How Climate-Friendly is Your Dinner Table?

7 Links Between the Food on Your Plate and Our Changing Climate: that was the eye-catching title of a June 13, 2017 online article in Modern Farmer.

Organic advocates proudly point to improved water quality and better habitat for the birds and bees as a result of their food choices. But what of the biosphere and its ability to sustain life as we know it? How do you measure the global warming impact of what’s on your plate?

The article goes on to consider the greenhouse gas effects of many of our favorite foods.

Did you know that:

  • “Organic” and “sustainable” have virtually nothing to do with each other?
  • Lettuce is three times more carbon-intensive than bacon? (Michael Symon should enjoy that tidbit!)
  • Grains, on the whole, are low carbon-intensive? (Rice cultivation, however, is estimated to be responsible for 10% of all global agricultural emissions.)
  • Meats, butter, and cheese have a larger carbon footprint than milk?
  • The components of beef chili produce more than twenty times as much greenhouse gas as the ingredients in lentil soup?

According to the article, the food system produces as much as 29% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, more than transportation, energy production, or any other human endeavor.

  • Click here to read the full article.
  • To do your own research, follow this link to the Food Carbon Emissions Calculator.
  • A link to a further website, eatlowcarbon.org, lets you explore the greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 100 meals.

One issue that the article does not specifically address is the effect of transportation (although the Food Carbon Emissions Calculator does so). The lettuce you grow in your garden may be more sustainable than the bacon you bought at the supermarket — but if you grow your own pork, all bets are off.

This article may or may not change your eating habits, but if you’re having a day when you want to do something nice for the planet, it might help you decide to make your smoothie with peaches and almond milk instead of strawberries and yogurt.

While this issue is a little aside from Keep It Out of the Landfill’s usual focus on waste reduction and disposal, I was struck by its presentation of facts and resources.

Want to stay in touch with the latest waste reduction/recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

Cuyahoga County Enrolling 2017 Master Recycler Class

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District is accepting applications for its 2017 Master Recycler class.

MasterRecyclerLogo

I took this class in 2013, and it was well worth the time and effort.

  • Our class consisted of a group of committed recyclers. Unless you work in the industry (and maybe even if you do), this probably doesn’t happen to you very often.
  • We got to know the Solid Waste Management District staff and the valuable functions they provide for the communities in Cuyahoga County.
  • The lectures and tours (five lectures, alternating weekly with four tours/field trips) explored and clarified many of the confusing aspects of recycling and what determines what goes into the recycling bin.
  • In lecture sessions, we heard from experts in waste management and from many of agencies that reuse, repurpose, or recycle materials that would otherwise go into the landfill.
  • Our tours took us to waste management facilities of various types, explained and demonstrated each facility’s purpose and operations, and gave us ample opportunity to talk with the facility’s representatives.
  • One tour in particular, our visit to the Cleveland Habitat for Humanity ReStore, was particularly joyful for me: I discovered a kitchen appliance that I later purchased. (See my blog post Shopping Recycled: How I Replaced My Jenn-Air Range at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Saved Over $2,000.)

I encourage anyone with a commitment to sustainability, zero waste/waste reduction, waste management, or recycling to consider the Master Recycler program.

What can you expect from the Master Recycler program?

  • You’ll have the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of solid waste management issues and practices, including waste reduction, composting, and recycling.
  • You’ll become familiar with the Solid Waste District’s programs and resources.
  • You’ll develop the personal resources to advocate for recycling and sustainability in the community and the workplace.
  • You’ll find opportunities for productive partnerships among your fellow participants.
  • Through service learning and volunteer opportunities, you can become a volunteer educator who can represent the District and its mission, and you’ll have countless opportunities to engage with other leaders in local sustainability efforts.

This year’s classes are held weekly on Thursday evenings, beginning September 14 and continuing through November 9. For application procedures and details about the program’s requirements and activities, program eligibility, and potential topics and tours, see the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District website.

Become a Master Recycler: learn how and why to Keep It Out of the Landfill.

Want to stay in touch with the latest waste reduction/recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

I Loved Those Penzey’s Catalogs, but They’re Doing the Right Thing.

For years, I’ve subscribed to the catalogs from Penzeys Spices: full of recipes and articles and mouth-watering descriptions of what their products can do for my cooking.

When I realized that I hadn’t received a catalog since last fall, I emailed their customer service people and found that they’ve replaced them with Penzeys One Email. (I eventually realized that this information was on page 2 of their Thanksgiving 2016 issue. I guess I’m not the careful reader that I think I am.)

I’ll miss the catalogs, but Penzeys has solved my moral dilemma. I always felt guilty about staying on their mailing list and ultimately adding the catalogs to the paper recycling bin, but I so enjoyed them that I was reluctant to go paperless.

Well, they’ve made the decision for me: Penzeys wants me to go paperless, I’ll go paperless. I’ve signed up for Penzeys One Email — product information, coupons, recipes, stories about the people who use their products, all the information that was in the catalogs.

Penzeys is doing the right thing: they’re Keeping Their Catalogs Out of the Landfill.

Want to stay in touch with the latest recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

Recycle Garment Hangers at Target Stores

Garment hangers are not the recycling no-no that I thought they are. Your local Target store will take them and reuse them. And when the hangers break, Target will recycle the plastic and metal parts to make plastic flowerpots and other gardening supplies. (Read Target’s full statement here.)

TargetRecyclingStation

Look for the recycling station at your local Target store.

So when you clean out your closet, whether to donate, recycle, or (I hope not) discard the clothing you no longer want or need, don’t throw away the hangers. If they’re plain wire hangers, take them to a dry cleaner who will recycle (or reuse) them. If they’re combination plastic and metal hangers, take them to Target. (Of course, Target also takes plain wire hangers.)

Congratulations, Target, on keeping garment hangers out of the landfill. That’s not only a sustainable business practice — it’s also a nice way to get customers into your stores.

Want to stay in touch with the latest zero waste and recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

This weekend, shop recycled at The Gathering Place Warehouse Home Furnishings Sale: April 22 and 23

Everything is half-price this weekend
at The Gathering Place Warehouse Home Furnishings Sale.
Click here for a look at just some of Northeast Ohio’s finest gently used furniture, china, glassware, artwork, home accessories, and jewelry available at this extraordinary event.

  • Saturday, April 22, 9 am–2 pm
  • Sunday, April 23, 11 am–1 pm


The Gathering Place Warehouse
accepts gently used furniture and other household items for resale. If you have items that you would like to donate, please contact Outreach Coordinator Cheryl Apisdorf (216-455-1501 or apisdorf@touchedbycancer.org.). Please note that The Gathering Place does not accept drop-off donations of furniture or household items at its Beachwood or Westlake locations or at its warehouse.The sale takes place at The Gathering Place Warehouse, 4911 Commerce Parkway, Warrensville Heights, Ohio (map). (Note that this is a different location from The Gathering Place.) Terms for all purchases are cash or credit cards only.

Funds raised by The Gathering Place Warehouse Home Furnishings Sale support the many free programs and services at The Gathering Place for individuals and families touched by cancer.

Shop recycled at The Gathering Place Warehouse Home Furnishings Sale: save money, take home beautiful things and keep heirloom-quality home furnishings from going to waste.

Want to stay in touch with the latest in recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

Protect yourself from identity theft: Community Paper Shred Day, Saturday, April 15 at Mentor Library

On Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mentor Public Library invites Mentor residents and library patrons to bring documents to be shredded to the Main Library’s auxiliary parking lot at the corner of Mentor Avenue and Sharonlee Drive (map).

Mentor Public Library is hosting the Community Paper Shred event in partnership with XPress Shredding of Mentor, at no cost to the library or participants. The event will go on no matter the weather: rain or shine, or even (oh, please, no!) snow.

Mentor Public Library logo

(credit: Mentor Public Library)

How much of your paper will be accepted?

Bring as many as five paper-storage boxes of documents (paper grocery bags are acceptable), which will be:

  • Unloaded from your car (you don’t need to get out of your vehicle).
  • Placed into locked bins.
  • Moved to a secured truck attended at all times by XPress Shredding staff.
  • Taken to XPress Shredding’s facility to be thoroughly destroyed.
  • Finally, recycled.

Protect your identity: shred your documents, and Keep Them Out of the Landfill.

Want to stay in touch with the latest in recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.

A Day With a Waste Collection Crew

What’s it like to do the waste collection job in one of our nation’s largest and most scrutinized cities? Kristin Musulin, reporter for the Waste Dive newsletter, recently spent a day with a Washington, DC waste collection crew. Read her thoughtful, informative story in Waste Dive’s August 29 issue.

Waste collection work is the fifth-most dangerous job in the country, and one of the most critical to our quality of life.

Want to stay in touch with the latest zero waste and recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page.