How to stay sustainable with paper products
Have you thought about how sustainable your paper home products are? While the use of single-use plastics has (rightfully) been criticized, some products are made to be single-use - like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. With these products, it’s best to examine sustainability by looking at what goes into their production.
While recycled paper is still a worthy alternative to ‘fresh’ paper - reducing or repurposing waste is always a good thing - it’s not guilt-free. Because recycled paper can contain receipts, tickets, food wrappers, and similar materials, BPA plastics show up in many of these products.
Of course, the Co-op works hard to get the most sustainable products on the shelves so you don’t have to spend hours researching. The two most sustainable ‘paper’ materials for hygiene products are bamboo and sugarcane.
Bamboo is grown around the world; kids can usually identify it because of its association with pandas. (Don’t worry - industrial bamboo is a different species that is not taking away a panda’s next meal!) What makes bamboo so sustainable? First, rate of growth: bamboo can grow between a foot and 3.5 feet a day! That’s partly because bamboo is actually a grass, not a tree. Compare that to an oak tree that grows 12” annually. On a large scale, an Agriculture Department study found that bamboo produced 14 tons of fiber an acre, compared to 8 tons for loblolly pine.
Additionally, bamboo is known for producing more oxygen than most trees, and sequestering more carbon - so it can be argued that bamboo products are doing more for the environment than traditional lumber/paper sources.
The Co-op carries Bim Bam Boo bamboo toilet paper, and NatureZway’s bamboo paper towels and toilet paper.
Sugarcane is quickly becoming a sustainable alternative to traditional lumber, as well. Like bamboo, it’s a grass, not a tree, so it grows rapidly and re-grows within 3-4 months after harvest.
While not as visually recognizable as bamboo, most of us are familiar with sugarcane’s typical usage: to create sugar. But after that sugarcane juice is squeezed out, very high quality fiber is left behind - usually destined for the landfill or burning. But instead, this fiber is being repurposed for processing into paper products. How’s that for Zero Waste?
Most of the sugarcane paper products carried by the Co-op are mixes with bamboo, like Ecos toilet paper and paper towels. You can also find Ultra Green napkins, made entirely of sugarcane fiber.
More Co-op News
The Co-op has been asked if compostable plastic bags are a viable alternative to the standard plastic bags offered in the produce and meat departments.
For several reasons, compostable bags are not in line with the Co-op’s goals and standards.
Not compostable at home
We are happy to announce that we are a member of the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management program. This is a free program available to customers of Avista and Pacific Power, which offers awesome incentives including a paid internship!
We are grateful for the engaged community that supports the Ashland Food Co-op. We're a grocery store owned by you (with a few thousand of your friends). But your ownership isn't just coupons and discount; you help shape the future of the Co-op through the election of the Board of Directors.
This year, seven candidates are nominated for four board positions: two will serve a three-year term; one will serve a two-year term; and one will serve a one-year term. Additionally, the current board has proposed three by-law changes for approval.
The Farm Tour shines a spotlight on Southern Oregon - it represents the full range of products grown in the Rogue Valley. The Farm Tour isn't until July 14, but here's a list of tour activities for participating farms that are also on the shelves at the Ashland Food Co-op. Get an early taste of quality local goods!
By Emile Amarotico, General Manager
If we are lucky, we’ll only have another seven week smoke intrusion this summer. If we are not, we could be the next Paradise. In less than 13 hours, last November’s Camp Fire wiped out nearly 19,000 structures and more than 80 lives. With community help, we were able to raise over $14,000 to support Chico Natural Foods Co-op’s efforts to feed some of the nearly 20,000 displaced Paradise residents.
Did you know the Co-op employees have a small garden on our campus? Planning and management falls on our fantastic Co-op volunteer: Henry Herting.
Below, Henry shares some background on the garden, what it’s used for, and some additional tales from over the years.
Originally, the need for a kitchen garden arose from having a kitchen classroom in which culinary classes were being held. Visiting chefs have always been invited to use the garden for any ingredients they may have forgotten or items they could use as garnish for their dishes.
By Steve Bowman, AFC Board Director
By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator
Outside of work I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I find it a soothing space to create nourishing meals and lasting memories. I find it essential to be as eco-friendly as possible and a few changes can transform your kitchen into a sustainable center of your home.
Save money while working towards a more sustainable shopping experience! The Co-op bulk department is a great "first stop" for your grocery lists - everything from hummus mix to local honey to pet food is available. Plus there's less waste, all the way from shipping to ended up in your shopping cart.
Check out a quick tour below:
Enter your name and email below to be entered to win two film vouchers for the 2019 Ashland Independent Film Festival.
No purchase necessary. Giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by AIFF. US residents only. Entry will be closed at 5pm PT on Monday, April 15.
Many Co-op owners and shoppers have shared their interest in reducing plastic usage in the store. From bioplastics, to compostable plastics to recycling options, the Ashland Food Co-op continues to research what works best as we move towards our goal of being a zero waste store. Here is where we stand.
We are proud of a partnership with ACCESS that has benefited the community immensely over the past twenty years. Read on for more about the partnership, or watch the short video below.
By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator
How many times in the past month have you reached back in the fridge to snack on some fresh strawberries only to discover… mold?! In the United States, 40% of food is wasted every year. Luckily, how we address food waste can have a major impact. According to Paul Hawkin’s Drawdown, reducing food waste is #3 on the list of best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the Co-op, we use the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy as a guide to bettering our own practices.
Get to know Gianaclis Caldwell ahead of her class, "Easy Mozzarella and Burratta - From Scratch!" on March 7. Gianaclis is the author of the award-winning book Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking and owner of Pholia Farm.
Tell us how your love of cooking (or cheese) and food began.