Archive for the 'Food Service' Category

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency publishes BPA/BPS thermal paper reduction case studies

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 by

MPCA’s Green Chemistry and Design staff are encouraging Minnesota businesses to voluntarily reduce the amount of thermal receipt papers they use and distribute to their customers. These papers typically contain relatively high concentrations of the chemical bisphenol-A or related chemicals.

The idea is catching on, and many businesses have made the change on their own. Check out these case studies:

Brewers For Clean Water

Monday, July 7th, 2014 by

With water being the main ingredient in beer, having clean water is crucial to the brewing process. Not only can the slightest of impurities throw off the flavor of the batch tremendously, but it can also become a health concern. Dozens of craft brewers, many of which rely on water from the Great Lakes, launched a campaign last year with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), advocating for the strengthening of water quality policies. Attempts to lower the regulations on water in recent years has not only put the beer industry in jeopardy, but also threatens public health for many other industries. Watch this video to hear from the participating breweries about the campaign.

The campaign also has created a Facebook page to keep supporters informed of all updates regarding the campaign. From hosting sustainability talks with the breweries to creating petitions to be sent to the EPA, those who wish to support the campaign will find everything they need to become a part of the cause.

For more information and a complete list of local breweries involved in the campaign, visit the NRDC website.

To learn more about sustainability in other food processing industries, please visit the GLRPPR Sector Resource for Food Processing.

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch–Waste Free, That Is

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 by

Laptop Lunch Box

My daughter started kindergarten last week and next week my son is off to preschool for the first time. We’ll all look back on these days fondly sometime in the future, but for now, I’m having some typical Mommy back-to-school blues. In the interest of combating those blues, I decided to focus on some greens–specifically in the form of green tips related to schools and students. In this post I’ll discuss how to reduce waste associated with school lunches; look for more discussions on green ideas and examples for K-12 and beyond in the days to come.

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Red, White, Blue & Green: Independence Day P2

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 by

fireworksThe Fourth of July approaches. For those of us in the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes region, thoughts of Independence Day fireworks displays, parades and outdoor parties beckon from the weekend. While preparing for the festivities, you may want to consider how pollution prevention (P2) relates and include a little green with your red, white and blue.

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December 2008 Site of the Month: Consumer Reports Greener Choices

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by

It’s holiday time again, which means you’re probably going to buy at least one gift for someone, as well as items for celebrations and holiday meals. You may wish to consult Consumer Reports Greener Choices web site, which provides information to help choose more environmentally friendly products. Articles and “green ratings” are available for the following product categories: Appliances, Cars, Electronics, Food & Beverages, and Home & Garden.  Within these sections, you’ll find links to articles, information on conservation of resources (such as energy, water, fuel, etc.), resources for shopping greener, and information on recycling and disposal. The “Hot Topics & Solutions” section of the site includes the Eco-labels Center (which helps you interpret what product labels really mean), the Electronics Recycling Center, the Global Warming Solutions Center, and sections on Energy, Water, and Waste.

The “Toolkit” section includes calculators to help save energy, water, and money, as well as a Toxics Search tool to find out whether there’s a potential for exposure while using a particular product, and how that can affect your health. The “Community” section of the site includes links to Consumers Union campaigns, forums and resources for further information, as well as blogs on cars, food safety, green homes, and safety.

November 2008 Site of the Month: Travel Green Wisconsin

Saturday, November 1st, 2008 by

Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary program that reviews, certifies and recognizes tourism businesses and organizations that have made a commitment to reducing their environmental impact. Specifically, the program encourages participants to evaluate their operations, set goals and take specific actions towards environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The program is also designed to educate travelers to Wisconsin about sustainable tourism practices. It promotes smart business practices, giving the state’s tourism-related businesses and organizations a significant point of differentiation from their competitors, and supports the state’s overall tourism brand. Examples of the types of businesses that can participate include: accommodations, attractions, restaurants, shops, resorts, convention, centers, golf courses, campgrounds, marinas, tour operators/leaders, events/festivals, chambers and CVBs.

Travel Green Wisconsin actually has two separate web sites. The organization’s consumer web site provides lists of certified businesses in the above and related categories, certified events, a map of the certified business locations, FAQs, and future goals. The organization also has an industry site that details how to participate in the program and the benefits, as well as discussion forums.

P2 Go Bragh: A Different Shade of Green Beer

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 by

The first installment in this series concerns something other than Irish heritage that, for better or worse, has become inextricably linked to the celebration of the holiday in the U.S.: beer. Although this alcoholic beverage is sometimes dyed green for the sake of St. Patrick’s Day parties, the following resources relate to beer and brewing practices that are green in the sense of their environmental impacts.

As is the trend with most organic foods and beverages, organic beer is becoming more and more widely available as even big box retailers climb aboard the “green products are good for public relations, profits and the environment” train. Co-op America offers an overview of organic beer and wine as well as the rationale for choosing locally produced beers whenever possible (to reduce negative effects of long distance shipping, among other reasons). You can also search their National Green Pages under “Wine/Beer” for examples of breweries that produce organic beer. There is also a North American Organic Brewers Festival, scheduled this year for June 27-29 in Portland, Oregon. The festival web site lists the participating breweries and the beers they’re presenting.

For those of you, like my husband, who enjoy brewing your own beer at home, you might find the Seven Bridges Cooperative an interesting resource. Based in California, Seven Bridges provides certified organic ingredients for home brewing, such as organically grown hops and grains.

Interestingly, organic beer became the topic of controversy last year, as the USDA added to the list of non-organic ingredients that may compose 5% of a product by weight and still allow that product to bear the label “organic.” Hops were on the list, and while critical to the production of beer, they do make up less than 5% of the finished product by weight. The Organic Consumers Association was outraged by what it termed the “Budweiser Exception” that could allow big brewing companies to mass produce “organic” beers without using organically grown hops; the controversy was covered by MSNBC. Anheuser-Busch has since switched to using 100% organic hops. See the USDA’s web site for more information on organic food standards and labels.

Turning to waste reduction and efficiency in the brewing process, regardless of the use of organic ingredients, the March/April 2007 edition of In Business magazine featured a profile of Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake, California, which recycles or reuses 98% of its residuals, with a goal toward generating zero waste. The April 2007 edition of eco-structure Magazine included a look at the sustainable practices of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. Among other things, the company purchases wind energy to power 100% of its brewery’s operations, the packaging hall was designed with energy efficiency in mind, and the brewhouse features a closed-loop heating system. For more information about New Belgium’s sustainability initiatives, see their web site.

For an example of sustainable initiatives at a brewery within the Great Lakes region, check out Michigan DEQ’s case study on the Leopold Bros. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Goose Island Brewery in Chicago, Illinois is also a founding member of the Chicago Waste to Profit Network. An article from the October 2000 edition of Conscious Choice discusses several organic beers, including Goose Island’s organic beer production and partnering with Panorama Brewing Company to produce Wolaver’s Organic Ales regionally. Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the first brewery in that state and the first business in Milwaukee to receive the Travel Green Wisconsin certification from the state’s Department of Tourism. Check out the brewery’s web site detailing what they’ve done to reduce their environmental and social impact and earn this recognition.

For more resources related to P2 for breweries, check out the GLRPPR Food Processing Sector Resource. I’ll be adding a “Beverage Manufacturing” subcategory in the near future to make finding resources related to brewing and other beverage production within this Sector Resource easier.

WasteCap Wisconsin June 2007 Bulletin Available

Friday, June 15th, 2007 by

Ok, so end-of-pipe recycling is not technically considered pollution prevention in the strictest sense of the term; it is often argued that only in-process recycling counts. But folks interested in P2 also tend to be interested in diverting waste from landfills, especially if that waste can be turned into an asset and put to further use, at the source or otherwise. Plus, many P2 professionals are becoming more and more interested in the concepts of product stewardship and extender producer responsibility, which include thinking about how to reuse and recycle materials once they’ve served their original purpose. Information on recycling and recycled-content products is also of interest in matters of environmentally preferable purchasing and green building. So, beneficial reuse is part of my personal sense of the intention of pollution prevention, and yes, I am going to talk about end-of-pipe recycling in this P2 blog. Gasp if you must, and direct all criticisms to me (Joy).

WasteCap Wisconsin LogoIf you’re interested in beneficial reuse in general, and specifically in construction and demolition debris recycling, electronics recycling, and organic material recycling (composting, food donation, scraps for animal feed, etc.), check out WasteCap Wisconsin’s web site. They offer case studies, publications, training opportunities, and other resources on these issues. They also produce a monthly e-mail bulletin chock full of case studies, resources, news, information on recycling technologies, legislation, events, and profiles of member organizations. The June 2007 issue is available online, and archived issues are available all the way back to 2005. Information on signing up for the bulletin is available on the WasteCap Wisconsin home page.