Did You Know?
- Every day the United States generates 200 million tons of trash, or 4.3 pounds per person
- Greenhouse gases are generated by waste decomposing in landfills and typically contributes around 10% of a typical household’s total emissions
- The typical household throws out 10-15% of the food it purchases
- The plastic bags from the supermarket take 1000 years to decompose. At least four billion plastic bags a year end up as litter in the US out of the 100 billion used. Moraga estimates that their annual plastic bag consumption is at 4 million per year. (contributed by member)
- Americans use 50 million tons of paper annually – consuming more than 850 million trees.
- Every ton of recycled office paper saves 380 gallons of oil.
- Energy saved from one recycled aluminum can will operate a TV set for three hours, and is the equivalent to half a can of gasoline.
- If just 25% of American families used 10 fewer plastic bags a month, it would save over 2.5 billion bags a year.
- About 1% of US landfill space is full of disposable diapers, which take 500 years to decompose
- Americans produce enough styrofoam cups every year to circle the earth 436 times. These cups are completely non-biodegradable, deplete the Earth’s ozone layer, waste enormous amounts of landfill, and are deadly to marine life. Ceramic mugs cost a few dollars.
Submitted by Linda Riebel Challenge When my husband and I were relocating to Lafayette in 2006, we had at lot of stuff to condense and move — we married in our 50s, and each had accumulated a lifetime’s worth of material goods. To clean up our jam-packed San Jose house to show to realtors and [...]
Submitted by Linda Riebel (email@example.com) For years, we never got Christmas trees. Even though some are grown sustainably, we winced at the thought of cutting down a perfectly good tree. When we moved to Lafayette to a home with plenty of land around it, we were inspired to buy little living evergreens, decorate them for [...]
Submitted by Steve Richard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge For the past few years our family has been trying to reduce the amount of waste we generate and have to put in our blue waste bin. We’ve been successful enough to switch to the smaller 32-gallon container, even though we have a family of four with two teenage [...]
Written by Linda Riebel of Sustainable Lafayette, based on an interview with Manager, Shelley diGiovanna (email@example.com). Acalanes Apartments comprises 5 buildings at the top of Risa Road, not far from the reservoir. The owners’ green consciousness was already high when they erected the first building 40 years ago – around a living tree! I went [...]
Written by St. Mary’s students Hamida Valji and Eurkres Ayi based on interviews with Nicco Royce, Julia Welch, Marshall Welch, Richard Carp, Steve Woolpert, Scott Logan, and Matt Carroll. While this story is about a college campus, many of the steps undertaken by the college staff and students are applicable to elementary, middle, [...]
Submitted by Jacqueline Florine CHALLENGE As a family of four, we generate approximately 8 cups a week of kitchen food waste. When our waste management company delivered a kitchen countertop food waste bucket, we were excited about the program but didn’t have any place to dump the collected food scraps. Our condo complex doesn’t have [...]
Submitted by Marie Montoya (MMontoya@hgnlaw.com) CHALLENGE Hunsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC (“HGN”) is a national law firm headquartered in Lafayette with a successful practice in environmental law and securities arbitration law. As an environmental law firm assisting clients in cleaning up environmental contamination, it makes sense for us to look at our own environmental impact. [...]
Submitted by Christina Meinberg, Managing Director of Triple Bottom Line Strategies (www.tblstrategies.com) Challenge When I became a first-time homeowner recently, I found the amount of mail I started getting to be overwhelming. It reminded me of a discussion I had overheard during my “past career” in corporate retail. I distinctly recall being in a meeting [...]
Written by Michael Dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Lisa Evaristo won a Green Award from the City of Lafayette in 2010 for her work with Burton Valley Elementary lunch program and her reduction of the school’s waste. Since that time, Lisa has continued to find new, and sometimes unconventional ways, of bringing the school’s lunch waste closer to [...]
Written by Nanette Heffernan (email@example.com) with additions by Heidi Plumb. Challenge Tired of seeing all of the disposable baggies, uneaten food, and hot lunch containers hauled to the dumpsters everyday, the Springhill Green Team, a small but growing band of parents and teachers, set a lofty goal of achieving a zero waste lunch on campus. [...]
Written by Sandra Harris – founder of ECOlunchboxes (Sandra@ecolunchboxes.com) Challenge Everyone at the pre-school did it. And we kept running out. I remember the sinking feeling when the box would go empty. No more plastic baggies? Heavens, how would I pack my pre-schooler’s lunch? The cut apple slices, the fishy crackers, the half of a [...]
Temple Isaiah’s main focus was to do “the right thing.” For them, this meant overall making less of a carbon footprint by reducing their use of electricity and trashcans as well as changing their light bulbs and many other easy fixes.
Submitted By: Megan Pease (Summer Intern). Story based on interview with Lisa Evaristo (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge Lisa Evaristo, a mother of three, began working with the Burton Valley hot lunch program ten years ago, motivated by her two passions, kids and food. For the past five years Lisa has been the head of the program, working [...]
Submitted By: Steve Richard (email@example.com) Challenge I’m one of those people who has finally trained myself to bring reusable grocery bags to the store every time, but never really thought much about the produce bags that end up inside them. Somehow they never seemed as significant. But the reality is that every time I shop [...]
Submitted By: Kim Curiel (firstname.lastname@example.org) After hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 28, we realized we hadn’t taken down the trash can, and in fact, had forgotten to take the can down for two weeks prior. Could three weeks of trash possibly fit in that small blue can? It did. A small miracle perhaps, but one that [...]
Submitted By: Many families – see below. Challenge Believe it or not, about 15-20% of all residential waste in California is food scraps. In 2005, just the Lamorinda communities sent more than 8,000 tons of food scraps to local landfills. If you do the math on this, it means that a family of four in [...]
Submitted By: Sharon Richard (email@example.com) Challenge I have two boys that are now 17 and 13 years old. For years, I’ve packed their lunches using baggies, saran wrap, aluminum foil, and whatever else I needed to protect each item. Besides the things I wrap, I often included packaged items like yogurt and granola bars. And [...]
Submitted By: Rosalind Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge Like many in Lamorinda I’ve become adept at filling our brown recycling bin with glass, cardboard, paper, plastic, and aluminum. But there are still many odd items around the house that can’t be put in the brown bin and don’t seem like they should be thrown away. I’ve become [...]
Submitted By: Becky Shafi (email@example.com) Challenge Plastic shopping bags are a huge problem. When not disposed of properly they end up in waterways and eventually in the ocean where birds, dolphins, fish and turtles are eating them and dying. If they aren’t eaten by sea life they may end up contributing to the great Pacific garbage [...]
Submitted By: Steve Richard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge Recently we remodeled one of our bathrooms. The first step as in any remodel was to remove all of the existing cabinets, sinks, tub, tile, and other fixtures. We put everything that we removed out on our driveway and I wondered how to best get rid of it. We [...]
Submitted By: Kim Curiel (email@example.com) Challenge I was sick to death of seeing half empty plastic water bottles left throughout my house. At first I made lots of noise at my kids to finish their water then put the bottles in the recycling bin. Very quickly the bin filled to overflowing. Then I had them [...]
Submitted By: Bart Carr (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge Weekly curbside recycling has been available for many years to Lamorinda residents. Recycling bottles, cans, newspapers, and other household recyclables has become almost second nature for many of us. For my family, recycling is part of our weekly routine. However, improvements to the curbside recycling program has made a [...]
Submitted By: Bart Carr (email@example.com) Challenge Like many homes in Lafayette, we have a large, well landscaped front and back yard including grass lawns, shrubbery, lots trees, and a seasonal vegetable garden. All of this requires weekly maintenance producing yard waste for disposal. Using our 65 gallon yard waste recycling cart as a measure, our [...]
Submitted By: Tony Eichers (firstname.lastname@example.org) – Vice President & General Manager of Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa The Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa has great respect for our natural resources and we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment through resource conservation and best practices. Our Environmental Care Program focuses on eight key [...]
Written by Sustainable Lafayette based on an interview with Louise McMenamin (Louisejohns@mac.com) who is one of the owners. The ABsolute Center is a popular yoga and Pilates studio in Lafayette, across the street from Trader Joes. The Center was started by three women who had worked together at Oakwood Athletic Club—Katie Santos, Louise McMenamin, and [...]
The Lafayette Book Store Takes a Stand on Disposable Bags Written by Sustainable Lafayette based on an interview with Dave Simpson (email@example.com) – owner of Lafayette Book Store Solution Details It’s a habit Dave Simpson picked up working at chain bookstores. Ring up the sale, put the books in a bag. When he bought the [...]
Submitted By: (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Janet Thomas (email@example.com) Challenge With over 1300 students and over 60 teachers, Acalanes High School is like a small city and produces a tremendous amount of waste on a daily basis. The challenge is how to recycle as much as possible. Solution Details For the third year in a row, Acalanes [...]
Submitted By: Steve Richard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Challenge Every time our weekly “mow and blow” lawn service came to cut our grass and blow our leaves around, I felt somewhat annoyed by all the noise, but put up with it anyway, figuring our lawn was too large to cut myself. After reading about the amount of emissions [...]