Tag Archives: new york city

Kroger’s footprint

14 Nov

The Kroger Co., one of the country’s largest retailers, has made great strides to reduce their environmental impact, becoming a benchmark for other large corporations to follow. Since 2000, they have managed to reduce their overall in-store energy consumption by 31 percent. They have saved more than 1.47 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions–that’s the same as taking more than 290,000 cars off the road for one year!

Kroger has set this precedent by taking advantage of the latest technology available, remodeling their stores to maintain maximum green efficiency. Their building model is not only beneficial for the environment, but it also helps to reduce their managing costs. Kroger achieves their eco-friendly status by using LED lighting, skylights, motion sensors, special computer control systems to monitor energy usage, and vast improvements in their transportation methods.

Their exemplar business model is also marked by their partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program since its 2004 launch. The SmartWay program encourages cleaner, more fuel-efficient transportation to cut back on the total sum of greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 1970, the United States has increased annual food waste by a shocking 50 percent. That means that today, Americans throw away nearly 40 percent of their food, totaling $165 billion annually. Learn more about the country’s food waste here.

Companies like the Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) work to decrease this alarming amount of waste, helping businesses add to their profits by turning waste into assets. CoRR conducts pilots to be able to identify and ultimately assist in creating profitable waste diversion tactics, including a pilot that is currently happening here in New York City.

With NYC’s current waste system, almost 2.5 tons per day of paper, metal, plastic, glass, and food waste from both food and retail sectors are sent off to sit for years, undisturbed, in far away landfills. CoRR is working to locally recover the energy in waste food, using more green energy to power the city, and of course to reduce overall waste from NYC municipalities.

Other companies like Action Environmental Services and Waste Management are also working to eliminate waste throughout the country. By looking to waste-conscious brands like Dell and Hewlett-Packard as well as NYC restaurants like Northern Spy Food Co. and Franny’s, we can all work together to help reduce our annual waste and create a healthier environment for us all.

Photo courtesy of markramseymedia.com and thecorr.org

soda ban in new york city

11 Jun

3205253591_1d7e23f932What do you think of when you hear the word “ban”?

It’s a word we’ve been hearing a lot of lately as NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg has called for a ban on selling sugar-sweetened drinks over 16oz (soda, sweetened teas, coffee, energy and fruit drinks) in restaurants, delis, food trucks, movie theaters and sporting arenas. It’s looking very likely that the ban will pass as early as March of next year.

While the ban may sound too strict to some, Marion Nestle professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU, believes that “Something needs to be done, and you can’t just tell people to eat better and move more. If I’m given huge amounts of food, I am going to eat it.”

There are many active advertising campaigns that educate the public on how much sugar is present in soda and other sweetened beverages which is getting a message out there, but could they be more effective? Perhaps providing a more positive, and encouraging campaign focused on education and better alternatives could help change public consumption of these beverages.

What if you placed a ban on a specific food in your home? Would your children stop eating it, or would they try and find that food somewhere else, or even sneak it? What if the better option simply sounded more enticing and cool than other unhealthy alternatives – does that work in your home? Learning the whys and the hows of anything, always takes more time than simply learning to follow a rule while it is imposed. We like to think the effort to share understanding allows lessons to actually happen, and leads to children that grow up to be citizens that are better equipped and motivated to think about their options and make authentic, sound decisions when faced with challenges. What to eat and drink, has become complex and challenging in the midst of super-sized marketing efforts.

There are marketing efforts, worth our attention though.

Dr. Susan Rubin, founder of Better School Food and one of the Two Angry Moms has inspired another solution which is to focus on New York City’s tap water, and the development of the 100 Fountains Project which would help our community gain better access to water on the go. It’s great for all involved and best of all, it’s free!

Erik Kain from Mother Jones brought up the idea of imposing a soda tax, where the revenue from the taxes “could be pumped into public health and education efforts” while the tax would address the issue of over consumption, without using enforcement.

What are some other ideas that could help dissuade the public from consuming empty calories? What solutions speak to you?

Photo courtesy of superstriketwo

mulberry madness

6 Jun

As a pedestrian it’s easy to overlook many details of street life, especially while texting, finishing off that last paragraph in your book, holding a coffee cup, a bag and trying to cross the street without bumping into people, or moving vehicles all at once. If we took a moment to put down our phones, books, beverages and become more present on the street we are bound to see many beautiful scenes unfold before our own eyes.

Mulberry trees are abundant in our environs, and you have probably seen them. They are those big green trees with black berries that fall easily onto the pavement. They get smashed really fast by pedestrians, and most dogs that walk by sniff them as though they were a treat. These trees grow well in New York City since they thrive in poor growing conditions, as they are strong and resilient just like us New Yorkers.

You know a mulberry fruit is ripe when it has turned black like a blackberry. Harvesting techniques vary but you can help yourself by removing berries with your hands (warning: they stain and actually make for a great natural dye), the stem is indeed edible, just make sure to give them a good rinse before eating. These berries have countless health benefits and contain resveratrol (found in red grapes, goji berries), vitamins C, A, E, K, iron, potassium, magnesium. Not so bad for a New York City street tree!