Last month, Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District launched the “Year to Zero” Campaign. This month is focused on reducing waste and recyclables in public spaces, specifically focused on the second of the 3Rs: reuse. Get ready to see many new reusable options all over Lopez village with the affirmative statement “Lopez Reuses.”
“Lopez Reuses” was the brainchild of local artist and barista, Jessica McCullough and Nikyta Palmisani from LSWDD. McCullough and her household are participating in LSWDD’s Year to Zero Waste campaign, and while working at Lopez Coffee Shop, McCullough imagined how patrons could reduce their disposable coffee cup waste by creating a low cost reusable alternative. She envisioned a reusable mason jar with an up cycled fabric cozy, that is 100 percent recyclable, and can hold a multitude of things: hot beverages, soup, ice cream, bulk foods, left overs. McCulloughcreated the name “Lopez Reuses” and partnered with Palmisani from LSWDD to approach local businesses with a cure-all for disposable containers. In addition to using clean, fashionable, up cycled fabrics, they also collaborated with local company Wade Co. for label printing and with Paper Scissors on the Rock for other signage, localizing the effort even more.
Holly B’s Bakery and Lopez Coffee Shop are both stocking these awesome, low-price “Lopez Reuses” mason jars for purchase. In honor of Earth Day, both are offering $1 drip coffee for anyone who brings in their own cup. Holly B’s is also selling quart jars filled with their famous granola to eliminate bag waste.
Vortex Café will welcome take out customers to purchase or fill “Lopez Reuses” jars for smoothies, juices, soup and hot beverages. The custom-fabricated cozies will ensure your meal or drink stay insulated on the go. In addition, Vortex had already created bottle-deposit mason jars for their ready-to-eat foods sold at Blossom Grocery, such as soups and hummus. Bottle deposits are great ways to reduce packaging by reusing glass containers, like the milkman used to do in a plastic-free society. Several dairy and nut butter products available at Blossom Grocery come in jars with bottle deposits.
And the local momentum just keeps building. Blossom Grocery has ordered a huge selection of reusable goods to help Lopezians create home behaviors that will reduce the need for plastics and single-use disposables. Examples are hydroflasks, bamboo reusable utensils, mesh bags for produce (to eliminate the need to use plastic produce bags), African market baskets, and many other great products. Head in to Blossom Grocery to see these reusable products on display with the “Lopez Reuses” sign at the front of the store.
Since San Juan County passed the single-use plastic bag ban, reusable bags are much more important to remember when shopping. SWAP, our local “Friends of the Dump” non-profit organization, has created “free to borrow” bags, which will be available in bins conveniently located outside both Blossom Grocery and soon to be at Lopez Village Market and the Southend Market and Cafe. SWAP has collected over 300 reusable bags from Take It or Leave It, washing them and preparing them for public use. Anyone who wishes to donate clean, functional reusable bags is welcome to drop them off at TIOLI where SWAP has collection bins.
If you are interested in becoming a Year to Zero household, or for more information on waste and recycling reduction, visit www.lopezsolidwaste.org.