Santa Monica, CA Zero Waste Farmers' Market

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Santa Monica, CA, US

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 2006

Source File:


Ever eaten a meal and then eaten your utensils? Enjoyed cold water in a cup made from sugar cane, or coffee in a cup with a soy-based lining instead of the standard zero waste posters petroleum lining? While we don’t recommend eating your fork (even though it is made from corn), we do recommend giving these biodegradable items a try at the “Zero Waste” Farmers’ Market each Sunday on Main Street.

To help reduce the waste normally shipped to and buried in landfills, the Sunday market has implemented this new program with some assistance from the city’s Solid Waste and Environmental Programs divisions. In April, participating market vendors agreed to switch their food packaging from Styrofoam® and other non-renewable, resource-based products to all biodegradable or recyclable packaging and utensils.

Along with these innovative changes, market shoppers will find eleven “Waste Stations” positioned around the site for separating biodegradable items—food waste and packaging, paper napkins and biodegradable utensils—from recyclable products such as cans, plastic, glass and newspaper. The former eventually become compost, the latter are used in a wide variety of recycled-content products. Shoppers are asked to pack out any items such as diapers and non-biodegradable food packaging or items they may have brought with them.

With help from diligent visitors and Sustainable Works volunteers, we have successfully diverted three cubic yards of waste from landfills each market day. Though small compared to the vast tons shipped daily from Santa Monica to the Puente Hills landfill, we’re confident this is just the beginning of a significant contribution toward building a sustainable future! Please join the market’s 5,000 visitors next Sunday and see for yourself—you’ll want to become a Zero Waster, too!

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