Go Green this Halloween!

Posted on September 24, 2018

Before getting dressed up to go trick-or-treating, Zero Waste Marin would like to encourage residents to be mindful of the environment during this year’s Halloween festivities. Follow these simple tips to prevent candy wrappers, leftover decorations and old costumes from ending up in our landfills.

Trick-or-treating

  • Give your children reusable buckets, canvas bags, or even pillowcases to carry while trick-or-treating.
  • Purchase candy with minimal packaging, or treats packaged in recyclable paper, such as Dots, Nerds, or Milk Duds. These can go in your recycling cart after you’re done enjoying them.

Costumes

  • Reuse or reinvent costumes from previous years or create a new costume from things you already own. Transform an old bed sheet into a ghost costume or a toga!
  • Browse thrift stores, such as Goodwill, for unique pieces and fresh costume ideas.
  • Old costumes in good condition can be donated to Goodwill — or to your friends or neighbors!
  • Businesses such as The North Face and H&M accept torn or stained textiles. Please visit our Textiles page for more details and resources on how to discard unwanted clothes and old costumes (be sure they are free of glue and paint).

Pumpkin Repurpose

  • If your jack-o-lantern hasn’t been out on the porch too long, cook your pumpkin into a tasty post-Halloween soup or pie!
  • Toast pumpkin seeds using this simple recipe for a healthy and delicious snack.
  • And remember, inedible pumpkin parts can be added to your home compost pile or green compost cart. Visit our Composting in Marin page for more information about the items that belong in your green cart.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about waste prevention, reuse, and repair. Click HERE to download a copy of this newsletter.

Tips for a Sustainable School Year

Posted on August 22, 2018

Summer break is over, and it’s time to head back to school! Follow these simple tips from Zero Waste Marin for a sustainable school year.

  • Pack a zero waste lunch! Reusable lunch boxes, washable containers and cloth napkins are great alternatives to single use plastic and paper bags, plastic wrap, and other wasteful forms of food storage. Visit our How to Pack a Zero Waste Lunch page for more tips and ideas!
  • Avoid single-use juice boxes, milk cartons, and soda cans. Instead, send your child to school with a reusable water bottle, or purchase beverages in bulk and store them in a reusable thermos.
  • Purchase snacks like nuts and fruits that are sold in bulk bins. Then, toss a handful into a reusable container, and you’ll have your own trail mix to go.
  • Donate old crayons to schools or repurpose them into a fun art project with your family. Follow this simple tutorial on how to make crayon art!
  • Save money and reduce waste by purchasing refillable writing utensils, such as mechanical pencils or refillable ink pens.
  • If possible, opt out of using traditional notebooks and take notes on a laptop or tablet instead. This will save space in your backpack and reduce your paper trail!

For more school tips and resources, or to learn about the Zero Waste Schools Program, visit our School Resources page.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents, families, and students about waste prevention, reuse, and repair. Click HERE to download a copy of this newsletter.

Home Composting & Yard Waste Tips

Posted on July 23, 2018

Composting at home is an easy way to save money on your garbage bill and combat climate change while creating fresh soil for your garden! Want to learn how to do it?

Online Resources

There is a ton of information on the web!  For example, check out this video from our friends at Stopwaste.org in the Eastbay: https://youtu.be/po0a_VS7F0w

Later this year, Zero Waste Marin will be offering free, two-hour composting courses for Marin County residents. These classes will cover basic composting skills such as mulching, building a hot pile, and transforming food scraps with worms. Each participant receives a free kitchen compost pail! Visit our Home Composting Courses page late this Fall to learn more or to sign up for a course.

Here are a couple of resources and tips to help you get started with composting at home:

  • Avoid adding meat scraps, fish bones, bacon fat, cleaning chemicals, pet waste or diseased plants to your backyard compost pile. These items can attract pests and spread disease.
  • Place your compost bin in an area that is exposed to more sunlight or aerate your pile by mixing the contents every two weeks to speed up the composting process.

If you prefer to put your food scraps and yard trimmings in your green cart, you can! Start by visiting our Composting in Marin page for a general overview of items that can be placed in your green cart. A few tips:

  • Yard and garden waste, such as flowers, grass and leaves, can go in your green cart. Meat, fish, moldy bread and veggie scraps can go in your cart as well.
  • To prevent odors, layer yard waste, newspaper or shredded paper on the bottom of your green cart before adding food scraps. You can also wrap food waste in a paper bag or keep food waste in the freezer until collection day to help contain odors.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about home composting and yard waste in an effort to help improve the local environment. Click HERE to download a copy of this newsletter.

Sustainable Summer Food Tips

Posted on June 25, 2018

Celebrate summer with the environment in mind! Zero Waste Marin would like to offer residents sustainable and environmentally friendly options for your barbeques, picnics, and get-togethers.

  • Provide your guests with reusable plates, cups, utensils and cloth napkins instead of paper and plastic disposables.
  • Buy in bulk, look for products with as little packaging as possible, and try to shop at grocery stores that allow you to bring your own reusable bag to fill with different kinds of foods to reduce plastic waste. Visit our Tips to Reduce Waste at Home page for more ideas on how to optimize your shopping trips!
  • Avoid excessive food waste by preparing an appropriate amount of food for your expected number of guests. You can donate any extra food to local organizations, such as the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, the Ritter Center or the St. Vincent De Paul Society. For more tips and resources, please visit our Food Waste Prevention page.
  • Repurpose your food scraps! Turn your carrot tops into pesto sauce, make a refreshing summer tea with peach leaves, or even use your shrimp shells to create a delicious shrimp shell stock.
  • Compost all your food scraps! Compostable foods include bones, rinds, eggshells, and your locally farmed clam, mussel, and oyster shells. Learn more about composting on our Composting Info and Courses page.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about ways to reduce food waste to improve the environment. Click HERE to download a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Rx Disposal and Take-Back

Posted on May 29, 2018

Is it time to clean out your medicine cabinet? What should you do with expired, unused, or unwanted prescription medication or sharps? Never throw these items into the garbage or flush them down the toilet! They can pollute our local waterways and harm our trash collectors. Instead, follow these tips from Zero Waste Marin and our partners to safely dispose of your medication and sharps.

  • Med-Project is a program focused on medication education and safe disposal in Marin County. They offer resources including a prescription drug mail-back service and in-home disposal tips. Visit med-project.org for a list of nearby disposal locations in Marin.
  • Many local pharmacies now accept sharps and/or pharmaceutical waste. Visit marincounty.org for a comprehensive list of facilities in your area that accept sharps, pharmaceutical waste, or both.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognizes National Prescription Drug Take Back Day every April and October. The next collection date is October 27, 2018. On this day, residents can bring their unwanted prescription medications to a local, participating collection site. For more information, visit deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.

Check with your local disposal outlet for details on pre-disposal procedures. For example, before you dispose of unwanted medication, place your extra tablets or pills in a Ziploc bag and recycle your empty vials at home. Keep liquid prescription medication in original bottles and remove or mark off the label to ensure your privacy and anonymity before disposal.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about ways to safely dispose of unwanted prescription medication and improve the environment. Click HERE to download a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Have a Sustainable Summer

Posted on May 14, 2018

Summer is finally here! Before purchasing new outfits or outdoor supplies, Zero Waste Marin would like to provide residents with some quick tips on how to safely recycle and dispose of unwanted, common household items:

Shoes & Clothing

Need to swap out your winter wardrobe to make room for summer clothing?
• Donate your clothes to local thrift stores, such as Goodwill. You can claim these donations as tax deductible.
• Don’t throw your textiles in the trash! Many local retailers have programs to take back your worn out or stained clothing, towels and sheets.

Kitchenware & Appliances

If it’s time to get a new appliance, recycle your unwanted large and small appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, and toasters.
• Donate old silverware, plates, cups, pots, pans and other kitchenware to Goodwill.
• If your appliances are still in working condition, contact local charities such as the Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity. You’ll be able to claim charitable deductions for donated appliances.
• Visit our Recycling Guide for a comprehensive list of organizations that recycle appliances or accept donations.
• For appliances that no longer work, visit Zero Waste Marin’s Electronics Information Page to learn about safe disposal options or contact your local hauler to learn about their collection options.

Electronics

Planning to upgrade your personal electronics? Here are a couple of smart reuse and recycling options:
• Sell usable electronics on eBay or to a local thrift store for fast cash!
• Consider upgrading a component of your computer, such as adding additional memory or storage, to lengthen your laptop’s life span.
• Recycle used printers and ink cartridges for free through programs like the HP Computer Recycling Program or through Quill.com.

Books

• Donate used books that are still in good condition to local libraries, thrift shops, hospitals, and used book retailers.
• Unusable paperback books and magazines are easily recyclable. When recycling, hardcovers should be removed because the glue that holds the book together is not recyclable.

Camping

• Help reduce metal packaging waste and save money on your summer camping trips by switching to refillable fuel canisters! Learn more about refillable fuel canisters or find a local retailer on refuelyourfun.org. Refillables can last up to 12 years and be refilled hundreds of times!

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate
residents about waste prevention, reuse, and repair. Click HERE to download a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22

Posted on March 29, 2018

Earth Day is an annual, worldwide event that celebrates efforts to protect our environment. This Earth Day, choose one of the following eco-conscious activities to reduce waste and pollution here in Marin County.

  • Plant a tree. Trees produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and counter toxic byproducts of burning fossil fuels – all of which help improve air quality. Plant a tree in your own backyard with your family or friends or join local volunteer groups such as Marin County’s Dedication Tree Day at Lagoon Park, where you can plant a tree to commemorate a loved one and help restore habitats for local wildlife. You can also support organizations that aim to reverse deforestation, like the Canopy Project.
  • Switch to reusable. Instead of purchasing coffee in a paper cup with a plastic top, bring your own coffee cup.
  • Shop Local. Shop for groceries at local farmer’s markets. Not only is the food fresh, but it’s virtually free of packaging! Make smart decisions about what to purchase and be sure to eat what you buy to avoid wasting food.
  • Make a backyard compost pile. Composting reduces your carbon footprint and repurposes food waste. You can purchase a backyard compost bin from your local hardware store or build your own.
  • Recycle and compost every day. Every year, Americans generate more than 258 million tons of trash. Visit the Who is My Hauler page to learn more about the recycling and composting services offered in your city or town.
  • Have you heard about Clean Marin? This new public private partnership is designed to support and encourage all the efforts in Marin that keep it clean and healthy. Find volunteer opportunities and more information at cleanmarin.org.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about ways to reduce waste and improve the local environment.

Click HERE to download a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Make the Switch to Rechargeable Batteries

Posted on March 12, 2018

Single-use batteries have become a serious problem for our environment. If not disposed of correctly, they can corrode and contaminate surrounding soil and water.  Zero Waste Marin encourages residents to invest in rechargeable batteries: you’ll save money and help protect our community from exposure to toxic waste.

Rechargeable batteries are easy to purchase and can be found at local electronic stores as well as online. These batteries can be recharged approximately 100 times!

If you make the switch to rechargeable batteries, Zero Waste Marin wants to reward your commitment to the environment. The first 200 eligible Marin County residents who take the “Rechargeable Battery Pledge” will receive a rechargeable battery kit at no charge, including a charger and four AA rechargeable batteries. Pledge to make the switch by March 30, 2018.

Please remember that it is illegal to throw single-use household batteries in the trash or recycling bin. You can safely dispose of small quantities of batteries at many participating businesses throughout the county. For more information on rechargeable batteries and disposal locations, please visit the Bulb and Battery page.

Click HERE to download a copy of this newsletter.

Haga el Cambio a Baterías/Pilas Recargables

Las baterías/pilas de un solo uso se han convertido en un problema grave para nuestro medio ambiente. Si no son eliminadas correctamente, pueden corroerse y contaminar la tierra y el agua. Zero Waste Marin lo alienta a invertir en la compra de baterías/pilas recargables: ahorrará dinero y ayudará a proteger a nuestra comunidad de la exposición a desechos tóxicos.

Las baterías/pilas recargables son fáciles de comprar y se pueden encontrar en tiendas locales y en la internet. ¡Estas baterías/pilas pueden ser recargadas aproximadamente 100 veces!

Si usted hace el cambio a baterías/pilas recargables, Zero Waste Marin quiere recompensar su compromiso con el medio ambiente. Los primeros 200 residentes elegibles del Condado de Marin que tomen el “Compromiso de Batería/Pilas Recargables” recibirán un kit de baterías/pilas recargables gratis, que incluye un cargador y cuatro baterías/pilas recargables doble A.  Comprométase y haga el cambio antes del 30 de marzo de 2018.

Recuerde que es ilegal tirar a la basura o al contenedor de reciclaje las baterías/pilas domésticas de un solo uso. Usted puede deshacerse de pequeñas cantidades de pilas/baterías caseras en muchos sitios participantes en todo el condado. Para obtener más información sobre baterías/pilas recargables y ubicaciones de eliminación, visite la página Bulb and Battery en el sitio web Zero Waste Marin.

Simple and Green: DIY Spring Cleaning Ideas

Posted on February 26, 2018

It’s time for Spring cleaning! Follow these simple tips to make your own DIY cleaning supplies, donate unwanted items, and dispose of toxic products safely. For more alternative cleaning supply ideas and information, please visit our Less Toxic Alternatives page.

Cleaning Rags – Repurpose old T-shirts and towels to use as cleaning rags instead of purchasing single use paper towels.

Donations – If you are organizing and have unwanted items, please remember to donate usable textiles, clothing and shoes to local thrift stores. Visit our Textiles page for a list of free local resources.

General Household Cleaner – Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid soap, 1 teaspoon of borax or baking soda, a dash of lemon juice or white vinegar, and 1 quart of warm water.

Mildew and Mold Remover – Mix ½ cup of borax with 1 gallon of water and scrub with a nylon scouring pad.

Stainless Steel Cleaner – Clean surface with baking soda and a soft sponge, then rinse with a white vinegar and water solution.

Window Cleaner – Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with 1 quart of warm water. Use a squeegee to wipe windows for best results.

Want to get rid of your toxic cleaning products? Drop off a variety of items, including bleach-based cleaners and detergents, at the Marin Household Hazardous Waste Facility that serves your community.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about reducing toxic waste.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Help Us Reduce Textile Waste

Posted on January 23, 2018

If your family members received new clothing or shoes over the holidays, then you might be thinking about cleaning out your closets to make room for these new items. Please keep textiles out of our local landfills by following these simple tips from Zero Waste Marin and our partners.

• Are your clothes and shoes still in good shape? Bring them to a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other local resale store. For a list of thrift stores in Marin County search for “clothing” in our Recycling Guide.
• In a hurry? Simply drop your unwanted clothing and shoes into a nearby USAgain or Recycle for Change collection drop-box.
• Heading to the mall? If your textiles are beyond reuse, you can drop them off at many retail locations for recycling. H&M, Madewell, and The Northface are just a few of the many clothing retailers that will take back torn or stained clothing, sheets and towels.
• Remember, textiles and shoes are not accepted in your curbside recycling container.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about waste prevention, reuse and repair. For more information on how you can manage your textiles, please visit our Textiles page.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this newsletter.