A Good Time to Go "Back to School" on Food Waste

Food waste is the number one component found in America's landfills. And there is a reason for that. More food than we'd like to admit routinely gets tossed in the trash. In fact, 40 percent of all food produced in the United States is discarded. Twenty percent of the food we buy is never eaten.

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), in partnership with education curriculum specialists Young Minds Inspired (YMI), has developed a No Taste for Food Waste educational program that is addressing food waste by educating future consumers about the problem. Targeted at middle and high school students in family and consumer/environmental science and health classes, the curriculum materials, which include a teacher's guide, lesson plans, reproducible student activities and more, have been distributed to more than 65,000 targeted educators across the country.

Turning Around the Food Waste Trend

The effects of food waste are astounding – on the economy, it equates to about $218 billion of food lost each year; and on American families, we each toss approximately 300 pounds of food a year, costing a family of four as much $2,200.

"This unique No Taste for Food Waste educational initiative addresses food waste problems in ways that teens, teachers and parents can relate," commented Skip Shaw, President and CEO of NFRA. "Through interactive activities, we deliver the staggering facts about the economic and environmental impact of the food waste problem, share important food safety information, and provide realistic action plans for what we can all do about food waste in our homes and our communities – including how foods from the frozen and dairy aisles can be part of the solution to turning around the consumer food waste trend."

As Kids Head Back-to-School Use These Tips to Reduce Food Waste

Plan meals ahead and use a shopping list – it helps to avoid impulse buys and unnecessary quantities, and you purchase only what is needed.

Eat what you buy – know portion sizes, don't prepare too much and always eat leftovers.

Don't toss food before it spoils – learn about food expiration dates, and "use by" and "best if used by" dates. Check out the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Date Labels on Packaged Foods for more information.

Consider purchasing more foods from the frozen and dairy aisles! You can use just what you need and put the rest back in the fridge or freezer for the next time; foods are perfectly portioned…no waste; freezing technology and eco-friendly packaging keep cool foods fresher longer, and provide much longer shelf life (and less waste); you are paying for 100 percent edible food.

Try This Idea for Less Wasteful Packed Lunches

During this Back-to-School season, NFRA is sharing a Bento Box school lunch recipe, made with handful of short-cut ingredients from the freezer and dairy aisles. Bento Boxes can be not only tasty and healthy for students, but are also great for the environment as they eliminate the need for disposable packaging like plastic bags and foil. For many more tasty recipes for the whole family, visit www.EasyHomeMeals.com.


PATCH: Plastic Free + 100% Compostable Bandages!

Scratches and scrapes can be badges of honor, indications that you lived life to the fullest—climbed the highest tree, owned the dance floor till 3AM, or a sign that a home improvement project turned into a “teachable moment”. The PATCH offers the ultimate solution for natural, compostable wound care you can feel good about!

PATCH was born when James Dutton (the founder of Nutricare) noticed that while trying to protect his son’s adventure wounds his skin was in fact reacting badly to a common wound covering and making the wound worse.

This puzzled James and he set off on his mission to find out why. He was shocked to discover that there is an array of chemicals that lurk in the common plasters. He became motivated to find better alternatives when he found that Charlie wasn’t alone with his reactions. His research found that a staggering number of the of the world's population can’t wear common wound care coverings, which was predicted to be on rise. James was also motivated by his other son, Xavier, who hates putting creams on his skin.

Ultimately the wish for a wound care product that wouldn’t cause nasty skin reactions and serve as a way to help heal the wounds was the real reason for PATCH. PATCH bandages are completely biodegradable 100% bamboo fiber strips, that have the added natural goodness of activated charcoal, aloe vera and coconut oil, offer all-natural soothing and healing ingredients. These bandages are catching the attention of environmentally-conscious consumers worldwide.

Green Parent Magazine just named them the winner of the Plastic Free Green Parent Natural Beauty Award and July saw their release in over 3,000 CVS locations nationwide and on Amazon.

Ideal for minor cuts and abrasions No irritating chemicals Offers soft support for sensitive skin
A kid favorite featuring a fun panda print Enriched with coconut oil to gently soothe minor abrasions Coconut Oil is also anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory
Designed with the adventurer in mind Enriched with aloe vera extract to soothe and repair burns, blisters, and minor abrasions
Durable enough for the sports enthusiast Includes activated charcoal in the gauze to draw out impurities and infections from minor wounds

All PATCH strips are free of plastics, latex, and silicon; vegan-friendly and cruelty-free; and biodegradable.


Coffee Health Benefits: Cold Brew vs. Hot Brew

What type of coffee is better for your health – cold brew or hot brew? Wellness expert, Dr. Michael Roizen, weighs in.

Grabbing a morning cup of coffee can be good for your health. Coffee is known to be rich in healthful antioxidants, which are beneficial in reducing the risk of several diseases. But for those of us who enjoy a cold brew during the summer months – are we getting the same benefits? A recent study shows when it comes to antioxidants, ‘cold brew’ coffee is lacking.

“When it’s actually brewed cold, it’s not the same as iced coffee where you take hot brewed coffee and put it in a refrigerator or over ice,” said Cleveland Clinic’s Michael Roizen, M.D., who did not take part in the study. “This is actually brewed without hot water; it takes longer, and it has a little less acidity, and about 50 percent less antioxidants.”

For those who like their coffee cold, but want to hang on to those antioxidants, Dr. Roizen suggests brewing it hot and then having it over ice. He said previous research has shown the major benefits of coffee come from both the antioxidants and the caffeine. Other studies have linked coffee consumption to a reduced risk for diseases such as type two diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease.

However, as Dr. Roizen points out, if we load our coffees full of cream, sugar, syrups or whipped cream – we can wipe out all of those health benefits in a hurry.  The healthiest way to enjoy our coffee is to have it black.  He said anyone can make the switch to black coffee. He adds that it may take a week or two to get used to it, but if you can make the change, it’s the best thing for your health.  And you can even save yourself some money by skipping all the add-ons.

“You’re better off going black for your health, and for your finances, which obviously pertain to your stress level,” said Dr. Roizen. “You don’t have to have all the additives in there, black coffee is much less expensive, and if you go black, it’s much healthier for you.”

Source:  Newsroom, Cleveland Clinic


Non-Dairy Creamers Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Love

Whether you follow a vegan diet, have a lactose intolerance, or simply prefer to eat dairy-free, finding a non-dairy creamer for your coffee might seem like a bit of a challenge. Luckily, there are actually plenty of store-bought dairy-free creamer options out there that are totally delicious. Here are some top-rated non-dairy creamers to stock up on for your morning cup o' joe thanks to bestproducts.com.


Califia Farms Almondmilk Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
Made with almond milk, coconut cream, and a touch of sea salt, this unsweetened non-dairy creamer from Califia Farms is only 10 calories per serving. Reviewers compare the thick and rich consistency of this creamer to their favorite traditional dairy creamers and love adding this to their lattes and cold-brew coffee.

Nutpods Unsweetened Dairy Free Coffee Creamer
Made from almonds and coconuts, these unsweetened non-dairy creamers from nutpods come in three tasty flavors: Original, Hazelnut, and French Vanilla. In addition to a smooth, rich creamer for your coffee or tea, nutpods is also a great dairy-free alternative for savory baked dishes like mac n' cheese or breakfast quiche or sweet desserts like chocolate lava cake.
Coconut Cloud Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Creamer
If you're looking for a non-dairy creamer to pop into your bag on the fly, it doesn't get more convenient than these dried coconut milk creamer sticks from Coconut Cloud. We love that these non-dairy creamers are also made with coconut-derived MCT oil, a superfood, plant-based fatty acid known to help support increased energy.
Good Karma Vanilla Flaxmilk Non-Dairy Creamer
Dairy-free, gluten-free, and packed with 10 grams of plant-based protein per serving (derived from flaxseed), this lightly sweetened vanilla flax milk from Good Karma makes a great creamer alternative. Whether you enjoy it over cereal, in a smoothie, or in your morning coffee, this flax milk is a solid dairy-free cream alternative.
Califia Farms Better Half Dairy-Free Coffee Creamer
If you're on the hunt for a satisfying vegan equivalent to a traditional dairy half-and-half, Califia Farms' Better Half is a perfect plant-based option. Made from coconut cream and almond milk, this unsweetened non-dairy creamer has a deliciously thick and silky texture and a naturally sweet, nutty taste. Add a few teaspoons to your morning latte for a plant-powered lift.
Laird Superfood Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
This coconut-based superfood non-dairy creamer from Laird's is made with a blend of coconut milk powder, extra-virgin coconut oil, organic red palm oil, and a mineral-rich calcified sea algae called Aquamin. Founded by a big wave surfer and fitness guru, this non-dairy creamer is meant to provide a boost of sustained energy to your morning cup of coffee or tea.
Silk Vanilla Dairy-Free Soy Creamer
This non-dairy creamer from Silk is soy-based and flavored with natural vanilla for a creamy alternative to milk-based creamers. With only 3 grams of sugar per serving, this dairy-free creamer is sweet enough to act as both sweetener and creamer.  


You can find many of these at your local grocery store or you can place an order at amazon.com.

Earth911 Quiz: Do You Know the Paint Recycling Steps?

Paint is a common household and workplace material that can be recycled, donated, or disposed of responsibly. Oil- and water-based paints pose different challenges when recycling, and you can extend the use of paint by storing it safely and passing it along to someone who can use it. Find out…

    • How should paint be stored to prevent drying and extend its useful life?
    • When you have a half-empty can of paint, what's the best way to dispose of it?
    • Can aerosol paint cans be recycled?
    • How should oil-based paint be prepared for safe disposal?
    • How can latex paint be prepared for recycling?
    • How much energy is saved by recycling a can of paint?

In this Earth911 Quiz, test your paint recycling and disposal knowledge.  If this quiz raises questions or presents ideas you’d like to talk about, start a conversation with the community in the Earth911.com Forum.

Making smart sustainable choices requires practice. Earth911’s weekly sustainability quiz helps you hone your ability to recognize earth-friendly products and services. Through your daily choices — from transportation mode to purchases to waste disposal — you can make a positive difference.


"Skip the Slip" Report Finds Most Retailers Get Low Score for Receipt Practices


Only three retailers – Best Buy, Apple and Ben & Jerry’s – get top marks in how they deal with electronic and paper receipts, according to a Green America report providing an overview of the practices of 36 top US companies. On the other end of the spectrum, 17 companies earned a “D” rating, including Walgreens and Chipotle, for only offering paper receipts coated with bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS).

The new edition of the Green America “Skip the Slip” report also shows that thermal paper usage and costs are increasing every year, and it discusses policy actions aimed to address unnecessary receipt waste.

The new “Skip the Slip” findings include:

The majority of businesses (28) earned a “C” or “D” rating. A “C” grade designates that they offer an “opt-in” digital receipt program and use BPA or BPS thermal paper.  This less-than-ideal approach is used by CVS, Target and Lowe’s. A “D” grade designates that they fail to offer a digital only option and use BPS or BPS digital paper. Companies exploring alternatives are noted in the report, but the grading reflects current in-store practices.

Consumption of thermal paper for receipts is increasing worldwide, including in the US, according to recent market analysis conducted by Grand View Research. In 2018, US consumption was 256,300 metric tons of paper and this is projected to increase at least through 2025.

There are escalating costs for businesses automatically printing receipts that often are tossed in the trash. In 2018, market revenue for paper receipts in the US was over $386 million. Due to a severe shortage of leuco dye needed for thermal paper, costs will steadily increase each year. It’s projected that market revenue for paper receipts will surpass $566 million by 2025.

US receipt use consumes over three million trees and nine billion gallons of water each year, according to Green America estimates using Grand View Research’s analysis and the Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator. Receipt production generates over four billion pounds of greenhouse gases (the equivalent of 450,000 cars on the road) and 302 million pounds of solid waste.

The new report includes an update on legislation addressing receipts. This includes the status of recent efforts in California to reduce unwanted paper receipts and ensure customers have a choice for the receipt mode they prefer. Named after Green America’s campaign, the “Skip the Slip” bill, or AB 161, was introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting and was approved by the California Assembly.

“Customers should have a choice when it comes to receipts,” said Beth Porter, Green America’s Climate Campaigns director. “More and more people want no receipt or an electronic receipt, and when companies make these options available to customers it’s good for the environment, human health, and a business’ bottom line.”

Since 2017, Green America has campaigned to raise awareness on the unnecessary environmental impacts of paper receipts and the toxins coating paper receipts, most commonly BPA and BPS.

“Given the increasing cost of receipt paper and the shift of customer preferences, it makes environmental and economic sense for businesses to offer a digital option while providing phenol-free paper on request,” said Todd Larsen, Green America’s executive co-director. “There are digital alternatives that are being used by businesses from independent cafes and food trucks to nationwide retailers.”