Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oregon Bike Summit -- be there, aloha!

Watching Salem's mayor and someone from Gov. Ted's office accept two very cool Sanyo "Eneloop" (energy looping) power-assist bikes --- the first two in the US from Sanyo --- today, I saw a flyer for the Oregon Bike Summit, to be held right here in Salem in April. Cool.

Joe at The Bike Peddler reports that he has ridden the very-similar hybrid power-assist bike from Giant and that it's a very nice bike and that he is happy to order it for those interested.

I'm going to ask Joe to get one for me for Mrs. Walker because it's perfect for her needs now that we live real close in here in Salem: she needs a power boost for riding when dressed for work without working up a sweat, but a real bike for riding as a bike the rest of the time (unlike the eGo that we're selling on Salem's Craigslist, which was for commuting only).

Salem could lead: pharmacy take-back ordinance

Here's a great idea -- make pharmacies take back any unused prescription drugs and handle reissue, disposal, or other disposition properly (that is, in a way that keeps the drugs out of the water -- and NOT with incineration, which just sends the contents into the air).

For example, many expensive drugs could and should be gathered together and given out to provide meds for people who can't keep up with the exorbitant costs of medicines.

Salem, with some of the best water of any city in the world, should take the lead on this, educating people not to flush unused meds and passing an ordinance requiring pharmacies and stores dispensing meds (Costco, etc.) to take back any unused prescription meds and to ensure proper reuse or disposal.
Be rid of unused meds, just not down the drain
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First, do not flush.

Disposal of unused medication has -- like many of the drugs themselves -- unwanted side effects. People on all sides agree that dumping leftover meds down the drain or toilet can turn them into pollutants.

An Associated Press investigation last year found trace amounts of many prescription drugs -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- in the drinking water of 41 million Americans.

What to do instead?

"It's kind of a Catch-22," says Ken Wells, a pharmacy manager at Safeway and president of the Oregon State Pharmacy Association. "You're darned if you do and darned if you don't."

Flushing drugs entails environmental risk, Wells says, yet tossing them into the trash could allow them to fall into the hands of illicit users.

Federal guidelines say: Mix prescription drugs with an unpalatable material, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in the trash in plain cans or sealable bags.

An unlikely coalition of the American Pharmacists Association and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its own "crush, don't flush" rule last year: "Crush the medicines in a plastic bag, add coffee grounds, sawdust or kitty litter, seal the bag and put it in the trash."

Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality recommends keeping waste drugs in their original containers, removing the patient information label and taping the lid on if it's not child-proof. Then put the drugs in a plastic sealable bag, inside "durable packaging that masks the contents (such as a brown cardboard box)" and add to the trash as close to pickup time as possible.

But the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies objects to that advice, saying it can cause pollution, either by leaching from a landfill or by failing to discourage people from dumping drugs into the toilet.

"It's pretty complicated -- and it doesn't compete very well with a flush," says Janet Gillaspie, executive director. "If we don't want people to flush unused drugs down the toilet, we need to give them a system that's convenient enough to convince them to use it."

Her group touts a "product stewardship" model, based on the take-back system for recycling used electronic devices. "In other words, ask the people who make the product to be responsible for disposing of it when it doesn't get used."

Reminder: Show up and be counted next Monday night to support C.I.T.Y.

Reminder from: SalemChickens Yahoo! Group

Our formal presentation at City Hall!
Monday February 23, 2009
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location: Council Chambers, City Hall (click link for map -- Council Chambers are in the massive Albert Speer-like structure between Commercial and Liberty, just south of Pringle Creek).

This is the big event we've all been waiting for.
We need to fill the room with supporters. Bring all your friends, PLEASE!
It starts at 6:30 pm.

You can review all the reasons for allowing urban hen-keeping here.