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Local organization works to make Humboldt County waste free

HUMBOLDT COUNTY- One local organization is fighting against single use containers with the goal of a “zero waste” Humboldt County.

“It's not the new buzzword, catch phrase for recycling, it's not recycling on steroids, it's really much more comprehensive with an emphasis on upfront waste prevention, on the highest, best use of materials, discarded materials,” said Margaret Gainer, Public Education Coordinator with Zero Waste Humboldt.

And those waste prevention strategies are being put to action at the organization’s first zero waste model: the North Country Fair in Arcata.

“You really get the impact when you switch from single use plastic water bottles so they have been discouraged this year,” gainer said. “We've asked all of our vendors at the fair not to use them, not to distribute them, not to sell them and we're coming up with alternatives that are better.”

Instead, the fair will be rolling out a pilot project, selling reusable cups to attendees. Also, they will be encouraging vendors to provide reusable bags, rather than single use ones.

But for fairgoers worried about the cost, organizers say replacing single use items with reusable materials is cheaper in the long run.

“In reality, when we're looking at the cost of our garbage, it's extremely high and being able to use reusable containers at public events like the North Country Fair, it really brings down the cost for the vendors,” said Kaitlin Carney Zero Waste Humboldt Volunteer Coordinator for the North Country Fair.

Those cost reductions will translate to cheaper food and more fun at the fair, not to mention a healthier environment. But you don’t have to go to the fair to cut costs and live waste free. You can start at home.

“Look around your home, your daily life habits, how you buy your coffee, everything, your shopping,” gainer said. “Ultimately, it ends up being healthier for you and much better for the environment if we really target all of those single use.”