The first visioning session closed on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. You are still welcome to add more comments. Edits to the vision are underway and will be followed by another visioning period.

  1. Use the "like/dislike" buttons to express approval or disapproval of each vision element.
  2. Read other peoples' comments (Click "Discuss.") Give thumbs up to comments you agree with.
  3. Click "Discuss" and use the comment feature to make specific suggestions for improvements to the vision. Please be as specific as you can. Please be respectful of others.

Why do we care about waste?

Solid waste refers to all of the "trash" that we "throw away" and includes household and commercial waste and waste from construction and demolition projects. Solid waste is responsible for 6% of countywide "activity-based" emissions.

But we also "throw away" large amounts of readily recyclable material: paper, cardboard, metals, glass, plastics, food waste, etc. Every time a reusable or recyclable item is sent to the landfill, we lose the embodied energy that was used to create that item and new carbon is emitted in creating new materials to replace it.

According to Judith Enck, President of Beyond Plastics and former EPA Regional Administrator, "the carbon emissions from coal plants are being replaced by carbon emissions from plastic facilities. Last year alone, the production--and then the end of life incineration--of plastic added more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That's equal to the pollution from 189 new 500 megawatt coal-fired power plants."

A recent characterization of Sonoma County's waste showed that around two-thirds of the solid waste that we send to the landfill is "...divertible, potentially divertible, or compostable," with the majority being organic material (food waste). Organic matter that is sent to the landfill releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, when it could be composted and returned to the soil-- or, better yet, eaten so that its calories could be put to work.

With a goal of zero waste, there is room for improvement.

The solid waste stream reduced to a trickle. We envision the disappearance of the grey landfill bin at our curbside waste pickup -- in favor of the green waste bin and blue recycling bin. People reduce, reuse, and recycle before disposing.


No new plastic products. Plastics pollute our air and water in perpetuity, and disposable plastics waste energy that would be better spent creating a durable item with many uses.


No single use products. No single-use anything. Like milk bottles and Coke bottles in the olden days, everything gets continually reused. What can’t be reused gets repurposed. What can’t be repurposed gets recycled. Nothing is thrown away.


An abundance of choices for reusable, compostable packaging. All stores will encourage and facilitate shopping without plastic.


Zero food waste (and zero organic matter sent to the landfill.) Surplus food is connected to people who need food, and spoiled food feeds livestock or combines with yard waste to create nutrient-dense compost that’s available (for free!) for use in home gardens and landscapes.


What are we missing?   What is YOUR vision?

You can suggest new vision items by submitting a comment using the form below. Other people will be able to vote for your idea and/or comment with suggested edits or questions. You are also welcome to email us your vision in whatever form you prefer (writing, drawing, poem, video, story, etc.)

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Comments (1)

Posted by Angela Conte(Santa Rosa)

Something that is well over due in Sonoma County, and can be taken care of right now is a law against Junk Mail. Just stop the garbage build up in our communities and deforestation at the same time when we are living with the World Wide Web. It should be made at minimum an opt-in system.


Have you reviewed all 6 vision pages below?