In honor of Earth Day, we've put together a list of easy ways to help the environment. From simple recycling to gardening with native plants, there are tons of ways to go green.
With the new by Recology, recycling in San Mateo County has never been easier. Recyclables such as metal, plastic, glass and paper no longer need to be separated into separate bins, and are picked up on a weekly basis. For hard-to-recycle items, like printer cartridges, plastic bags and CDs, go here for detailed advice as to how to dispose of them in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Green waste, including food waste and soiled paper, can also be simply disposed of for composting by Recology. Making it even easier, you can now use certified compostable bags in the CartSMART compost system. The liner bags, which must be approved by the Biodegradable Products Institute, can be purchased locally at (1001 Metro Center Blvd, Foster City), (1010 Park Pl, San Mateo) and (1477 Chapin Ave, Burlingame; 1010 Park Pl, San Mateo). You can also take home some of the compost at one of the regular Compost Giveway events.
- Garden with Native Plants
Refocus your yard and garden to feature native plants, which are better suited to grow in the local, dry summer climate and therefore require less maintenance, fertilizer, pesticides and water. It can be a great way to enhance the beauty of your yard while also benefiting the environment. California Native Plant Week is taking place now, from April 14-23.
- Use Energy-Saving Lightbulbs
Replace your incandescents with compact florescent lights (CFLs). They use a fraction of the electricity, last longer and save you money on your energy bill. When you're shopping for new bulbs, be sure to look for the Energy Star label to know that it is the most energy-efficient option.
- Use Green Household Cleaners
Cleaning products often contain harsh toxic substances. Consider using natural products instead. Several green cleaning products that are biodegradable and non-toxic can be purchased at your local grocery or drug store. You can also make your own cleaning supplies with natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. The San Mateo County Environmental Health Department offers several recipes for household cleaning products here.
- Buy Locally-Grown, Organic Produce
Shop for fresh, organic products from local merchants at farmers markets. There are several local markets, including the Millbrae Farmers Market (Saturdays; year-round; City parking lot on Broadway Avenue between La Cruz and Victoria Avenue), the San Mateo Farmers Market (Wednesdays and Saturdays; year-round; College of San Mateo parking lot, San Mateo), the Burlingame Fresh Market (Sundays; April-Dec; Park Rd at Burlingame Ave, Burlingame), and the Foster City Farmers Market (Sundays; April-Nov.; PJCC, Foster City). For more information on markets, .
Learn more about ways to go green at a local information session. San Mateo County holds Green Bag Lectures the first Wednesday of each month at the Board of Supervisors Chambers, Millbrae holds regular sustainability workshops and Foster City holds a bi-monthly "Go Green" series for the public.