Tag Archives: recyclable

Doggie Bags: A Sign of Awareness Not Embarrassment

When is the last time you asked to take leftovers home from a restaurant? Today, more and more chefs and restaurateurs do not want to see good food go to waste, and encourage the idea of diners taking food home that they haven’t finished. But it wasn’t always this way, and to this day, many diners are still not comfortable with the practice.

doggiebagontable3According to the Smithsonian Institute’s blog Food & Think, the custom of using “doggie bags” started in the U.S. in the 1940’s during the Second World War, when pet owners were encouraged to feed table scraps rather than pet food to their dogs. And in 1943, San Francisco cafes started an initiative against animal cruelty by offering patrons “Pet Pakits” — cartons designed specifically to carry home leftovers for their pets. Around that same time, one Seattle restaurant provided diners with waxed paper bags labeled “Bones for Bowser.” Restaurants around the country started to follow suit, and by the mid 1950’s, doggie bags went into production. Before long, people were requesting doggie bags to take home food for themselves rather than their pets.

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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/

Takeout Lunch Boxes – What To Choose

When it comes to lunch boxes, you always have plenty of options and it is not always easy to pick yours. Here is something to help you out a little. First of all, ditch the plastic or foam clamshells. Not only foam containers are about to be banned anyway (read more about this here), but plastic containers are not Eco-friendly and are terrible for the environment. When you choose your takeout solutions – the ones you want to offer your customers – make sure you go for Eco-friendly ones.

Are you looking for an easy way to pack your food to go, something that could help you transport different meals all together and keep your food safe? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at those pretty, yet functional, takeout round containers. Microwavable, grease resistant and even stackable, they are perfect to transport any type of food home or even to work. Soup, salad, past… Just name it!
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The best part is that as they are stackable, you can prepare lunch combinations, put them in one of these amazing takeout lunch boxes and carry them all together. Big enough to fit a box for your appetizer, a box for your entree and even a box for your dessert, this takeout lunch box is the perfect to-go solution and guess what, it is Eco-friendly! 100% recyclable, containers and lunch boxes make a great couple and you just can’t be disappointed in them.

kray-blogIf you are looking for square takeout boxes instead of the round buckets, the takeout lunch box can also fit those beautiful Kray boxes. Brown or white and available in many different sizes, they make it really easy to offer very personalized solutions to all of your customers!

Think out of the box and start preparing delicious combination to be taken-out, you will make your customers very happy.

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

Eco-Friendly Christmas: Host A Green Dinner Party

I don’t know if it is something you are aware of but every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas Americans throw away a million additional tons of garbage. A million! It is huge and unbelievable and yet true.

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Christmas is coming and now that you know that you might want to try to be responsible and as green as possible. Luckily, there are easy ways to go green at Christmas while saving time and money – most of the time.

First of all, most of you get a Christmas tree and who can blame you, it definitely bring the Christmas spirit in your home! Be smart about the kind of tree you get. Most reusable fake trees are not recyclable and very bad for the environment so use a real tree and pay attention to where it is coming from and how it has been grown. When it comes to your house and tree decorations, use natural products as much as possible! You can use flowers, or even make tree decorations with dry fruits.

 

What about the lights? Choose to use LED lights whenever possible. Not only are they more efficient but they also don’t need as much power which will be great for your power bill by the end of the month! Also don’t forget to turn your tree lights off when the room is empty – what’s the point?

Now what about your Christmas party? You are more than likely going to have some people over or host a Christmas gathering and being green is a very important thing.

First of all, try not to send paper invites. At this time where social media is so popular, is a lot cheaper and eco-friendly to send e-invites via emails, Facebook or even cellphones. If you really have to send paper invites, use recyclable paper and consider making them yourself instead of buying them.

You are now going to have to set the table and if you are having a lot of people over, you might not want to use reusable tableware and save yourself some time when the party is over. Don’t worry, there are a lot of eco-friendly disposable options you can choose from!

sugarcane-platesIf you want a classy table, my advice would be to go for compostable sugarcane plates and dishes. Stylish and 100% eco-friendly, they are also very functional as they are sturdy, grease resistant and microwaveable. You can also get matching sugarcane trays and sugarcane bowls depending on what you are going to serve!

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If you are looking for a more natural and rustic look, bamboo plates are definitely your best bet. Natural and biodegradable, they will add a special touch to your table and come in various sizes and shapes. Also grease resistant, microwaveable and leak proof, your guests will love them.

 

As far as the food you are going to serve, keep in mind that going organic is the best eco-friendly option. Many stores offer organic food, wine and beer and as organic products become available in more and more places, prices go down. Choose to serve pitchers of water instead of plastic bottles.

And last but not least, when it comes to gifts try to shop online to save gas and avoid the crowds. If you really have to go to the mall, think about bringing reusable shopping bags and save the earth some trouble. Choose eco-friendly packaging and try not to use wrapping paper as it ends up being a huge waste by the end of the night.

Have a great eco-friendly Christmas and as the French would say, “Joyeux Noël”!

Check out all of our great eco-friendly products at www.packnwood.com