Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
One-Thing Thursday Archive
One thing you can do...
Consider the following at work and at home:

Examine the health impacts of bottled water.
June 17, 2010
According to the results of a two-year study by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, bottled water contains an average of eight contaminants. A recent Associated Press article stated that Wal-Mart and Giant Food’s bottled water had the highest concentration of chlorine by products. One such chemical is trihalomethane, a substance linked to causing liver cancer.
Most plastic bottles contain Bisphenol A, also called BPA. Heat, cleaning agents and even sunlight can cause BPA to seep into bottled liquids, particularly water. BPA is seen as carcinogenic, and often mimics the body's own hormones, causing long-term health problems. In 2008, Health Canada published a health risk assessment of BPA. It revealed that Canada's toxicology program has concerns that the current human exposure to BPA affects the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children.
At work or at play, experts agree that people should drink enough water to stay hydrated. But it doesn't have to be imported, distilled or mineral water.
More information 

Properly dispose of expired or unused medications.
March 4, 2010
When used as intended, pharmaceuticals have the potential to be excreted or washed into sewage systems. In addition, unused pharmaceuticals are often directly flushed to sewage systems. Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems usually do not treat or only partially treat pharmaceuticals, so chemical compounds from pharmaceuticals pass through treatment plants or septic systems to our rivers or groundwater. Do not dispose of pharmaceuticals down a drain or toilet. Do not burn household waste containing pharmaceuticals.
Proper Methods of Disposal
  1. Collection Event: On March 13, the Oregon Medical Association plans to host a prescription drug turn-in event at the Roth's Market on Lancaster from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information
  2. Trash Disposal: Follow these basic guidelines to dispose of waste pharmaceuticals in the trash:
    • Keep waste pharmaceuticals in their original containers with their labels. (Remove or conceal with a marker any patient information if you have privacy concerns.)
    • Tape the lid on the container if it is not child-proof and there are children in the home.
    • Place waste pharmaceuticals in a plastic sealable bag, especially if liquid.
    • Place waste pharmaceuticals in durable packaging that masks the contents (such as a brown cardboard box).
    • Add waste pharmaceuticals to the trash as close to garbage pickup time as possible.
Source: Fact Sheet from Department of Environmental Quality   
Camp in a yurt this winter.
February 25, 2010
It's round, filled with comfy furniture, and pointy on top.
Yurts — a quickly-growing national phenomenon that broke onto the public camping scene right here in Oregon. If you're looking for a new way to spend your vacation or weekend getaway, spend a night or two in a yurt, cabin, or even a tepee! You'll have the chance to experience Oregon's breathtaking scenery while enjoying a cozy stay at the same time.
While you explore Oregon, take a long, relaxing bike ride, head over to the lake, or spend the evening stargazing.
More information about yurts in Oregon 
State Parks yurt information and reservations

Turn off the electric blanket.
February 18, 2010
Turn off the electric blanket. Make the bed warmer by placing a wool blanket under the bottom sheet.
Weatherize your home.
January 21, 2010
Keeping out the cold during winter and the heat during summer is one of the best things you can do to reduce energy costs. In Oregon, you can get assistance to determine which energy-saving measures will save you the most money in the shortest time. And there are rebates to help you pay for them.
In addition, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2626 — the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Technology Act of 2009. The act is a tool for Oregon that will create local jobs and give our economy a boost. It makes available a low-cost, voluntary loan program that can be applied to weatherizing an existing residence, and small businesses can use it to produce renewable energy.
More information:
     House Bill 2626 EEAST
     Oregon Department of Energy 
     Energy Trust of Oregon 

Mulch or compost the leaves from your yard.
November 5, 2009
Mulch or compost the leaves from your yard. Mulching is the simplest way to recycle organic materials at home. Also known as "soil incorporation," mulching is simply burying organic materials into the soil.
Mulching enriches soil, suppresses weeds, conserves moisture, prevents soil erosion, and protects plants from cold. Some of the most common materials used for mulching include grass clippings, leaves and soft garden waste that can be tilled directly into garden beds.
Source: http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/ES/recycle/composting/athome.htm 
A DAS employee suggested this message.

Spend time outdoors.
September 10, 2009
In Oregon, summers are gorgeous, but can be dry and hot. Winters are nice, but can be wet and cold. However, September in western Oregon is often just right. Generally, the temperatures are mild, and while it rains a little, it stays mostly dry. September can be the perfect time to head outside and enjoy all that Oregon offers.
Maybe it's a last camping trip, a day trip to Dundee for wine tasting, the first football game of the season, or a walk during your afternoon break. The more time we spend outside, the less energy we use in our homes or offices, and the more we connect with our neighbors. 

Go camping.
July 9, 2009
Camping represents the perfect mix of environment, business and community – the definition of sustainability. We spend time outdoors and connect with the environment, teach our children to respect it, and become stewards while we live outside for a few days. In addition, most of us visit with folks in the campground or on the trail, which helps build a stronger community.
A two or three-day camping trip costs much less than a comparable weekend in a motel. In fact, many of the state parks in Oregon now offer one night free. That saves money. Add the fact you're in a beautiful location during an amazing Oregon summer, and you have a recipe for fun and sustainability.
More information on how to camp for free:  http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/oregon_value.shtml 

Use "eco-friendly" sunscreen this summer.
June 25, 2009
According to National Geographic's Green Guide, "…the 78 million tourists who visit areas with coral reefs leave behind 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen annually, because roughly 25 percent of what you put on gets washed off." That means, locally, we accidentally pollute the rivers, streams, oceans, and other ecosystems that we value. However, a solution exists.
Several major companies now make "reef-friendly" sunscreens. These leach few to no chemicals into water. Since no regulations exist around "biodegradable" or "reef-friendly" through the EPA or FDA, look for products that contain plant-based ingredients, which break down faster than petroleum-based ingredients. Major stores around Oregon carry these sunscreens.
In addition, what's better for us is better for these ecosystems as well — look for products with titanium oxide or zinc oxide. They contain a high UV barrier to keep out dangerous sun rays. Now we have another tool to keep ourselves healthy and ensure we don't sacrifice one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet.

Find sustainable options for summertime travel.
June 18, 2009
Around this time of year, many of us make summertime travel plans. Some people plan the trip of a lifetime. Others opt for a camping trip around Oregon. Wherever your summer plans lead you, consider sustainable options. 
Getting There
Many alternatives to cars exist, such as trains, bicycles and boats. In fact, trains can take you to some of the most scenic areas of the country, in many cases traveling where cars cannot.  Traveling by bicycle is one of the best ways to experience a trip, not to mention a great workout. Many bike clubs offer tours around Oregon and throughout the U.S. In these cases, getting there really is half the fun!
Oregon now offers many options for sustainable lodging. Small motels and large hotel chains, such as DoubleTree, promote "green certifications." Oregon also boasts other unique options, such as a yurt, a treehouse, a teepee or hundreds of non-conventional and sustainable choices. You could make your next trip the one you'll never forget while you help the local economy and the environment.

Use innovative lawn care techniques during the summer.
June 4, 2009
Use a manual push-reel mower. Push-mowers are much more energy efficient than gas or electric mowers and provide a good workout. Reduce the amount of water for your grass during the summer months. Water only in the early morning or early evening to limit evaporation of water.
Submitted by Amy McLaughlin, Enterprise Information Strategy and Policy Division.

Pay your bills online.
April 23, 2009
Use electronic billing and pay your bills online. April is PayItGreen month. 
More information:  http://www.payitgreen.org/ and
Submitted by:  Katherine Bremser, State Controller's Division

Install a showhead with a built-in valve to turn off the water while soaping up.
February 26, 2009
Install a showerhead with a built-in valve to turn off the water while soaping up or shampooing. This should save over 15 percent on your home water bill.
Submitted by Bill Miller, Facilities Division

Use organic beauty supplies.
January 29, 2009
People absorb 60-70 percent of the products they put on their skin. Many of the products produced by high quality cosmetic companies contain additives that are harmful to the environment and people. Ask for a full list of ingredients next time you update your beauty supplies. 
More information:  http://www.teensturninggreen.org/
Install a door sweep at your home.
November 13, 2008
Heating our homes in the fall and winter can take a big chunk of our budgets. Installing door sweeps on outside doors is a low-cost solution that can save big. Warm air in a heated home exerts a "pull" on colder outside air, drawing it in wherever it can. A common site for cold air entry is under the door. Most hardware or home supply stores sell door sweeps for $5 - $10. Installation is easy (no need to take the door off its hinges). Simply slide the sweep under the door and cut off excess length with a hacksaw. A few screws, provided with the sweep, hold it in place.
More low-cost energy tips for homes:  http://www.eartheasy.com/live_cheapheat.htm 

Check your car's tire pressure every month.
October 9, 2008
Check your car’s tire pressure every month and maintain it at the manufacturer’s specifications. If your tires are under-inflated by just 4 pounds, it will cost you a half mile per gallon.