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Eco Efforts Blog
Recycle IconWant to know more about the steps we're taking to create a healthy environment? Our Eco Efforts blog keeps you in the know with information about recycling, composting, community-related efforts and recognition. Check back from time to time, and remember to bring your reusable bags into your Market when you shop! Let's keep it green together!

140304Willamette 1We continue to do our environmental best at Market of Choice. I have statistics from your Willamette Market to offer you that highlight our efforts to compost food waste and recycle to reduce garbage waste.

Composted food waste – 157 tons
Garbage weight – 162 tons

Composted food waste – 156 tons
Garbage weight – 165 tons

Composted food waste – 145 tons
Garbage weight – 170 tons

Composted food waste – 200 tons
Garbage weight – 186 tons

At Willamette, garbage weight has decreased steadily the past four years, which means we are sorting our storewide waste more carefully.

Food waste has fluctuated a little, due to a combination of staff ordering, storing and handling perishable products. The dissemination of food waste translates into more products donated to Food For Lane County and the Master Gardener program, meaning less is headed to the landfill.

I look forward to 2014 being the best year, yet!
Each home is different, but if we look around we can find many ways to lengthen the usefulness of everyday objects that are typically tossed into the trash long before their time.

As I washed dishes after a terrific dinner last night, including a reused Marie Callender's container, I was reminded how tasty the apple crisp was that came with it the first time I used it. After cleaning the decks, I grabbed a recycled plastic bag and twist tie to store some homemade bread that went smoothly into the fridge.

Then it was time to sit down and put together a short list for tomorrow’s shopping trip. I looked around for something to write on, and I decided to use the back of an opened envelope that was put aside just for this purpose. Right next to the pile of "scratch" envelopes, was a neat stack of cut paper culled from rejects ejected from the printer. My legs were a little sore from my run that day, so I slid over the footstool made by my wife’s grandmother. It consists of six No. 10 cans coated and stitched lovingly together with fabric. My feet were off the ground and my legs felt better (Thanks, Grandma).

I like writing with a fountain pen. All I have to do is refill the ink when it runs dry, and I’m not forced to discard an old friend.

Many of us are in such a rush these days that it’s easy to overlook simple solutions, but simple also means "premeditated." In an effort to have the supplies and tools at hand to effectively reuse them, you have to put a just a little thought into the process. After their use has been exhausted, you can then recycle them. Seemingly once-done supplies can last for days or even weeks and sometimes months if you’re willing to make a little extra effort.
140103MOCEcoEffortsJohnTaskerI would first like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope that 2014 is a thumbs-up year for all.

I certainly will try my best when it comes to recycling. I will try my best to always rinse my dog’s empty food can and recycle it. To make sure all the unwanted junk mail and flyers that mysteriously appear on our door step find their way to the recycling bin, as well little bits of used note paper and product packaging; the Yellow Page phone books that have outlived their need; those birthday cards that appear once a year; our electricity, phone and garbage bills that I look at, then discard; and all the cardboard boxes I've saved to fit that special something. And let’s not forget all the business cards in my wallet that make me wonder whom those people were and why I took them the first place.

Like a snowstorm, rainstorm, hailstorm or hurricane blowing around us, we are constantly bombarded with things to recycle. What we could all use is a bit of sunshine and calm winds. So consider parting with that novel you started ten years ago and never finished, or that poem from high school you thought was cool. Or maybe that stack of bills and such. Decluttering and recycling is a great way to start the year.

And I know many of us have that garage full of stuff we need to go through. Just remember that recycling does not always mean re-fabrication, it also means giving useful items to charitable organizations or holding a good, old-fashioned garage sale. Remember, one person’s junk can be another person’s treasure.

Happy recycling in 2014!
131220JohnTaskerEcoEffortsPictureI'm thinking about how fun and cool Eugene is. Pound for pound, Eugene offers a deep pool of cultural activities, scenic sights and healthy outdoor activities. I believe there are more options than in cities much larger than little old Eugene. We have our own professional ballet and symphony. A few years ago, Rolling Stone ranked Eugene in the top 10 for music venues. We have dozens of live theater options. We are called Track Town U.S.A. for a reason. A fine University sits on our doorsteps, as well as other institutions that offer a plethora of education options. Many Eugene residents volunteer, and the young and the old work side-by-side to bring a sense of accomplishment to important environmental and social issues. We also have innovative companies spotted all around town, and there is one in particular that revolves around the theme of recycling.

Founded in 1976, Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) has its headquarters in Eugene. BHS focuses on the design, manufacturing and installation of state-of-the-art recovery systems that recover 99% of recyclables. These systems can be found all over the world. If you would like to find out more about this very interesting leader in recycling, please visit its website at and get a full overview of one of Eugene's gems of a company.
I'm sitting in my travelling chair. I'm leaning back, breathing steady and slow. My eyes are closed and I am relaxing, drifting off ... Poof! I'm back in 1972. I'm on the East Coast in Greenwich, Connecticut working for Pete Cantavarro, who had the brilliant foresight to create the first-ever home pick-up service for recycling newspapers.

There were eight or so of us who called ourselves "Pete's Boys,” a crew that drove around in a fleet of lemon-colored step-up vans with large rainbows painted on each side. Pete has passed on, but if he were around I would ask him how the idea came to mind to develop this scheme.

I was surprised at how quickly people rolled up their sleeves and bought into such a grassroots recycling effort. But the program worked, and it lasted about five years.

If memory serves me correctly, we had five routes that kept us busy six days a week. It went like this: From mansions on huge estates (Back Greenwich) to blue-collar households (Chickahominy), participants would put a rainbow sticker on their mailbox so we would know to pick up their bundles of hand-tied papers. We moved in teams of two and took turns driving and picking up the bundles.

This program ran year-round, and I can think of more than one eye-opening experience that involved a dog, snow, crazy drivers, flat tires – the list goes on and on. But we were all young then, and we weren’t phased by a few challenges.

Ah, those were the days. What really stuck with me is Pete’s forethought. Everything leads to something else. Today, it seems like we are light years beyond where we were back then, at least here in Oregon.

And to think Pete and his “Boys” were pulling the cord on that hard-to-start lawnmower all those years ago – well, it brings back great memories and makes me proud to have been a part of it.
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