[1THING] Blog: Posts Tagged ‘food waste’

[ Green Your Tea During Hot Tea Month ]

HotTea-dreamstime_s_15742900January is National Hot Tea Month. To celebrate, here are a few tips to green your brew from the Sierra Club:

Buy loose-leaf tea: Opt for loose leaf tea over disposable tea bags, which use carbon-intensive packaging materials. Many tea bags also contain polypropylene mesh, which can take several years to degrade. Additionally, bagged tea is often machine processed, producing a larger carbon footprint than loose leaf tea, which tends to be hand-picked. If you do purchase tea bags, make sure they’re biodegradable and unbleached. Avoid bags with staples, strings, or tags.

Minimize your water footprint: Only pour enough water to fill your cup to avoid wasting energy boiling what you won’t drink anyway. If it’s safe, use local tap water to brew your tea.

Cold-brew your iced tea: It not only tastes sweeter and smoother than traditional hot-brewed iced tea, but it spares the energy needed to boil your water, relying mainly on an already-running appliance—your refrigerator.  To cold-brew your own iced tea, add about 1.5 times the amount of tea you’d normally use to a pitcher. Pour in cold water, add a lid, and let sit in the fridge for about 4-10 hours. White teas, green teas, and flat oolongs need less time to sit, while rolled oolongs require more time. Herbal infusions and black teas usually need to sit the full ten hours. Strain and enjoy.

Repurpose tea leaves: Most of us know to reuse tea leaves or tea bags for our next cup of tea, but their use extends beyond the kitchen. The high nitrogen content in tea leaves makes them the perfect plant food, which does double duty by helping repel insects and other pests. When transferring a plant to a pot, line the bottom of the pot with used tea bags before adding soil. The tea bags will help retain water and release nutrients into the potting medium.  Dried tea leaves also make fantastic deodorizers. Toss some in the litter box or dog house to remove pet odors. For all-over freshness, sprinkle and gently crush some dried leaves over your carpet. Wait about 10 minutes, then vacuum.

Choose eco-friendly labels: As you would with coffee, buy brands labeled “USDA organic” and “Fair Trade Certified.” To earn the USDA’s organic seal, farmers must not have used synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers for at least three years. Meanwhile, although fair trade certification primarily ensures that farmers are paid a just price for their crop, it also has environmental side effects. In return for providing good working conditions and fair wages, producers get paid more for their tea. As a result, famers need less land to support themselves and their families, leaving more land available for natural habitat.

[ Yes We Canned ]

Catalina is now in the business of growing their own local tuna.dreamstime_s_80692229

Did you ever open a can of tuna and think, “This really resembles cat food.” Did you know that there has not been a single commercial tuna cannery in the U.S. since 1972? The Marine Mammal Protection Act passed—protecting whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, walruses, manatees, etc. The legislation was a fantastic idea, protecting the lives of our friends in the sea, but also ended commercial tuna fishing in America. This really had an impact on the quality of the tuna we were consuming here in America. But…things are looking up for our tuna quality. Whole Foods is promising to only sell sustainable canned tuna by 2018. Some of the lowest quality tuna that was tested are among Target, Costco, Chicken of the Sea, Trader Joe’s, Bumble Bee, and Walmart. The lowest-rated on Greenpeace’s test was Starkist—the largest tuna brand in the U.S., and probably what most Americans have in their cupboard at home.

To read the rest of this very informative article from San Diego MagazineCLICK HERE. 

[ 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled ]

When talking about non recylcled plastic, even 1% is too much – but 91%! That is just sad.

Beginning 6 decades ago and since then, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been created as disposable products, which end up in the trash.  Of all that plastic waste, only 9% has been recycled!dreamstime_s_36934615

Jenna Jambeck is a University of Georgia environmental engineer who specializes in studying plastic waste in the oceans and she says, “We all knew there was a rapid and extreme increase in plastic production from 1950 until now, but actually quantifying the cumulative number for all plastic ever made was quite shocking.”

To Read this full story and see the video from National Geographic…CLICK HERE! 

[ What is Fairtrade? ]

If you are anything like me, l had heard the phrase Fairtrade, but didn’t really know what it meant. I knew it had something to do with helping the environment but that was about the extent of my knowledge. Fair trade isdreamstime_s_85080660 (2) a far overlooked concept that if practiced, could make a huge difference in the world we live in.

When purchasing fairtrade coffee for instance, it can mean five times the pay for a farmer vs. child labor. Through Fairtrade, farmers and workers take control and build sustainable futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Fairtrade America states…”The difference between “Fairtrade” and “fair trade” is that “Fairtrade” refers only to Fairtrade organizations (such as Fairtrade America) or products certified through the Fairtrade International system. Conversely, “fair trade” can refer to many different things – the fair trade movement, fair trade products generally, products that claim to be fairly traded but do not carry the FAIRTRADE Mark.”

To read a very informative and interesting article from Fairtrade America….CLICK HERE!

[ No yard, no problem! Composting in small spaces. ]

Many of you already know about traditional backyard composting, but there are other options out there to help you recycle your organics at home. Today, I’ll cover some basics on two composting methods you may not have heard of yet: vermicomposting and bokashi.

Earlier this year, our Hotline Manager, Amanda, wanted to increase her composting knowledge, much like our Education Manager and Master Composter-in training, Erika. After taking a series of classes, Amanda wanted todreamstime_s_16107361 (2) share these two new methods that are great for small spaces. Read on to learn the basics of two innovative composting methods; perhaps you’ll find one that works for you! 

To Read the Full Article from I Love a Clean San Diego, CLICK HERE. 


[ Food: Too Good to Waste! ]

We often do not realize the amount of food that is thrown away every day. In 2013 in the U.S., we disposed of over 35 million tons of spoiled and leftover food. This food ends up in landfills and produces methane and dreamstime_xl_43160600 (2) (300x203)other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

But the news is not all bad! With a little effort and planning, we can significantly cut down the amount of food waste and create economic, social and environmental benefits.

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has created a food recovery strategy to help us do so. It includes 5 simple steps in the following order: Source reduction, feeding the hungry, feeding animals, composting and finally landfilling what cannot be used.

Click on the link below to for a really neat page that allows you to click on a certain food, to see ways that you can stop wasting that particular food.


The three steps are easy: Reduction, Donation and Processing.

Reduce: The best way to cut down food waste is to reduce the volume of food disposed. This can be done by tracking where and how food is wasted, reducing the number of menu items and portion sizes, providing self-serve options, discounting products that are close to their expiration date and using proper food storage techniques.

For all 3 stips and TONS of great information…CLICK HERE!

[ Six Simple Tips to Reduce Waste in Your Home ]

(StatePoint) The amount of trash people produce has increased a whopping 10,000 percent over the past 100 years, according to Terracycle, a company that handles hard-to recycle materials.55382de9 (640x480)

Starting in April for Earth Month, personal care company Tom’s of Maine partnered with TerraCycle to inspire less waste going to landfills. With the average American producing over 30 pounds of trash per week, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the #LessWasteChallenge is a simple pledge that encourages households to reduce trash by just one pound per week.

Reducing waste is actually easier than you may think! Some simple tips from TerraCycle to reach that one pound goal include:

• Use reusable containers when possible when packing lunch for you and your family. They travel better and reduce waste.

• Thirsty? Start carrying a reusable water bottle with you to refill throughout the day. By doing so, you can prevent over three pounds of plastic from ending up in a landfill each year, according to Ban the Bottle.

• The average person’s yearly bill payments require the use of 23 pounds of wood to produce, according to Pay it Green Alliance. Modernize and green your banking by requesting to receive your bills online.

Likewise, environmental group 41pounds.org says you can reduce paper waste by 41 pounds annually by unsubscribing from junk mail lists, and sending greetings online versus using paper holiday and birthday cards.

• Kitchens can also be a wasteful place. Skip the paper plates and take the extra moment to use real dishes. Likewise, swap out paper towels and stick to reusable dishtowels instead.

• Choose toiletries wisely. For example, opt for a razor with changeable cartridges instead of throwing out the disposable variety each week. Likewise, seek out brands that package products with recycled materials that can be recycled again after use.

• Be sure to learn what is recyclable in your jurisdiction and also put these materials in the proper bins. Also consider reaching out to TerraCycle to sign up your community or home for some of their recycling programs. It’s an easy way to keep items out of landfills, while also raising money for your favorite cause!

Are you up to the challenge of reducing waste this year? You can learn more by going to TomsofMaine.com/LessWaste to easily take the #LessWasteChallenge pledge with just one click.

A few simple steps today can help secure a happy and healthy future for our children and the generations yet to come.

[ Are Your Favorite Restaurants and Stores Going Green? ]

(StatePoint) Some of your favorite restaurant chains and major supermarkets are teaming up with conservation groups and interested citizens to help protect the environment and sustain fisheries long term.Shopping Cart (640x427)

Consumers and major chains like McDonalds and Costco are increasingly voicing their concerns about sustainability issues that impact the planet and what we put on our family’s plates.

You may not realize it, but the largest canyons in the world are not found on land, but actually deep in the ocean off the coast of Alaska. These areas are teeming with marine life significant to the ecosystem and the economy. While out of sight, experts say these important canyons should not be out of mind for families when they make decisions about where to shop and at which chain restaurants they choose to dine.

“The fragile corals and sponges in the Bering Sea canyons are valuable habitat, providing food, spawning and nursery zones, and shelter for commercially important fish and crab species and an array of marine life at the base of the food chain,” says Jackie Dragon, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace. “When massive and heavy fishing gear comes in contact with slow-growing, fragile corals and sponges, the fishing gear wins, and the ecosystem loses.”

Fishery managers on the east coast have already taken measures to restrict bottom-contact fishing in areas that contain known deep-sea coral or sponge communities, a policy aligned with guidance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. However, efforts to enact such measures in the highly productive, so-called “Green Belt” in the Bering Sea have proven controversial, and have been vocally opposed by fishing group lobbyists.

“The Bering Sea is America’s ‘fish basket’ and it makes sense to protect the ecosystem that puts food on our supermarket shelves,” says Dragon. “Alaska has a reputation for having the finest fisheries management, but on this issue they need to catch up with fisheries on the east coast.”

More than a dozen of the largest supermarket chains and seafood buyers, including Safeway, McDonalds and Costco have joined conservation groups and hundreds of thousands of citizens in urging fishing restrictions that scientists say would protect these ecosystems, helping to sustain the fisheries long term. More about these efforts can be found at www.BeringSeaCanyons.org.

Greenpeace recently released its 9th annual Carting Away the Oceans report, which gives consumers a look into how their local supermarkets are scoring on sustainable seafood. Learn where your supermarket stands on protecting the Bering Sea canyons here: www.greenpeace.org/usa/research/carting-away-the-oceans-2015.

“This is the first time that supermarkets and big buyers of fish fillets have ever brought their substantial weight to bear on these policy decisions” says Dragon. “Consumers can make an impact by shopping at stores and eating in restaurants that support sustainable fishing.”

[ A Sustainable Thanksgiving Is Possible ]

Sustainable_Thanksgiving-thumbMany Americans are thankful for a fantastic feast, including the nearly 90 percent who say they enjoy turkey on “Turkey Day.” But with the feast comes food waste—according to WorldWatch Institute, we generate three times as much food waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as we do the rest of the year.

Annually, the world trashes approximately one-third of all the food it produces, and the U.S. is responsible for more than 36 million tons of that.

Thankfully, there’s ways to reduce that amount. Nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that eating Thanksgiving leftovers are even more important than the dinner itself! Join them by repurposing leftover food, then composting and recycling as much as you can.

Click here or on the image below for the list of helpful tips from beginwiththebin.org