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Welcome to Green Tips from Sustainable Fairfax

Welcome to Green Tips, a new blog from the Zero Waste committee of Sustainable Fairfax.

We have all heard about the impact our waste has on the earth, on animals, and on people: the island of plastic and other debris trapped by the gyre in the North Pacific Ocean; birds dying, malnourished, their stomachs full of plastic bits; whole communities, often of lower income, falling ill because of improperly disposed industrial waste; how landfill gas contributes significantly to climate change, and so on. It is daunting! What can one person do? Thankfully, Zero Waste is a concept and goal that is gaining traction around the world. It is not just about recycling, but is about changing systems at the government, corporate, and household levels.

The Town of Fairfax has embraced the Zero Waste movement by passing a resolution to achieve ninety-four percent diversion from landfill by 2020.  This means that only six percent of all our waste will end up in the landfill; the remaining ninety-four percent will be reduced and reclaimed! Earlier this year the Town of Fairfax and Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) contracted with Sustainable Fairfax to help achieve this zero waste goal. Fairfax is joining communities around the world in creating less waste and we are excited to get going.

Dealing with waste is a complicated matter. How do we dispose of the debris from our lives be it plastic, rotten food, last season’s clothing, a broken toy, dead cell phone, expired medicines, or anything else? Especially when you wonder where does this—paper bag, juice box, old cauliflower, battery—go? Do I put it in the garbage, green waste can, compost bin, or is it hazardous waste? Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) and Sustainable Fairfax can help you answer many of these questions.

Through this monthly blog we invite you to join us on the road to Zero Waste. Our aim is to make it as simple as possible by offering ways to cut down on waste and maybe even save you some money! We will be starting at home first. Further along the way we will address other routes to attain Zero Waste such as advocating for governmental policies that curb waste and helping producers understand their responsibility for packaging through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). After all we, the consumers, pay for discarding this packaging, not to mention the cost to the environment.  We look forward to many fruitful conversations as we change our habits and discover a more sustainable and expansive awareness of waste.

Look for our Green Tips Blog the first week of every month and see you on the Road to Zero Waste!

Rachel McKay

Sustainable Fairfax Zero Waste Committee Liaison

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

LeAnne Ravinale November 28, 2012 at 07:32 AM
I look forward to hearing more about this topic and other posts from Rachel!
Sierra Salin November 28, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Nice start.
Sheila McNulty November 28, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Thanks Rachel - much appreciated!
S. R. Gilbert November 28, 2012 at 07:34 PM
That old head of cauliflower, Rachel, what to do? Pleeeease don't make us wait long to learn the answer!
Carol Katz November 29, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Dear Rachel, Congratulations on a most important venture. We all have to become aware of sustainability and save our environment. The Cote St. Luc community where I live has implemented measures to make a clean environment. I look forward to your suggestions. Carol Katz, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
judith hunt December 01, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Bravo Rachel...go for it!
Susan Efros December 04, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Thank you for writing such a straightforward, intelligent and readable article about such a critical issue. I'm sure it will bring many new joiners to the cause! Isa Efros
Joan Gilbert Martin December 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I look forward to the continuing saga.
Rachel McKay December 05, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Hi Carol, It is good to hear from you and to know that we have allies in Quebec. Please feel free to share your own green successes with us.
Rachel McKay December 05, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Dear S.R., Put it in the compost, if you have one; or give it to your neighbors hog, if a hog lives nearby; failing that there is your trusty green waste can. Check with your local waste hauler to see if they accept food waste, many do now.
Rachel McKay December 05, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Thanks for all the support on the road to zero waste!!
Jo Larmour December 07, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Just returned from an over due trip to the dump. The amount of recycle material that we hopefully put into the single stream recycling bin was staggering. Who needs all this packaging? What really happens to the contents of the single stream container?In Europe much of the plastic packaging we deal with on a daily basis here, is against the law. Thank you for this blog, I look forward to following it.
ananda1234 December 10, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Thanks Rachel, coming from a 6% waste household, I do find that all we throw out is the plastic that recycling doesn't take. That frustrated me, I wish there was a way we could encourage producers (TJ's, local stores, etc.) to use biodegradable wrapping and plastics, that way we could just compost it! Ah if only wishes were like apples and you could just pick them off tree's... Love the Article, I look forward to many more. Talk to you soon;)
Rachel McKay December 11, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Yes, exactly, who needs all that packaging? There are folks working on eliminating plastic packing here. We'll be talking more about this.
Sierra Salin December 11, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Agreed Jo, and the question under all of it is, how do we just consume less "stuff" period in a society based on consumption and "profit?" Here is a short video I put together a couple whiles back showing plastic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRxJ3pOA3DI&list=UUOkIhg8b9Kdr7f7QQ6r1j5g&index=3

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