It may not be easy to get a community excited about solid waste and green buildings, but the City of Santa Monica aims to try with 10Fest.

Designed to bring the idea of sustainability to the forefront while providing a good time, 10Fest celebrates the tenth anniversary of Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Plan, according to city officials.

Taking place at various locations around Santa Monica, the festival of events and activities runs from Monday, September 27th, through Sunday, October 3rd.

“We want to have some fun with a topic that’s somewhat misunderstood,” explains Dean Kubani, Santa Monica sustainable city coordinator.

“This festival is about sharing how little things add up to big successes,” he says.

Sustainability is related to the quality of life in a community and a sustainable city ensures that the city’s economy and society flourish without destroying the natural environment in the process, according to city officials.

Since the Santa Monica City Council adopted its groundbreaking policies ten years ago, the city has accomplished many things including building a facility to recycle urban runoff and saving one million tons of solid waste from going to landfills, city officials say.

Among the many 10Fest events city officials hope will inspire residents to make changes in their lives, are tours of Santa Monica green homes and commercial buildings, organic cooking demonstrations with taste treats and a free screening of “Super Size Me” at the Santa Monica Pier.

10Fest’s Family Health Fair will offer lots of activities for kids including touch tanks with live marine animals, tattoos and a treasure hunt, city event planners say.

Santa Monica police will pass out finger print kits to protect children and adults who can get a free health screening.

At Patagonia on Main Street, individuals, businesses and organizations that help spread sustainability practices throughout Santa Monica and beyond will be honored.

After being inspired by 10Fest, residents and businesses can take action by contacting the nonprofit organization Sustainable Works.

A project of Community Partners and funded by the City of Santa Monica Sustainable City Program, Sustainable Works has business and community greening programs.

According to Sustainable Works, the program teaches participants to reduce their environmental impact on the community and guides them in adopting a sustainable lifestyle.

The Sustainable Works Community Greening Program reaches out to residents of Santa Monica, and to college students, who form sustainable crews.

In the residential workshop residents review their usage of utilities, shopping, recycling and transportation habits and chemicals used.

A crew leader facilitates the group and the workshop culminates in ten recommendations for change.

“If each person can do the top three recommendations, it can have an impact on the community,” says Chantel Zimmerman, executive director of Sustainable Works.

The program for college students is similar to the residential program and 175 to 250 students per semester go through the program.

Students are required to do three hours of community service, go on field trips that enhance their understanding of sustainability as well as ride the bus to get used to an alternative form of transportation, according to Zimmerman.

Zimmerman says the college program is easily replicated and her goal is to get it into every community college in the state.

“College kids are just beginning to be head of household and this is when they set new behaviors and standards and ways of operating in their daily lives,” Zimmerman says.

“If people believe it’s important to conserve our resources, then getting this primer into community colleges is important because it can inspire action,” she adds.

With the Business Greening Program free to Santa Monica businesses, Sustainable Works assists businesses in identifying their environmental impact, generates a recommendation list and develops an implementation plan.

Vidiots, a video and DVD rental and sales business in Santa Monica, began recycling paper, cans, plastic and glass as part of the Business Greening Program. Six months later records showed a 50 percent waste reduction resulting in a $450 savings in waste hauling costs, according to the Business Greening Program.

“Simple choices can have a profound impact,” says Zimmerman.

“Shut off the water when you brush your teeth, spend your money on organic products at places that treat workers well,” she adds.

“It’s your money, it’s your choice, let your money be your voice.”

Information, Sustainable Works, (310) 458-8716.

Julie Kirst can be reached at