It’s estimated that on a household level, families throw away 14-25% of the food they buy. Imagine saving up to a quarter of your food budget instead of tossing it out! In addition to financial savings, reducing food waste at home is one of the best things you can do to help combat climate change. Food waste
Going green can seem like a huge undertaking. It means changing habits and making different choices. That’s why we’ve put together this quick list of easy ways to be more green.
1. Use reusable containers
Move away from single-use bags and containers by bringing your own. Don’t have any yet? You’ll find a large selection of bags, jars, and other containers at the Co-op. Plus, for every container or bag you use, you’ll receive a 5¢ credit. Just remember to have your containers weighed at the registers before you fill ‘em. Make sure you also always have your bags by putting them in your car immediately after unpacking your groceries.
2. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is great for your budget (buy just the amount you need, at the best prices) and for the environment, since there’s less packaging. Buying in bulk also allows you to experiment with new foods. Plus, you’ll find non-food items such as shampoo, dish soap, and cleaners. Remember to put your containers in your reusable bags after you clean them, so you have them to shop next time.
3. Compost your food waste
Composted organic matter makes a nutrient-rich soil amendment and it decreases the waste heading to landfills. You could just toss your bits and bobs in a pile in your yard, but a trash can will better contain the mess. No outdoor space? There are special containers available for indoor composting. Make sure to include browns (dead leaves and twigs), greens (food waste and yard clippings), and water in your compost to keep it actively decomposing. And stir often!
4. Make cleaning products
The beauty of making your own cleaning products is that you can control the ingredients. Plus, you skip having to deal with packaging when you reuse containers for your home cleansers. White vinegar and baking soda will clean just about everything. Make sure to label homemade cleaners and keep away from children.
5. Clean with cloth
Paper towels may be convenient, but they use a lot of resources. The Co-op carries a number of cleaning cloths, but used t-shirts also work. When you switch from paper to cloth, make sure that you have enough on hand to handle your daily messes. Miss the convenience of a paper towel roll? Wind up your cloth towels and stick them on your paper towel holder. Separate cloths from other laundry (a 5-gallon bucket works well). Add vinegar to your rinse water and use BioKleen Oxygen Bleach Plus to cut odor and stains.
6. Drink from a reusable bottle
Single-use plastic water bottles take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Plus, it takes 1,740 refills of a half-liter reusable water bottle to equal the cost of the water in one 99¢ single-use plastic water bottle. Consider buying an insulated bottle that works for cold and hot beverages. The Co-op carries reusable bottles from Klean Kanteen, Pura, Life Factory, and Kids Basix.
7. Eat local
A study by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems found that conventionally distributed food produces 5 to 17 times more carbon dioxide than local or regional foods. Consider also that most local, value-added food comes in reusable or recyclable packaging. Look for the green local mark on price tags throughout the store to find foods grown or made within 100 miles of Ashland, Wisconsin.
8. Walk or bike
Besides skipping the use of fossil fuels, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Backpacks and trailers or wagons work well for carrying things. As an incentive for bikers, we offer 10% off one item as part of our participation in the national Bicycle Benefits program.
9. Pack a lunch
Packing your lunch allows you to use up leftovers (saving both time and energy). Ditch the plastic wrap by snagging a Bee’s Wrap reusable beeswax food wrap. Lunch gear worth considering that’s availability at the Co-op: Wild Hollow Farm Snack & Lunch Bags , Klean Kanteen Food Canisters, and U Konserv Containers.
10. Recycle more and correctly
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycling and composting kept approximately 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in 2013. The caveat is that lack of proper sorting has driven up recycling costs. Need a refresher on how to sort recyclables? Contact your waste company or visit the National Waste & Recycling Association website at www.wasterecycling.org. And before you chuck that chip bag in the trash, check to see if it can be recycled using Terracycle. This company works with many major food manufacturers to create specialty recyclable packaging. You can collect the waste at home and then ship it back to Terracycle. Learn more at www.terracycle.com.
From locally grown, organic food to pasture-raised meats and dairy, many of the products on co-op shelves are getting new attention thanks to research that indicates these food production methods are helping to slow global warming. This makes your local food co-op a tremendous community resource for anyone interested in building a more sustainable food
From getting rid of plastic produce bags to online shopping, as the seasons change, so are some things around the Co-op. Here are a few of the exciting projects we are working on around these parts. Look for more details in the store and The Grapevine!
Bulk Buying Options
A few customers have brought up concerns about the plastic clam shells used to package some bulk options, such as raisins. We had tried putting them in bulk bins, but sales suffered considerably. In a search for a happy medium, we are investigating the possibility of introducing bulk bins for some products and possibly packaging some in glass jars.
Join us for an affordable meal on the last Wednesday of every month from 5-7 p.m. Over the next year, we plan on looking at implementing a way for customers to “pay it forward” by purchasing a meal for another person.
Community Mural Project – The big white wall is going to be a whole lot more colorful by the end of summer! Artists Rose Spieler and Mae Stoutenburg met with the Mural Committee (made up of Co-op staff and several community members) to finish up the design. With a final draft in hand, we are now ready to start creating mosaics and work on fundraising for the project. Want to help? Check out the Events page and watch for more details in the coming months.
We are currently investigating our options for installing a dishwasher and bringing in reusable dishes for the Deli. Due to the original configuration of the space, we’ve run into a few snags. However, we are hopeful that an affordable solution can be found in the near future.
Our online store opened in January. While sales have been slow, we expect this service to catch on. It is extremely convenient if you just need to pick up a few items, if you find it tricky to shop with little kids, or if you have trouble moving around. With more use, we hope to expand our pickup hours and possibly add a delivery option.
Plastic bags in Produce will be discontinued as of April 22. (That’s right, Earth Day!) We will have a new crop of reusable bags available for purchase, but we also encourage you to use the containers and bags you already own. This will be an experiment, so we will be evaluating sales to see if they experience a slump because of the change.
Interested in learning more about how your choices affect not only your health, but also the environment?Explore these resources to learn more about food production, food choices, and the connections between food, health, and the planet. Websites Carbon Underground Center for Food Safety Civil Eats Eat Wild Fair Trade Federation Fair Trade USA Food Policy
We all want to feel good about our food choices, and buying produce from a local farmer makes it easy. But what about food that comes from afar? In some communities around the world, impoverished workers are paid low wages while their land is depleted by industrial agriculture. Luckily, the Fair Trade Certified label can
Hemp History Week is June 4-10! Join us in celebrating hemp as more than just a healthy whole food source of plant-based protein, Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids SDA and GLA. Did you know hemp is also a growing U.S. industry and an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of non-toxic products ranging from car parts and
When it comes to food, organic is a delicious way to eat well and support the environment. The key principle behind organic food is healthy soil. By acting as responsible stewards of their land, organic farmers create a cycle of healthy soil, growing healthy food for healthier people. And it’s clear from the tremendous growth
Since October is Non-GMO Month, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit this summer’s GMO labeling bill. People have long called for foods which have been produced using genetic engineering to be labeled, so that they can have the information they need to decide for themselves whether or not to purchase foods that