Emerald city

Pub date April 13, 2010
SectionGreen City

GREEN ISSUE Walk out your front door today and you won’t find a corner store that doesn’t sell “organic food,” a restaurant whose we-buy-sustainable addendum reads “whenever possible,” a trash can with a precious separate compartment for your all-natural soda cans. It’s hard to forget that it’s not all another secret plan from the government to make your life less fun. But it’s not! Below, please find assembled an all-star list of resources that are honest-to-goodness designed to help you help out our little ball, spinning all terrestrially out in space.

They’ve tried to make it easy on you. Compost goes in green! Beer bottles in blue! Devil Styrofoam — where’d you get that? — in black! But still, you have questions. What about the bottle caps? Can I recycle the bag my Korean taco came in? Can I get a new green bin without a rat-hole in it? (Yes! No, that’s compost! Yes, but work on that vermin problem!) One quick stop at the Recology SF Web site has you sorted. You’ll also find info on the dump’s sculpture garden — the world’s only garbage company’s art park.

Because that window box in your bedroom hasn’t contributed anything to dinner in way too long, SF Garden Resource Organization maintains a database on everything you need to grow your own sustenance in the city. Find within its welcoming Internet embrace info on cheap local classes to turn that idle thumb green, all kinds of gardening pointers, and the lowdown on which community gardens are accepting new plot tenders.

They’re awful, aren’t they? And they’re all around us, which is why the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia’s toxicity guide for everyday lotions, cleaners, and pet products is so nice to have on hand. Thanks, Nova Scotia! For up close and personal commerce, the friendly worker-owners at Rainbow Grocery can steer you toward natural household products. An there are a bajillion lovely shops like Marie Veronique Organics (1790 Fifth St., Berk.) that’ll sell you the good local stuff. Kill your junk mail with the support of the helpful folks at Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition.

Go organic or go secondhand. For natural fiber or recycled fabric gear, the Bay’s got lots of flash spots like Ladita (827 Cortland, SF. 415-648-4397 www.shopladita.com) or Eco Citizen (1488 Vallejo, SF. 415-614-0100. www.ecocitizenonline.com). Little Otsu (849 Valencia, SF. 415-255-7900 www.littleotsu.com) is all you need for gift shopping, with unique posters, books, and various assorted preciousness. But for the broke environmentalists, wait for the $2 per item of clothing sales at Goodwill (Various locations, www.goodwill.com), Mission Thrift (2330 Mission, SF. 415-821-9560), or even one of the several consignment stores along Fillmore like Repeat Performance (2436 Fillmore, SF. 415-563-3123) or Seconds to Go (2252 Fillmore, SF. 415-563-7806) to feel good about confounding consumerism. The big fish in our green pond, however, remains the invaluable Green Zebra coupon book, with hundreds of deals on earth-lovin’ spas, goods, and adventures.

There are oodles of spots to help you make a night of it without playing our environment for a fool. Terroir (1116 Folsom, SF. (415) 558-9546, www.terroirsf.com) serves elegant, chemical-free wines that taste even better if the wine-bar’s adorably scruffy owners pour them. Thirsty Bear Brewpub (661 Howard, SF. (415) 974-0905. www.thirstybear.com) has a stellar system of low-waste operation and serves only organic brews through its taps. For the club kids, the eco spot de rigueur is Temple (540 Howard, SF. (415) 978-8853 www.templesf.com), where owner Paul Hemming’s Zen Compound concept is expanding to include a roof garden, global art gallery, and dance floor that harnesses the energy expended on beats.

Of course, you could always do something outside your day’s normal scope. Hit up the following organizations to make change in your little corner of the world: Roots of Change for food sustainability issues, Livable City for hopes of a future outside our cars, and Planning and Conservation League for work on issues like global warming and water usage.