Friday, January 5, 2018

Feel Good Friday - StopWaste

It's the first Feel Good Friday of 2018 and we're making StopWaste our new year's resolution!

I recently moved to Oakland, in Alameda County, and saw a billboard for this organization at a BART station. "StopWaste helps Alameda County's businesses, residents and schools waste less, recycle more and use water, energy and other resources efficiently." Those are resolutions I can get behind!

Beginning in 1976 with the founding of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, the organization expanded in 1990 after voters approved a measure to create the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board. While these names may be long, their definition on the website is short: "a public agency reducing waste in Alameda County".

They provide many resources for business and schools, but I'm focusing on what they do for residents. There are guidelines for recycling everything: hazardous waste (including electronics, batteries, and medicines), food scraps, plant debris, and construction debris. I've learned that there's a drop off center close to my house that will accept the paint left by the previous owners! (Too bad the previous owners didn't know about it.)

There are also tons of resources dedicated to preventing waste that can be used by everyone, no matter where you live. Links to stop your junk mail, reduce packaging waste, and tips on how to make your home more green and create sustainable gardens.

The billboard I saw was related to food waste and for good reason. "Nearly 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States goes to waste, and of that, 95 percent ends up in landfills or combustion facilities." In Alameda County, "food scraps and food-soiled paper are the largest single item" in the waste stream comprising 35% of what's thrown away.

If you want to see your own impact you can take this 10-minute food reality check and then visit http://stopfoodwaste.org for guidelines on how to plan, store, eat and compost your food. They've got recipes, shopping lists and videos. I'm eager to get their advice on celery that's lost its crunch.

Whether or not you live in Alameda County, you use this info to make changes to reduce waste in your life. How do you stay in the know? Bookmark the website, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @stopwasteorg.

Happy New Year!