Durham Reminds Residents to Mow Lawns

Summer and rain are guaranteed to grow your lawn. While it’s a chore that many don’t enjoy, the City of Durham is reminding property owners to regularly mow their lawns.

According to the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, since April 1st, code enforcement officers have responded to more than 900 complaints of too tall grass, resulting in unsightly neighborhoods and numerous citations that could cost property owners at least $250 in fines. “Our code enforcement officers are swamped right now with complaints about tall grass and we really need our property owners to take the time to mow their lawns so our officers can focus on other issues that impact our quality of life,” said Director Constance Stancil. “We don’t want to issue notices of violation or levy fines. We simply want folks to embrace their neighborhoods by regularly mowing their lawns, and if possible, help out their elderly or disabled neighbors to keep their lawns mowed as well.”

To help remind property owners to mow their lawns this growing season, the department is kicking off an educational campaign by posting reminders to community list serves, on Durham Television Network, on the City’s social media channels, and advertising on several channels with Time Warner Cable.

According to Stancil, too tall grass is more than just an aesthetic issue…it’s a health issue too. “Weeds and undergrowth over 12 inches tall provide a harborage for rodents, vermin, mosquitoes and other pests,” Stancil said. “This increases the hazards of disease, injury or fire as well as creates hazards to the health, safety and welfare of your yard and your neighborhood.”

For more information about the City’s weed, junk and debris ordinance or the responsibilities of property owners, visit http://bit.ly/1oH6jaM.

Durham Hosts “Get Your Grass Off Gas” June 21

An Opportunity to Purchase Deeply-Discounted Electric Yard Equipment

With mowing season underway, area residents have an opportunity to trade in their old gas-guzzling mowers and other yard equipment and take advantage of steep discounts on cleaner and greener electric versions.

The 4th Annual “Get Your Grass Off Gas” event will be held in the parking lot at the corner of East Main Street and Queen Street on Saturday, June 21, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event will be held rain or shine.

Hosted by the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, this event provides residents with the opportunity to purchase discounted electric yard and garden equipment to help get polluting gasoline-powered equipment “off the grass” and into the recycling bin. Discounts will range from 17 to 35 percent depending on the model. Available equipment includes lawnmowers, trimmers, edgers, blowers, vacuums, and loppers. Residents who do not have older equipment to trade in can still purchase electric models at the events, but with a smaller discount.

For more information on mower models and prices, and to pre-register to reserve specific mowers, visit http://www.GreenerDurham.net. Pre-registration is not required; however, event organizers cannot guarantee a particular model will be available without pre-registration.

All gas-powered equipment brought in to be recycled must be drained of fluids before being dropped off. Used motor oil can be dropped off at the City of Durham’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

For more information about this event, contact Sustainability Specialist Megan Carroll at (919) 560-7993 or by email at mcarroll@dconc.gov.

Durham’s Water Into Trees Program Makes Donating Easy

Donations Now Accepted at www.DurhamNC.gov/WaterIntoTrees  

Tree lovers in Durham now have a new and easy way to support the City of Durham’s efforts to plant more trees…straight from their keyboards.

The City’s “Water Into Trees” program is now offering an online site to make it easy for residents to plant trees in Durham. Through this new online form, residents can elect to make a tax-deductible donation with each residential water bill payment or a one-time contribution. These funds are then used by the City’s Urban Forestry Division to purchase additional trees for streets, parks and green spaces.

According to Urban Forestry Manager Alexander Johnson, most of Durham’s neighborhood street trees were planted over 70 years ago, and are projected to require removal at an increasing rate over time. “As trees are lost to old age and declining health, their replacement is contingent upon outside funding and active neighborhood participation,” Johnson said. “Residents can help by making a tax-deductible donation to the program online. It’s a great way to ensure our community continues to enjoy the benefits of trees, which provide clean water and air, cooler temperatures, noise buffering, healthy places for outdoor activities and exercise, energy conservation, a greater sense of place and community, and increased property values.”

Donations can now be made at http://www.DurhamNC.gov/WaterIntoTrees. Making it easy for residents to donate toward tree plantings through this program is an example of how the City is expanding its attention on Durham’s trees. Last year, the City and County launched Trees Across Durham, which is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees; the education of tree care-takers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees; and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to the environment and community. For more information about Trees Across Durham, visit http://tinyurl.com/DurhamTrees.

For more information about the “Water Into Trees” program, or to request a paper donation form, contact Johnson at (919) 560-4197 ext. 21275 or by email at Alexander.Johnson@DurhamNC.gov.

Durham Offers Recycling Plant Tour May 16

Only 18 Spots Available on Bus Tour; Participants Must RSVP by May 15

Register now to reserve your spot for a behind-the-scenes look at what happens once your recyclables are collected.

The City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department is offering a free bus tour to the Sonoco Recycling Facility in Raleigh on Friday, May 16. The bus tour will depart at 9 a.m. from the City’s Solid Waste Management Department, located at 1833 Camden Avenue, and return to Durham around noon. Participants will receive a guided tour of Sonoco Recycling’s state-of-the-art facility followed by a question-and-answer session with City staff and Sonoco representatives.

Only 18 seats are available on the bus tour and participants must be 12 years of age or older. Children under the age of 18 must also be accompanied by an adult and all participants must sign a waiver, arrive in closed-toe shoes, and wear safety glasses and vests that will be provided by Sonoco Recycling.

To reserve a seat on the bus tour, contact Waste Reduction Coordinator Larrisha McGill with the City’s Solid Waste Management Department by Thursday, May 15 by email at Larrisha.McGill@DurhamNC.gov. Participants should provide their name, phone number, and an email address.

For more information, contact McGill at (919) 560-4186, ext. 32227 or by email at Larrisha.McGill@DurhamNC.gov. To learn more about recycling in Durham, visit http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/swmd/Pages/recycling_guidelines.aspx.

HAPPY EARTH DAY! Come celebrate Sunday April 27!

2014 Earth Day Festival
(Rain or Shine | Free Admission) 
Sunday, April 27 (Noon – 5 p.m.)
Durham Central Park
502 Foster St.

“Go Green” at Durham’s Earth Day Festival. Participants will enjoy “green” activities and demos; learn about many green practices and products at the Sustainability Expo and Earth Art Market; and enjoy great music, food and much more!

Plan your trip to Earth Day! Do your part and walk, skate, bike, ride the bus, or carpool to Earth Day.

Members of Durham’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission will host a valet bicycle parking service near the corner of Foster and Hunt streets – ride in and check your bicycle for free! Get your bike safety checked and learn how to change a flat as well.

New this year at Earth Day!
TROSA Store
Ecycling/Recycling Yard – recycle household items for FREE or donate old clothes!
Farmer’s Lane – FREE vendor space still available (contact Amber Walker at 919-560-4355 or Amber.Walker@durhamnc.gov for details)

Earth Day Activities
Live music and entertainment
Earth Art Market sponsored by the Triangle Ecycling, Planet Aid and Moore Recycling Associates Inc.
Eco-Lounge
Sustainability Expo

Visit www.DurhamEarthDay.org or call 919-560-4355 for more details!

Durham Offers Recycling Plant Tour April 11

Only 18 Spots Available on Bus Tour; Participants Must RSVP by April 10

Have you ever wondered what happens after the City of Durham picks up your curbside recycling cart? Thanks to another tour arrangement, you now have chance to find out.

For a behind-the-scenes look at what happens once your recyclables are collected, the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department is offering a free bus tour to the Sonoco Recycling Facility in Raleigh on Friday, April 11. The bus tour will depart at 9 a.m. from the City’s Solid Waste Management Department, located at 1833 Camden Avenue, and return to Durham around noon. Participants will receive a guided tour of Sonoco Recycling’s state-of-the-art facility followed by a question-and-answer session with City staff and Sonoco representatives.

Only 18 seats are available on the bus tour and participants must be 12 years of age or older. Children under the age of 18 must also be accompanied by an adult and all participants must sign a waiver, arrive in closed-toe shoes, and wear safety glasses and vests that will be provided by Sonoco Recycling.

To reserve a seat on the bus tour, contact Waste Reduction Coordinator Larrisha McGill with the City’s Solid Waste Management Department by Thursday, April 10 by email at Larrisha.McGill@DurhamNC.gov. Participants should provide their name, phone number, and an email address.

To learn more about recycling in Durham, visit http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/swmd/Pages/recycling_guidelines.aspx.

Durham E-Waste Recycling & Shredding Event April 26

Free & Convenient Event Kicks Off Earth Day Weekend

Durham residents and businesses waiting for the next free opportunity to recycle electronic waste, shred confidential documents, and get a jump start on celebrating Earth Day should plan to attend the E-Waste Recycling and Paper Shredding Event in late April.

The event, which will kick-off festivities for the 2014 Durham Earth Day Festival, will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Durham County Memorial Stadium, located at 750 Stadium Dr. Event staff will be on hand to unload old electronics and paper.

The event, co-sponsored by the City of Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department, Sonoco Recycling, Shimar Recycling, Synergy Recycling and Durham County Government, will accept nearly all electronic devices with a cord, including:

  • Computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, speakers, copiers, scanners, circuit boards, hard drives, computer parts, etc.
  • Televisions, stereo equipment, tape players, receivers, amplifiers, record players, etc.
  • Kitchen electronics, such as microwaves, mixers, blenders, choppers, etc.
  • Telephones, cell phones, and fax machines
  • Hair dryers, curling irons, alarm clocks and vacuum cleaner
  • Power tools, cordless tools, etc.
  • Electronic toys, such as keyboards and video game systems
  • This event will not accept large appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, or any other appliances that contain Freon.

Confidential paper shredding will also be provided on site. Requirements for shredding include:

  • Paper may contain paper clips and staples; however, hanging file folders will not be accepted.
  • Only paper should be brought for shredding. CDs, DVDs, and other non-paper items will not be accepted.
  • All paper should be loose and not in binders or other binding items made of non-paper.
  • Residents may be present to observe their confidential document shredding if the amount to be shredded can fit into one 96-gallon roll cart (approximately 240 pounds of material or approximately eight small, banker boxes of material).
  • Participants with larger quantities will have items placed in boxes to be shredded off-site at Shimar Recycling’s secure facility.

Durham residents who can’t make this event can still safely and conveniently recycle their old electronics at the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center (Transfer Station), located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

For information about items accepted at this event or the City’s recycling facilities, contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 or visit http://DurhamNC.gov/ich/op/swmd/Pages/wr_transfer.aspx.

For information about the 2014 Durham Earth Day Festival, set for Sunday, April 27 from noon to 5 p.m. at Durham Central Park, visit http://www.DurhamEarthDay.org or call (919) 560-4355.

 

Creek Week is in Progress – Join our Final Celebration this Saturday!

March 15-22, 2014: Join Us!

Creek Week Vision: Durham residents enjoy, feel connected to, and protect local waterways.

Creek Week Mission: Creek Week provides opportunities for Durham residents to discover and explore local streams and lakes through educational programs and recreational activities and to do their part to protect waterways through volunteer projects.

There are many more educational and cleanup opportunities scheduled over the next 5 days and the weather will become beautiful later this week! Find a way to join us at www.durhamcreekweek.org!

Best trash? Win a prize!

Participating in a stream cleanup? Want to win an awesome gift certificate from Bull City Burger and Brewing, Pompieri Pizza, or Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits? Snap a picture of the unique/best/most interesting piece of trash that you found during a cleanup! To enter the contest, you must:

  • Take a picture of your “entry.”
  • Share your picture on Twitter and Facebook!
    • Tweet the picture, tagging @DurhamStormH20 and #CreekWeek14 AND/OR go to City of Durham, NC Government – Stormwater Services on Facebook then post a picture of your entry with the hashtag #CreekWeek14 to our event page “Creek Week Photo Contest.” Make sure your privacy settings allow us to see your posts on Twitter! Deadline to enter is 3/31/14.

You’re Invited to the final celebration!

  • Want to win a rain barrel? Then join us for a final Creek Week celebration at Fullsteam, 5 p.m. on Saturday, 3/22/14. We will celebrate the successes of Creek Week ’14, marvel at Dispose A. Bull, and draw a name for one free rain barrel. Must be present to win. See you there!

Next Durham Garden Forum meets March 18 from 6:30-8 pm at Duke Gardens

Durham Garden Forum meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Doris Duke Center, Sarah P. Duke Gardens.  There is no charge for parking.

Charles Murphy, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer and member of the Durham Garden Forum Advisory Committee will give a talk on Growing Tomatoes.  It is time to be thinking about those gorgeous, home grown, vine ripened tomatoes that can be grown in various ways in our gardens.  Of course, growing tomatoes in our Piedmont climate offers many challenges.  This talk will provide valuable tips on how to grow tomatoes in our gardens and improve the chances for success.

This lecture is free for Durham Garden Forum members, all others can attend for a fee of $10 ($5 for students).  As we have done in prior years any new members joining from January will receive extended membership through April 30, 2015.  Membership fee remains $25 ($15 for students).

Durham Seeks Star Recyclers

Households Eligible to Win $25 Visa Gift Card

City of Durham residents who are recycling the correct items in their curbside recycling carts are doing their part to help the environment, and the City wants to recognize them for it.

From now until June 30, 2014, staff with the City’s Solid Waste Management Department will be randomly checking curbside recycling carts throughout the city and identifying “Star Recycler” households. Selected households will then be provided with information to contact City staff and be entered into a drawing to win one of nine $25 Visa gift cards, provided courtesy of Sonoco Recycling.

According to Larrisha McGill, waste reduction coordinator for the City’s Solid Waste Management Department, the goal of the program is to reward residents who are recycling properly while encouraging others to do the same. “Recycling is important because it saves energy, reduces pollution, generates jobs, and helps to conserve landfill space,” McGill said. “The Star Recycler Program is our way of recognizing and rewarding residents who are recycling properly, while also encouraging their neighbors to adopt these same behaviors so they too can become a Star Recycler.”

In addition to being entered into the drawing, winning households will also have the opportunity to display a yard sign for two weeks, proclaiming them as a “Star Recycler.” Households not properly recycling during the random checks will be provided with educational materials to encourage them to become a Star Recycler.

For more information about the Star Recycler Program and how to properly recycle, visit http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/swmd/Pages/recycling_guidelines.aspx or contact McGill at (919) 560-4186, ext. 32227 or by email at Larrisha.McGill@DurhamNC.gov.

About the Solid Waste Management Department

The City of Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department promotes and supports a high quality of life for the residents of Durham by providing comprehensive, responsive, environmentally-safe, efficient and cost-effective solid waste collection, recycling and disposal programs. Department services include roll-out cart collection, cart delivery and repair service, cardboard collection, yard waste collection, waste reduction and recycling, bulky item pick-up, and disposal services. For more information, visit http://DurhamNC.gov/ich/op/swmd.