Sonoma County Sets its sights on zero waste

From working to return composting facilities to Sonoma County to reducing single-use plastics, 350 Sonoma is focused on achieving zero waste. Stay tuned as we track the issues to keep you informed and provide opportunities to take action.

Zero Waste Action Group

Some of our current initiatives are:

  • bringing composting facilities back to Sonoma County
  • reducing single-use plastics such as straws, beverage lids, etc.
  • working in coalition with other environmental, environmental-justice, and labor groups to bring a green and labor-friendly garbage hauler to Santa Rosa.

July 24-30 is Zero Waste Week in Sonoma County!

Join us for our first Zero Waste Week in Sonoma County! We will celebrate and promote waste reduction lifestyle practices through various events, workshops, and webinars. The week will culminate in our 3rd annual Zero Waste North Bay Symposium, which is a full-day conference. Listen to speakers and mingle with zero waste leaders in our region. 

Check it out here.

CA is drowning in plastic!

50% of the plastic we produce is discarded after single use.

The California Plastic Pollution and Recycling Act on the ballot in Nov. 2022 would responsibly reduce harmful single-use plastic packaging and foodware. 

Join Isabella Gonzalez Potter from The Nature Conservancy, who will be presenting background, possible solutions, and up-to-the-minute updates on the initiative. She will also share information about legislation currently in play in California to address the plastics crisis. All welcome!

350 Bay Area Action Legislative Committee Monthly Meeting 

June 12, 2022  3:00 – 4:00 pm

Zoom Link for Sunday June 12, 2022 at : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8456950219?pwd=eFMwSnFPZjFCb0Z4L2VKR284a0p5Zz09

350 Bay Area Action: Link to 350 BAA

Help Keep Disposable Food Ware Compliance Locally

Most cities in Sonoma County have now passed Polystyrene Ban and Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinances, which bans polystyrene foam containers,  requires other takeout food ware to be compostable or recyclable (no “compostable” plastic: not accepted at compost facilities), and mandates that utensils, condiment packets, straws and lids only be given out upon request by customers  

Please help report non-compliant restaurants/ businesses in Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, and Windsor (cities where the ordinance is now in effect) by filling out the simple online form on Zero Waste Sonoma website: Disposable Food Service Ware and Polystyrene…

Sadly the California Single Use Plastic Ban legislation SB54/AB 1080 did not pass this year.

So weneed  a new strategy to push back on the plastics industry who lobbyhard to defeat these bills.   Brainstorm with us at our Sept16th meeting on new strategies to end plasticspollution.  

If you haven’t yet,watch The Story of Plastic for an in-depth understanding of theintersection of plastic, the fossil fuel industry, chemical companies,social justice and our environment.  Gohere for how to watch, a preview and so muchmore on plastic.  https://www.storyofplastic.org/

Ban Single Use Plastic

THE BILLS BANNING SINGLE USEPLASTICS (AB 1080 AND SB54) ARE TOP PRIORITY CLIMATE BILLS!  Takeaction before the Legislative Session ends on Aug 31. 

SB 54 and AB 1080 are companionbills requiring manufacturers and retailers in California to reducesingle-use plastic packaging and products by 75 percent by 2030. After2030, all single-use plastics sold in the state would need to becompostable or recyclable.

 WHY

  • Banningsingle use plastics is a critical step to a zero-emissions, zero-wasteeconomy. 
  • Plasticsare made from fossil fuel–from cheap by-products offracking.
  • China nolonger accepts cheap plastics for recycling. Plastic recycling is nolonger an option.
  • Helpvulnerable communities near plastic production facilities, highwaysused for shipping, and incinerators or landfills. 
  • Addressthe plastic boom caused by COVID-19
  • Providefinancial relief for local governments that spend millions on litterclean up every year
  • Createthousands of green jobs in California

HOW TO TAKE ACTION

Click here for information on how toemail your Senator orAssemblymember.This link also provides sample scripts to urge them to pass the SingleUse Plastics bills into law. The offices have been overwhelmed withphone calls lately and have asked for constituents to emailinstead.

Click here for the social media toolkit!

The Story of Plastic

Watch The Story of Plasticfor an in depth understanding of the intersection ofplastic, the fossil fuel industry, chemical companies, social justiceand our environment.  Go herefor how to watch, a preview and so much more on plastic.

Plastic Free July

The Zero Waste Chef has a timely Plastic Free July blog post titled  Plastic Free July: The Pandemic Year(s). Check out all 17 ideas here to help you reduce plastic this month.  Here is idea #17 illustrating the intersection of environmentalism, health, greed,racism and climate & social justice.

17. Join grassroots organizations

Fossil fuel companies know that the end it near—demand for oil and gas will continue to fall. To keep the party going, they have made big plans to ramp up plastic production (plastic is made from fossil fuels). Such plants often operate in marginalized communities, such as St John’s Parish, Louisiana—one of the most polluted areas in the US and known as Cancer Alley—where residents are currently fighting the construction of what would be the biggest plastics facility in the country. This is what environmental racism looks like.

The proposed facility has license to spew 800 tons of toxic pollutants yearly into the already compromised air. Spell this out to anyone who tells you that quitting plastic is frivolous. Consuming less of the stuff will reduce demand. And while we consumers alone can’t turn off the plastic spigot, at least we can take a stand and do what we can to turn down that spigot. We can also join organizations fighting for climate justice, such as 350.org, and racial justice, such as Black Lives Matter.

Zero Waste Tips for COVID Era

How can you avoid single use shopping bags?

  • Instead of using single-use paper or plastic bags at check-out, load your paid-for groceries back into your shopping cart. 
  • When you wheel the cart to your car, transfer the items into the bags in your trunk. 
  • Or- if you walked to the store,  transfer items into your bags outside the store.

Plant a garden and learn to compost

ZERO WASTE DURING S.I.P. TIMES

Many have been discouraged about zero waste during COVID times. No carry-in shopping bags, no bulk foods, no farmer’s markets.  DON’T BE. These are transformative times and the will and ingenuity of the people will make lemonade of the lemon times.  There still is plenty we can do to advance the movement. Here are suggestions for your consideration:

1)     RETHINK – Many can’t print documents because they don’t have their work printer. Make a plan to continue to get by without as much of the ink and paper use.

2)     REPLACE MATERIALS– We can use this time away from ziplocks to form a plan to replace them. Tupperware and reused plastic bread bags work well. You will like this project MUCH more if you get recycle ALL containers and lids you don’t like (do it), and buy matching sets of the right sizes

3)     REPLACE/REDUCE –  Running out of precious paper towels?  Never been a better time to make a kitchen drawer filled with clean folded rags and begin using them for floor and counter clean ups. You’ll need a small “hamper” box under the sink for the clean ones. Pull out and add with any laundry load. Refold, reload drawer. Old, cut-up towels work well. Save money, save paper products.

4)     REFUSE  – Cut down on your junk mail. Contact orgs and publishers that are plugging up your mailbox.

5)     REFUSE – We can refuse to buy or take drinks in plastic bottles. Choose glass or aluminum containers.

6)     REDUCE – We can’t buy in bulk, but we can buy larger packages with less individual wrappings.

7)     REDUCE – We can bake our own granola bars and not have to waste the individual wrappers (wax paper wrapping works).

8)     REUSE – Have too much recycling? Two tin cans can be made into an old-fashioned telephone. A rinsed bleach or milk plastic bottle can become a bird feeder or child’s watering can.  A wipe bottle and some dry rice inside becomes a shaker instrument.  OR…just give your kids a huge box of all the (clean, safe) recycling and a roll of masking tape and they will make a fancy castle, or Recyclops monster, or fire station.

 9)     REUSE – No, we can’t bring our bags into stores, but we can reuse paper bags for garbage or spread them over areas of the garden to get rid of weeds. Paper bags make an awesome kid hat – roll it up from the end to fit the head. Let them decorate it. 

Why Renewable Sonoma?

Ask the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency board to accept their staff’s recommendation that Renewable Sonoma be awarded the commercial compost operation contract for the proposed Llano Road site (by the waste-water treatment facility).   Send emails to the SCWMA board via executive director Patrick Carter by August 14th (patrick.carter@sonoma-county.org)

Talking point ideas for your email:

  • Renewable Sonoma is owned by Sonoma Compost, the company operating our former, excellent local compost facility at the central landfill site.
  • They have a long history of supporting composting education, school garden programs, community waste-diversion/ Zero Waste efforts, and local farmers and gardeners
  • Their proposal includes an anaerobic digester that will generate electricity from green waste via natural gas generation
  • They are excellent environmental stewards
  • They have a long history of working with local farmers and have extensive knowledge of the local composting market
  • Their business emphasis is on creating high-quality soil-amendment products for customers (as opposed to merely diverting green waste from landfill)

Local composting means:

  • We do not have to truck our greenwaste out of the county (thereby reducing greenhouse gas production)
  • Farmers, schools, and gardens can purchase high-quality compost produced locally (at lower prices because of reduced delivery fees)

Find a form for a petition to the SCWMA Board Members here: RenewableSonoma_petition

Zero Waste at Peacetown Summer Concert Series

Hello Friends,
We are bringing Zero Waste to the Peacetown Summer Concert series in Sebastopol at Ives Park on Wednesday evenings starting July 4th!  
The Peacetown Green Team is looking for on-site volunteers to help set-up, monitor and take-down our brand new Eco-Stations (compost/ recycling/ garbage containers) and to talk to attendees about what goes where and how to reduce the amount they discard at concert. This includes transferring “errors” from one cart to another using pickers and gloves provided. This is not dirty work, just steady and important as you have fun listening to the music and making a big environmental contribution.
Sign up to be a volunteer for one or more Wednesdays! 
3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will not need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com (+ entering phone number is optional)
Each week a Team Leader will be staffing the primary station which will have a good view of the stage! We will make it obvious with a sign or funny hat.
The July 4 Team leader is Robin Factor, who initiated this effort.  She is a medium height slim blonde with shoulder length hair.
See you at the concerts!

Thanks

Portia Sinnott, Co-founder and Convenor
Zero Waste Sonoma County
Executive Director, LITE Initiatives