It may be the season for asparagus, artichokes, and peas, but the Pico Farmers’ Market is going even greener. This month it’s turning Zero Waste; everything purchased for consumption at the Market will be compostable or recyclable. There will be no trash cans at the Market; instead there will be Zero Waste Stations with one bin for compost and one bin for recycling. Recyclables such as clean paper, cans, plastic, and glass can be thrown in the marked Recycling bins. Biodegradables such as food scraps, biodegradable to-go containers, and utensils go in the marked Composting bins.
The City of Santa Monica has banned Styrofoam, and prepared food vendors at the Pico Market will serve their food in biodegradable or recyclable packaging. There are many different types of biodegradable packing made from a variety of materials such as corn, potatoes, sugar cane, and paper. A Styrofoam alternative is made from corn, sugar, potatoes, limestone, and potato starch. A clear plastic alternative is made from corn-based polymer, and is the first greenhouse gas neutral product. A paper-like packaging made from agricultural waste fiber that comes from sugarcane is an alternative to paper made from trees. There is also a resin-based packaging made with soy protein, potato, and corn starch. These alternative packaging materials do not require fossil fuels to produce. They also biodegrade, therefore they don’t leave a trace on the environment, unlike plastic that never biodegrades, pollutes our oceans, and remains in landfills forever. Earth Day also marks the two-year anniversary of the Main Street Market going Zero Waste; that Market composts 52,000 pounds of waste each year instead of sending it to landfills.
April is Earth Month, but there are many easy things you can do everyday to help the planet and local farmers. Save any strawberry baskets, egg cartons, and other empty containers that can be reused and return them to the farmer to use again. All Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets have onsite battery and cell phone recycling. Bring your old batteries or cell phones to the container located at the Information Booth at each Market. Instead of using plastic bags, bring your own reusable bags. Not every fruit and vegetable needs their own bag. For instance, you can toss your apples and oranges right into your reusable bag and forgo the plastic bag altogether. Of course, by shopping at the Farmers’ Market and buying locally grown food you are supporting local farmers, your community, and the environment.
The Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets are looking for reliable volunteers. If you are interested in regularly volunteering at a Market, please contact Darra Adler at 310.458.8712 x2 or [email protected]