The Dharma Newsletter Eco Tip of the Month

2015 April

Medicines should be disposed of safely.  Recently, pharmaceutical chemicals have been found in rivers, lakes and drinking water.  Teenagers, children and pets can get into medicines stored insecurely in homes or discarded without precautions in the trash.  It is not okay to flush meds down the toilet or toss them in the trash.  Protect our family, pets and water supply by taking unused meds to a collection agency such as the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office at 1601 S. De Anza Blvd in Cupertino (phone: 408-868-6600) or get a medicine mail-back envelope at many pharmacies.  Eco Sangha will accept unwanted meds at our recycling table on Earth Day, April 19, 2015.


2015 March

The bleach we clean with harms our water and our lungs among other things.  Alternatives are:  white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide.  You can read more about the dangers of bleach and the alternatives in the ink below:


2015 Janruary

Plastic bag and film recycling doesn’t stop with grocery bags.  Recycle your dry cleaning, newspaper, & bread bags and also the plastic film on products like paper towels.

Visit for the nearest drop-off point.  It is likely a grocery store or retailer you frequent already!


2014 August

You can recycle styrofoam at any of the Green citizen drop­off centers. For a complete list of centers, go on the website:​ ​ In Santa Clara, the drop­off location is Super Green Solutions, 5155 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, phone: 408-­244-­2887. All centers accept styrofoam blocks for a nominal processing fee of $5 per 30 gallon bag and take all styrofoam peanuts and packaging material at no charge.

Please be aware that styrofoam is NOT biodegradable, adds to the landfill and causes the death of birds and ocean creatures.


2014 June

At both of our Betsuin parking lots, we have a white bin and blue bin for waste pickups. The white bin holds cardboard ONLY and the blue bin is for everything else: cans, bottles, food scraps, paper cups, plates plastics, etc. Recyclables sorting occurs at the waste management facility.

In the kitchen, place compostables (fruits, vegetables coffee grounds, tea bags) in a container to be emptied onto the compost piles next to the aquaponics setup. Aluminum cans and CA CRV plastic bottles ONLY (no liquids) should be placed in the recycle bins in the multi­purpose room.


2014 May

Did you realize it takes 3 gallons to produce 1 head of lettuce and 500 gallons to produce 1 hamburger?  We might all consider cutting out some of the meat we eat.


2014 April

Take a shorter shower.  Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water.
Also save by keeping a bucket by the shower to collect running water until hot.  This water can be used for flushing toilet, in the yard, etc.


2014 March

Unplug your power. 10% of the electricity used in your home is burned by communication devices and appliances ­when they are turned off!  If every US household just unplugged its computers and cell phone chargers when not being used, collectively we’d save over $100 million­ enough to provide free healthcare to every low ­income child under the age of 5 in the state of California.


2014 February

Try giving secondhand clothing a try.  The average American purchases 48 articles of new clothing per year.  If just one of those articles from a secondhand store (or ABA’s Rummage sale), the energy equivalent of more than 1⁄2 gallon of gasoline could be saved, because of all the energy used to manufacture and transport new clothes.


2013 December

Spare the Air. The days are getting shorter, the temperature cooler, it’s time to light a fire.  Check that it is okay to do so.

Is it a spare the air day?  2013/2014 Winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov 1 thru Feb 28.  When a Winter Spare the Air alert is in effect, it is illegal to burn wood, manufactured fire logs, pellets or any other solid fuels in your fireplace, wood stove or outdoor fire pit.  During the winter wood smokes is the largest source of harmful particulate pollution.

Each day by early afternoon, the Air District will issue an air quality forecast for the next day.  If the air quality is forecast to be unhealthy a spare the air alert will be called for the entire next day.  Additional information, including the next day forecast can be obtained by visiting ​S​pare the Air at


2013 November

Got Household Hazardous Waste?

Do you have old household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, old smoke detectors, used motor oil, propane tanks, household cleaners, garden chemicals or flammable liquids and don’t know what to do with them? Santa Clara County has a hazardous waste program for disposal of household items that must not be disposed in your regular land­fill garbage service.  This program is free and easy.

Simply go to web site: or perform a web search for “santa clara county hazardous waste disposal” and make an appointment for one of the dates available at one of the local sites.  There are sites in San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, and San Martin.  The dates are usually for Fridays or Saturdays.

On the day of your appointment, simply load your vehicle with your waste and drive to your selected site.  Note that transportation laws limit the amount of hazardous waste transported per vehicle to 15 gallons or 125 pounds, but if you have more waste than that, you can transport the waste in two or more vehicles, make two or more trips, make appointments under different names for the same day, or make more than one appointment on different days.  Note that you will be required to show proof of residency in Santa Clara County (driver’s license showing local address or utility bill showing local address).

At the site, there will be many people helping to efficiently and quickly unload the waste from your vehicle.  Be sure to not to have any personal items and valuables in your vehicle during delivery to prevent those items from being removed from your vehicle as waste.


2013 August

If you have an expired home fire extinguisher, you can recycle it at the CRESCI Fire Equipment office at 210 San Jose Ave., San Jose, CA 95108.  Ray Crisione of Cresci services all the extinguishers at the Betsuin.  If the office is closed on the day you stop by, you can leave the extinguisher by the door.