Zero Heroes: seven who led the way on waste reduction – Mad River Union

HUMBOLDT – Zero Waste Humboldt announces the 2021 Zero Heroes and invites the public to join in honoring them at the annual Zero Heroes Night on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m.

ZWH Board President Kelly Fortner welcomes business colleagues, customers, friends and community members to join in celebrating the waste reduction successes of six Humboldt businesses and one individual this year. 

“These honorees are models for integrating Zero Waste methods into their business operations and personal lives,” she said. “The coronavirus Delta variant’s spread has caused us to celebrate and present their stories in a virtual event. Please join us in viewing short videos to learn about their creativity and dedication to Zero Waste values.” 

Join the event by going to zerowastehumboldt.org or by contacting zerowastehumboldt@gmail.com.

The following 2021 Zero Heroes will be honored Thursday evening, Sept. 23:

• Kinetic Koffee – Owners Charlie Jordan and Mark Ritz, monitor the waste they generate to track their Zero Waste progress over time through packaging reuse, recycling and composting their chaff byproduct. By adopting a reusable bin system for handling, transporting, storing and refilling their coffee at stores, they have reduced their use of plastic bags by 80 percent! Their inventory sheets track their organic product, as well as show if it is sold in a reusable bin or a plastic bag.

• Baby’s Best Diaper Service – Owner Clair Miller provides a reusable cotton diaper service preventing thousands of disposable diapers per year from entering our local waste stream.

Ferreira & Son Dairy – Third generation local dairyman, owner Darin Ferreira invested in returnable bottle sanitizing equipment to refill his milk bottles. In his first year, he’s prevented over a thousand milk cartons and plastic milk jugs from local waste. 

Beck’s Bakery – Owner Rhonda Weidenbeck has dedicated the company to sourcing as much local grain and products as is available. Grains are milled in-house, reducing waste by about 10 percent. Beck’s offers bulk flour sales which reduces packaging and reprocesses unsold bread into croutons, crostini, rye toast and holiday stuffing. Food waste is donated to a farm and they use compostable cellophane bags.

Alchemy Distillery – Owners Amy and Steve Bohner are known for being resourceful within the local business “ecosystem.” To-date, over 51,000 gallons of their distillery’s spent mash has gone to local pig farms. They’ve fermented the grain-rich day-olds from other businesses like Los Bagels, to produce their popular spirits. When their new tasting room is ready, they’ll be serving up in glasses they’ve made from old whiskey bottles.

Seaside Weaver – Owners David and Maya Cooper produce attractive, durable doormats handwoven with reused crab pot rope from local fishermen. Each mat is made of 150 -200 feet of rope, thus, keeping more than 12 miles of old rope from the ocean and landfill, so far. 

Julie Neander is being honored for individual achievement and years of leadership within local government in Zero Waste. 

 The criteria for selecting 2021 Zero Heroes are: Replicable waste reduction model; Proactive Waste Prevention strategies used upstream; Converts a discarded material into a new product; monitors waste amount and types generated; Enhances public understanding of ZW; and Social Impacts. 

With Northern California’s record-breaking heat, forest fires, drought, deteriorating air quality, and severe flooding in other parts of the U.S., 2021 is our year of reckoning for climate change. Zero Waste Humboldt has selected honorees for its annual Zero Heroes Night on Thursday, Sept. 23, with this in mind. 

Gregg Foster will serve as emcee for the Zoom event, Zero Heroes Night honorees will be celebrated with live folk music of the Big Lagoon band, and guests have the option to add Septentrio wine and Cypress Grove cheese to their ticket. 

A raffle and six auction items are available to view and bid on at carljohnonco.hibid.com to support Zero Waste Humboldt’s mission and services.