Spring is on the way. As you reach for that dusty bin of cleaning supplies to spruce up your home, consider these affordable, eco-friendly and effective DIY cleaning alternatives.  Instead of reaching for a potentially toxic product, there are many ways to be eco-friendly, clean effectively and possibly save some money in the process.


All around the house


Countertops: Using equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle helps clean countertops and kills bacteria. Do not use...

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Even with recent record rainfalls, Californians suffering through the drought have come to understand that water is a precious resource. There are many small ways to make your home more water friendly here in the San Mateo area. You can also save money by cutting back your monthly water bill. 


1. Rain barrels


When the rain comes, collect it. Just one inch of rain on an average roof can equate to 625 gallons of water that will take its course through a vast...

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Pillar Point Marsh in Fitzgerald Marine Reserve


What we do on land affects the water that sustains all life within San Mateo County. We all live in a watershed, or an area of land that stormwater flows through or across on its way to a larger body of water. These watersheds carry everything that enters the storm drains--including rain, litter, used oil, and even dog poop--directly into our local creeks, the San Francisco Bay, or the Pacific Ocean without being filtered or...

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This Thanksgiving, share some helpful water-saving tips with friends and family. Why do turkeys, side dishes, and, of course, desserts have anything to do with water conservation?  All the preparation, cooking, drinking, and cleaning can gobble up a lot of water.  For example, one twenty-pound turkey requires up to 9,360 gallons of water over its lifetime, and that is before it reaches your Thanksgiving Day table!  Here are some great tips to reduce water usage that your parents probably didn’t share with you:


  • The...
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Fall and winter are great times to have some “Edventures” with your kids! 


Laying a strong conservation foundation now when children are young helps to ensure future water saving efforts. Here are some helpful tips to show your child that water conservation can be fun and engaging:


1. Get a Jump on Some Spring Plantings.

Kids love to get their hands dirty.  So tap into that behavior and plant some spring bulbs now. Plants set in the fall...

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The rainy season is officially upon us.  Conscious water use, however, is as important as ever.  To reduce your water use this winter, consider installing a rain barrel.


Rain barrels are used to collect rainwater from rooftops and store it for later use in watering your garden. They allow you to supplement your water supply with a sustainable source and help preserve local watersheds by detaining rainfall.


Rain barrels can be purchased from many local hardware stores and online retailers, with prices generally starting around $...

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Single-use plastic bags, a major ocean pollutant, are on the ballot in California Propositions 67 and 65.  In San Mateo County, the three-year old plastic bag ban has had a significant positive environmental impact, and so it is important to understand how these two propositions will affect our county and state.


Since 2013, San Mateo County’s Reusable Bag Ordinance has helped reduce plastic bag waste. The 2014 San Mateo County Bag Report shows a 162% increase in people...

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Patsy Vargas at work at the South City Car Wash (photo: Megan Kang)


Twenty-three years ago, Patsy Vargas walked across the street to her local car wash and asked for a job as a cashier. Now, after two decades of hard work she is the dedicated manager of the South City Car Wash in South San Francisco, which brings together the community and the environment in a professional car wash.


Professional car washes are a...

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New Crosswalk and Vegetated Curb Extension near Laurel Elementary School (photo: Kevin Robert Perry)


Nestled within the city of San Mateo, Laurel Elementary School has solved two pressing problems in one purposeful project: enhanced safety for students and environmental protection.


Rather than finding separate solutions to the pressing issues of stormwater pollution and traffic safety, the San Mateo-Foster City School District, the City of San Mateo...

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Thousands of volunteers turn out to pick up litter on a soggy Coastal Cleanup Day 


San Mateo resident Winston Bumpus normally would welcome a little rain. But the gloomy forecast on September 21 had the Coastal Cleanup Day Site Captain a little worried. Founded in 1985, California Coastal Cleanup Day is the largest volunteer event in the state. Every year, thousands of passionate Californians join together on the third Saturday in September to pick up trash and debris that threaten our oceans and waterways. Would the rain keep San...

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