Petalumans Get Wasted…ah…I Mean Unwasted!

The recycling events at Lucchesi are one of many opportunities for Petalumans to properly dispose of outdated, unwanted electronic gear, appliances, and other goods taking up space in the garage or home. The event at Lucchesi Park this weekend proved once again that Petalumans were up to the task…

The materials dropped off included the usual assortment of small appliances, computers, printers, computer cables, phone lines, and printer cables.  Do you remember printer cables? Of course you do…

And, of course, there were the old-fashioned TV’s, bulky printers, and CRT’s…

Jan Rice of Universal Waste Management reports: “Initial estimates are that we brought in close to 25,-30,000 lbs of waste all together. We filled up 4 full truckloads of materials, and serviced roughly 300-400 residents.”  

Unlike events in earlier years, I did not spot any large TV consoles or all in one TV/Stereo combos. However, I did note that flat screens are starting to make it to this part of the life cycle.

Recycle 2011

After the holidays, many are looking to trim back a bit by working out. There is also an opportunity later this month for Petalumans to trim back on some of the material items around their homesteads that are no longer needed.

Post Holiday Clean up the UnWaste way!

A “Free and Eco Friendly Recycling” event on January 22nd & 23rd from 9am to 3pm st the Lucchesi Community Center parking lot.

WHO:           The City of Petaluma & Universal Waste Management, Inc.

WHAT:         FREE Recycling Eco friendly Recycling event to benefit California businesses and residents.

WHERE:       Lucchesi Park: 320 N McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, CA 94954

WHEN:         Saturday, January 22nd & Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 (9am-3pm)

PHONE:        888-832-9839


This event is open to ALL California businesses and residents. There are NO LIMITS and they will be open RAIN or SHINE. They do all the heavy lifting while you relax in the comfort of your vehicle.

Eligible Materials For Recycling

Universal Waste Management, Inc. a State Licensed Collector/Recycler will be onsite to collect your…

  • Old televisions, electronics, computers, old cellphones, clothing, textiles, books, wine bottle corks and small appliances 100% Free of charge.
  • They will also accept your large household appliances, mattresses, box springs and Styrofoam for a fee.
  • For more information, go to

Unfortunately, batteries and burned out fluorescent bulbs and CFL’s cannot be accepted.

Wanna Bag For That Receipt?

“Enviros” and others concerned with the amount of waste we generate as we participate in our consumer society have “educated” some of us to take our own shopping bags to the store and to practice other means of waste reduction and recycling.

I generally support such efforts. 

However, a recent experience at one of our local grocery stores really broke me up! 

I went in to buy one item…a box of graham crackers. I paid $3.00 cash and told them that I did not need a bag.

Fair enough.

But Wow! Look at the receipt and coupons the purchase generated…

Wanna Bag for that receipt?  Yep

Busting Up the Patio–Post Mortem…

…or should I say post modern?

We are still pinching ourselves as we wander through and around our newly precycled concrete patio.  In doing a little research on the Web, I discovered that reusing concrete for patios, walkways, and even driveways is not all that uncommon.  To be sure, the material requirements for a driveway are substantially different from a patio or a path. Better to leave that to the experts. 

One web site rated a recycled patio project as “moderately easy” in terms of execution. Of course that assumes one knows something about design, layout, and heavy materials handling, not to mention installation. And…there is the small matter of having the right tools, experience, and physical strength.

A frequent question is what to put in the spaces between the new precycled concrete pavers. In our case we opted for wide spaces between each paver so as to permit the use of cobbles in certain places.  The top fill was mulch (to color coordinate with the rest of the area) although we could have opted for decorative pebbles. 

My wife sought the advice of the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino (Petaluma’s famous but fictional Wine Institute) as to whether or not a little color was needed in one of the few straight lines in the new patio. The Instituto agreed that a little splashy color was in order and suggested marbles. 

Unfortunately, the staff and officers of the Instituto had lost their marbles long ago, so we came up with a few of our own…

Busting Up The Patio–Part V

We have completed moving back into our newly remodeled backyard habitat. To be sure, there are small things yet to be done–but that is always the case.

What is amazing to us is the visual change created by “precycling” the old concrete patio.

Two “Before & After” collages may serve to illustrate the transformation…

The original patio had nine sections or concrete slabs…

  • Two were “saved” and the rest were broken up to make the new pavers.
  • Overall, while the patio area was reduced by approximately 15%, the permeability was increased by 50%. Not only will this reduce the amount of water run off into the streets during the rainy season, it opens up the area around the base of a shade tree.
  • By my estimation, concrete equal to at least two and a half of the original sections was removed.

Another benefit of this project is that we finally got rid of the “suicide steps” from the door to the patio.  For years we negotiated them without falling. However, it was only a question of time if we did not do something about them. The next photo collage depicts the solution…

A huge THANK YOU to Susan Garbert for the design and execution of the project. If you are interested in the technical aspects of the project, contact Susan at Cricket Landscapes

In closing, a few more photos are in order…


Busting Up The Patio–Part IV 1/2

Not quite ready for the “final, final” in this series. However, I can provide an interim report in this post! 

As of yesterday afternoon the “official construction” was completed. Of course, there is the usual clean-up and moving back into our new outdoor environment.

Quite a bit of the concrete that was not used has been picked up by someone wanting to build a patio using them as pavers. One load has been taken to recycling and the rest will be gone next week.  It was in the Petaluma tradition of, if you want to get rid of something, just ask or post a “Free” sign on it…

This week I will put together a final report and perhaps a few more photos.

Until next week, I offer a…

Busting Up The Patio–Part IV…

…or should I now say our patio has now been “precycled” and reborn as the new patio?

It is common to refer to this process as recycling; however, there is a trend to calling it “precycling” as existing materials were used on site. A common definition of precycling is to “reduce & reuse” to avoid throwing material away or to reduce the amount discarded. 

To be sure, there are several pieces of the “busted up” patio that were not used in this project. They will be sent to a concrete recyling facility or will be picked up by people wanting to use them as pavers or to build walls in their own landscapes.

But enough words! Here are a few photos that may tell the story better than I can…

Setting the cobbles



Part V will be posted in a week or so and will contain a few final observations… as well as photos.

E-Cycling (Electronics Recycling)

The recent City sponsored recycling event on July 18 & 19 at the Community Center rounded up a considerable inventory of obsolete or broken e-gear.  All manner of  cell phones, computers, monitors & televisions were hauled in for recycling.

According to Jan Rice of Universal Waste Management (Web Site) well over 400 people came through the lines.

 According to Jan… 

  • “We filled 8 trucks for a Total  estimated 50,000- 60,000 lbs of E-waste.”
  • “35 pallets of CRT’s were collected at an average of 1000 lbs each- so we collected 35,000 lbs of CRT (tv’s and monitors) which is nearly 10,000 lbs MORE than our last event-in January!!!!!!”
  • “I think the MOST important thing to note is that nothing is shipped to LAND-FILLS. “

Jluly 18 2009 003

In addition, the recycling event also added clothing/textiles/shoes as items that would be accepted for recycling.

Jan reports that:

  • “Over 7,200,000,000 lbs of Clothing, Textiles, etc. were dumped in landfills last year. (based on EPA estimates) which is absolutely HORRIBLE. All of the textile, clothing, etc. we collect is recycled.” 
  • “We take everything back to our facility where it is separated.  What can be “Re-Used” will be donated or sold for re-use. There is  material that cannot be re-used, for hygiene reasons, damage, etc. It will be recycled in a process that is similar to paper recycling which is basically soaked until the materials start to break down to fibers so that they can then be re-made into new product… like stuffing for futons, for example…or non-toxic insulation for houses and things like that.” 
All in all a very successful operation. Congratulations to those who made it possible and to all those who took the time to bring the items for recycling!
In closing, there might have been a bit of confusion as to the nature of the event. It was  for Recycling–Not Unicycling…
Super Unicycle Collage

Electronics Recycling–Getting Rid of E-Waste

One of the problems we face in our daily lives is what to do with the broken or obsolete electronics gear that we accumulate. In most cities it cannot be properly disposed of in regular collection containers.  
Petaluma has conducted several electronics recycling events, the most recent being in January of this year. At that time, accumulated E-waste totalling over 40,000 lbs was collected from businesses and residents of Petaluma.

The City of Petaluma is sponsoring another E-Waste collection event on July 18th and 19th at the Community Center…
Free recycling of computers, monitors, TVs, FAX, stereo equipment, more! 9AM–3PM
E-Waste 003 I can advise from personal experience that the people runnning the program are extremely efficient at unloading the gear. You won’t be there very long! Please note that they will not accept batteries, fluorescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs.
However, GreenWaste will accept small batteries for recycling if you put them in a zip-lock bag and place it on top of your blue recycling can.
  • If you are unable to take advantage of the July Recycling event, the City is sponsoring another one at the Community Center on Devember 14th and 15th.
  • If you can’t make the July or November dates for the City program,, the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency will be running an E-Waste Electronics event at the Petaluma Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds on October 10th and 11th.


  • To find out what happens to the electronics gear picked up by Universal Waste Management, go to its Web Site.
  • Information on the upcoming recycling  event also may be found on the City of Petaluma Web Site by Clicking Here