Whether you have a garden or not, you can put your food scraps and vegetable peels to good use, and do so while reducing the size of landfills and cutting down on your use of plastic garbage bags. The nitrogen- and carbon-rich compost you will generate can be used for enriching your plants' soil. Depending on things like available space, and budget of time and money, you can choose between different options.
First you want to gather up the ingredients for your compost that you already have lying around: Kitchen food scaps of all kinds, coffee grounds, anything made from paper including bags and boxes, wood chips, and of course grass clippings. Really the only things you may want to stay away from are meat and dairy products, just so that they don't attract wild animals.
Developed by Nature Works LLC, IngeoTM is a biopolymer used to make everything from packaging and consumer goods to fibers for apparel, furnishings and home and garden, that is derived from renewable resources instead of oil.
Clearing up a few concerns about Ingeo.
The high cost of crude oil continues to reinforce the growing need for renewable-resource-based alternatives. The cost of Ingeo biopolymer is comparable to other conventional plastics materials. Longer term, Ingeo biopolymer has the potential to even be cost advantaged compared to petroleum-based resins.
Nature Works production of Ingeo utilizes dextrose as the base feedstock used in a fermentation process (much like beer or wine) which converts sugar to lactic acid. They use that lactic acid to then create a polymer, which is later converted to a variety of packaging and fiber applications. This dextrose is made from No. 2 yellow dent field corn in the U.S., which is already grown for many industrial & functional end-uses. In North America, corn has been used because it is the most economically feasible source of sugar. When the plant is at capacity, NatureWorks LLC will use less than 1/20th of 1% of the available annual global corn crop. Their process does not require corn. In the future they plan to move to non-food cellulosic feedstocks.
Is Ingeo bio-polymer edible?
The common application of Ingeo bio-polymer is cups, cutlery and containers. NatureWorks does not recommend ingesting any plastics items such as these. As such, while Ingeo bio-polymer is approved for food contact and well-suited for a variety of packaging applications, it is not recommended for human consumption. Ingeo bio-polymer, as with any plastic, would be a foreign body if accidentally ingested. Most swallowed foreign bodies pass harmlessly through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Ingeo bio-polymer has under gone extensive FDA extraction protocols to be approved as a food packaging material.
Today, there are no fabrics that are 100% “green;” organic and transitional cottons require large amounts of land and water; recycled P.E.T. (polyethylene terephthalate) is still a chemically driven, petroleum-based material; and many hemp and bamboo fabrics require a pulping process. So, when looking at the current options for environmentally “friendlier” fabrics, a strong choice is a material that provides the best blend of ecological and performance benefits; this turns out to be bamboo-based fabric. Three different types of bamboo blend are Bamboo viscose based fabrics, Nano bamboo infused polyester,and mechanically produced bamboo fabrics.
Conventional cotton farming is viewed by many as one of the most environmentally destructive agricultural practices. The process harms the air, water, soil, and the farmers’ health and safety. The cause of this harm comes from the huge amounts of pesticides used in conventional cotton farming. Although cotton occupies three percent of the world’s farmland, it uses more than ten percent of the pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants. When pesticides are sprayed from the air, they spread easily to surrounding neighborhoods, with an estimated ten percent of the spray actually accomplishing their goal. The rest are absorbed by plants, soil, air, water, and our bodies—killing wildlife and harming ecosystems. The US Fish & Wildlife Service reports that millions of fish and birds are killed every year from the legal application of pesticides.
When it comes to cotton, the best way to reduce the pesticide problem is to go organic, for organic cotton is grown without chemical fertilizers, defoliants, pesticides, or herbicides, and from untreated, non genetically-modified seed. By the farmers rotating the crops to replenish and maintain the soil’s fertility, they control pests and weeds naturally, using insect predators, traps, or botanical pesticides that are broken down quickly by oxygen and sunlight. As a result, organic farming is healthier and safer for farmers, fieldworkers, and nearby communities. Another benefit of growing cotton organically is that small-scale farmers who don’t have the means to buy expensive pesticides can compete with lower overhead. And organic cotton farming uses significantly less water and electric power than conventional cotton farming techniques.
So the next time you are looking to outfit your company with branded clothing, be sure to choose textiles that are made from Organic Cotton!
Bamboo is a fantastic green alternative to traditional wood based products. As many of our customers are thrilled with the bamboo cutting boards that we offer, they often ask about the best way to clean them. Here is a great method to try:
- Rinse the bamboo cutting board with hot water right after you use it, and add a bit of natural dishwashing liquid. Scrub both the front and back, then rinse with hot water.
The room where food is prepared, stored and often enjoyed requires constant vigilance. Splatters, spills and errant crumbs can build up and collect out of sight, encouraging harmful bacteria.
Baking Soda and Water: Reclaim counters by sprinkling with baking soda, then scrubbing with a damp cloth or sponge. If you have stains, knead the baking soda and water into a paste and let set for a while before you remove. This method also works great for stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, containers, refrigerators, oven tops and more.
Plastic storage bags are easy and convenient, but they're also disposable and wasteful. Often we toss sandwich and freezer bags after using them only once into landfills. The first option is to wash and re-use the bags. Sandwich bags may not stand up to much abuse, but freezer bags can handle several washings.
Recently, things have gotten better as we have the option of recycling these bags at any plastic bag-recycling bin, like those now found at many grocery stores and supermarkets. According to a Ziploc spokesman, those bins we all thought were for plastic shopping bags are good for other plastic bags too.
Packaging makes up more than 30% of all consumer waste, according to the EPA. So making a dent in all those boxes, cans and piles of plastic wrap will have a real impact by simply purchasing from bulk bins at your favorite market. Ideally, bring your own reusable containers to the store and fill up with what you'll need. If you need to store your items when you get home, choose containers that can be cleaned and reused when finished.