Photo courtesy Jessica Guthrie
                                Green cleaning kits are given to attendees at the end of every workshop.

Photo courtesy Jessica Guthrie Green cleaning kits are given to attendees at the end of every workshop.

Bellevue Utilities presenting green-cleaning workshops

The seasonal workshops started in 2012.

Bellevue Utilities is presenting a series of green-cleaning workshops at King County Library System locations throughout the fall season.

The workshops, which began in 2012, are held annually in short periods over the spring and fall months, with six classes offered during the beginning half of the year and five during the second.

According to Jessica Guthrie, the city’s communications specialist, the workshops are an extension of Bellevue’s environmental outreach programs. The programs are supported by a grant from King County’s Hazardous Waste Program.

“In our area, we have a lot of interest in sustainable, environmentally friendly practices,” Guthrie said in an email. “But many people don’t realize how toxic our common cleaning products are.”

Sam Wilder, the city of Bellevue’s school waste reduction specialist, teaches the classes. Each hour-long workshop aims to be both informational and interactive. Participants discover relevant facts about cleaning products to make well-informed buying decisions, then they learn how to make their green cleaning products themselves.

“We want to design it so, as people leave, they feel comfortable and confident about what they’ve just learned,” Wilder said.

Wilder said she’s often found that people don’t always think to make their own green cleaning products because they think it will be time-consuming. This is a notion the workshop seeks to disprove through its interactive component, where participants might learn how to make a quick-and-easy window-and-mirror cleaner using baking soda and vinegar, for instance.

Guthrie pointed out that many household cleaning products are classified as hazardous waste. The workshop hones in on that often obscured fact.

“This is one point we hit on in the classes: why would we want to use something to clean our countertops that isn’t safe to throw away?” Guthrie said.

At the end of the workshop, participants are given “green cleaning kits.” The kits typically include ingredients to make cleaning products at home, recipes and a resource sheet that shares where residents can drop off hazardous cleaners for safe disposal.

Wilder said the only major challenge she’s encountered was the initial struggle to find venues to hold the events. But that changed once Bellevue Utilities partnered with the King County Library System, which has regularly offered up locations for each program.

“They have been a wonderful partner,” Wilder said. “They have been fantastic at providing rooms and having things set up for us, advertising the program and helping us get a really good turnout for these classes.”

Wilder has seen lives tangibly change after putting on a workshop. It isn’t uncommon at a workshop to encounter someone who has suffered from injuries as a result of their cleaning products. After attending one of the workshops, product-related health issues have eased, and the information and tools provided allow people to make immediate changes in their lives.

“It inspires action right away,” Wilder said of the workshop.

Wilder and Guthrie discussed the way the classes have had a positive impact on a range of people.

“A lot of the people who come will start telling their friends to come to the next class,” she said. “We just hope that we keep getting the attendance we’ve been getting.”

“It’s been really encouraging to see the level of interest and participation from very diverse audiences,” Guthrie said.

Wilder also cited the sense of community that forms as being particularly affecting.

“Each one of these classes inspires community,” she said. “People are working together with people they didn’t necessarily come with.”

For more information, visit the city of Bellevue’s website online at https://bit.ly/2zf2HpE.

More in Life

Libraries are welcoming spaces for everyone | Book Nook

A monthly column from the King County Library System.

Photos courtesy of Celeste Gracey
                                Bellevue’s Chris Adam’s, right, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 32 years ago. He’s now using his experiences to help people with this chronic illness through the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. It’s hosting an education event at the Meydenbauer Center Sept. 15.
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation event on Sept. 15

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Meydenbauer Center.

Photo by Nityia Photography
                                Dora Gyarmati.
Redefine goals based on virtues to find joy | Health column

A monthly column about mindfulness and wellbeing.

Applying mindfulness into your daily life | Health Column

Being mindful is the act of staying present, being aware of your surroundings and noticing new things without judgment.

After 70 years of serving, Grace Lutheran Church in Bellevue is permanently closed. The church donated $3.6 million to homeless services on the Eastside. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Local church closes, donates assets to nonprofits

Grace Lutheran Church donates $3.6 million to homeless services on the Eastside.

Mindful goal setting | Health Column

What are the roots of you life goals?

Nityia Photography
Happy Fourth — Do we have freedom? What is freedom anyway?

A column about mindfulness and mental well being.

Celebrating the Fourth on the Eastside

Events around the Eastside.

Celebrating the Fourth on the Eastside

Americans all over the country including the Eastside region will gather on… Continue reading

Customer buys green leaves from Foothills Farms at the opening market day in Bellevue on May 16. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
It’s officially market season

Bellevue Farmers Market will run every Thursday through October.