Posts Tagged ‘waste’
Next to food packaging, tissues might actually be runner-up for “most household waste generated” on a regular basis – especially during allergy season. According to Innovateus, an individual in an American household uses nearly 50 lbs of tissue paper per year! Don’t want the waste on your conscience? Applying the precycling approach (reduce, reuse, then recycle) to tissues is fun and rewarding.
The zero waste solution? Reusable tissues (and napkins), made from spare fabric, cloth, or apparel. Making Do With The Not So New offers a good walk-through for this, suggesting the following easy steps:
1. Cut fabric to 12×12″ for a tissue, 16×16″ for a napkin.
2. Hem the edges with a sewing machine.
Just think – new, soft tissues from those T-shirts you haven’t worn in months, great conversation-starters, and 50 lbs of waste reduced! Wins all around.
You may want to consider…
1. Setting out little baskets or dishes with your new hankies around the house for easy access.
2. Placing some sort of receptacle for used hankies in an easy location for guests.
(image via: Making Do With The Not So New)
Tired of dropping money on so many cleaning products? Make your own! Tsh Oxenreider, of SimpleMom, does a great job of explaining how easy (and *healthy*) it is to make your own non-toxic cleaners on her blog and in her latest book.
Tsh notes the following benefits of do-it-yourself cleaners:
1. Non-toxic cleaners are perfectly safe around children.
2. Non-toxic cleaners keep the air you breathe clean.
3. Non-toxic cleaners are much, much cheaper.
4. Non-toxic cleaners don’t harm the environment.
We add these benefits to the list:
5. Making your own cleaners reduces packaging waste (if you’re reusing your bottles).
6. Making multi-purpose cleaners saves space in your home, since separate cleaners aren’t always necessary for every household cleaning task.
Check out Tsh’s recipe here, on her blog. We’ll offer each of the simple ingredients in our store, package-free.
Ever wonder if you could recycle a film container? What about corks, or used CDs? These items, and many other “gray area” things, are usually not recyclable – but remember, within the “precycling” philosophy (reduce, reuse, then recycle), recycling’s the last step when it comes to minimizing waste.
Here’s a way to reuse some of the more “random” household items: the Austin Children’s Museum at 2nd and Colorado accepts the following items as donations, to be used for interactive museum activities:
-toilet paper/paper towel tubes
-yogurt/plastic cups (washed)
-paper/cardboard boxes (no cereal boxes)
-Styrofoam egg cartons (though the museum’s not taking these until further notice)
-plastic bottle caps
-paper: 8×8 inches or larger
-cardboard: 8×8 inches or larger
-yarn or string: 1 foot or longer
-fabric: 8×8 inches or larger
-materials that will inspire creativity in young minds. for example; wires, bulldog clips, clothespins, magnets, paperclips, etc.
-any design materials, materials books (carpet books, fabric books, material samples, etc)
HOW TO DO IT
You can drop off these goods at the museum during normal business hours. To decrease the workload of the museum’s volunteers, the museum has asked donators to sort your donations into (reusable or recyclable!) bags of like items.
If you have questions about Design Center supply donations, or have a donation you are unsure about, please call the museum at +1 512 472 2499, ext 202.
(image via: Austin Children’s Museum)
We’ve talked a lot about our society’s food waste problems. If you want to know how bad those problems are, just consider the fact that as a country we feed landfills as fast as we feed people. Buying in bulk, in.gredients style, gives you better control over food waste in your home – but what about at restaurants? There’s almost always the option of taking any extra food home, perhaps in your own containers – but here’s an example of a restaurant that cracked down on food waste in an extraordinary way (and probably didn’t offer to-go containers): Hayashi Ya, a Japanese buffet venue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side that closed its doors in 2009, added a 30 percent surcharge to customers’ tabs if they didn’t finish what was on their plate. The hope – reported YumSugar, who interviewed Hayashi Ya’s manager Ben Lin in late 2008 – was to reduce waste on the back-end in addition to the front-end. Implementing waste-minimization incentives for customers, Lin thought, would keep Hayashi Ya from carrying a surplus of ingredients in their inventory, which would put them at risk of spoiling good food.
There’s a lot of truth to that thought – but obviously, the charge-for-unfinished-food strategy didn’t fly with customers. This isn’t surprising, considering the better actions Hayashi Ya could have taken to reduce food waste (composting on site and gardening, having compost picked up using a service, encouraging the use of reusable to-go containers, not serving food buffet-style, etc, etc). But the restaurant’s root idea wasn’t wild at all: we care about reducing food waste, and want to inspire (or, um, require) our customers to care too, and by doing so we can reduce our own costs and waste behind the scenes.
So, what do you think of the charge-for-unfinished-food approach? Is it a good idea for restaurants? Or is composting, bring-your-own to-go container, or something else a better approach? Or is building your business model completely around waste reduction the healthiest way (or only way) to promote sustainable living?
Our IndieGoGo fundraising campaign ended Saturday morning at midnight. Thanks to you, we raised $15,455 of our $15,000 goal! We appreciate your support – the funds we raised will be used to help get our store up and running.
Renovations inside our Manor Road storefront have begun. Visible changes to the site will become more dramatic as our permitting process moves along. In the meantime, you’ll be able to get excited about upcoming volunteer opportunities throughout the building process and a pre-opening event (more details to come).
As a team, we’re working as hard as we can to keep things on schedule and prepare in.gredients for opening day. Yes, it’s tiring work – but we’re passionate for our cause. We’re excited to extend bulk to the entire grocery store, introduce BYOC (bring your own container) as a way to shop sustainably, and give Austinites the chance to enjoy local, organic food while minimizing waste. Later this fall, you’ll be able to swing by in.gredients for a glass of wine, a mug of coffee, a lunchtime meeting, or your grocery list – without having to worry about how much waste you’re generating.
Keep following us, and stay in touch!
Your grocery pioneers,
The in.gredients team
in.gredients‘ summer intern; photojournalism student at UT.
Hi there! I don’t know if we’ve been properly introduced. My name’s Kae Wang and I’m a photojournalism student at UT – that’s me (top left) with my handy reusable water bottle. For the last two months, I’ve helped get the store off the ground by piloting our Twitter, Facebook, and blog handles. It’s been great to have experienced the initial response to our store. I’ve watched you faithful fans help us hit our IndieGoGo Goal (with 9 days to spare!) and read every single one of your encouraging bits of feedback. All I can say is WOW.
This is my last post for in.gredients, and I want to give you each a big hug and thank you for following!
Before I bid you adieu, I’ll share some fun things I learned and a few behind-the-scenes secrets:
- Sometimes ideas for my Facebook “curious” questions came from the most unlikely places. Example: My roommate was cleaning out our pantry and our apartment was literally filled with cereal boxes.
- The most facebook “like” we received was from one of our readers’ clever quote on tomatoes:
Oops, mistakes happen…did you catch me?
- Once I tweeted how we were $5 away from $13,000, but we were really $555 away. Guess it’s a good thing I’m a journalism major and not a math major.
- Sometimes I would forget to link pictures in my tweets including this one: Solution to bringing home groceries when biking http://tiny.cc/06dps <woohoo, I was able to to it properly this time
A sampling of the things I learned:
- The guys behind in.gredients work non-stop. It’s a small, dedicated team working round the clock to get the store up and running.
- We have the best fans ever. You want in.gredients to happen, and you have supported us from the start.
- Always carry a reusable water bottle. If you’re like me and guzzle water like a camel, all those plastic cups you use eating out really adds up.
- Reusable grocery bags aren’t just for grocery shopping!
- Working towards a zero-waste lifestyle means “refusing” as much as you can. No more accepting random free stuff from college tabling.
- Taking the time to shop, cook, and sit down to eat is an important habit to build NOW… yes, I mean it, right now, please start. In this fast-paced world, we need to slow down and teach our children and friends that organic, healthy eating needs to be a priority.
- We only wear 20% of what’s in our closets. What a waste. When I moved into my new place I made sure to donate everything I didn’t wear to Goodwill. Here’s a tip: my friends and I like to do a clothes swap twice a year. I also resell my clothes to Buffalo Exchange. If you refuse a bag, they will give you a 5 cent token to donate to a local organization. Great concept!
In case you missed it:
My first entry on the blog: Zero-Waste Home
My favorite tweet: Toilet Paper Roll Art
Before working at in.gredients, I thought I was pretty health-conscious and environmentally aware. But boy was I wrong. During my internship I learned more than I ever thought I would about healthy eating and real food – emphasis on the word “real” – and how important it is to reduce waste. I remember when I walked into the grocery store a few weeks into my internship, I was completely floored by the packaging. In the past when I went to the store, I just thought, “hmm… where’s the milk… I need grapes,” but now all I see is how much unnecessary packaging there is in the store, and how much it contributes to waste streams!
This internship’s been great, even when I gave up shampoo/conditioner ;) Thank you again. Look out for me, I’ll be the first one at the door when the store opens.
We want to give a huge, public THANK YOU to all our donors and fans for helping us reach our fundraising goal on IndieGoGo. 220 of you decided in.gredients was important enough to you to help make it happen. And now, two months after starting our campaign, we have $15,000 to jump start our store. in.gredients IS coming to Austin!
Your support’s been vital to our success so far. We’ve been thrilled to have so many of you behind our idea – you’ve shown not just us, but the entire country, that you’re ready for a more sustainable way to shop for groceries. You’ve also helped tell the masses that you’re ready for better food, for prioritizing “local,” and for reducing waste. While we want in.gredients to be a model for the “next generation” of groceries, we can’t do it without your support. And you’ve given it to us…big time.
That being said, we’re peddling as fast as we can toward opening day – when you can finally support us by shopping in our store! In the meantime, join our mailing list for updates, sign up to volunteer, and keep spreading the word. :-)
Shooting for $16,000?
If you still want to donate to our IndieGoGo campaign, please do (in the next 9 days)! The “bonus round” begins now!
Mark Bowers shows that “recycling does not have to be this complicated” in his creation- Re(Cycle). He ends up designing a very sophisticated, interactive exhibit that performs the simplest of task (i.e. recycles your water bottle for you). It engages people to be responsible and to rethink waste.
Simply place your plastic bottle on the bin, take a golf ball from the container and crank it up the belt to the top. Then, follow it on its journey until it knocks your recycling into the bin.
(video and image via: Mark Bowers)
A documentary on waste and dumpster diving (via: Dive!)
The film exposes the enormous amount of landfill-bound food waste originating from grocery stores in the US. We hope this is as disturbing to you as it is to us. At in.gredients, our zero-waste business model doesn’t allow anything to be sent to the landfill – meaning what little food waste we generate will be composted and eventually sold as finished compost.
Highly-processed, chemically-treated foods are cheaper because you’re paying for them with your taxes. After World War II, the US government (and other European governments) needed to ensure that the severe food shortages experienced during the war didn’t happen again – and began to heavily subsidize agrochemical (generic for farm chemicals and preservatives) agriculture with tax dollars to promote mass food production. Common agrochemicals include such corn-based preservatives as dextrose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, and absorbic acid. The subsidies worked. Argochemicals weren’t designed to be nutritious or tasty, but rather to boost production as cheaply as possible. So while chemically-fueled food products are cheaper, they also lack in quality.
Organic farmers don’t receive any subsidies from the government, so they have to charge more for their product to stay profitable. Since their foods are of better quality than non-organic products, the higher cost is justifiable to the consumer – though frustrating since we don’t typically think of food as something to spend extra money on. Still, eating healthily is important, and eating organic and natural foods is legitimately better for you than eating the alternative. And that’s more expensive. But in.gredients offers an alternative shopping method that lowers your barrier of entry into healthy grocery shopping: ultimate portion control.
Portion control isn’t just healthier. It’s more affordable. In typical supermarkets, you don’t have control over how much you buy outside of the deli and produce sections of the store. Most food is pre-packaged, so the amount and cost is determined for you. In this system you can’t always guarantee you’re buying exactly what you plan to use. If you need 1/4lb of granola, for example, you may have to resort to buying 1lb of it for a higher cost. If you need 3 cups of curry powder, you may have to buy 4 small containers of it to have enough. In these scenarios, you’re not only spending more for what you need – you’re generating more food and packaging waste. Were the 4 small containers really necessary? And what about all that extra granola?
Having control over how much you buy helps you spend less, reduce waste, and make your grocery shopping more efficient. That’s why our shopping model is so appealing. We want our customers to have affordable access to good food, so selling everything in bulk lets our shoppers choose exactly how much they spend while reducing their waste production.
Consumerism doesn’t fit at in.gredients. While we’re a for-profit business, we’re not selling our shelves to companies after exponential-volume sales. We’re out to prove that a for-profit grocery store can make organic more affordable, make local food more accessible, and make waste reduction more practical – and make your dollars good dollars by giving a portion of our revenue to local community programs.