I like to think of our Clean Bin Project as a competitive support group. Each of the three of us has our bins and are personally vying for the “least landfill trash generated in a year” title, but we also support each other and make sure we’re on track and making good waste decisions.
That’s why personal vacations are dangerous. You’re support group is not there when you need them. Temptation is everywhere. Especially, as it turns out, along the highways of Idaho and Washington where fast food joints jostle for advertising space and strip malls dominate the landscape.
Grant went away for a week “with the boys” in the United States and came back with unmistakable evidence of a fast food binge.
I don’t want to be spreading corporate spiel around and promoting big business, but this story was just too good to pass up. Kraft is bringing two of my favorite things – cheese and waste reduction – together. They have announced that two of their New York plants will be turning cheese whey into energy, thereby producing less waste and saving money.
Of course, they get to put a lovely green advertising spin on it all because the plants will now be using biogas instead of natural gas. But good for them. Why not save money and reduce waste at the same time?
Not to pretend I scooped this story myself, here it is its entirety at Green Biz.
The irony of course is that one of the plants manufactures string cheese, a product which, although extremely fun and silly to eat (yes, i have tried them), is essentially a tiny stick of cheese individually packaged in plastic. I do wonder if that string cheese plant really needs to exist in the first place. I also wonder whether the second plant which manufactures philly cream cheese has any plans to do other things such as reduce the amount of virgin plastic it uses in the creamcheese containers.
It seems to me that redesigning the products themselves might be better for the environment in the long run. If anything, I think this story highlights that although it’s great that large and very influential companies are jumping on board the green wave (expecially when it equals cost savings), there are still always more things that can be done. One step at a time I guess.
Following up on the theme of wasted food, introduced today by Mrs. Green over at My Zero Waste, I’ve been doing some research on food waste over here in North America.
Can you believe that 25% of our food goes into the trash?! That means for every 4 apples you buy, you throw one out. Seems ridiculous doesn’t it? And that statistic doesn’t even account for the food that never even makes it to the stores due to physical imperfections and crop disease.
We recently did an interview at our local green grocer, and we learned that, even though they discount food that is getting old and cut up veggies into stirfry bags when they are getting really old, they still throw out a lot of food. They told us that the number one perishible food in the store is berries. Sometimes an entire flat of blackberries is mouldy by the time it arrives at the store, and they have to throw the whole thing out. Or worse, when most of the fruits are going bad in a box, and it is often not worth the time to go through and pick out the good ones.
I’ve also been learning a lot from http://www.wastedfood.com/ by Johnathan Bloom. Johnathan is writing a book about food waste in America, and reports on all sorts of things such as how school cafeterias are saving food waste by eliminating trays. “How does that work?” you ask. Continue reading