The Household Hazardous Waste Center (HHWC) recently celebrated its twentieth year of service to Santa Monica with two new on-site features-a mural with an environmental theme, and a “green” office building made from two reused shipping containers.Dean Kubani, Environmental Programs Division Manager for the City of Santa Monica, officiated at the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony on April 23, honoring both the designers and builders of the office space (Paradigm Projects, HyBrid Architects, and Angel City Builders) and the artists and volunteers from Virginia Avenue Park Teen Center, who created the mural.“This is a temporary mural,” Kubani noted. “We are going to bring students in to paint a new mural every year.”Lead artists Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez and Alex Kizu received Certificates of Appreciation from the City. Hernandez stated: “The title of the mural is ‘Seven Generations’ because what we do now is going to affect seven generations.” The mural depicts beautiful aspects of the world-green hills, birds, a Native American woman with feathers in her hair, rising above a collection of the hazardous waste handled by the Center. Certificates were also given to several students who worked on the mural. The idea is to give young people a chance to create public art and at the same time be educated in the knowledge of what substances are hazardous and how to dispose of them properly.After the ceremony, visitors enjoyed freshly made tacos and took tours of HHWC’s new “EcoOffice.”“Our intention was to use recycled material as much as possible,” John Hansen of Paradigm told the Mirror. The building has been crafted from two 40’ steel shipping containers that have “been on several cross-ocean trips,” according to Hansen. Inside, the office contains floors made from recycled wood, recycled plastic lumber, natural lighting, recycled fiberboard interior panels, formaldehyde-free recycled cotton insulation, energy-efficient windows, and recycled furniture and appliances. The building uses solar energy, natural ventilation, and has a “green roof” with native drought-tolerant species already growing.Amidst all the celebration, however, HHWC made sure to get out the message about its function. Signs on metal drums displayed statistics about the Center’s activities. HHWC recycles 213 drums of paint, 31 drums of batteries, and 11 boxes of aerosol cans per year and also sends 23 drums of poisons for destructive incineration per year.According to a booklet from the City’s Environmental Programs Division, the average household generates more than 20 pounds of hazardous waste per year, and as much as 100 pounds of hazardous waste may be stored in the home. HHWC accepts up to 15 gallons or 125 pounds of waste per visit. The waste may consist of cleaners, aerosol spray cans, batteries, mercury thermometers, mothballs, toilet bowl cleaners, motor oil, pesticides, paint and solvents, and both fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs.The Household Hazardous Waste Center is located at 2500 Michigan Avenue. Hours are Wednesday-Friday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information call 310.458.8255 or go to smepd.org.
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