Happy New Year, Angelenos! We hope your holiday season was a time filled with warmth and goodness with family and friends. As we enter the New Year, it’s time for resolutions—you know, the things you write down on a list that then mysteriously gets “misplaced” or “organized away” somewhere a week later. We’ve all been there. New Year’s resolutions can be tough to come up with, and even more difficult to stick with the whole year.
Here at LA Stormwater, most of our resolutions revolve around the environment and how we can be better stewards of it. The good news? You can do a lot of good for the environment without having to start a new career or start a new hobby. That’s right! When added together the small actions we do at home when no one is watching make for some pretty big contributions (or, hopefully, lack thereof) to water pollution. So, after doing some thinking, we’ve put together a list of six easy-to-keep resolutions that will have a big impact on the health of our local waterways and ecosystems. Feel free to take this list as your own and share it with your friends!
Pick up after a dog (even if it’s not your own) – Leaving dog poop on the ground may not seem like a big deal – until you step in it. However, if left on lawns or sidewalks, dog waste will eventually make its way into our local waterways where its harmful bacteria can make marine animals and beachgoers sick and close down rivers and beaches. You’re probably thinking, “It’s not my responsibility to clean up after another person’s dog,” and while you’re right, it IS everyone’s job to keep LA’s neighborhoods and waterways as pollution-free as possible. To help you start out 2022 on the right paw, we’ll even send you a free canister of dog waste bags. All you have to do is fill out our online form.
Plant more California natives and succulents – Planting more plants is a win-win resolution that’s easy to keep. More plants mean more flowers and more flowers mean a more fragrant yard, more bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and splashes of color which will improve your mood! When thinking about what to plant this coming year, consider native plants first. Native plants have evolved to survive LA’s dry climate without needing a ton of additional water and we all know how precious our water resources are in Southern California. Succulents, too, are a great way to make your yard water-wise while also giving it a touch of flair! If you need help and a source of inspiration, the folks at the Theodore Payne Foundation do a great job of educating and inspiring SoCal residents about the many benefits of native plants.
Use fewer fertilizers and pesticides – While we’re talking about plants, let’s address the use of pesticides and fertilizers. The mark of a good gardener isn’t just in the size of the bloom or the harvest. It’s about how you got there. If you’re using fertilizers to boost your plants in the spring and spraying down your foliage with over-the-counter pesticides every time you see an aphid, we recommend taking a second look at your use of these products. When fertilizer is applied in excess, plants can’t use it all and during a rainstorm, or in the event of overwatering, the fertilizer is washed into storm drains and our local waterways where it can cause harmful algal blooms. Pesticides work similarly, harming and killing fish and marine life. So, before continuing as you normally do in 2022 , consider investing a little time in eco-friendly gardening resources, which can be found on the UC Master Garden Program’s website. Here you’ll find tips, workshops, and resources. You can even talk to a professional for free by emailing your questions to their master gardeners using this form.
Recycle your used oil – If maintaining your car is your passion, protecting LA’s water resources is ours. Luckily for both of us, we can meet in the middle – at an LA Sanitation S.A.F.E. Center, to be exact. Did you know that there are seven S.A.F.E. Centers located throughout the Los Angeles area where you can safely recycle your used motor oil? These S.A.F.E. Centers will also take unwanted household hazardous waste like fertilizers, pesticides, paint, and e-waste. The best part is that LA Sanitation provides this service FREE OF CHARGE to Los Angeles residents. Pretty neat, right? Click here for a list of locations.
Separate your organic waste – Beginning in 2022 a new state bill, SB 1383, will require LA residents to put their food scraps in their green carts (the cart which yard waste goes in) so that it can be also used to make compost! By participating, you will also be reducing the amount of organic waste headed to our landfills where it would otherwise decompose and produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. So, why not make it your 2022 resolution to be ahead of the curve and be an organic waste recycling expert? Click here for more information on the new requirements.
Put trash in its place – We’ve left the easiest resolution for last. Always put all your trash in a trash can – it’s that simple and easy! Every year LA Sanitation crews clean tons of trash and debris out of LA’s more than 30,000 catch basins. Imagine how much cleaner our local creeks, rivers, and beaches would be if everyone resolved to simply put trash in its place in 2022 .
And there you have it – six easy-to-keep New Year’s resolutions. Together these small actions will add up to more than the sum of their parts and can have a big impact on the health of our ocean and the life it supports.
What are your resolutions this year? We’d love to hear your thoughts and what you plan to do this year to help LA be cleaner and greener. Comment below! And from your friends at LA Stormwater, have a Happy New Year!