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PLASTIC FREE JULY
BACKGROUNDThe Walk or Wheel! (WoW!) Program encourages biking, walking and carpooling to school. We've been working with schools since 2009. WoW!ing to school means fewer single passenger car trips, cleaner air, lower carbon emissions and more fun! With kids back in school, we're ready to help ramp up WoW! activity. Will you be our next champion? GreenTown provides support to school volunteers to work with students to embrace, educate and empower them to think “Walk or Wheel!” .
BENEFITSPositively impacts kids’ well-being Reduces vehicle miles, pollution and carbon emissions Boosts kids’ confidence and fosters bonding with peers Encourages a healthy, fit lifestyle Reduces local school traffic, improving kids’ safety
BICYCLE SAFETY EDUCATIONThe City of Los Altos is working to build a more sustainable bicycle and pedestrian safety education program in local schools. Visit Los Altos' Safe Routes to School page for more information. Options for good bike safety education include: School Assemblies for Elementary Schools Hands-on Bike Rodeos for 3rd and 4th Graders Drive that Bike Classes for Junior High Raising Safe Cyclists for all Parents Bicycle Safety Brochure for Parents & Students
STUDENT TRAVEL MODESGreenTown also works with the Los Altos and Cupertino School Districts and Bullis Charter School to survey Los Altos/Hills’ student travel modes two to three times during the year. Findings include: More students WoW! to school in upper grades: approx. 40% of 6th graders; more than 60% of 7th and 8th graders. Junior High top the charts: approx. 65% of Blach and 45% of Egan students WoW! to school. Elementary Schools with greater WoW! student populations have high parent involvement and active WoW! programs. Fewer students WoW! to/from elementary schools with attendance areas on the other side of a major thoroughfare (e.g., Foothill or El Camino). Blach Intermediate consistently has the highest WoW! rates.
WALKING SCHOOL BUSA Walking School Bus is a great way to encourage a healthy and environmentally friendly way of getting to school. This type of program is perfect for younger children who need supervision. It can be easily organized by parents and take place once a week, a couple times a week, or even everyday! Steps for Starting Simple: Families in the same neighborhood decide to walk together to and from school. A route is designed and tested by adults for safety. Don’t forget to record how much time the entire route takes. Refer to the list of maps above to determine the best route for your walking school bus. The group decides how often to walk together. Consistent walking school buses are often the most successful. Create a phone list to ensure that all children have emergency contact numbers. Let the Walking School Bus begin! Get Started with this planning guide!
BICYCLE TRAINSimilar to the Walking School Bus concept, a Bicycle Train is a group of neighbors that ride their bikes together to and from school. This program involves more planning and training since children must understand bicycle safety and how to ride on a road. Basic Considerations: Bicycle trains are best suited for older elementary children. We recommend that you start out by providing your children with a basic understanding of the rules of the road and bicycle safety. Practice as a group and have several parents on hand to help demonstrate. Every child must wear a bicycle helmet. Check to make sure that your child’s bicycle is working properly and is an appropriate size. More adult supervision is needed than for Walking School Buses. Consider having one adult for every three to six children. See Bicycling to School Together: A Bike Train Planning Guide for an example of steps to implementing a bicycle train in your neighborhood.
TAKE OUR PLEDGE!
On Main St. in Los Altos, this is a gift basket and gift box shop that creates custom natural food and personal item gifts, and offers eco-friendly wrapping as well. It's owned by Jim Daley and Jim Reynolds who are happy to help curate your selections. They can ship your gifts from the store as well.
Shop at the store in Berkeley, or pickup at delivery sites, or have items shipped to your house. Use your own containers in the store, or use their containers that get returned and reused! Home, bath, personal care products, plus office supplies, pet products, kids’ stuff, travel stuff and more.
The Ecology Center’s Eco Store
The store is open! Plan a visit to this eco-marketplace (COVID guidelines permitting). Great gift ideas, books, toxic-free toys and children’s products, environmentally and socially responsible products, cookbooks, gardening guides, and recycled paper products. The ecology center operates 3 farmer’s markets, and their website has tons of educational material on zero waste and sustainable living.
The Berkeley Bowl
Two large full-size grocery stores with bakery, deli, bulk foods sections, etc. Lots of reusable items for sale; also with personal care products section and cleaning section offering organic and eco-friendly products. 2 locations in Berkeley.
The Source Zero
San Jose’s first zero-waste shop and soap refill store. Shop for holiday gift packages, bath and kitchen products, home goods, and cleaning supplies, all with refillable containers or zero-waste packaging.
Walk-in store in Santa Cruz for low-waste living that also ships items purchased online and has an in-store drop-off TerraCycle recycling box. They also deliver locally by bike. Find products for home, kitchen, pets, personal care, garden, laundry and more. They have a “Made in Santa Cruz” section too.
Staff of Life
What started as a small natural foods bakery, Staff of Life has grown to become a large natural foods supermarket and a Santa Cruz landmark. The store hosts a bakery, butcher and seafood section, deli, and a GIANT bulk foods section. They even have a garden and gift section. And . . . Staff of Life is the ONLY City of Santa Cruz Green Building certified market in Santa Cruz! Bring your own containers to refill! Think laundry powder, dish soap, shampoo/conditioner, etc. GTLA Board Member Kim Jelfs loves this store and makes monthly trips to shop and refill.
No Trace offers online shopping for bags and wraps (personal, shopping, lunch, tote, food storage, etc.) handmade in Santa Cruz. They also offer online DIY courses and kits and zero waste sewing patterns.
This small business was founded in Aspen, Colorado, to inform people about the real and negative impacts single-use plastic has on our health and the planet. EcoRoots offers high quality and affordable products that help you reduce waste. Be sure to check out their Zero Waste Blog for terrific suggestions for gifts and for reducing waste during the holidays.
Life Without Plastic
Offers plastic-free essentials as well as informative and educational news articles (at bottom of web pages). Has seasonal boxes (“samplers”) you can subscribe to, or give as gifts. And of course, there’s the book, “Life Without Plastic” which serves as a go-to reference not only for those just getting started but for those looking to expand their impact with sustainable living. EXCELLENT place to begin plastic-free shopping! Gift certificates make great gifts.
Online retailer that sells carefully selected eco-friendly and ethically sourced products made in the US or in fair-trade businesses around the world. They offer elegant and simple home goods, furniture, gifts, clothing and accessories—all sustainably made and ethically sourced. Made Trade values artistry over efficiency, and fair wages over profits.
This family-owned and operated business is based in the US and Canada. Its mission is to help people improve their quality of life by offering information and products for sustainable living. Much of their focus is on education as well as products—be sure to see their LEARN pages, full of “how-to” articles (e.g., The Easiest Way to Start Composting Now; Plastic-Free Grocery Shopping Made Easy; Non-Toxic Cleaning and Disinfecting…) They sell great products for home, garden, camping and they have incredible gift ideas!
Trash is for Tossers
Comprehensive resource for learning how to reduce your waste, live plastic-free, AND reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals in store-bought products by making your own or by shopping at recommended sites. This is a great place to get DIY ideas for making your own cooking and self-care products from natural ingredients, which also make great homemade gifts! Has terrific ideas for holiday gifts and greener gift wrapping. If you’re not a DIYer and want to purchase items, see the Trash is for Tossers Package Free shopping site.
A program of Nontoxic Certified, Made Safe provides products that are ecosystem and human health safe. Their website provides links to products (clothes, baby and personal care, household, etc.) that are certified free of known toxins. Their website also provides educational material for consumers and businesses trying to be more toxic-free.
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