Tag Archives: environment

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5 Easy Ways to Live More Sustainably

By StatePoint   

Consumers can take cues from eco-friendly brands like Musco to go green at home.

Consumers can take cues from eco-friendly brands like Musco to go green at home.

It might not feel like you alone can have an impact on the environment, but over time, small lifestyle changes can make a substantial difference.

Need some ideas to get started? Draw inspiration from the collective efforts of one California olive company working to run operations in an eco-friendly way.

“Our employees are vital to our zero waste efforts,” says Dennis Leikam, environmental manager at Musco Family Olive Company. “Through monthly sustainability topics and a compost program, they’re encouraged to reduce not only our corporate environmental impact, but also their personal impact away from work, as well.”

Over 75 percent of residential waste is recyclable, but most people only recycle 30 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While it may be unrealistic to produce zero waste at home, you can get closer to that goal.

Such commitment to sustainability is achievable in your own home. Here are some simple actions you can take.

Buy the Right Stuff

Musco has an ethical sourcing program to ensure that every part of the olive production process meets their sustainability goals. Do your own ethical sourcing by:

  • Buying local.
  • Buying products with minimal, recyclable packaging.
  • Reducing your use of disposable items.
  • Choosing products from companies with a commitment to sustainability.

Drive Less and Bike More

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its facilities by five percent, Musco is tracking emissions through Carbon Disclosure Project, the leading non-profit working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can lower your carbon footprint by consolidating car trips, and walking or riding your bike to work and on errands.

Conserve Water

In the last 10 years, Musco has recycled almost 1.5 billion gallons of water onsite in a closed-loop system. They even grow a special grass that pulls salt from the soil, is harvested and becomes a tasty supplement for local cattle. Here are ways you too can conserve water:

  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
  • Use the dishwasher. Unless your dishwasher is more than a decade old, it uses less water than washing by hand. Really.
  • Put a brick in your tank to get a low-flow effect without the cost of a new toilet.
  • Add aerators to faucets. They cost less than $10 and the accumulated water savings is substantial.
  • Limit watering outdoors to the coolest times of day, use a moisture sensor, and landscape with native, drought-resistant plants.

Bring Your Own Bag

Remembering to bring your own bags to the supermarket is hard at first, but is a great habit. Keep market bags in the back of your car and get a foldable tote bag to store in your purse.

Feed the Soil

Take advantage of municipal compost programs. Most allow whole pizza boxes, paper plates, plate scraps, and bones in the green bin — all no-no’s for a backyard bin. Or, get yourself a worm box and compost small food scraps that will help your garden grow. You can also toss veggie scraps into a freezer bag until you have enough to make veggie broth.

To learn more about sustainability leadership, visit http://www.olives.com.

Remember every small step makes a difference.

Eastvale: Start Stockpiling Reusable Bags


Eastvale – After nearly 30 years of use and debate, the death of the plastic grocery bags found at virtually all markets and retailers is near. At least in California, that is.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB270, legislation that bans those single-use plastic bags we’ve all come to love/hate, making California the first in the nation to pass a statewide ban. The state joins at least 100 local municipalities – including San Francisco in 2007 and Los Angeles this past summer – in banning the ubiquitous disposable bags.

In addition, as a means of encouraging shoppers to finally accept and embrace reusable bags sold by retailers, the legislation also requires stores to add a 10 cent surcharge per paper bag for those requiring their use. And if you think the stores will not comply, you may want to think again. The legislation also includes fines of up to $5,000 for non-compliance by stores, in regard to the bag ban as well as the required surcharge.

Kevin Smith, store manager for the Albertson’s grocery retailer located at Schleisman Road and Archibald Avenue, says they have yet to receive any corporate directives, although some of their stores in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles already have sanctions in place. Smith says they have had reusable bags right at the checkout stands for some time, ranging in price from 99 cents to $2.49.

“There will be a little bit of resistance and some customers will have a difficult time, but we will try and accommodate those as best we can. After a while this will just be a way of life,” says Smith regarding the transition.

The ban takes effect on July 1, 2015 for all large retailers, stores, pharmacies, and food outlets. Smaller convenience and liquor stores, as well as smaller food retailers will be given until July 2016 to adhere to the new law. However, you may need that reusable bag sooner than you think as retailers deplete their stocks of plastics heading into the respective ban dates. On the other hand, the new law does not affect disposable plastic bags for produce, meat, bread, bulk food and other loose or perishable items, which will still be allowed (good news for those fearing cross-contamination of their meat juices with their fresh fruits).

The ban is a key win for environmentalists, who have been working for years to ban the mostly non-biodegradable bags they say have overrun recyclers and landfills. They also contend the bags pile up along beaches and wind-blown roadsides, and have caused harm to fish and wildlife by polluting rivers, lakes, and streams.

They also say that in a matter of time, folks will adjust, just as they previously did switching from paper to plastic.

“I think this is the beginning of the end of the plastic grocery bag and 10 years from now we’re going to forget that they ever existed,” Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste, told media outlets.

Plastics industry representatives, however, say today’s bags are more environmentally friendly and warn that the ban will cost widespread job losses. They also say the $2 million fund that’s part of the legislation meant to help re-tool bag manufacturers into making reusable bags is a “drop in the bucket” that would offer little relief, Catherine Browne of bag manufacturer, Crown Poly, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Even so, the recent legislation was backed by organizations representing retailers and grocery stores on account of the patchwork bans across the state – and which, again, reached the state’s most-populous city (Los Angeles) this past summer – were causing logistical and financial burdens for some.

“From the start our industry’s only goal has been attaining statewide consistency,” Ronald K. Fong, President and CEO of the California Grocers Association told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Our multi-store operators are seeking one compliance standard while our single-store operators seek an even playing field. SB270 gives us the best chance at achieving a level of consistency.”

Critics have also said the 10 cent surcharge may have been used by the state to entice retailers.

“You have to follow the money,” Assemblyman Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), said during debate on the Assembly floor, according to the Sacramento Bee. “What I see this becoming is another funding source for the grocery store industry. It’s just another way of taking a shot at the little guy.”

Late amendments to the bill specified that stores must spend revenue from the fee on implementing the law. However, many opponents remain unsatisfied.

“We’re not happy that consumers are going to have to pay for a product that they previously got for free – and that the stores will make profit on – and that it’s going to negatively affect manufacturers,” Browne of Crown Poly stated.

Others also contend the surcharge is nothing short of creating “behavior modification,” which, depending upon which side of the argument you stand could be seen as good or bad. Regardless, your behavior, indeed, is likely to be modified into carrying your own set of reusable bags.

So like it or not, now’s the time to start shopping around to find the perfect set of reusable bags that fit your “shop and carry” needs.

One associate that works at the Target located on Hamner Avenue and 2nd Street said, “It’s easy to get on the band-wagon. Our reusable bags are only 99 cents and we keep them at the checkout stands. Just grab a few and throw them in your car and you’ll be set.”