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  • Cathy Geist's avatar
    Cathy Geist 2/17/2021 9:20 PM
    I am aware that the pandemic has made it very difficult to reuse plastic bags and containers while grocery shopping, as I normally do. Since we order our groceries online from the co-op, they cannot use our reusable containers or bags for the bulk foods we order. The safety of ordering online and not going into the store, at this point, is very important to us. However, I am bummed that our reusable plastics are not being used at this time.

  • Cathy Geist's avatar
    Cathy Geist 2/17/2021 9:13 PM
    I have reused plastic bags for used cat litter numerous times. (Each plastic bag was on a Star Tribune newspaper delivered to our home.) I dump the used cat litter into the paper bag with the rest of our weekly trash and then reuse the plastic bags.

  • Kent Fritz-Smead's avatar
    Kent Fritz-Smead 2/17/2021 2:36 PM
    Here is an email I sent to my food coop asking them about reducing plastic based products or packaging, and making more alternative products available:

    I am taking part in Hennepin County’s “Plastic Free Challenge”                                                                         ( ) where participants try to change their consumer or consumptive behavior in order to reduce and/or eliminate plastic in their daily lives.  On the Challenge public reporting website, I have been happy to relate the many ways in which Seward Coop has been able to facilitate member reduction of plastics as part of their food shopping experience in the stores – such as the availability of bulk products that allows members to bring in re-usable containers, especially in the produce section.  Participating in the Challenge has helped me to be more mindful of making sure to bring my nylon and cloth sacks in order to avoid using the plastic bags a available in the bulk sections.   The Challenge also prompts participants to seek non-food products that are not plastic based and which come in non-plastic recyclable or compostable packaging.  So I have been able to replace plastic toothpicks that I get from my dentist with some wooden ones and purchase a toothpaste product that’s not in a plastic tube at the Coop.  Also I found a deodorant in a compostable dispenser!  Unfortunately the dental floss at the coop, even though it is advertised as an ”organic“ product has a plastic filament at its core and is not compostable.  There are other instances at the store of what I think might be excessive use of plastic in the packing or in the products themselves where alternatives might be made available.  One of the nice features of the Plastic-Free Challenge website is the presentation of many alternative product brands that reduce or eliminate plastic.

    So my question to you is, who at Seward Coop could I address these issues and seek some more environmentally friendly alternatives and behavior changing educational prompting?  Is there a committee at the coop that I could address this with?  I look forward to hearing back about possible avenues for exploring some changes along the lines I have been discussing.

    Thank you.

    Kent Fritz-Smead

  • Cathy Geist's avatar
    Cathy Geist 2/09/2021 10:21 AM
    I just signed up today to join this Eco-Challenge team. I wish I had done it earlier . . . but "better late than never". I am committed to this work on behalf of our beautiful and amazing Earth and have been for quite a long time. There is always room to grow!

  • Kent Fritz-Smead's avatar
    Kent Fritz-Smead 2/08/2021 4:07 PM
    This is not an action I signed up for but it came my way.  A family member sent me a link to a laundry cleaning product that does not come in a plastic jug!  Instead of a liquid cleaner, the detergent is in the form of compressed sheets about the size of a postcard.  So you no only save on avoiding plastic but also reduce the 90% water that most liquid detergents contain. 

  • Kent Fritz-Smead's avatar
    Kent Fritz-Smead 2/08/2021 3:40 PM
    We have actually pretty consistently bought unpackaged produce over the years but sometimes forget to bring our re-usable bags to the store when shopping, meaning that we end up grabbing plastic bags (ugh!) instead. We have gotten much, much better (100%!) during the Challenge in having our reusable produce bags with us when shopping.  This really boils down to being more intentional about being ready to shop when we go out.  I have been better about have some re-usable bags in the car in the event of making a last minute stop to shop while out on doing other things.  Again the Challenge has really been good to help me remember. 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Make Your Own
    How do you feel about being more involved in the food preparation process? Joyful, overwhelmed, engaged, empowered? What are the benefits of choosing to process or produce your own food instead of buying it pre-processed?

    Kent Fritz-Smead's avatar
    Kent Fritz-Smead 2/08/2021 3:32 PM
    Given that both members of my household need to limit sugar intake for health reasons, baking some home-made desserts allows us to gauge how much sugar can be eliminated in a baked good and still be satisfying to our tastes.  We have been able to eliminate sugar by 75 -90% in given baked items as a result.

  • Kent Fritz-Smead's avatar
    Kent Fritz-Smead 2/08/2021 3:27 PM
    Actually did this action twice purchasing one compostalbe deodorant container for myself and one for my wife, which she loves!  Will eventually get some for other family members as well!

  • Kent Fritz-Smead's avatar
    Kent Fritz-Smead 2/08/2021 3:25 PM
    Feels really good to have this reinforcement to takeour re-usalbe containers to the food coop to purchase our bulk items.  My wife and I have taken reinforcing the behavior with each other by making sure the re-usable containers are out on the counter ready to go on shopping days.

  • Kent Fritz-Smead's avatar
    Kent Fritz-Smead 2/08/2021 3:22 PM
    My wife and I discussed the different number codes on the plastic bottles and other containers, including the ones to avoid.  We did an inventory in our house of the various plastic bottles, mostly  cleaning products, looking for what we might have been consuming in #3, #6, and #7 plastics.  I'm happy to report that there was only one #3 plastic container that we purchased probably 20 years ago containing some lamp oil.  There were a few #7 containers which were marked as compostable plastics.