Sign Up For Air Quality Health Advisories

An Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued if/when ozone levels reach unhealthy for sensitive groups level. To receive an Air Quality Health Advisory email sign-up at:

An ozone watch is a prediction that concentrations of ozone will approach levels of concern over the next 24 hours. Sensitive individuals should plan accordingly. When these levels are reached, an Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued. Health Advisories are notifications that levels of ozone have reached unhealthy levels. They are based on near real time monitoring values.

Persons with lung or heart disease should be aware that increased pollution may cause them to experience adverse health effects. Ozone affects people differently. Unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity. Learn your limits. Children, older adults and people with underlying lung diseases, such as asthma, are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.

To help avoid ozone formation and reduce your exposure:

  • Car pool or ride the bus to work or school.
  • Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips during morning hours when ozone levels are lower.
  • Wait until evening to refuel your automobile or mow your lawn.
  • Arrive and leave work a little earlier or later than usual to decrease rush-hour traffic.
  • Drive your most fuel efficient vehicle.
  • Make sure gas caps on vehicles, lawn mowers and other equipment seal properly.
  • Trip chain, combine errands to make one trip instead of several.
  • Limit idling time in your vehicle.
  • Limit the use of drive-through windows.
  • Limit the use of charcoal starter fluid and other products that contain hydrocarbons.
  • Postpone normally permissible outdoor burning to a non-Ozone Watch day.
  • Limit or postpone the use of two-cycle engines (i.e. lawnmowers, weedeaters, motorboats and motorcycles).

Play It Again Sam

from National Wildlife Federation Magazine (Oct. 05)

Each year, millions of boxes of software CDs go to landfills and incinerators, and people throw away millions more CDs and DVDs; all of them can be recycled or reused

Twenty-five years ago, they didn’t even exist. Today, most of us can’t imagine life without compact discs and DVDs. With them, we play games and music, store photos and save computer files. Unfortunately, we’re also discarding them—along with their protective “jewel” cases—in rapidly increasing numbers. Indeed, by some estimates, more than 10 billion CDs and DVDs will be tossed into the trash by consumers and companies during the next five years alone. And that’s a problem.

"They’re not biodegradable," says Raoul Clarke, a hazardous waste specialist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. "They’ll only end up adding tons of plastics to landfills."

Both CDs and DVDs—which are primarily composed of polycarbonate, a type of plastic—can be recycled or reused. So can the jewel cases, which are made from a hard plastic called polystyrene. Worldwide, a number of companies have begun collecting and grinding down discs, with the resulting materials eventually making their way into such diverse products as electric cable insulation and automotive parts.

Most of these businesses accept only large deliveries of discs from software companies and other manufacturers. But one that allows individuals to recycle their e-waste is GreenDisk. You can send up to 20 pounds of CDs, DVDs and computer disks to GreenDisk for a nominal fee. Clarke, who is concerned about the amount of electronic waste being generated by his agency, is planning to buy several "Technotrash Can" containers from GreenDisk. These cardboard containers, which are designed for businesses and organizations, hold up to 70 pounds of e-trash. When they are full, GreenDisk picks them up, destroys all the data and emails a certified audit report of the completed process.

A good alternative to recycling is reusing CDs and DVDs whenever possible, says Meryl Klein, director of outreach for Earth 911, a national clearinghouse for community-specific environmental information. One option: Organize a CD/DVD exchange with friends, family or coworkers. "If they’re in good working order, you can always donate CDs to libraries or schools," adds Klein. She also suggests giving unwanted discs to organizations that can make use of them. The nonprofit group Recycle for Breast Cancer, for example, resells the discs and applies the profits to help fight this disease.

With a little creativity, you can come up with other ways to rethink compact discs. "I made a funky mirror for my son’s room," says Klein. She points out that schools sometimes need large quantities of discs for art projects. Other possibilities include turning CDs into coasters (glue felt to the bottom) or high-tech scarecrows (run a string through the holes and hang them in the garden).

Another way to cut down on the number of discs and jewel cases you dispatch to landfills is to minimize the number that you buy. For example, if you’re purchasing or upgrading software, check to see whether it can be downloaded from the Internet. You may not need a disc at all. Also available are rewritable compact discs (CD-RWs) with cases made from recycled plastic and packaging made from recycled paper. Only the disc is new. If you’re primarily storing data, rewritable CDs are a good idea. They can be reburned many times. Also, consider switching to rewritable DVDs, which hold nearly seven times as much data as a compact disc.

To find locations for recycling and reusing CDs and DVDs, go to or call 1-877-Earth911. Enter your zip code and you will get information tailored for your area.

Recycling/Reuse Opportunities


The Resource Exchange Network for Eliminating Waste (RENEW):
This tool is designed to help facilities in EPA Region 6 (Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas) exchange materials that would otherwise be disposed of. RENEW allows you to see materials available at a facility, or post your own materials. Facilities who post materials can avoid disposal costs, and possibly reduce their regulatory burden. Searching available materials helps you find materials for your facility at a reduced cost, often free.


The Freecycle Network (often abbreviated TFN) is non-profit organization registered in the state of Arizona, USA, that organizes a worldwide network of "gifting" groups, aiming to divert reusable goods from landfill. It provides a worldwide online registry, and coordinates the creation of local groups and forums for individuals and non-profits to offer and receive free items for reuse or recycling, promoting gift economics as a motivating cultural outlook. "Changing the world one gift at a time" is The Freecycle Network's official tagline. Find Oklahoma Freecycle groups.

The Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center in Ada helps keep reusable items out of landfills. Smaller landfills equal less pollution to the environment. The Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center accepts new and gently used items for reuse. It is free to drop off or pick up items at the center and all services are open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday.

Earth911 has an excellent listing of mail-back programs across the country.