon removed the illegal products from its site, but the EPA is warning shoppers that other online retailers are still selling them.  

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Auburn Wastemobile will be closed February 13-14

February 11, 2021

The Auburn Wastemobile will be closed this weekend, February 13-14, due to forecasted winter weather including accumulating snow and icy conditions. Winter weather can make traveling to the Wastemobile dangerous for customers and staff. 

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Haz waste cleanup prolongs rebuilding efforts after wildfires

February 04, 2021

Common hazardous products stored in homes, garages, and storage sheds—like oil-based paint, motor oil, and chemical cleaners can be left behind after a fire. Since these hazardous wastes can pose significant risk to human and environmental health, especially when not properly contained due to fire damage, they must be cleaned up before efforts to rebuild can begin.

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Find out when the Wastemobile will be near you in 2021

February 03, 2021

The Wastemobile, King County’s traveling household hazardous waste drop-off service, kicks off its 2021 season in Bothell, WA. Between February and October, the Wastemobile will visit 14 rural and suburban cities in King County. Residents and small businesses can safely drop off their household hazardous waste such as as oil-based paint, batteries, antifreeze, pesticides to the Wastemobile at no cost. 

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EPA finds PERC poses unreasonable health risks

February 02, 2021

In December, the EPA released a risk evaluation report that opens the door for national regulations on perchloroethylene, a common dry cleaning chemical. Although there are alternatives to PERC that are safer, PERC is still the most used dry cleaning solvent in the United States and worldwide. The Haz Waste Program has worked to limit PERC use for over 25 years. Our research on the local industry was heavily cited in the EPA’s risk evaluation for PERC.  

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The Environmental Justice Movement is rooted in Black history

February 01, 2021

The Environmental Justice Movement would not be what it is today without the Black community who shaped it. In 1987, a Black-led group, the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, released its groundbreaking study “Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States.” The report is among the first to find race and ethnicity to be the most prominent variable in predicting both where hazardous waste collection facilities and industries producing large amount of hazardous waste are located in the United States.

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How to dispose of old electronics

January 06, 2021

Did you finally replace your old cellphone this holiday season? Don’t let it, or any of your other old electronics, collect dust in the closet when there are lots of quick and easy ways to reuse, recycle, or dispose of them. Old electronics should not go in the trash, but you have some options for safely getting rid of them.

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Salmon death in local urban streams linked to tires

January 05, 2021

Every fall, coho salmon journey from the ocean back to Pacific Northwest urban streams and creeks to reproduce and die shortly after. But after heavy rain, researchers noticed more than half, and sometimes all, of the coho in a stream would suddenly die before they could spawn. These mysterious deaths stumped biologists and toxicologists for decades. A team led by researchers at the University of Washington and Washington State University say they have finally found the answer—a very poisonous chemical related to a preservative used in car tires. 

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Transporting hazardous waste should not be risky business

January 03, 2021

Safe disposal of hazardous waste is one of the best things you can do for human health and the environment. However, there can be some serious risks if you don’t take precautions when transporting hazardous waste to a collection site. Last November, a pickup truck carrying pails of chlorine caught fire and caused a hazmat response in Snohomish County. It’s a good reminder about the importance of handling hazardous waste with care. 

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