Sonoma County's Zero Waste Week, popular Fix-It Clinic are back

Read more at the Press Democrat

July 20, 2023

Sonoma County’s Zero Waste Week is back, with an expanded menu of events and opportunities to help spare the earth from excess consumption and waste.

From mending meetups to composting workshops, a produce exchange and a clothing swap, the focus is on using existing products and materials to combat our throwaway culture and reduce environmental degradation.

“People get really excited that this is going on, and in talking to their neighbors and friends,” said Sloane Pagal, zero waste manager for Zero Waste Sonoma, the county’s solid waste management agency.

“But there’s a lot of the public that would just rather buy something new online or on Amazon, prioritizing the convenience,” Pagal said. “That’s why we want to continue to do this, to spread awareness … giving people a chance to know what impact they can have by reusing and repairing and getting information from our partners about what they can do.”

This is the second annual Zero Waste Week planned by Zero Waste North Bay, a consortium of government, business, nonprofit and individuals stakeholders organized around earth-friendly practices.

Launched last year with the popular Fix-it Clinic and Reuse Fair, it runs July 23 to July 30, with the Fix-it event on July 29 at the Rohnert Park Branch of the Sonoma County Regional Library.

Roughly three dozen environmentally minded events are scheduled all over Sonoma County, including a few activities designed for kids and several workshops in Spanish.

Some are relatively common, if still valuable, fare — a hazardous waste collection event, volunteer cleanups, a home energy-saving workshop, for instance.

Others are somewhat rare opportunities, including July 30 tours of Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary in Sonoma, where visitors can meet the residents and learn about making enrichment toys for their animals and pets using recycled and reused materials.

There also are tours July 28 of Takenoko Farms in Windsor, where pork is raised through sustainable practices that include rotational grazing and dietary supplements of spent brewer’s grains and yeast, wine grape pomace, organic veggie waste and cheese-making whey, all from local producers.

At 11 a.m. on July 23, people can catch a screening of “Microplastic Madness,” a film about Brooklyn fifth-graders taking on plastic pollution, at The Clover Theater in Cloverdale.

Many events require advance registration, so those who want to participate should sign up early.

That may be particularly true for the July 29 Fix-it fair, where local vendors and representatives will offer simple repairs of bicycles, clothing and textiles, lamps and small, basic appliances. A knife sharpener also will be on hand.

Other features include upcycled jewelry and art, a clothing swap, a resource fair, the Children’s Museum On-The-Go bus and an art car made of recycled materials.

Food and a hydration station also are planned, though attendees must bring their own cup, plate and utensils.

The idea is to show participants throughout the week “just in what areas of their lives people can have an impact and make somewhat small changes,” Pagal said.

“And it’s empowering. This way they have a way to contribute,” especially in the overwhelming face of climate change, Pagal said. “The idea of Zero Waste is to give people a sense of empowerment and know they can make a contribution.”

A full schedule of events and other information is located at