Honored Zero Heroes Personify Zero Waste Values

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Zero Waste Humboldt announced the 2021 Zero Heroes and hosted a virtual event to honor six businesses and one individual for their success in reducing waste and being inspiring models. The annual Zero Heroes Night on Thursday, September 23rd featured short videos about each honoree that will be posted to zerowastehumboldt.org .

ZWH Board President Kelly Fortner welcomed business colleagues, customers, friends and community members to join in the celebration. “These honorees are models for integrating Zero Waste values and practices into their business operations and personal lives,” she said. 

The following Zero Heroes are honored this year: 

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%! 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 and owner, Darin Ferreira, invested in returnable bottle sanitizing equipment to refill his milk bottles. In his first half year, he prevented over a thousand milk cartons and plastic milk jugs from becoming local waste. 

Beck’s Bakery – Owner Rhonda Weidenbeck has dedicated the company to sourcing as much local grain and product as is available. Grains are milled in-house, reducing waste by about 10%. 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 door mats 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 honored for individual achievement and years of leadership within local government in Zero Waste. Known for attention to detail for measurement and monitoring waste generation, she spearheaded development of the City of Arcata’s Zero Waste Action Plan, waste reduction ordinances and assistance for businesses.

The ZWH criteria for selecting 2021 Zero Heroes are: Replicable waste reduction model; Proactive Waste Prevention strategies used upstream; Conversion of a discarded material into a new product; Monitoring waste amount & types generated; Enhancement of the public’s 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 with this in mind. 

To learn more about how your efforts to reduce waste in daily habits and at your workplace affect climate change, contact zerowastehumboldt@gmail.com .