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.

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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.

Reduce Waste During the Holiday Season

Posted on October 30, 2017

Follow these tips from Zero Waste Marin and our partners to reduce food waste in Marin County during the holidays!

  • Practice Smart Shopping—Check your pantry to see what you already have before going grocery shopping for holiday meals.
  • Make a List—Make a grocery list and stick to it, especially when planning a large holiday event! Avoiding impulse buys will help save money.
  • Shop Local—Support local farmers by shopping at one of the many farmer’s markets in Marin.
  • Buy Only What You Need—To keep fresh items from spoiling, buy only enough for the week. If you are cooking for a crowd, only purchase items needed for that meal.
  • Prep Now, Enjoy Later—Consider prepping for your holiday events in advance to save time and avoid waste. Prep and freeze cookie dough, soup stock, excess meat, and sliced fruit and veggies in reusable containers to make them last longer.
  • Repurpose Holiday Leftovers—Leftover turkey? Don’t toss it out! Turn your holiday leftovers into sandwiches, casseroles, soups and more.
  • Don’t Let Good Food Go to Waste—Move food that is likely to spoil soon to a designated “eat now” area in the front of your pantry or fridge.
  • Store Food Correctly—Not all fresh fruits and vegetables belong in the fridge! Apples, berries, grapes and oranges should be refrigerated while bananas, mangos and potatoes belong in a cool place in your kitchen.
  • Compost the Rest—Use your green cart for your turkey carcass, veggie scraps, plate scrape, used paper plates and napkins. Please keep organic material out of the trash!

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about reducing the amount of waste that goes into our local landfills.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Reduce Waste this Winter

Posted on October 2, 2017

Zero Waste Marin and our partners want to pass along a few tips to help Marin County residents reduce waste this holiday season.

Holiday Shopping

  • When out shopping for the perfect party favor or present, please support our locally owned businesses in Marin.
  • Carry your own reusable bags for holiday shopping, and avoid taking a paper bag for your purchases.
  • If you’re gifting electronic gadgets or toys, choose rechargeable batteries and consider including a battery charger with your gift as well.

Give an Experience

Consider giving friends and family members a gift that requires very little or no packaging:

  • Theater, movie or concert tickets
  • Membership to a museum
  • Gift card to a local store
  • Visit your favorite restaurant
  • A certificate for babysitting, gardening, or cleaning the house or car.

Alternative Gift Wrap

Single use wrapping paper creates a huge amount of waste each year. Instead of purchasing a new roll of wrapping paper and ribbon, shop your home for unique wrapping materials.

  • Gift bags or reusable shopping bags
  • Tins or baskets
  • Newspaper or magazine pages

Never Burn Wrapping Paper!

It is illegal to burn trash and wrapping paper. But did you know that wrapping paper is not recyclable because of the shiny, glossy glitter and foil? It must be thrown in the landfill bin.  This is especially true now that markets for recycled paper are becoming extremely strict about what they will accept. To help save resources, if you must use wrapping paper, try to save and reuse it next holiday season.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Reduce Waste this Fall

Posted on August 18, 2017

Check before you shop

Businesses can save time, money, and increase security by going paperless. For students, evaluate what you do and don’t need before you shop. Just because it’s a new school year, doesn’t mean you have to replace all of last year’s supplies. Binders, folders and notebooks may still have plenty of use left in them. The biggest way to reduce your impact is to use what you already have. 

Reuse or recycle electronics

If your family is discarding old computer equipment or electronics, find someone who can use them, or donate items to a charitable organization or thrift store. Enter the word ‘Secondhand’ into the Recycling Guide for a list of local drop-off locations.

Look for recycled content in office & school supplies

If you must purchase new pens, pencils, paper or notebooks, shop for supplies made with recycled content, and look for product certifications from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council.

Plan your lunch for waste reduction

Instead of disposable plastic or paper bags, pack your lunch for work or school in a reusable container with a thermos and cloth napkin.

Buy durable items

To reduce waste and save money, select durable, long-lasting backpacks, lunchboxes, reusable coffee cups, rechargeable electronics, and more. If your items start to show signs of wear and tear, consider repairing them before purchasing something new.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about reducing the amount of waste that goes into our local landfills.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Shop Smart and Waste Less this summer

Posted on June 19, 2017

Zero Waste Marin encourages Marin County residents to start shopping smart to waste less. Adding smart eco-friendly alternatives to your cart can make a difference to the environment and your wallet.

Waste: disposable batteries. Smart: rechargeable batteries.
Single-use batteries contain heavy metals and corrosive materials, and improper disposal can spell bad news for the environment. Replace them with rechargeable batteries, which last longer on a single charge and can be used over and over.

Waste: disposable coffee cups. Smart: reusable thermos.
Most disposable coffee cups are not recyclable and an estimated 50 billion paper cups end up in landfills each year. Next time you purchase coffee on the go, bring a reusable coffee mug. Many coffee shops will fill reusable mugs and may even offer you a discount.

Waste: single use plastic water bottle. Smart: reusable water bottle.
Carry a reusable metal or glass water bottle instead of purchasing individual, disposable plastic water bottles. A reusable plastic bottle can be easily refilled and offers the added benefits of insulation, filtering, and more.

Waste: produce wrapped in plastic. Smart: reusable produce bag.
Most shelled produce does not need to be packaged in plastic wrap. Instead, buy reusable cotton or mesh produce bags and choose loose fruits and vegetables when shopping.

Waste: disposable plastic cutlery. Smart: metal silverware.
Whether you are hosting a party or packing a school lunch, choose reusable metal cutlery instead of disposable plastic. Recycling plastic cutlery is difficult and its waste will only end up landfills.

Waste: paper towels. Smart: cloth dish towels.
Swap paper towels for cloth towels both at home and in packed lunches. You can throw your dish towels into your washing machine and reuse them for years, saving money and reducing waste.

Waste: ice cream cup & spoon. Smart: ice cream cone.
Eating ice cream is a great way to cool off during the summer. To reduce your environmental impact, choose an edible ice cream cone instead of a cup and spoon.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about reducing the amount of waste that goes into our local landfills. For more information, visit ZeroWasteMarin.org.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this newsletter.

Tips to Reduce Waste at Home this Spring

Posted on March 6, 2017

Reusable Containers: Instead of plastic or paper bags, use reusable containers to pack your family’s food and beverages. Whether you are going for a hike on Mt. Tam, heading to the park for the afternoon or packing a school lunch, reusable containers are the best way to hold snacks for the trip.

  • Cloth Napkins: Swap paper towels for cloth napkins and dishcloths both at home and in packed lunches. Cloth napkins are easy to clean and can be reused for years, and you will save money on paper towels.
  • BYOBag: Add a reminder to bring your own reusable shopping bag to your shopping list. Simple actions like this help keep waste out of our landfills. Remember to keep a reusable shopping bag in your car for any unplanned trips.
  • “Compostable” Plastics:  Even though they claim to be biodegradable and compostable, vegetable-based “compostable” utensils, cups and bags cannot be placed in the Green Cart in Marin County. Please put them, along with paper cups with thin plastic liners, in the landfill cart. Instead, use firmware that can be washed and reused.

Spring is a great time of year for us all to embrace new waste reduction habits at home. Let’s continue to work together to keep Marin County beautiful and thriving.

Zero Waste Marin works with cities and towns throughout Marin County to educate residents about reducing the amount of waste that goes into our local landfills. For more information, visit ZeroWasteMarin.org.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this newsletter.