Tag Archives: biodegradable

Stow It, Don’t Throw It (Away) – Tips for Reducing Food Waste at Home

Fact: There are 7 billion people on this planet (estimated to grow to 9 billion by 2050), and about 925 million of those people are starving. You might be shocked and horrified to know that annually, approximately 1/3 of all the food produced for human consumption is actually wasted (as in, thrown in the garbage). That’s the equivalent of 1.3 billion tons of food, enough to feel 3 billion people (Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN).

thFood Waste is something that occurs toward the back end of the food chain, meaning, at the retail and consumer level. In general, the richer the nation, the higher its per capita rate of wasted food. In the *U.S., nearly 8% of food is lost in production, the food industry loses 4%, supermarkets are responsible for 6%, restaurants contribute 15% of the food in landfills, and households throw away nearly 25% of the food they buy.

Let’s break it down. According to FAO, globally 345 million tons of food are wasted at the consumer level– that is, in our homes. That number varies in different regions of the world. So where does the U.S. stand? And further, where do WE as consumers stand? In Latin America consumers waste 55 lbs/person/year; European consumers waste 209 lbs/person/year; and in North America, food wasted by consumers comes to 253 lbs/person/year. We waste more food in North America than any other region in the world.

The good news is that 60% of our food waste at home is avoidable. It basically comes down to 2 things: 1. stop buying more food than we need, and 2. stop cooking too much at mealtimes.

Solving the problem though is not as simple as just asking people to “reduce your food waste.” We all need to first identify WHY we are throwing food away, and then we can start working on our own solutions. We all have personal reasons why we are wasting / throwing so much of our food away. Some things to consider:

  1. Are we buying too much because we can’t remember what we already have at home? This leads to the next problem which is that we are not able to use what we have before it goes bad or spoils. One solution is to plan our menus and make lists — this is one of the most effective ways we can cut wastage AND food bills.
  2. Maybe we stayed late at work or made last minute plans to eat out several nights in a row.  The fresh food we had planned for those days goes uneaten, and eventually may go bad. Storing foods correctly could prevent spoilage, and keep foods fresh longer.
  3. Are we overbuying because we are being seduced by supermarket bargains and bulk packaging?
  4. Another reason for waste is that many people take the “use by” dates literally. This date only communicates peak freshness, not that food is unsafe and needs to be tossed.
  5. Are we cooking the right amounts for ourselves and our family?
  6. If we do have leftovers, are we storing them correctly in the fridge or freezer? When we forget to eat or use the leftovers, we end up scraping perfectly edible food into the garbage without thinking twice.

Here is video of Selina Juul’s TEDx talk on food waste. Selina is the Founder of the Stop Wasting Food movement in Denmark.

According to WRAP Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK 2012, the following foods are wasted the most by consumers in their homes:

  • Fruits & Vegetables = 27%
  • Drinks = 17%
  • Bakery = 11%
  • Meals = 10%
  • Dairy = 10%
  • Meat = 7%

There are plenty of other things that we can do to prevent waste like growing our own fruits and vegetables, sharing with neighbors, and being careful not to over order when we eat out. There’s even an app — Love Food Hate Waste — that allows us to easily keep track of food planning, shopping, cooking meals and making the most of leftovers.

Innovative packaging can help consumers buy and use food in portions to match their needs and reduce food waste from leftovers.

Coming soon: Give those dented apples and crooked cucumbers a chance — tips for reducing waste at the retail level.

Click here to see Packnwood’s Eco-Friendly Food Packaging.

Marathons Are Cleaning Up Their Act

If you are a runner, it’s likely that at some point you will make it your goal to run a marathon. No matter where you live, if you are a runner in search of a race, there’s bound to be one nearby (for a complete list, go to http://www.marathonguide.com). From New York City to Las Vegas to Honolulu and Beirut, there are literally hundreds of marathons to choose from every year. And with that, more energy use, litter and waste than you can possibly conceive.

The New York City Marathon, one of the biggest races of all, is coming up on November 2. Now imagine this: 47,000 people running 26.2 miles through the 5 boroughs of NYC, quickly downing Gatorade and strewing cups, banana peels, and energy bar wrappers along the way. According the NYC officials, following the 2011 marathon, more than 95 tons of litter, 6.53 tons of paper, more than 1,500 pounds of metal, glass and plastic, and over 2 MILLION paper cups were left behind from that single event.

file000716828272While 3 or 4 years ago, it was questionable whether marathons can be green at all, marathons today are setting a new standard, adopting greener practices and making great efforts to reduce their environmental impact.

Race organizers are finding earth-friendly ways to execute races from pre-race planning to post-race clean up. This includes working with caterers, vendors, suppliers, sponsors and expo exhibitors who are committed to reducing waste and emissions and who use only recyclable and compostable products.

One organization that is leading the way to encourage more sustainable approaches to marathons is The Council for Responsible Sport.

Founded in 2007, their vision is a “world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm.” Among other services, they have created a certification process whereby marathons adhere to specific guidelines, earn “credits,”  and are publicly acknowledged for their green efforts.

The Austin Marathon has earned the Silver Certification Award 2 years in a row from the CRS – long recognized at one of the “greenest races in North America.”  Known for the steps they take to reduce their environmental footprint and increase the social impact of the race, they even have a farmers market on-site and use recycled toilet paper in the porta potties.

Here are just a few of the many ways that marathons are reducing their environmental footprint:

  • 100% paperless race registration
  • Using solar-powered generators to provide electricity near the start and finish lines
  • Switching to race apparel made from organic cotton, bamboo and other eco-friendly materials
  • Providing recycling bins for cardboard, paper, plastic
  • Using renewable energy sources at health & fitness expos and post-race parties
  • Encouraging runners and spectators to use public transportation and carpools
  • Supplying compostable water cups for runners and compostable coffee cups/lids for volunteers and spectators
  • Using only biodegradable and compostable plates, cups and utensils at pre-and post-marathon meals
  • Create Waste Free Zones at the start and finish where everything must be reusable or recyclable
  • Enlisting clean up crews to divert race-related waste from going to landfills by recycling and composting

As runners, spectators, vendors, sponsors, suppliers, exhibitors and caterers, if we ALL commit to finding environmentally alternatives, responsibly produced marathons CAN and WILL be “the norm.”

sugarcane-cupsTo see our complete collection of compostable cups, plates and utensils, go to http://www.packnwood.com/

Planning an Event? It’s Time to Go Green


Having a green event is something that anyone can do — all it takes is a little bit of research and some planning. There are lots of “green party guidelines” available online, or you can always choose to hire a green caterer or environmentally committed party planner to help out. Because events tend to consume so many resources and generate quite a lot of waste, “greening” your next event is a great way to lessen the carbon footprint of your next big (or small) bash.

What IS a green event? It’s an event that is organized with the goal of minimizing waste and promoting sustainable actions.  It’s not just about recycling though — it’s about reducing the amount of resources used, encouraging the reuse of resources, and making sure that materials are properly disposed through recycling or composting as much as possible.

Most of the “standard” ways of planning an event usually do have environmentally preferable alternatives. Some examples might include sending paperless invitations, buying seasonal locally grown food and flowers, using natural or reusable decor, minimizing printed materials, and buying event supplies and tableware that are environmentally friendly.

Here’s something to think about: according to the Green Restaurant Association more than 113 BILLION disposable cups, 29 BILLION disposable plates and 39 BILLION disposable utensils are used in the U.S. each year. Wow.

Using compostable tableware and serving utensils are one of the easiest solutions to going green at your next event. Choices go from simple everyday designs to more stylish options for higher end occasions.

At PacknWood, our extensive range of party and catering supplies make planning your green event much easier. Our catering trays have recycled plastic lids that easily transform the trays into take-out boxes for party leftovers, and our Stylish Sugarcane collection is biodegradable and can be thrown right into the compost heap. And our cornstarch-based disposable utensils are designed to decompose soon after use in a compost bin.

squaresugarcaneround tray

Here’s another tip: if you choose compostable-ware,  it’s especially important to let people know WHAT IS WHAT, and WHERE TO PUT IT. People are used to throwing items that look like plastic (such as utensils) into recycling bins but compostables cannot be re-processed with regular plastic– they must go in the compost bin. Clearly label the recycling, composting and trash bins to let people know exactly where everything goes.


We would love to see pics of your next green event!

Eco-Friendly Wedding Receptions

When couples are getting married, they have to think about the kind of ceremony they want to have to celebrate what should be the happiest day of their lives. More and more couples decide to have an Eco-friendly wedding and it is a great think!

If you are a caterer or an event planner, you are more and more likely going to be asked to organize a “green” reception and you need to be prepared for that. Sending Eco-friendly invites, choosing Eco-friendly venues, dresses or rings, getting the guests green favors and going on a green honeymoon will be on the couple’s to-do list, but organizing the green reception and dinner will be on yours and here are a couple of ideas for you to do so in a fancy and original way.

  • When it comes to food and drinks, use local vendors and go organic! Having an organic menu doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your clients’ budget but it definitely means making them happy. Use locally grown food and organic products and make sure that you let your clients (and their guests) know about it!
  • If you use disposable items for the reception, make sure they are eco-friendly and biodegradable. The best example is of course when it comes to appetizers… You will need skewers! It is easy to have a classy and romantic presentation while staying Eco-friendly. Take a look at these skewers: From classic elegant skewers with white pearls to colorful flower skewers through romantic heart shaped skewers, you can find the perfect wedding skewers and be sure they are 100% Eco-friendly as they are made of bamboo. When it comes to sign clips, not only they are a great way to indicates your clients’ guests where they will sit but it is also a great Eco-friendly favor idea if they let their guests know that they can take them with them.



  • Still regarding appetizers, you may be looking for an original dish to serve them. Why not choose these beautiful wooden boats or bamboo boats? You can be sure that most of the guests have never seen that and they will all love it. Biodegradable and Eco-friendly, they are a great disposable option for weddings!

Make sure you recycle, compost and dispose everything in the smartest way possible and you can be sure that your clients will be satisfied clients!

Check out all of our other Eco-friendly products at www.packnwood.com.

Host A Eco-Friendly Mardi Gras Party

As you are all aware, the Holiday season is gone, we are all back to work and trying to deal with this cold weather… Does it mean that it is not time for partying anymore? Absolutely not! March is approaching which means the carnival season is almost there. The carnival season extends from the feast of Epiphany – that takes place on January 6th – until Mardi Gras that falls on Tuesday, March 4th in 2014. Literally “Fat Tuesday” in French, Mardi Gras is a day for music, parades, costumes and fun that takes place the day before Ash Wednesday.

The best and most well-known Mardi Gras party is of course in New Orleans but if you can’t make it this year, you can still host your own Mardi Gras party and have an amazing time by gathering some friends and re-creating the carnival spirit.

shrimp-skewerThe first thing you have to worry about when hosting a Mardi Gras party is of course the food! The best option is to go for many mini appetizers and mini dishes. Not only you can thus satisfy everyone by serving different things, but it is also easier to keep track on. Whenever you feel like the table is too empty you just have to bring more appetizers! Gumbo and boiled shrimps are a classic Mardi Gras food. Serve them on skewers for a nice presentation and don’t forget to also serve other kebabs for those who are not too fond of shrimps. Go for mini appetizers in mini dishes such as verrines to be served with it in order to keep a classy and upscale image throughout the night! Don’t forget to display different type of sauces to make sure everyone can find one they like.

But the most important part of a Mardi Gras party is of course the King Cake. Tradition coming from France, the King Cake maker hides a tiny one inch token inside of it and the finder of the little treasure gets good favors from the other guests, good luck for the coming year and sometime gets designated to host next year’s Mardi Gras party.

Mardi GrasAfter you have decided what food you are going to serve and how to display it, don’t forget to think about decorations! Mardi Gras is all about fun and entertainment. Decorate your house with the traditional colors! Purple (for justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power) are the three main colors of this amazing party. Get plenty of brightly colored beads and hand them to your guests to set the mood, but don’t forget not to throw them away after the party: you want to be able to use them year after year instead of wasting them!

And when it comes to entertainment, it is of course all about having fun, enjoying music, wearing costume and mask and getting creative with some face painting activities! Encourage your guests to follow the Mardi Gras spirit and “let the good times rolls!”

Check out Eco-friendly products you can use to serve your amazing food at www.packnwood.com et make sure your party is a great success!