• October 2022

    Happy Diapers

    4 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Disposable Diapers BY Molly Ressler Choosing the right kind of diaper is an important decision and is a matter of baby’s comfort, your personal preference, time constraints, budget, and for some, environmental impact. Photo courtesy of REDYPER™ Powered by EarthBaby   It’s a fact that babies go through a lot of diapers. And we’re talking A LOT. From age 0-3, the average baby will go through up to 7,000 diapers. That means we’re throwing an estimated 20 billion disposable diapers into the trash every year in the U.S. Diapers are the third largest contributor to U.S. landfill sites in volume where they take 500+ years to…

  • February 2022

    Tips on Saving Water

    2 Tips for Saving (Lots of) Water Here in California, we’re facing water shortages and severe drought. Local municipalities now have strict water restrictions and neighbors are “drought shaming“, i.e. reporting others’ misuse of water (washing cars, sprinkling lawns). Consumers are even going after commercial growers who export crops like almonds to foreign countries or bottled water companies (like Nestle) for selling our precious water reserves for profits.   So what can you do?   Tip #1: Set up a water catchment system to collect 1000s of gallons of rainwater I didn’t realize I could capture almost 8,000 gallons of water from just one storm until we tested out our new rain catchment…

  • November 2021

    Green Wrapping

    Smart Holiday Wrapping and Gift Tags by Susan Tatsui-D’Arcy Smart Wrapping Paper:Did you know that wrapping paper is a $2.6 billion dollar industry? With Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa around the corner, millions of pounds of paper will be used to wrap gifts just once and then be piled up in trash cans that line every street around the world. Wasteful! I didn’t realize how much this bothered me until I had a dream about it. When I woke up, I knew exactly what I needed to do. This was kind of like my Eco-Xmas tree dream.  So here’s what I did:I drove over to Fabrics R Us (a fabric shop) in San Jose to buy…

  • April 2021

    Green Living Earth Day

    It’s Time to Set Your Earth Day Resolutions! by ethos Santa Cruz Earth Day is the perfect time to set your earth-loving resolutions for the year! It’s like New Years Day for citizens of the earth when we set our actionable goals and envision sustainable steps forward in our climate-conscious lives. So, it’s Earth Day, and you’re wondering how to use your powers for the good of Mama Earth, not just today but every day of the year. Consider this your call to action to get your hands dirty in protecting the environment. Earth Day is the perfect time to set your earth-loving resolutions for the year! It’s like New…

  • Christmas zero waste eco friendly furoshiki gift box wrapping
    December 2018

    Holidays Without Plastic

    Holidays Without Plastic By Lisa Catterall If the year 2020 has taught me one thing, it’s to be less judgmental. We’ve all been through loss and fear and seen our friends and family handle it in so many different ways. It’s a year to grow and a year to try new things. My family is enjoying using the extra time at home to start our preparations for the holidays early. I love the traditions of the season. I am from Minnesota and we always hunkered down in the freezing weather and made a very busy Christmas. My grandmother had lived through the Great Depression and it meant so much to…

  • recycling plastic bags santa cruz
    February 2020

    Avoiding Plastic Bags: Green Tip February 2020

    Avoiding Plastic Bags Green Tip February 2020 By Meredith Keet Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually.  That’s 307 bags per person per year!  Recycling for these bags was estimated to be around a measly 1%.  With plastic bag bans becoming more prevalent, you may be finding it easier to avoid them, but for most of us there may be places where we are finding them hard to avoid.  Here are a few suggestions that may help you skip the bag then next time around:  Trash Bags: Composting is key! Once you eliminate all that yucky food waste from your trash you’re left with very little (if anything) that…

  • waldorf school tree planting
    February 2020

    One Tree at a Time: Green Family Living February 2020

    One Tree at a Time Kids Who Plant Together Save the Planet Together Green Family Living: February 2020 By John Louis Koenig It was more than just a day in the park on a Wednesday for hard working kids from Santa Cruz Waldorf School, as 5th graders helped to plant 25 trees, oaks and maples, as part of Waldorf’s goal of planting 100 trees this school year.  “The kids had a blast,” said Leslie Keedy, said City of Santa Cruz Urban Forester and supervisor of the day’s tree planting at University Terrace Park near UCSC.  Keedy has been demonstrating to young and old how to plant trees as volunteers help…

  • santa cruz reduce waste
    January 2020

    Make 2020 a Year of Less Waste: Green Living January 2020

    Make 2020 a Year of Less Waste Green Living: January 2020 By Meredith Keet Happy New Year!  Who has resolved to use less plastic and generate less waste in 2020??!!  We have! Here are some tips to start you off on your way towards changing your impact on the planet this year: 1) Eat less meat and dairy, even if just a little.  This may be one of the most impactful things you can do. 2) Skip the air travel and adventure locally. 3) Try a waste challenge:  choose a time period to collect your trash and then evaluate what trash you’ve created.  How could you produce less the next…

  • green living reducing plastic
    January 2020

    Calling All Ideas: Green Living January 2020

    Calling All Ideas Waste-Free 2020 Green Living: January 2020 By Lisa Catterall Periodically our faculty comes together to review our school’s mission statement and our three pillars of Academic Excellence, Positive Character Development, and Creative Self Expression. Often during our discussions, the idea of “environmental stewardship” as a fourth pillar arises. Whether it is a pillar of our school, a curriculum program crossing all ages, or a shared value infused throughout the community, it is something we strive to model for our students and children. While reducing plastic waste is a very common goal in our homes and at our school, many of us deeply value the ability to bring…

  • Little Garden Patch
    October 2019

    Green Family Living: October 2019

    Green Family Living October 2019 By Linnaea Avenell An important facet of green living is changing our mindset, not just for us as adults, but for our children starting out in the world.  That is, teaching children to respect our natural world and to want to take action to preserve it. At my farm camp, Little Garden Patch, we approach green living from many fronts:  boosting imagination and creative thinking, learning social skills to help them work better with others, Linnaea Avenelli’s Garden Patch program gets kids away from their digital toys and into sharing the joys of nature. She suggests parents get their kids into some gardening to help…

  • recycling santa cruz
    September 2019

    Put an End to Wish-Cycling: Green Tips September 2019

    Put an End to Wish-Cycling Green Tips: September 2019 By Meredith Keet of The Zero Shop Wish-cycling is a term used to describe the action of tossing those questionably recyclable items into the blue recycling bin in hope that they can be recycled. We’ve all had that moment when you’re holding some plastic object, maybe a child’s broken plastic toy or the twisty thing that seals the lid on your milk jug, and you wonder if it’s recyclable. You’re not sure, so you throw it into the recycling bin anyways and “wish” for it to be recycled. With a 9.1% recycling rate in 2015 that is expected to be dropping precipitously…

  • santa cruz recycling
    August 2019

    Is it Trash or Treasure? City of Santa Cruz Offers Free Tours of Recycling Center

    Is it Trash or Treasure? City of Santa Cruz Offers Free Tours of Recycling Center By Karen Kefauver Did you know Santa Cruzans place 30 to 50 tons of material in their blue recycle bins every day? It’s a staggering amount. I strive to recycle as much as possible to help our beautiful city and to reduce my impact on the planet. However, after 25 years living in Santa Cruz and being a devoted recycling nut, I had grown complacent, thinking I pretty much knew it all. Recently, I learned from a local expert that I can do a better job at recycling. Last month, I fulfilled a long-held goal…

  • green living santa cruz
    July 2019

    Join Plastic Free July: Green Living July 2019

    Join Plastic Free July: Green Living July 2019 By Meredith Keet of The Zero Shop Join the millions of individuals and families worldwide in cutting your plastic use for Plastic Free July!  This campaign, started by the non-profit, Plastic Free Foundation, has become a global movement that is both decreasing plastic use as well as increasing awareness around plastic pollution.  What can you do?  Challenge yourself, your family, friends and coworkers to use as little plastic as possible for the month of July.   Get started by taking a look at where most of your plastic use come from, then brainstorm ways you might be able to avoid producing that waste. …

  • trash santa cruz county
    June 2019

    Try a Trash Challenge: Green Living June 2019

    Try a Trash Challenge: Green Living June 2019 By Meredith Keet of The Zero Shop We first discovered the Zero Waste movement about 6 years ago when we heard about Bea Johnson and her family of four producing only a mason jar of trash over the course of a year.  Our minds were blown!  How in the world did they accomplish that? We began to puzzle over every aspect of our lives and what changes we could make to lessen our trash. We started with a week-long challenge to see how little trash we could produce.  We found a jar (ahem, a large one!) and kept it on our kitchen…

  • green living santa cruz
    May 2019

    Your Green Choices Are Not Made to Insult Others

    Your Green Choices Are Not Made to Insult Others By Suki Wessling Last month I talked to local resident Canaan Sasha about shopping local and frequenting stores that had bulk items so we could bring our own containers. We were having fun geeking out about all the things we bring containers for when she mentioned something important: “[Shopping local] is not necessarily economically viable for everyone in the community, but I take that responsibility pretty seriously because I know it’s not going to be possible for everyone.” In the way that the universe works, the next day I had a conversation in which someone told me that shopping local is…

  • wax wraps santa cruz
    May 2019

    Wax Wraps: Green Tips May 2019

    Wax Wraps: Green Tips May 2019 By Meredith Keet, Founder the Zero shop Have you heard of wax wraps? These are an awesome alternative to use in place of plastic wrap: to cover a bowl, wrap up some leftover cheese or that pesky half of an avocado, keep your bread from going stale or to pack your sandwich for lunch . The best part? You can reuse it again and again. Wash with lukewarm water and the soft side of a sponge, hang to dry and you’re done. These should last you 6-9 months or even longer depending on how heavily you use them. And when they reach the end…

  • environmental take out containers santa cruz
    April 2019

    Look for Alternatives to Compostable To-Go Ware: Green Tip

    Look for Alternatives to Compostable To-Go Ware: Green Tip By Meredith Keet, Founder The Zero Shop In 2017, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors passed new rules for restaurants requiring that all food to-go ware provided to customers in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County be recyclable or certified compostable. At the time, this seemed to be a promising step forward. Now, for those of us without access to industrial composting, we do have to wonder, once we’ve carried these certified compostable items home, what do we with them? Can we recycle them? Can we throw them in our home compost bins? With a few exceptions, the answer to…

  • shopping local santa cruz
    April 2019

    Local Shopper Selfie: Green Family Living

    Local Shopper Selfie: Green Family Living By Suki Wessling My main goal in this column is to feature local people who are doing their little bit to improve our community and our world. By chance, I noticed a Facebook post by Canaan Sasha, who detailed a few of the ways she is trying to improve her shopping habits. I need to talk to this person, I thought! And I did. Canaan has lived and worked in Santa Cruz most of her life, and her enthusiasm for our little corner of the universe is infectious. Here is an edited version of our conversation about how to save the world, one little…

  • go green and buy local santa cruz
    March 2019

    Green Family Living Going Local

    Green Family Living: Going Local By Suki Wessling I find it works best, when scolding people, to start with oneself. So what follows is a public scolding of myself, by me. First, look at the photo. What do you see? One large cardboard box made of recycled wood fibers (Resource use: moderate. Energy use: high.) One large sheet of heavy duty packing paper probably made of virgin wood fibers (Resource use: high. Energy use: high.) Photo by Suki Wessling. OUT, OUT DAMN CLICK it seems so easy to order something and have it dropped on your door. But the environmental expense of packing and shipping adds up. Two sheets of…