Planet Aid:  Donation Motivation

OneCoffee™: The World’s 1st Biodegradable, Fair-Trade, Organic K-Cup Compatible Single-Serve Cup

Back to School with Waste-Free Lunch Collection

Quinoa

Runa Named Among the Best of 2013 at The SofiAwards

Oh La La - Sexy French Lingerie Goes Green

nature conserve

Planet Aid:  Donation Motivation

Planet Aid is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that collects and recycles used clothing and shoes to protect the environment and support sustainable development in impoverished communities around the world. The projects they support improve health, increase income, aid vulnerable children, train teachers, and help strengthen communities and reduce poverty.  Planet Aid's  work is supported by a wide range of businesses and governments, and they are registered with the U.S. Agency for International Development as a private voluntary organization (PVO).

Planet Aid launched in the Boston area in 1997.  The idea was to do something good for the planet and the poor.  With only a few drop-off boxes and a rented storage unit, they started collecting clothes and shoes. It wasn't long before their small rented space began to overflow.  Though they were growing fast, the aim remained the same: expand global environmental sustainability and mobilize resources to end poverty.

Today, Planet Aid is a highly efficient nonprofit business, recycling millions of pounds of used clothing nationwide every year.  Throughout their growth, they have remained true to their nonprofit ideals to support sustainable development around the globe.  The donations they received have gone a long way toward helping the poor find and grasp opportunities that lead to lasting improvements and a better quality of life. 

They continue to strive to make it as easy as possible for Americans to recycle their used textiles. When you drop off your unwanted items in one of their yellow drop boxes (check website for listing), you divert them from a trip to the landfill or incinerator.  Your donated items will find new life with a new owner, who will value them as much as you did when you first purchased them. 

Through their collection and recycling of used clothing, Planet Aid saves valuable resources that help reduce the emission of CO2 and other gasses that contribute to global warming.  Clothing that is decaying in a landfill or burned in an incinerator releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas.  Similarly, growing cotton is energy intensive and requires large inputs of water, fertilizer and pesticides—the manufacture of the latter two chemicals results in substantial greenhouse gas emissions.  Thus, reusing clothing and reducing the need for manufacturing new clothes is one thing we can all do to save resources and mitigate climate change.

When a clothing item is donated to Planet Aid—or for that matter any other U.S. charity—only a relatively small quantity will stay and be reused here. Most secondhand clothing donated in the United States will be exported to another country.

After collection, a T-shirt may be sold to a grading company, which sorts material by type and quality, ranging from “cream of the crop” garments for a high-end vintage shop, to “low-grade” T-shirts that are shredded and remade into polishing cloths. In between are multiple categories, such as “tropical mix” which are wearables for warm climates, or items like belts and caps. Only better items or “shop quality” garments are hung in one of 12,000 thrift stores across the United States.

Amazingly only 20 percent of all donated clothes are sold in thrift stores or secondhand shops. The bulk of all donations are eventually exported to overseas markets where demand is high. Twenty percent may be remanufactured into industrial wiping cloths, another 25 percent may be converted back to raw fiber for reuse as insulation or paper products. In the U.S. alone, nearly 3,000 recyclers handle the surplus of textile goods.

When ready for export, clothes are pressed into 1,000 pound bales, either sorted or unsorted, depending on the next buyer’s needs. Bales are typically shipped in sea-going, 40-foot containers. Upon reaching a destination port in Africa, Asia, Europe, India, China, South or Central America, bales are routed to overland locations by truck or rail car. Along the way numerous transactions may occur. Bales may be divided into smaller bundles for sale to wholesalers or distributors down the line. Ultimately, an aspiring entrepreneur in a Mozambique village may buy a 100-lb sack for resale to his friends and neighbors.  A wearable pair of work shoes originally purchased new for $50 may protect the feet of a farmer in Malawi for just a couple of dollars.  A used children’s polo shirt re-bought for 45 cents may serve as daily wear for a student attending a school in India.

Planet Aid has clothes collection bins in 21 states serviced by 14 regional warehouses.  To help fund their work, to find a collection bin, or for more info on this great group, visit www.planetaid.org

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OneCoffee™: The World’s 1st Biodegradable, Fair-Trade, Organic K-Cup Compatible Single-Serve Cup

Canterbury Coffee, a leading global roaster and supplier of specialty coffees and related beverages since 1981, introduces OneCoffee™, the World’s 1st biodegradable, fair-trade, organic K-Cup compatible cup for use with Keurig coffee makers. OneCoffee is Organic single serve coffee made with 100% strictly hard-bean, organic and fair-trade Arabica coffees. 

Established in 1981, driven by a spirit of innovation, Canterbury Coffee has steadily grown to become one of Canada’s leading roasters. It is a journey filled with purpose—continuously seeking out new opportunities to improve, to grow, to adapt. They are serious about their coffee and of upholding their reputation for producing only the finest quality products—including the OneCoffee line. 

“Previously we referred to K-Cups as the inconvenient convenience due to the amount of waste generated from these time-saving gems.  The K-Cup exploded onto the market but consumers have remained deeply concerned about disposal of the cups. OneCoffee offers a solution to that problem by creating the world’s first biodegradable, organic and fair trade single serve coffee,” said Derek Perkins, Sr. Marketing Manager at Canterbury Coffee. “Not only is OneCoffee eco-friendly, but the taste is also critical. As with all Canterbury products, we use only 100% strictly hard-bean, organic Arabica coffees with OneCoffee.”

OneCoffee’s soft bottomed cups use 40% less plastic than K-Cups, are 90% compostable/biodegradable, and packaging is carbon neutral. In addition, all coffees are fair-trade and organic for sustainability at origin. Standard K-Cups are made of plastic integrated with a coffee filter, coffee grounds, and plastic foil top with no easy way to separate the components for recycling.

OneCoffee offers a variety of flavors that include Breakfast Blend, French Roast, Decaf Dark, Columbian, Peruvian, Sumatran, Ethiopian and a Variety Pack. All blends are compatible with K-Cup style brewers and are individually wrapped for freshness and safety. OneCoffee is also perfect for those who are Vegan, Halal, Kosher and are BPA Free.

For more information please visit www.canterburycoffee.com.

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Back to School with Waste-Free Lunch Collection

Since their start in 2003, Reuseit.com has focused on providing consumers with high-quality reusable replacements for use-and-toss items. One of their passions is Waste-Free Lunch, and they make good on their commitment with back-to-school products like lunch bags, bento boxes, utensils with carrying case, water bottles, snack baggies—even a juice box—all reusable items that reduce lunchtime waste. It’s a move that makes complete eco-sense for families across the country, considering that the United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average child’s lunch creates 67 pounds of garbage every school year. Plus, reusables save families money.

“Packing a waste-free lunch is a simple step towards sustainability that parents can take. We’ve chosen products with fun patterns and styles that kids and their parents will love to make taking that step that much easier,” said Allison Kinney, Brand Manager. “We search for products that have passed safety tests so that parents can rest assured knowing their purchases are safe and healthy as well.”

Reuseit.com’s waste-free lunch collection has something for everyone—from toddlers teetering off to daycare to young adults zipping off to college. There are backpacks and lunch bags made from single-use water bottles, a lunch box that zips open and transforms into a placemat, and a reusable juice box among the offerings. And waste-free lunch doesn’t stop with the kiddos. Parents can choose from products like lunch bags in all shapes, sizes and colors (some with removable ice packs), true Japanese-style bento boxes and a glass water bottle that can withstand high impact. This is good news on both the economical and eco-friendly fronts, given that a recent study conducted by ECOlunchboxes.com shows that an average family spends about $400 extra through the use of disposable lunchware and creates 4,320 trash units unnecessarily.

This school year, Reuseit.com is also introducing Benny Bento, an eco-aware icon designed to educate and inform parents and their kids on the staggering stats around lunchtime waste. Reuseit.com will also publish their first virtual catalogs so parents and kids can easily find their favorite new reusables for waste-free lunch and beyond.

Reuseit.com is a leader in the reusable lifestyle movement. It is a place to find practical, innovative and high-quality alternatives to use-and-toss items—from bags and bottles to lunch and household items. By casting a critical eye and delivering facts and solutions, Reuseit.com continues to help guide consumers to the truth and take action on these issues as they evolve. As a member of 1% for the Planet, Reuseit.com gives back a portion of each purchase to environmental organizations like American Rivers.   www.Reuseit.com


Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah), one of the ancient food staples of the Incas, was called "The Mother Grain." An ivory-colored, tiny, bead-shaped grain, its flavor is delicate, almost bland, and has been compared to couscous or rice. Quinoa is lighter, but can be used in any way suitable for rice. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain, and is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains and is a very good source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, B vitamins, and vitamin E. Quinoa's slow-releasing carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar levels.

We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant that, as its scientific name Chenopodium quinoa reflects, is related to beets, chard and spinach. These amino acid-rich seeds are not only very nutritious, but also very delicious. Cooked quinoa seeds are fluffy and creamy, yet slightly crunchy. They have a delicate, somewhat nutty flavor. While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent yellow color, other varieties feature colors such as orange, pink, red, purple or black. Although often difficult to find in the marketplace, the leaves of the quinoa plant are edible, with a taste similar to its green-leafed relatives, spinach, chard and beets. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

A few quick serving Ideas: Combine cooked chilled quinoa with pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander. Season to taste and enjoy this south-of-the-border inspired salad. Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge. For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa. Sprouted quinoa can be used in salads and sandwiches just like alfalfa sprouts. Add quinoa to your favorite vegetable soups. Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes. Quinoa is great to use in tabouli, serving as a delicious (and wheat-free) substitute for the bulgar wheat with which this Middle Eastern dish is usually made. (Source: Food.com)


Runa Named Among the Best of 2013 at The SofiAwards

Runa and their Amazonian “Super Leaf,” guayusa (pronounced “gwhy-you-sa”) won their first sofi™ Award earlier this month from the Specialty Food Association at the Summer Fancy Food Show. The sofiAwards, which has honored the most outstanding specialty foods since 1972, awarded the beverage company with “Best USDA-Certified Organic Product” for their Runa Hibiscus-Berry Guayusa Tea.

The bottled tea took home one of 32 awards presented at last night’s festivities. The award was presented to Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Dan MacCombie at a ceremony held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Runa’s Traditional Guayusa Boxed Tea was a sofi silver finalist in the Best Hot Beverage Category.

With a record number of entries, Co-Founder and Co-CEO Tyler Gage was pleased with the product’s results. “This is our first sofi Award, and we are very proud to win best certified organic product. It is further testament to the popularity of this little Amazonian plant called guayusa.”

The Brooklyn-based start-up companyintroduced guayusa to the United States in 2008 and wasfounded by entrepreneurs Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombiein their senior year of college. Runa has since created the world’s first supply chain for guayusa, supporting more than 2,000 farmers in Ecuador and purchasing the leaf directly from the indigenouspeople.

All of the Runa products – boxedtea, bottled tea, loose-leaf tea and clean energy drink – contain the guayusa leaf that offers clear, focused energy and health benefits such as immune support, memory, and overall brain function all while naturally containing as much caffeine as coffee and twice the antioxidants of green tea. All of the products are Certified Fair Trade and USADA-Certified Organic. Runa is readily available nationwide in over 4,000 locations.  For more information, please visit www.runa.org.


Oh La La - Sexy French Lingerie Goes Green

The French are known for their exquisite lingerie lines, and now they are also becoming known for sustainability. Eco-Fashion retailer, FaeriesDance.com has been importing bras and panties made from organically grown cotton with low-impact dyes for years. Now they’re proud to offer yet another line of beautiful organic bras, panties and underthings from the French company Occidente.

Occidente adds a new dimension to the FaeriesDance.com organic lingerie line according to founder Adrienne Catone. “The line is soft and sensual with pieces geared for special occasions. While most of our organic bras and panties are great for every day wear, we all want something that makes us feel special once in a while, and Occidente really fills that desire.”

Occidente follows Fair Trade standards in their sewing practices; colors their garments using low-impact, azo-free dyes; and certifies all of their clothing and intimates to be Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) compliant. Most modern bras are made from polyester (a petroleum-based product) along with other synthetic fabrics and treated with a slurry of chemicals that do everything from removing wrinkles to adding a sheen. FaeriesDance.com caters to eco-conscious women looking for lingerie without chemicals and panties without pesticides. Now they’re also making sexy sustainable.

FaeriesDance.com is an eco-friendly e-tailer offering sustainable apparel and specializing in hard-to-find items such as organic cotton bras and lingerie. The company is named after the mythological woodland creatures that live in the heart of the forest, honor all things in nature, and who celebrate life with joyous abandon. In addition to providing beautiful organic clothing and eco-friendly accessories, FaeriesDance.com is committed to providing a complete environmentally-conscious shopping experience for its customers. Their clothing is made from sustainable fabrics and low-impact dyes. The company sources products from both U.S. and overseas manufacturers who ensure that all workers are treated fairly and are safe from sweatshop conditions. FaeriesDance.com has even gone to great lengths to provide consumers with environmentally sound gift wrapping options. http://www.faeriesdance.com/