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Nearly 30 events around Sonoma County featured in first-ever Zero Waste Week

Like to waste less food?

Learn to preserve or swap what you grow with other home gardeners or pick up some tips on using odd bits from the fridge for a creative meal.

Have some damaged goods?

Find a way to mend or “upcycle” your stuff so you can still use it, instead of putting it in the trash.

Want to help spare the planet?

Compost organic waste instead of sending it to the dump or join a cleanup brigade at a local creek.

All of these subjects and more are on the agenda during Sonoma County’s first-ever Zero Waste Week, starting Sunday.

The event, which runs through July 30, offers demonstrations, community gatherings, webinars and volunteer opportunities that highlight and promote waste-free living — whether that means learning to compost, reducing water waste or brainstorming new reuse opportunities.

“What we hope to accomplish is really to get outside of our normal crew of people interested or involved in zero waste efforts and really bring them into the community in different ways,” said Leslie Lukacs, executive director of Zero Waste Sonoma, the regional authority that works to reduce landfilled waste. “It’s really trying to target different audiences in a new environment.”

The weeklong event was organized by a grassroots consortium of stakeholders and community groups called Zero Waste North Bay, with different groups around the county offering to host and plan individual sessions and events across the county, Lukacs said.

It opens Sunday morning with the county’s second, free Fix-it Clinic & Reuse Fair, which, similar to the first one in May, offers folks a chance to get expert help repairing broken lamps and small appliances, bicycles in need of attention and clothing that needs mending.

The 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. event at TekTailor, 3251 Santa Rosa Ave., also will feature knife sharpening, upcycled art, a clothing swap, the Library Biblioteca and the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County “On-the-Go” mobile bus, as well as other participants.

Also Sunday, at the Environmental Discovery Center at Spring Lake Regional Park, young folks are invited to learn about science and the fight against climate change through crafts, games and experimentation at an event called Solutions Sunday-Design Tomorrow. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Registration and a fee of $10 or $12 are required for small-group time within that period.)

All together, there are more than two dozen events targeting different age groups around the county during the course of the week.

They include tours of Waste Management’s Redwood Landfill Compost Facility, which receives green cart and bin organics from many Sonoma County residents, and the Recology Sonoma Marin Material Recovery Facility, where curbside recyclables are sorted.

But both have been closed to registrations because of high demand, even after additional tours were added for about 120 more people between the two sites.

“The response was overwhelming,” Lukacs said.

There are a couple of clothing swaps, a canning class, and an opportunity to help deliver fresh-picked, surplus apples gleaned from 10 different properties to emergency food providers.

Nathanson Creek Preserve in Sonoma will get some TLC on Wednesday morning during a cleanup effort, as will Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa. On July 30, it’s the Colgan Creek Trail’s turn in southwest Santa Rosa.

A daylong symposium showcasing policies and programs that was to anchor the week was recently canceled, due to concerns about the current COVID surge.

But Lukacs said the event would be rescheduled sometime next year.

For more information and a complete list of events, go to zerowastenorthbay.org/events/ or zerowastenorthbay.org.

Mary Callahan

Environment and Climate Change, The Press Democrat

I am in awe of the breathtaking nature here in Sonoma County and am so grateful to live in this spectacular region we call home. I am amazed, too, by the expertise in our community and by the commitment to protecting the land, its waterways, its wildlife and its residents. My goal is to improve understanding of the issues, to find hope and to help all of us navigate the future of our environment. 

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