Southern California environment news and trends

Recyclable California produce boxes tested

Mercer 14253

Abdullah Pope/AFP/Getty Images

Initial tests on newly developed recyclable boxes for California produce began in earnest last week.

Iceberg lettuce, broccoli and celery from Lakeside Organic Gardens’ Watsonville facility were packed into Fibre Box Association-certified recyclable boxes that were supplied by Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery, Interstate Container and Green Bay Packaging.

The produce was closely tracked from the Watsonville location to the New Leaf Community Market in Santa Cruz, to see if the packaging could adequately handle transporting wet vegetables. As reported by the Packer, the delivered produce (which reached Santa Cruz “in pretty good shape”) was then used to make salads for those assembled for the event, including Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate the use of paraffin wax, which has traditionally been used to seal boxes used for produce boxes and cannot be recycled.

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Outdoor marijuana fields growing concern in Santa Cruz County

Afghan Cannabis Farmers See Crop Prices Rise

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Typically when authorities are complaining about marijuana, it’s a legal issue. But in Santa Cruz County, outdoor marijuana grows are causing problems of a more unexpected kind. As reported in the San Jose Mercury News, the marked rise in outdoor weed grows over the last year is raising concerns of environmental degradation and increased potential for wildfires.

For Cal Fire officials, that rise can be measured in the number of new cases of unlawful timber operations. Where 2010 only saw approximately three new cases, last year that number spiked to 22 new incidents.

"They're creating a huge fire hazard in leaving those there," said Cal Fire Division Chief Rich Sampson in the Mercury News of the felled trees left behind. "Often, they're camping there. So the chance of fire is greatly increased."

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