Articles from February 2015

LADWP customers: rebates + free stuff = helping the environment

If you’re an L.A. resident not living off the grid, and you’re concerned about the environment, the L.A. Department of Water and Power offers a number of ways for you to do your bit, ranging from super easy to a little more involved. In the first category, if you haven’t already, go paperless! If you currently receive paper bills and sign up to go electronic only by June 30th, you will receive a ten dollar credit on your next bill. While you’re mucking around in your online account, why not convert some or all of your power usage to green power. They say it’s slightly more expensive, but I did it a while back and honestly haven’t noticed the difference. Anyway, if it’s a few bucks extra a month for me to know my lights are powered with wind and solar power, it’s totally worth it.

2015-02-16 04.26.00What about the water part? I know it’s rained a bit lately, but FYI, we are still in a serious drought, and the LADWP is offering many incentives to address this, and each and every one of them will ultimately save you money. First off, they are handing out low-flow showerheads and sink aerators for free. If you live in a complex, they will cheerfully send you a whole batch of stuff on their dime. We got a box of these goodies at my condo complex and I installed my showerheads, and my shower experience has honestly improved. The LADWP also offer rebates for installation of high-efficiency toilets and washers, so if you’re doing some renovations or thinking about upgrading, anyway, you might as well hit them up.

2015-01-24 00.45.52What about outside? Are you running sprinklers all the time to keep your lawn green through southern California summers? Why? Because you like mowing your lawn so much, or are hoping a baseball team will use it? Then consider that maybe it’s not worth importing water from out of state (85% of the water here is from outside California) so you can pretend you live on the east coast. The LADWP is currently offering rebates of up to $3/square foot for converting your lawn drought-tolerant-landscaping-2to drought-resistant native plants. And don’t think it’s an aesthetic sacrifice. A lot of those gardens are quite fetching and are way more compelling than a sea of overwatered grass. If you’re committed to your grass lawn for whatever reason, there’s a good chance you’re overwatering it — you only need one inch of water per week to keep it going.

Finally, they also offer incentives on the power side. Noticing your old refrigerator is a real drain on your bill? It probably is, as it’s typically the biggest user of energy on there after your air conditioner. LADWP will offer you a rebate if you upgrade to an Energy Star model. Thinking about going solar? We’re looking into it my complex, because there are significant tax incentives as well as LADWP rebates.

Not sure where you could be saving money? A LADWP representative will come to your home to assess energy-efficient cost-saving things you can do to save on your bill. If some of these things are out of your financial reach, you might quality for one of their financial assistance projects. In short, the LADWP wants you to conserve energy and water as much as your mom wanted you to eat your vegetables, so why not let them do it?

Coats for Cubs

Bassarisk_fur_coatUsed clothing chain Buffalo Exchange is sponsoring their annual Coats for Cubs program, where they collect fur apparel and donate it to various animal rehabilitation centers to use as bedding for animals. It sounded kind of weird to me, but once I saw these baby squirrels hanging out on a old fur coat, I was totally won over. They accept donations through Earth Day, April 22nd.

If you have fur coats or hats you would like to donate outside of their drive period, they provide a list of rehab centers to contact.

Dishing It Out

IMG_20150131_142836020You know what sucks? When you break a dish. And you know what sucks even more? When you break a vintage dish that is crucial to your beloved set.

Several months ago, I knocked over my Crooksville creamer from my grandparents’ old set of dishes and broke it. If it were a plate or a cup, it would have been no big deal, because I have many of these. But it was the creamer, of which there was only one. Sure, I could have bought a new creamer and matching sugar bowl. But what about the sugar bowl I already had? Could I really leave it hanging like that?

If this were twenty years ago, I would have visited a few flea markets and then given up in defeat. But in this magical age where anything can be found if you look hard enough, I simply ordered a replacement creamer from Replacements Ltd. It arrived, lovingly packed, about a week later.

I’m not going to lie to you; this wasn’t a completely straightforward process. First I searched for Crooksville items on ebay and came up empty, and then tried a few other sellers of old dishes. But once I found Replacements Ltd. I was able to determine the pattern name (CRO5) and, $19.95 and shipping costs later, I was back in business.

You may lack the commitment and/or non-medical grade OCD to do this research. For that, I cannot fault you. However, if it is a key piece of dishware, it’s totally worth it to save the set.

If you have your eye on a not-quite-complete set of dishes somewhere, it might be worth an advance look at Replacements Ltd or one of the other dish replacement sites to see if you could supplement your purchase and make it work.

Now if only I knew what to do with my broken creamer! If someone near me was working on mosaic project I’d gladly hand it over!

Don’t Flush it Away: Expired Medication

1024px-USMC-100209-M-1998T-001You may have seen stories about Prozac being at detectable levels in drinking water. The same is true of antibiotics, veterinary drugs and synthetic hormones. A significant amount of this is probably from humans excreting these substances (ahem) in the natural course of events, but let’s not all add to the problem by needlessly flushing medications down the drain or dumping them in the trash willy-nilly.

So what should you do with your expired prescription and non-prescription medications? Your first stop should be the Dispose My Meds locator. You will note that most dropoff points are either pharmacies or local law enforcement headquarters (since there are legal issues with prescription drugs, and cops probably don’t want the streets flooded with everyone’s leftover oxycontin.)

Not finding anything? Local police stations in New Jersey, Virginia Beach, and Hennepin County in Minnesota will take your unwanted or expired medications. California’s Sonoma and Mendocino counties offer a variety of dropoff points, as does Washington state.

It also looks like CVS is gearing up with disposal locations to be passed through local police. I will update you as soon as I hear anything.

Are none of those options convenient? You can always save them up along with your worn-out batteries and old electronics for your next hazardous waste event. They almost always take expired medications, prescription and non-prescription. The one in Los Angeles apparently won’t take my old tires and urine, though. Snobs!

Still confused about how to handle your specific meds? Take a look at the FDA guidelines.