Holiday Waste Management Solutions for Solano County

Did you know that during Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, household waste increases by 25 percent, adding an additional one million tons of waste per week during this season? And what should you really do with your Christmas tree? When the time comes to face holiday clean-up, keep in mind these Earth-friendly resources and tips for how to dispose of your holiday waste.

Solano County Recycling Guide: Click Here

Earth911.com offers a very handy Recycling Search to search for locations to take your recyclables! Simply type in the item that you are looking to recycle in the search bar and your zip code. Get instant results that indicate which local municipality disposes of this items and how they prefer you dispose of it.

Christmas Trees:

Most cities in Solano County have curbside pick-up on specific dates in early January. Find your town’s dates and give them a call to schedule your pick-up. To prepare your tree for collection, remove all tinsel, ornaments, lights, and stands, including wooden stands. Trees sprayed with artificial snow, unfortunately, cannot be composted and must be placed in your black bin or left curbside to be collected as trash.

Several Boy Scout troops will also be picking up trees this year. Check your local cities’ troop website for individual tree collection schedules.

Holiday Lights:

Check your local hardware store, like Lowe’s or Home Depot who also offer Christmas light recycling for their customers.

Visit Earth911.com to see which recycling center near you in accepting Christmas lights as e-waste this year.

Wrapping Paper:

This may come as a surprise but wrapping paper isn’t entirely just paper and does not go in your recycle bin! Many standard rolls are coated with a thin, glossy plastic coating rendering it unrecyclable. Instead of scooping up crumbled piles of this stuff into your already overflowing garbage bins, consider re-using it for package stuffing to protect your holiday gifts in transit. Click here for 20 Ways to Reuse Gift Wrap.

Christmas Cards:

We all love receiving them but many cards are decorated with sparkly, festive materials like glitter glue, jewels and foam décor making these cards unrecyclable. Here are some alternatives to simply storing your Christmas cards in a shoe box or bin never to see the light of day again or having them end up in the trash:

  • Re-use the front of the card! Cut in half, still saving your personalized message if you wish, and simply paste the card front on a blank card for re-use.
  • Cut out your favorite images and pieces and attach them to a holiday gift box or wrapped gift for an extra festive touch!

Local Efforts:

Republic Services’ Reuse Round-Up: On Saturday, December 16th from 9am-1pm, drop off your gently used clothing, housewares, bicycles, toys, games, and costume jewelry at Benicia High School, 1101 Military West, (at main steps to office) and help a local charity. Donations will go to “Faith Food Fridays,” a nonprofit serving the less fortunate of Solano County. Please, NO mattresses, large furniture, electronics, stuffed animals, or overly worn items. For more information, contact Marie Knutson at mknutson@republicservices.com or (925) 671-5814.

#GivingTuesday Success, Thanks to You

What a beautiful reminder of the heart, generosity and support that we have in our community! Because of your generous donations through this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign, we are re-energized in knowing that our vision for a more sustainable Solano county is backed by the very communities we work so hard to enrich through our programs.

We truly appreciate everyone taking part in this global day of giving back and are so grateful to those that celebrated with us this on this powerful day of giving back. Your generous gift will help us continue to bring to you educational workshops about sustainable landscaping practices and wise water use, inspirational speakers and seasonal cooking classes, maintain our two Benicia community gardens and help connect local food producers to residents like YOU through Community Supported Agriculture. On behalf of everyone here at Sustainable Solano, THANK YOU for your gifts, energy and engagement. We hope you continue to GROW WITH US on this journey.

WE GROW FOOD, LEADERSHIP, AWARENESS, HOPE AND FUTURE!

Photo: Inspired young helpers of our next generation of growers break ground at this month’s demonstration food forest installation at Loma Vista Farm in Vallejo.

Were Not Able to Give a Monetary Donation?

There are still lots of ways to help and get involved! You can give the gift of time and energy by sharing a special skill or talent. Click here to learn how. You can also help support us all year long by choosing Sustainable Solano as your beneficiary nonprofit while shopping Amazon.com through their AmazonSmile program. Click here to bookmark our unique link and Sustainable Solano will receive 0.5% of each purchase made!

Thanks to our wonderful CSA Volunteers!

Starting this past October, Veronica Bearce, Susan Neuhaus, and Annette Batchelor have been managing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Benicia.  If you pick up farm-fresh food on Wednesdays at Heritage Presbyterian Church, say THANK YOU to these amazing women!  Their commitment of time and energy has made it easier for folks in Benicia to get high-quality products from surrounding farms and fisheries.  Sustainable Solano is very grateful for their involvement in this project.

if you would like to implement a similar program in your town, contact Stephanie Jordan, our Local Food Program Manager at stephanie@sustainablesolano.org

Permaculture and Community: A 13-Year-Old’s Perspective

By Rileigh Barton

Hi, I’m Rileigh, and I’m 13 years old. I volunteer for Sustainable Solano with my dad. I’ve gone to two Sustainable Landscaping classes so far at a food forest in Fairfield called “Mom’s Delight.” But first, I’ll tell you a little about me, and how I got involved in permaculture.

It all started at The Tomato Festival, Fairfield’s annual celebration of the tomato harvest, in August. My dad met Kathleen Huffman, Landscape Designer; and Nicole Newell, Program Manager at Sustainable Solano, and got involved with the program.  Once he bought certified permaculture expert Denise Rushing’s book, “Tending the Soul’s Garden: Permaculture as a Way Forward Through Difficult Times“, Dad became fascinated with the idea of permaculture, which is short for permanent agriculture. Permaculture design is a way to work with nature to grow a resilient and edible eco-system.  In September, Dad went to a Speaker Training class which kicked off my own interest in permaculture.

Two weeks ago on Saturday, Dad and I went to a Sustainable Landscape class, and witnessed the birth of a food forest. Kathleen talked to us about what we were going to be doing that day, and she taught us what swales were. Then the Food Forest Keeper, Brenda, came up front and told us about the forest. She’d nicknamed it “Mom’s Delight” because before she planted the garden in the backyard, her mom stayed inside all the time. Now her mom comes out and walks around and she’s happy. We then got to work. We first dug a swale, a ditch about 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep that is flat on the bottom. Then we filled it with mulch. There were lots of big dirt clods, and Kevin, a fellow volunteer, came in with a mattock to break up some of the clods. Before we planted the calamondin tree and the apple tree, Kathleen gave us a small lesson on how to plant trees and the best conditions for them. Then we planted the trees, mixing the natural soil with organic potting soil, and watered them.

A couple days ago, Dad and I went to another Sustainable Landscaping class. This time we were installing a Laundry-to-Landscape system, which saves time, saves water, and conserves energy. Christina and Nina from Greywater Action talked to us about these benefits and more, and oversaw the event. Up until lunch half of us worked inside while the other half worked outside. Dad and I worked on digging mulch basins, which are similar to swales, but often surround a single plant. Kevin and I took turns with the mattock to help with the digging. After lunch, we assembled and installed the Laundry-to-Landscape pipes.  Then we worked together to irrigate the mulch basins. We didn’t quite finish, but Dad, Kathleen, and I came back the next day to finish.

This experience was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Permaculture is the only way to make Earth a healthier, and nicer, place to live. Definitely more people should participate in this, and I’m glad I got the chance to: “Save the world, one yard at a time!”

Fairfield Demonstration Food Forest Installations In Progress

Our Sustainable Backyard program has begun digging into Fairfield! On November 4th, attendees of the first installation workshop at “Mom’s Delight” demonstration food forest site learned basic design principles for building a backyard permaculture food forest and helped build the foundation for this edible garden but grabbing shovels and breaking ground to create water-retaining swales and planting carefully selected trees and plants that work together to thrive. Almost two dozen community members gathered for this meaningful project that will create beauty, resiliency and educational opportunities for Fairfield residents and beyond to learn about growing food, the use of secondary water to feed a garden and community resiliency.  Day One of installation was a total success and attendees took with them tools and techniques that can be applied immediately in their own home gardens.

Our second day of installation was focused on educating on the use and management of secondary water to feed trees and plants. A simple laundry-to-landscape greywater system was installed at this hands-on public workshop.

Felt inspired after attending our workshop and proceeded to put your shovel to use? Please send photos of your transformation and work in the garden to nicole@sustainablesolano.org.

Fairfield Demonstration Food Forest Installation: Day 1 of 3

[The Foundation]

Fairfield Demonstration Food Forest Installation: Day 2 of 3

[Greywater System Installation]

You can still join us on our last day of this three-part installation on Saturday, December 16th where you’ll help plant a fruit tree guild and more diverse  food forest plants that support each other to create a self-sustaining ecosystem. Register here.