Knitting and driving

I got into knitting this winter but heard there are environmental problems with wool. Can you shed some light on what these might be?

Wool is a gray area in environmentalism. Sheep bred for wool aren’t slaughtered for their wool (like their kin might be slaughtered for meat), but they are often exposed to other hardships that should be kept in mind when choosing what wool to buy. Buy organic wool to avoid supporting farms at which sheep are sprayed with pesticides or worse, sheep dips. The latter refers to a liquid concoction of insecticides and fungicides that sheep are submerged in to prevent ticks, lice and other critters. Sheep dip has been linked to major health problems in the workers who handle the sheep and in soil contamination. It’s always fun to use bright-colored wool to knit hip sweaters and caps. But keep in mind that many dyes are made from chemicals and bad for the environment. Whenever possible, stick to un-dyed, naturally-colored wools, and bring those muted shades into vogue.

My car battery died. How can I dispose of it in an eco-friendly manner?

I don’t condone the act of driving. But lucky for you, this column is a help line, where you can admit your environmental wrongs (like automobile pollution) in anonymity. A maximum of two car batteries per person can be disposed of at the North Area Recovery Station (4450 Roseville Road in North Highlands). The center is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. I realize this may be far for some of you to travel. And bus transportation may be hard to come by. So why not wait until you have a truckload of household hazardous waste to take at once, avoiding multiple trips and multiple bouts of automotive pollution? The maximum drop off per visit to the North Area Recovery Station per vehicle is a total liquid volume of 15 gallons or a total dry weight of 125 pounds. Visit for more information on what is considered household hazardous waste.