Can we get to Zero Waste? The Marin Hazardous and Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Authority (JPA) has established a goal of achieving 80 percent waste reduction in the next five years and zero disposal by 2025.
Those are lofty goals that require the participation of every Marin resident. Mill Valley Refuse has outlined a number of things residents can do every day on the way to Zero Waste.
Be conscientious about the items you buy. Think about the packaging waste before you purchase and support those companies who are doing their part to reduce wasted packaging. Highly processed foods take more energy to produce. Organic foods have a lesser environmental impact in their production. Lucky for us, Marin has some wonderful, local, organic providers like Marin Organic and the .
Participate in Food Scrap Composting
Food scraps and food-soiled paper make up about 23 percent of Marin's residential waste stream. If you don't compost at home, take advantage of Mill Valley Refuse's food scrap composting service, which last August. Composting allows organic waste to be diverted from the landfill and turned into a nutritious soil amendment that can be put back in the earth, closing the "recycling loop.
Use Your Own Bags
Paper or plastic? Neither! Durable, reusable bags are not only handy, they go a long waytoward reducing waste. It's a sobering thought, but less than 5 percent of plastic bags are ever recycled. And paper? Paper bags are made of mostly virgin pulp from trees.
Just say no to one-use bags. Opt instead for reusable bags. Keep some handy in your trunk and use them every time you go shopping (and not just for food!). Led by the late Charles McGlashan, Marin County in January.
Put a Stop to Junk Mail
The Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition (BayROC), has some advice about what you can do to stop junk mail. Visit StopJunkMail.org to learn more
Travel with Your Own Cups
If you're used to a double soy latte every morning from your favorite local coffee shop, do the earth a favor and bring your own cup. Not only will you save waste, you may even save a few pennies—some places will give you a discount for bringing your own mug. Wonder how much waste you've contributed with your coffee cups? Use the coffee waste calculator
Thanks to Mill Valley Refuse for these waste reduction tips.