City News

Lauralee Aho, ZeroWaste Superhero

December 5, 2023, City News

by the Climate Action Committee

Lauralee Aho contributes greatly to the welfare and quality of life of the residents of Burbank Heights and Orchards, a low-income senior community of over 200 residents here in Sebastopol. She is coordinator of the residents’ group, a prime mover in all art-related activities and involved in almost everything happening at BHO. One of her greatest contributions is managing our Zero Waste Shed. We have had the Zero Waste Shed for close to two years. Lauralee personally takes most of the recyclables to be recycled. Residents bring many kinds of recyclables to the shed. They are collected in the shed and then properly recycled.

Here are some statistics on what has been collected from the shed in 2023.

Our residents’ organization has earned $707.43 from the Recycle Zone near Community Church.

Total plastic bottles recycled: 312.36 pounds

Total aluminum cans recycled: 206.68 pounds

Total glass bottles recycled: 947.2 pounds

Large white plastic bags (filled with smaller plastic bags) recycled at Lucky’s: 71 bags

Batteries recycled at Sebastopol Hardware: 158 pounds

Compact Fluorescent light bulbs recycled at Lowes: 35 bulbs

Eyeglasses recycled via Lions Club: 65 pairs

Toner and ink cartridges recycled at Ink Sales and Sebastopol Hardware: 65

Electronic Waste recycled via Conservation Corps North Bay: ~50 items

Of course BHO residents also make use of the Recycle and Green Waste Bins provided by Recology. The Zero Waste shed has greatly reduced what is sent to the landfill from Burbank Heights and Orchards. In large part, this is because of Lauralee.

From Lauralee: “Recycling is just the right thing to do; fortunately we make money from some of the items we recycle. Kudos go to all our community members who pitch in with their items. A dedicated resident has also found a link to recycling Brita water filters so we’re gathering those as well. I’d like to see more use of rechargeable batteries soon.”

Lauralee Aho at the Zero Waste Shed

Zero Waste Hint: Take your used batteries and ink cartridges to Sebastopol Hardware, an easy way to properly dispose of these hazardous waste items. Big thanks to the Zero Waste Heroes at Sebastopol Hardware.

If you know a Sebastopol Zero Waste Superhero we could feature in an article, please contact us at