Spelling “Green” with Three Rs

Green Spotlight:  Notes from Nancy Grant 

Ever get frustrated peeling away two or three layers of packaging around a simple purchase? Ever toss a plastic bottle into the trash instead of the recycling bin? Do you sometimes forget to bring along your reusable bags on a shopping trip?

Making new greener ideas a steady part of life does take a bit of thinking ahead. 

At Valley Natural Foods sustainable habits are built-in to every department.

In the meat department, trims go to an independent company that uses the leftover bits to make fertilizer. In the produce department, any veggies leftover after donations to local charities go to the co-op’s on-site compost heap. In the stock rooms, empty cardboard shipping boxes go to a paper and fiber recycler. In the employee break room, a co-op worker gathers aluminum cans and plastic bottles for recycling later.

The co-op’s also making it easier for shoppers to try the three R’s – reduce, recycle, reuse – in a variety of ways throughout the store.

In the bulk department, customers may bring their own containers to buy exactly the quantity of an item needed, with no extra packaging. At the checkout lanes, shoppers who bring their own reusable bags can earn Green Stamp rewards. (To learn about Valley Natural Foods’ Green Stamp program, visit the Community Outreach web page, and scroll down to Green Stamp Program.)

Valley Natural Foods’ ongoing commitment to greener operations has been recognized again this year by Dakota Valley Recycling. Look for the ARROW window cling displayed at the store entrance. The sign stands for “Awards for Recycling and Reduction of Waste” and recognizes local businesses and organizations that make environmentally-responsible choices in their day-to-day practices.

Click here to read the Valley Natural Foods Green Report 2010.

Energy journalist and blogger Nancy S. Grant is a member of the Cooperative Communicators Association.

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