South County Beat

Eco-minded Rotary club aims for zero waste in South County

Special to The TribuneJuly 16, 2013 

Robert Robert paints the Pismo Pier.


It started with a presentation to the Grover Beach Rotary Club by John Weiss of the Morro Bay Eco Rotary Club in August 2011. Eco Rotary clubs are a new type of Rotary club that concentrate on cleaning up local environments.

Anita Shower of Grover Beach said to herself, “I’m gonna do that — put that club together (here).” And so was born the Rotary Club of the Five Cities — Eco. Anita became the charter president this year. It took her one-and-a-half years to put it together. Anita’s husband, Robert Robert, is upcoming president for 2014.

The club now has 28 members and three honorary members: Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill, and Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham.

The idea behind the club is “zero waste.” The group sets up a recycling station at local events with three large bins: a blue recycling bin for recyclable glass and paper products, a green bin for foodstuffs and paper products that can be composted, and a gray bin for anything that can’t be recycled and will go to the landfill. Hopefully, the gray bin will have the least in it.

They just “zero wasted” the Pismo Beach Fourth of July celebration with the three bins and will be doing several upcoming events, including the Arroyo Grande Rotary Chili Cookoff on Aug. 11 at Biddle Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be 13 chili tasting stations from local restaurants. The cost is $5.

In addition to zero-wasting events, the Eco Rotary provides community service free to local nonprofits. They have a gardening group called the Gorgonzola Gardeners who provide gardening for the Grover Beach Community Library twice a month, where they’ve planted flowers and bougainvillea trees.

The group also maintains the Grover Beach train station every Sunday, including weeding, sweeping out the terminal and planting. The small building that used to house the Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce will be window-washed and painted, getting ready to be rented. The club is applying for a grant from PG&E for supplies for train station maintenance.

A recent project was painting the Pismo Pier. They painted the top and sides of the pier railings white.

Other zero-waste projects coming up include the Grover Beach Stone Soup Music Festival and Street Faire on Aug. 24 and 25, the Pismo Beach Rotary Club festival Summer Sizzle at the Edwards Barn in Nipomo, the Exploration Station Chemistry of Cocktails fundraiser in November, and the Pismo Beach Clam Festival.

The club’s newest community service project, working with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition, is providing feminine supplies to homeless girls at Arroyo Grande middle and high schools.

Anita invites others to join the Eco Rotary club, and says, “You have to like trash. We talk trash.” The club meets the first, second and third Tuesdays of each month at SLOCO Data at 1635 W. Grand Ave., Grover Beach, from 6 to 7 p.m. The fourth Tuesday is the club social, when they meet at various locations.

Anita advises everyone, “When in doubt, put everything in recycling.” Cold Canyon sorts the items. Take clothes to Goodwill (trailer to the left of K-Mart) or call 5Cities Homeless Coalition at 574-1638.

For more information, contact Anita at 489-9696 or visit

Gayle Cuddy’s column is special to The Tribune. She and Cynthia Lambert write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cuddy at 489-1026 or

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