The Environmental Cost of Choosing Two-Day Shipping


Most Americans shop online — as many as 79% of us. Most of us will also choose rush shipping when it’s available, especially if there’s no extra charge. But what effect does this shipping have on the planet, and what can we do to make it more sustainable? Watch this video to find out.

Woo Your Valentine This Year — With Recycling

valentines day


Whether someone recycles affects how attractive they seem, according to a recent study by The Recycling Partnership. A whopping 62 percent of Americans think that not recycling is a turn-off.

Younger folks are especially inclined to view being wasteful as a dealbreaker. In fact, adults 18-34 care so much about recycling that they would spend an average of $219 a month — or as much as $2,628 a year — if it meant everything they bought came from companies that make every effort to recycle.

This year, woo your Valentine with these recycling skills:

  • Give your Valentine a card made from recycled paper. You can recycle cards only if they are free of glitter and metallic foil. If a card has glitter or foil on it, cut or tear those sections off and throw them away — you can recycle what’s left of the card.
  • If you’re giving or receiving flowers, do a crunch test to see if the plastic wrap may be recyclable. If it’s loud and crinkly, toss it in the trash. If it’s flexible and quiet, it can be recycled with plastic bags.
  • Once you’re done with the flowers, put them in your green waste.
  • Candy wrappers can’t be recycled, so remember to toss them in the trash.
  • Wine bottles can be recycled.
  • If a wine cork is made from plastic, throw it in the trash. If it is made from natural cork, it can be dropped off for special recycling collection at many Whole Foods locations and other retailers.

Need to find out how to recycle something else? Look it up in our Recycling Guide.

Want to Green Your Super Bowl Party? Drink Out of This

super bowl beverages


If you’re one of the 100 million people who’s planning to watch the Super Bowl this year, take a moment to consider your beverage choices. Alcoholic beverages are undoubtedly a centerpiece of the game, hence the popular “Super Sick Monday.”

But whether your beverages are alcoholic or not, what’s the greenest choice for your beverage containers — plastic, glass or aluminum?

Plastic bottles are lightweight and easy to ship in bulk without breaking, but making them in the first place is incredibly hard on the planet. It requires oil drilling, extraction and processing with natural gas. What’s worse, very little plastic gets recycled. Even when it does get recycled, it can’t be recycled infinitely, and it needs to be combined with virgin plastic to be usable.

Glass bottles are made from silica, or sand, and limestone. Collecting these is not as hard on the environment as most other materials. However, glass bottles are the least eco-friendly to transport because of how heavy they are. Still, glass bottles are 100 percent recyclable!

Aluminum cans are made from open-pit mining for bauxite. This kind of extraction is very hard on the environment and causes permanent scars on the land. However, once we have the aluminum, it’s lightweight to transport (although not as light as plastic), and it can be recycled infinitely!

Which container should you pick?

  • Aluminum cans are the best choice if you’re choosing a beverage that has been shipped any great distance.
  • Reusable growlers or kegs of local brew are even better, if that’s an option for you. Reusing is always preferable to recycling.
  • Glass bottles from local breweries are also an eco-friendly choice, since they don’t have to be shipped very far.
  • If you’re buying soda that doesn’t come in cans, choose the two-liter plastic bottles — that way you’re purchasing less plastic overall.

No matter which containers you buy, remember to recycle! Set out a container with a clear recycling sign for your guests, and when the game’s over, you can take all the empty bottles and cans to a nearby beverage container recycling center to get your CRV money back. You might not make enough to pay off any game day betting debts, but it will at least make sure your beverage containers get a chance at a second run.

Notes From the Field: Large Palm Fronds Go in the Trash


Palm fronds should be placed in your trash cart. Palm fronds cannot go in your green waste cart because they are difficult for us to compost. They are hard to run through a chipper and they take a very long time to decompose.

Additionally, do not overfill your cart as shown here. All cart lids should close completely. Material hanging out is more likely to fall out of the cart before it hits the hopper.

Read more Notes From the Field.

Notes From the Field: Missed Christmas Tree Pickup?


Uh oh, you’ve missed Christmas Tree pickup!

Here’s what you need to do: If the tree is free of decorations, tinsel and stand, cut it up and place it in your green cart. If your tree has been flocked/spray painted, it cannot be composted and must be cut up and placed in your trash cart. Trees can also be taken to any San Joaquin County Landfill facility.

As a reminder, Christmas trees are collected in the City of Stockton between the weeks of Dec 26 – Jan 15 each season.

Read more Notes From the Field.

How to Live Zero Waste


For most of us, zero waste is a lofty goal. The average American creates about 4.4 pounds of trash each day. Curious how someone can lead a life that creates almost no waste at all?

Bea Johnson is the author of Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste. To get inspired, take a peek inside Johnson’s own zero waste home, and listen to her top advice on cutting back.

Keep Those Recycling Bins Closed!

closed bin lids


Keep your recycling bin lids closed! Not only does it prevent loose items from blowing away in the wind, it also keeps your recyclables dry.

This is especially important during a stormy season. Wet paper and cardboard cannot be recycled, and what’s worse, their wet, damaged fibers can contaminate other paper materials once they are combined.

So remember: Keep your recyclables safe and dry by keeping your bin lids closed!

5 Eco-Resolutions That Will Make a Difference

new year's resolutions


Craving some New Year’s resolutions for your lifestyle that will have a serious impact on the planet? Look no further — these five eco-resolutions will do the trick.

dine in restaurant1. Avoid takeout food — or do takeout differently.

Takeout food creates a ton of waste. Well, a lot more than a ton. The boxes, cartons, cups, lids, bags, silverware, straws, napkins, packaged mini condiments — they all add up. Containers and packaging make up over 23 percent of the material that gets landfilled in the U.S. each year.

What can you do about it? First, get takeout less often. Either eat at home, or when you want restaurant food, take the time to dine in. Second, bring your own reusable takeout container! Instead of having a restaurant box up your food (in a container that will make its way into your garbage, recycling or compost within minutes), bring a reusable food container. Jars are perfect for beverages and other liquids. Third, if you are going to order takeout regardless, and you don’t want to use your own containers, simply refuse the unnecessary items: the plastic bag, the silverware, the condiments you won’t use, the napkins you don’t need. Every bit of trash you refuse helps make a difference and change the status-quo.

towels2. Trade in paper towels for real towels.

According to The Atlantic, the U.S. spends $5.7 billion each year on paper towels — that’s nearly as much as the rest of the world combined. The waste adds up. Paper towels and other kinds of tissue paper make up 7.4 billion pounds of waste a year. To give you an idea of how much that is, that’s the weight of nearly 30,000 blue whales — more whales than exist on our planet today.

In other parts of the world, fewer people rely on paper towels. Rags are a popular go-to, along with scrubbing brushes and sponges. So take the plunge — if you don’t have towels on hand, visit your local thrift store to find some. Worried about absorbency? Loose-woven fabrics will work best to mop up spills. Worried about cleanliness? If you wash and dry your towels on hot settings, they will be plenty clean enough to use over and over again.

shop secondhand3. Buy your clothing secondhand.

The fashion industry is far from environmentally innocent. Globally, more than 8 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions are produced by the apparel and footwear industries. Not only does the majority of clothing get tossed instead of donated or recycled — most of the clothing that gets tossed is also nowhere near worn out.

The good news? Buying one item of used clothing extends its life by an average of 2.2 years. And by buying used instead of new, you’re reducing electricity use, and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, plus the amount of plastics used to make synthetic clothing. It isn’t just environmentally friendly — often, you can buy higher quality clothing for a fraction of its original price, so you’re getting more value from the money you spend.

You can find used clothing at secondhand stores, consignment shops, vintage boutiques, thrift shops, and resale websites. As far as online vendors go, ThredUp, Poshmark, The RealReal, eBay and depop are popular choices. Used clothing stores are all part of a growing industry called “recommerce.” Recommerce is a $20 billion industry, and it’s growing faster than sales of new clothing.

repair4. Don’t toss it, repair it.

Over the last 100 or so years, the U.S. has been slowly cultivating a culture of disposability. Even in the 60s, 70s and 80s, repairing an item was far more common than it is now. The disposable mentality we have is partly due to how cheap everything has become — clothing, electronics and appliances are all more affordable than they used to be. It makes sense that someone would rather replace a cheap, defective item than pay to have it repaired by a specialist.

However, the fix-it culture we lost touch with is making a rebound, and for good reason. We simply have too much trash, with the average American generating 4.4 lbs of waste each day. Instead of tossing items that need to be repaired, more people are trying to fix them.

So the next time you come across something you have that’s broken, think of how you could fix it. Can you do it yourself, using an iFixit manual or a YouTube video? Is there a local repair cafe or fix-it workshop you could visit to get help from a local expert? Or is it something a tailor, shoe repair shop, or electronics shop could help you with? Every time you prevent an item from making its way to the landfill you are making a difference.

collection reminders5. Sign up for Collection Reminders!

When you sign up for our collection reminders, not only do you get an email each week reminding you when it’s time to put out your carts, you’ll also get a weekly tip on how to be a better recycler and live a greener lifestyle! By following our tips, you can feel good about reducing your carbon footprint all year long.

Ditch the Takeout Waste — Here’s How


Napkins, plastic cutlery, condiment packets, to-go boxes, cups, lids, straws, bags — the amount of waste created by takeout food is huge. Mostly, these are single-use items that go into the trash within minutes or even seconds of getting them.

Takeout food can be delicious, but it can also be super wasteful. In the U.S., single-use items make up 10 percent of all our waste. Get some tips on how to reduce your takeout waste by watching this video:

Stockton Christmas Tree Collection


Recycle your Christmas tree curbside! Between December 26 and January 15, place your Christmas tree next to your cart for collection. Your service provider will remove the Christmas tree to be properly recycled.

Please note:

  • All lightstinsel, metal ornaments and metal stands must be removed from the trees.
  • If your tree is longer than six feet, it must be cut in half to be collected.