Recycling Tips from the Material Recovery Facility

MRF2 Few things, once they are used, are actually waste material. Among such things are latex gloves, non-recyclable plastics, snack packaging and other complex materials that were not designed to be recycled. Jeremy Simmons, San Benito County’s Recycling & Resource Recovery Coordinator shares some first-hand tips for what can be recycled:

Plastic bags and film should be placed in a clear plastic bag. Loose bags can end up as contaminants in paper bales or jammed in the conveyer belt. The Material Recovery Facility has to shut down the conveyer system for a half hour twice a day just to cut out jammed bags and wire hangers.

Shredded paper is recyclable, but it must be placed in clear plastic bags to keep it from falling through the conveyor and ending up in the landfill.

For more information on polystyrene foam recycling or drop off locations, please call Fatima Ochoa at 831.796.2256 .

PG&E Extends Solar to Everyone

PG&E extends solar to everyone with new Solar Choice program

solar panel on field Launched earlier this year, PG&E’s new Solar Choice program extends the option for 100 percent solar power to all residential and business customers who are not planning to install solar panels. For a modest charge, customers can purchase half or all of their electric power from solar energy locally sourced in Northern and Central California.

Approximately half of U.S. households and businesses are unable to install rooftop solar due to space, lack of sun exposure or ownership limitations.  PG&E’s Solar Choice SolarChoiceprogram extends solar access to business and residential customers regardless of their location or ability to physically install solar panels. As the program develops, the solar energy purchased by customers will be sourced from new solar projects built by developers across PG&E’s service area, bringing new green jobs to Northern and Central California.

Businesses can learn more about the program online, where they can also access an online tool to help estimate the cost associated with signing up for PG&E’s Solar Choice. Business customers can enroll by calling the dedicated customer service line at 877-743-8429.

How to Green a Coffee Shop: Top Strategies

Did you know there are over 50 green certified coffee shops in the state, and less than five in the County of Santa Cruz? As the coffee shop boom continues, let’s encourage our neighborhood coffee shops to become green certified.

Here are some quick and easy tips for coffee shops (and tea!) looking to make the switch:

  • Start with great coffee that people will feel great about drinking. Shade grown, fair trade, organic.
  • Encourage customers to bring their own mugs and offer reusable ones at every location.
  • Switch to LED lighting.

Check-out this article for more tips and in-depth examples!


Health Effects of Exposure to Indoor Radon

Did you know that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer? No? Neither did we.radonhouse

Following up November’s newsletter on indoor air quality, below is more information on how to keep your home safe from pollutants such as radon.

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon gas in the indoor air of America’s homes poses a serious health risk. More than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer every year. Millions of homes have an elevated radon level. If you also smoke, your risk of lung cancer is much higher.

radon_checklistThe good news is, testing is inexpensive and easy and solutions are available. According to a study by the California Geologic Survey, indoor-radon testing should be encouraged in Santa Cruz County as high and moderate radon potential zones account for 52.5 percent of the county. More resources and information on where to get a radon test kit are available at the link below.

More resources and information on where to get a radon test kit. 

Try House Plants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

LeafNow that the weather is colder and we’re keeping doors and windows closed, indoor air quality can really suffer. Instead of using chemical air fresheners, try house plants to improve indoor air.

According to a two-year study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), many indoor plants absorb air pollutants through their leaves and roots and convert them into breathable air. Within 24 hours, some plants can remove up to 87 percent of toxic indoor air.

Depending on the species, one plant can provide effective cleaning for every 100 square feet of space. For example, between 15 and 20 golden pothos and spider plants can refresh the air in an average 1,800 square-foot home.

Plants work equally well in homes, offices, and factories, as long as their requirements for sunlight, water, and soil are met. Here are 15 plants that can really help improve indoor air quality.