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Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

Think Local First makes a national splash, and California sends more than half its trash to the recycling bin.

The Trend Set

There's a saying that as goes California, so goes the nation. And then there's a corollary, less well known but more popular locally, that as Santa Cruz goes, so goes California. Which means, if Nūz is not mistaken, that Santa Cruz is a thought leader for the nation.

Recent evidence of this trendsetting streak presented itself on Dec. 28 when good people throughout the land opened up their Sunday papers to find the insert magazine USA Weekend. Inside that magazine was an article about ... drum roll, please ... shopping locally. Seems the Johnny-come-latelys at the publication finally got the memo about how shopping at locally owned stores is, gee, good for the local economy and, by golly, better for almost everyone in town than shopping at big-box stores. Whaddaya know? The article went on to mention a handful of websites that list locally owned stores to help shoppers make wise decisions. Well, it's no surprise that among them was our very own Think Local First (, which was born last fall from conversations between a few local business owners and now has more than 200 members and a very strong presence in town if Nūz may say so. Yep, Santa Cruz--ahead of the curve once again. It's good to be king.

The Dirty Truth

Props go to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, which has a name so boring that we actually risk putting readers to sleep just by printing it here, but which is actually in charge of very important things like landfills and recycling and therefore deserves our love and respect. Anyway, the CIWMB last week managed to shake off for a moment its unfortunate mantle of stultifying dullness by bragging up its most recent accomplishment: exceeding its recycling diversion target. In 1989 the state decreed that all jurisdictions must divert half their trash to recycling. The CIWMB is pleased to announce that under its leadership, California now diverts 58 percent of its trash to the blue bins. Nice.

In case anyone wasn't impressed by that, the folks at CIWMB, aware that this is their moment in the sun, included this alarming statistic: 58 percent of California's trash is equal to 93 million tons of solid waste, which is equal to 100 football fields stacked as high as the Empire State Building with trash. That's gross. But it is impressive.

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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