Friday, February 26, 2010

My favorite countertop compost bucket

Our biggest problems with collecting food waste for curbside (not backyard) composting were moisture and odor. Sometimes there'd even be a puddle of wetness at the bottom of our bin, and at times the smell would drive us to change bags even though the bag wasn't full. So I love the effective design of the BioBag Max Air food waste bucket. It's got holes on all sides, so it really breathes, allowing heat and moisture to escape from the cornstarch-based compostable bags and the food to dry out, greatly reducing odors. The pictures on BioBag's website speak volumes. The bin is made from Novamont's bioplastic resin based on vegetable starches. And it sells for only about $9 online!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Earth-friendly pet care

This post combines my two passions: the planet and pet health. Want to take care of the Earth and your dog and/or cat at the same time? Check these out:

One of the most important factors in raising a healthy pet is FOOD. I think feeding them grass-fed, free-range meats and bones along with fresh organic veggies is best. One wonderfully convenient option in southwest Minneapolis is Woody's Pet Food Deli (thanks, Ingrid!). Second best is finding a good commercial food, and Karma organic dog food is good for pets and good for the planet.

I also love World's Best Cat Litter. Cats really like the texture of the litter, and it's not mined like clay litter. Read more here.

An unavoidable part about having a dog is picking up after it. BioBag Dog poop bags are completely biodegradable and compostable. And I like the company's philosophy: "Remember, our goal is to help divert all naturally biodegradable waste from entering our landfills. This includes food waste, yard waste, paper waste and pet waste. If any of these items are placed in an anaerobic (air-locked) landfill, their natural ability to biodegrade can be severely diminished."

Check out hemp collars and leashes made in the U.S. by earthdog. And Planet Dog makes 100% recycled toys, hemp collars and leashes and organic cotton T-shirts for humans.

And to finish on a warm and fuzzy note: West Paw Design makes some wonderful eco-friendly dog beds, sweaters and toys. Their beds are made from 85% recycled soda bottles and are made in Montana, not outsourced overseas.

Some sites that focus on eco-friendly pet products: Olive Green Dog, Only Natural Pet.

See something I missed? Drop me a line.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Galactic Pizza, I wish there were many more like you

Galactic Pizza in south Minneapolis uses locally grown ingredients, mozzarella cheese free of bovine growth hormone, wind power, all recyclable or biodegradable packaging and they donate part of their profits to charity. And their bison sausage is free-range. And they compost. And on and on. Fantastic! AND their pies are mighty tasty!

Read more about their vision. They call themselves "planet-saving pizza," and if more restaurants and businesses adopted their philosophies, oh what a happy planet we'd have.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The love fest continues

This post features someone else doing things right, and that got me thinking, maybe I should devote a series of posts to Companies Doing The Right Thing.

I had lunch yesterday in St. Olaf's Stav Hall. There was a great variety of food, and it was good-tasting, too. As for the green aspects, WOW. There were signs encouraging students not to take more food than they could eat, results of an audit showing how much food was wasted and suggestions for how to improve, hormone-free local milk, fair-trade coffee, there were no throwaway plates, containers, trays or utensils and there were lots of healthful options. The food-service manager also buys local fruits and grains in season. And they're working on buying grass-fed beef! Way cool.

To read more about their environmental initiatives, click here.

Bon Appetit is the company that runs St. Olaf's food service, and they have information about their sustainable and socially responsible choices for food.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Go, Lunds!

I e-mailed Lunds because I noticed that my neighborhood store had added a big bin for co-mingled recyclables to their front entryway and that they offer quite a few brands of environmentally friendly dish and laundry soap (rather than just one like you'd see in some mainstream stores), so I was sending them a pat on the back. Read on to see what else they're doing! I of course prodded them to compost their food and paper waste, too.

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Lunds Penn Avenue location. The plastic bag recycling and environmentally friendly cleaning products are only a couple of the initiatives our company is doing to reduce, reuse and recycle. We are working with all of our vendors and suppliers to provide more sustainable packaging and are constantly increasing the numbers of organic and natural products in our stores. We have taken several steps over the past few years to reduce our power usage by changing electrical, heating and refrigeration systems to more environmentally-friendly ones.

We are also proud of our partnership with Second Harvest. For each reusable bag our customers bring to our stores, we donate 5 cents to Second Harvest. We have reduced our plastic and paper bag usage and have donated thousands of dollars to Second Harvest through this initiative."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Green dry-cleaning

We're pretty lucky in the Twin Cities to have quite a few environmentally friendly dry-cleaning services to choose from. There's
Prestige Cleaning Center with locations in SW Minneapolis and Uptown,
Colonial Cleaners on Lyndale in SW Minneapolis,
Mulberrys Garment Care in St. Louis Park and Minneapolis,
and then there's Clean 'n' Press, with a ton of locations all over the metro area. Each website details their green cleaning methods, and all accept hangers for reuse.

I'm sure I'm neglecting some dry-cleaning places, so let me know about them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I did not know this about Styrofoam

Written by the late great John Addington, styleatollah at the Star Tribune:

There is no such thing as a Styrofoam cup, or Styrofoam picnic cooler, or egg carton, or picnic plate. Dow Chemical Co. patiently informs us of this each time we use the trademark incorrectly, or when we use the word uncapped. Styrofoam is used in insulation, in buoyancy billets for boats and in decorative board. It is never used in consumer products. To be entirely proper we should just say plastic foam cup or whatever.