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“Water and hydration impacts kids’ cognition,” Zemdegs said. “One important question is whether kids are well hydrated and drinking enough water at school, when they need cognition to be at the best level so they can learn and pay attention.” Despite spending approximately half of waking hours at school, children do not drink water there, with only 14% of total fluid intake occurring at school, Zemdegs said. Parent surveys show children prefer other beverages, do not realize they should drink more water or water is not available. “Education is part of behavior change,” Zemdegs said. “We must tell kids check my source why it is important to drink water and make it fun to improve water intake.” Zemdegs said simple steps can improve water intake among children: Create “moments of hydration” — Parents and caregivers should encourage children to drink water regularly before school, during lunch and dinner, during class or while outside, Zemdegs said. “Drink as I do” — Survey data show that children with parents who often consume carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages were 300% more likely to drink such beverages themselves, Zemdegs said, whereas 87% of children consumed water when parents were drinking plain water often. Make water accessible — Children, particularly young children, rely on adults to offer them water and make water easily accessible, Zemdegs said. “Water and [sugar-sweetened beverages] both have an impact on health,” Zemdegs said. “Water has a positive impact on cognition, and kids may not drink enough at school and might not be well hydrated at school. What can we do to change it?



The only recycling issue California doesn’t rate high on, legislatively, is the current absence of a statewide ban on yard debris ending up in landfills. But starting in 2022, California regulations will restrict yard and food waste from landfills, part of an effort to reduce methane emissions. Waste and recycling laws accounted for 52% of the scores that led to the rankings in the study. Another 15% was for a combination of daily water consumption — California ranked 17th — and the state’s share of electricity produced by renewable sources — California ranked 9th. The rankings also weighed the number of recycling facilities per 100,000 residents, with California ranking 10th. Jeff Herman, LawnStarter’s managing editor, acknowledged that California could be more aggressive about recycling, but was quick to praise the state as a leader and a model for others. “That activists and some state officials are championing doing more doesn’t surprise me,” he said. Beside the plastics ballot measure and the upcoming ban on yard and food waste headed to landfills, a recently formed Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling — with representatives from the solid waste industry, environmental groups and local governments — is developing recommendations for increasing the recycling rate, according to West. Other state efforts include a push by CALPIRG to increase the longevity, repair and reuse of products, particularly electronics.