Low Carbon Calculator

Did you know “Did you know, the food system is responsible for 1/3 of global greenhouse emissions?”  Check out this Low Carbon Diet Calculator for a simply, easy way to get an idea of your food choices and how these choices impact climate change. Created by Bon Appétit Management Company simply drag and drop menu items into a virtual pan and you can get a virtual taste of your impact.

Greening your food @ your library party

Planning events for the holidays at your library?  here are some tips & ideas on how  to be more green:

  • Use local, sustainable minded caterers (give back by supporting your local economy).
  • Pot lucks are always nice way to share and save money, perhaps pass along recipes too. It’s usually healthier and definitely greener than buying out.
  • Try using real dishes, rather than throw away ones that are plastic and never breakdown. If you have too many people to wash dishes can you use biodegradable dishes? or ask people to BYOD (dish?) why not!
  • Eat more food items lower in the food chain like veggies. Growing plants requires a lot less energy than it does to grow animals to eat. But eating meat, find out where is comes from “what your food eats.”
  • Find a Farmers Market and ask them about their food: http://www.localharvest.org/
  • Try this tool and calculate your impact of your meals: http://www.eatlowcarbon.org/
  • here are some tasty Low-Impact Recipes from The Small Planet Institute
  • Check out NRDC’s Green Eating Guide

Eating Green

Looking for local, sustainable, organic food to cater a library function, night out with your staff, or when traveling for work? Here are two sites to check out: Local Harvest and Eat Well Guide. Both allow searching by zip code or keyword.

The Eat Well Guide has a nice travel planning guide so you can find good eats while on the road.  If you are traveling to a big city (such as DC for Computers in Libraries, Seattle for ACRL, Chicago for ALA), you can choose a  local guide by city or excursion to download.  Another nice feature:  find out what is in season in your local area. Why not add this info to your web site for your patrons letting them know what is in season each month?

Local Harvest caters to farmers and CSA, providing information on these topics as well as search for products.  They also have an online store if what you need is not local.  Be sure to search their events calendar and perhaps your library can become involved in these type events (a local farmers panel presentation @ your library? A CSA drop off point? Cheese making workshop?)

Biodegradable Disposables

It just isnt feasible most times in a large library to atempt to use “real” plates, cups, utensils, etc. instead of the disposable type products.  An greener option would be to to find more eco-friendly, biodegradable products.  Check out the Food Service Warehouse (a Colorado company started by a group of avid environmentalists who created a certification program aimed at helping commercial kitchens cope with the costs and complexities of going green).   They offer shopping options for buying a variety of products but check out their array of  cutlery, napkins, plates, bowls, etc that are biodegradable, made of corn, sugarcane, potatoes and other renewable vegetable matter. You can read more about the biodegradable disposables, and/or read more about the advantages and disadvantages of bioplastics. If you decide to switch over to these types of products, let your staff and students know what they are using is biodegradable – most people are excited about the idea of being more green. Also, if you happen to be in need of a new commercial kitchen – renovating your school cafeteria for example –  enter their drawing for Green Commercial Kitchen Giveaway, you never know, you might win!

Green Guide to Plastics

I recently posted about bringing your own container for leftovers when eating out (which I still believe is very worthwhile) but I have also been dwelling on the what container to buy, use or reuse.  Some plastics can transmit chemicals into your food/drinks.

This Green Guide breaks down (no pun intended!) the seven types of plastics, you know that number on the bottom of the container. Generally it is #1, 2, 4, 5 that are safer  plastics but note that #1, 4 and 5 are often hard to find a place to recycle them.  #7 is miscellanious but those that are made with PLA are very safe and renewable – made from corn, potatoes, sugar cane, etc. and can be composted breaking down in less than 2 weeks.  Plastics #3, 6, 7 (all others besides the PLA items) should be avoided.

Leftovers at lunch?

Can’t finish your meal at lunch? Take it to go and enjoy it later for another meal – a great way not to waste food. But,  that usually that means putting your leftovers in a polystyrene foam container that you will throw away at home. Polystyrene foam takes a very long time if ever to break down, usually cannot be recycled, and has one of the highest negative impacts on the environment.  How about bringing your own container for your leftovers? I bring a collapsible container (Tupperware and Rubbermaid both make these types of containers.)  that fits easily in my backpack and I can reuse again and again.