Reduce Food Waste With In-Sink Disposals

Food Waste

Americans waste up to 50 percent more food than U.S. consumers did in the 1970s, according to National Institutes of Health. And the government last year declared its first ever, national food waste reduction goals.

Now food waste — and trash in general — are getting to be such big problems that pockets of many U.S. cities are having a difficult time managing rubbish on trash days. The garbage, in turn, takes more money and energy to transport to landfill space that’s also limited.

This all partly explains why some U.S. cities have been trying out in-sink, electric garbage disposals as a way to reduce trash and transform food scraps into renewable sources of energy.

In the high-density Point Breeze neighborhood of south Philadelphia, for example, streets are tight. “There’s very little place to store trash,” said Carlton Williams, a Philadelphia city official, reports CNBC. He made the comments in a video for the city.

After a two-year-plus pilot program between Philadelphia and InSinkErator, a business unit of Emerson, the city now requires in-sink food waste disposers in new residential construction. The regulation went into effect earlier this year. It was signed into law in late 2015.

“It’s counterintuitive that using a disposer somehow is good for the environment,” Michael Keleman, an environmental engineer for Emerson, tells CNBC. And yes, using garbage disposers require water and electricity.

At the time of Philadelphia’s pilot program launch with Emerson, then Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said he never thought he’d be holding a news conference on garbage disposers.

But food waste and the environment are changing, as waste volumes only rise.

“Diversion of organics from landfills can reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Keleman.

The idea behind the Philadelphia initiative is to divert as much organic food waste into reusable energy.

In-sink disposers convert food scraps into fine particles. The slurry passes through plumbing and a process called anaerobic digestion that transforms the waste. One of the end products is biogas, which can be used to generate electricity and heat.

Nearly every consumer has a tale of a clogged disposer or plumbing gone bad. But Keleman of Emerson argues proper use can prevent a lot of problems. And diverting food waste means less trash.

Participants during Philadelphia’s pilot phase said while using the garbage disposer, they put out roughly one less trash bag per week. And less food waste also means fewer rodents and critters.

With widespread use of food disposers, the city could potentially reduce food waste by around 19,000 tons annually, and save about $1.1 million in waste disposal and other costs.

U.S. food loss and waste accounts for about 31 percent of the overall food supply available to retailers and consumers, with far-reaching effects on food security and climate change, according to the USDA.

That’s why scientists and researchers are seeking waste reduction, including technology-based solutions to transform food and agricultural waste into converted energy. The goal is feeding people, not landfills.

If you have a garbage disposal, try to use it more often. And remember, for all of your trash-disposal needs in your office, stadium, or school, Securr Trash Cans has the best selection around.

Keep Animals Safe Through Proper Trash Disposal


You are probably well aware that proper disposal of trash and recycling is important for human beings and our environment, but as you move through your days, don’t forget about the impact that litter can have on wildlife.

Everyday items such as soda cans and plastic bottles can be deadly for unsuspecting wildlife and even dogs and cats. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Here are some simple tricks that you can do to help prevent animals from suffering:

Don’t feed the bears!: The “garbage-killed bear” is more than a cute turn of phrase. Rather it’s an accurate description of a tragedy that plays itself out more and more frequently as people move into bear country and bears learn that people carry tasty – if not very nutritious – food. Once a bear becomes conditioned to human food it’s too late to help. A so-called “problem bear” can’t be fixed; it must be prevented. And the only way to prevent it is for every single individual visiting a national park and nearby areas to be scrupulously stingy about letting bears have any human food. Bear-proof trash cans offered by Securr Trash Cans work well to keep bears out of garbage. They help protect bears from their taste for unhealthy snacks. Stashing your trash in these containers can save a bear’s life.

Soda rings: Six-packs of soda often come strung together by plastic rings, and too often curious animals get their heads stuck inside, causing injury or even death. Cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds.

Fishing lines and hooks: Birds frequently get their beaks wrapped or wings tangled up in discarded fishing line. Hooks can be swallowed or become embedded in birds’ skin or beaks. If you spot fishing litter, pick it up and dispose of it.

Beer and soda cans: Even the tiniest animals can fall victim to litter. Discarded soda cans are tempting to small animals who are looking for food or shade. Luckily, this little skink was freed during a beach clean-up. Animals can also be cut by cans’ sharp edges. Be sure to dispose of your cans responsibly. Rinse and crush cans before tossing them into the recycling bin. You can also fold the tab back to block off the hole on the top.

Chewing gum: Animals often step in gum, which can become matted in their fur or feathers, making it difficult for them to move. Never spit gum onto the ground. Wrap it in paper and dispose of it in a proper receptacle.

Tin cans, cups, and jars: Hungry animals desperate for even just a few crumbs often get their heads stuck in discarded cans, cups, and jars. Always rinse out containers (and place the lids back on them!) and crush metal cans before disposing of them.

Plastic bottles and bags: Whales, turtles, and seabirds often mistake trash for food, and if eaten, it can choke them or cause fatal stomach or bowel obstructions. When shopping, choose paper bags or take your own reusable bags whenever possible.

Remember: Never, ever litter. Animals of all kinds often mistake trash for food or shelter. Securely cover garbage cans and recycle bins so that animals can’t get into them and become trapped inside. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for other people’s trash, too. Your actions could be the difference between life and death for an animal.


Minimize Your Impact on the Great Outdoors This Summer

camping family

When you’re at home or at work, Securr has all of your trash can needs. But when you’re away this summer, camping or hiking, use these tips to help minimize your impact on the great outdoors.

When you’re packing for your trip, make sure you eliminate any unnecessary food packaging. Say you’re bringing a cup of just-add-water noodles, but the cup comes with a cardboard box around it. Leave the box at home. Better yet, dump the contents of the bowl into a reusable, sealed mug that you can use again for your morning coffee.

You may still have to bring some packaging, so it’s a good idea to bring a trash bag with you. It doesn’t have to be heavy-duty — it could even just be a grocery sack. Place any food-related trash in the bag to make sure your gear doesn’t become messy or attract animals.

Be sure to hang your food at night or use a bear canister so unwanted guests don’t start digging through it. When you’re done with your bag, toss it in a designated trash can or dumpster.

When it’s time to wash dishes, scrape uneaten food into your trash bag, then find a place well away from water sources and campsites to do the washing. You may wish to use a portable kitchen sink to conserve water, but definitely use biodegradable soap; here’s my favorite. Quick-drying and reusable camp towels will help ready your pots and plates for the next meal.

There are some items you may take camping that come in packages, like batteries and new gear. My advice is the same as before: leave all unnecessary packaging at home. Should you actually need to bring it, it won’t have to go in the food trash bag, but you should never litter. Always throw away trash in designated areas.

It’s a good idea to keep your personal hygiene standards up to par, especially when it comes to your teeth. You don’t want to leave globs of sweet-smelling toothpaste in the woods, however, so you can either spit into your trash bag or try to disperse the toothpaste as much as possible.

Bury human waste in catholes about 6-8″ deep 200 feet from any water sources, campsites, or trails. It is good to carry out used toilet paper since animals often dig it up and spread it all over. Carry out all plastic or cotton feminine hygiene products. Do not bury them.

As a campsite becomes more and more popular, small impacts quickly accumulate. Some people see garbage and then feel they do not need to take care since it’s already trashed. Taking a bit of extra time to clean up a spot will help keep it cleaner. The next visitors will see no trash and tend to pack out their own trash. Even highly trafficked sites can be made more inviting by removing trash and cleaning out old fire debris.

Taking the extra bit of effort to patrol the campsite just before leaving often finds bits of foil, plastic, and food from your group or others before you. No matter where you go, if people have been there, people have left litter. Whether on the ocean shore or on the highest peak in the world, when it is more convenient to leave trash than take it away, someone will decide to leave it.

Then, bring it all home, and dispose of it properly using your Securr trash cans.


A Brief History of Garbage


Did you ever stop to think about the history of garbage?

Humans are by their very nature careless with trash. It is not a trait of the 20th century.

As the timeline of garbage history suggests (below), there has been a problem of trash from man’s earliest time. Four basic means of dealing with trash have been used over and over in history – dumping, burning, recycling, and waste minimization.

The Mayan Indians of Central America had dumps, which exploded occasionally and burned. They also recycled. Homemakers didn’t sweep trash under their rugs. Some was trampled under foot and some was swept into corners. When it got too deep, they would bring in dirt to cover it.

Some cultures were very wasteful, considering everything disposable. Many Mayan sites demonstrated such careless consumption. Consumption and waste of resources is probably related to supply available more than any other factor. When gasoline is plentiful and cheap, automobiles get larger (nobody is thinking about future supplies). When it becomes scarce and expensive, automobiles get smaller.

Trash has played a tremendous role in history. The Bubonic Plague, cholera, and typhoid fever, to mention a few, were diseases that altered the populations of Europe and influenced monarchies. They were perpetuated by filth that harbored rats, and contaminated water supply. It was not uncommon for Europeans to throw their garbage and even human wastes out of the window. They figured that stray dogs would eat whatever they threw out.

Studies fail to substantiate the notion that Americans are more wasteful than similar civilizations of the past. Note that the nature of the waste varies greatly from one civilization to another. There is an archeological account of Native Americans in Colorado about 6500 BC who killed 200 buffalo in one day and butchered 150 of them, carrying away enough meat to feed 150 people for 23 days. They left the remains behind (some 18,380 pounds of bones, which had remained for 6500 years. Soft tissue had decomposed years ago). One hundred fifty modern day Americans would produce about 14,150 pounds in 23 days, most of which would have decomposed rapidly. Based on the weight of the bones that remained, the Native Americans in that clan produced about 5.3 pounds of waste a day as compared to 2.5 pounds a day, which is a moderate figure for middle class American consumption.

Here are some highlights from the history of garbage:

  • 6,500 BC: Archeological studies shows a clan of Native Americans in what is now Colorado produced an average of 5.3 pounds of waste a day.
  • 500 BC: First municipal dump in western world organized in Athens, Greece. Regulations required waste to be dumped at least a mile from the city limits.
  • 1388: English Parliament bars waste dispersal in public waterways and ditches.
  • 1400: Garbage piles so high outside of Paris gates that it interferes with city defense.
  • 1690: Rittenhouse Mill in Philadelphia makes paper from recycled fibers (waste paper and rags).
  • 1842: A report links disease to filthy environmental conditions – “age of sanitation” begins.
  • 1885: The first garbage incinerator was built in USA (on Governor’s Island in NY)
  • 1896: Waste reduction plants arrive in US. (for compressing organic wastes). Later closed because of noxious emissions.
  • Turn of Century: By the turn of the century the garbage problem was seen as one of the greatest problems for local authorities.
  • 1914: There were about 300 incinerators in the US for burning trash.
  • 1920’s: Landfills were becoming a popular way of reclaiming swamp land while getting rid of trash.
  • 1954: Olympia, Washington, pays for return of aluminum cans.
  • 1965: The first federal solid waste management laws were enacted in the United States.
  • 1968: By 1968 companies began buy back recycling of containers.
  • 1970: The first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created, and the Resource Recovery Act enacted.
  • 1976: In 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was created emphasizing recycling and HW management. This was the result of two major events: the oil embargo and the discovery (or recognition) of Love Canal.
  • 1979: The EPA issued criteria prohibiting open dumping.
  • Today: We are still a work in progress in how we handle our garbage.

“Cash For Trash” Programs Reduce Landfills And Help Impoverished Citizens

landfill 2

While many in the world are able to use trash cans and local waste management to dispose of our garbage, that’s not the case everywhere. Some countries have come up with a unique solution.

Customers in a poor corner of eastern Indonesia, borrow cash — and pay back trash.

It’s an idea that’s about as far as can be from the technological developments disrupting banking elsewhere, reports Bloomberg News. Not just neighborhoods in Indonesia, but elsewhere across emerging Asia and Africa, locales are embracing “trash banking” as a way of reducing pressure on ever-growing landfill sites and allowing some of their poorest citizens access to savings and credit.

The scale of the problem facing Makassar and other Asian cities is clear. Each day the city of 2.5 million people produces 800 tons of rubbish, most of which ends up at the five-story high tip, which sprawls over the area the size of two soccer pitches. Scavengers, many of them children, work alongside cows foraging for food.

Against this backdrop, trash banking is taking off. Residents bring recyclable trash such as plastic bottles, paper and packaging to the collection points, known as banks, where the rubbish is weighed and given a monetary value. Like a regular bank, customers are able to open accounts, make deposits — of trash, converted to its rupiah value — and periodically withdraw funds.

The city government commits to purchasing the rubbish at set prices displayed at the bank, ensuring price stability for those bringing trash in. It then sells it on to waste merchants who ship it to plastic and paper mills on the main island of Java.

At other trash banks in the country, account holders can exchange their rubbish directly for rice, phone cards or paying their electricity bills. At the Mutiara Trash Bank, several account holders had signed up for a homework program, whereby local students help younger kids with their homework and are paid directly from the garbage bank.

Customers in Makassar, most of whom are women collecting trash part time, typically save tiny amounts: around 2,000 rupiah to 3,000 rupiah (15 cents to 23 cents) a week, although others who more dedicatedly collect rubbish save much more. Many also borrow money, most often to buy rice, toward the end of the week when they’re awaiting their husband’s paycheck.

The city administration sends trucks to collect the waste from the Mutiara Trash Bank several times a week and brings it to a Central Trash Bank, where it is sorted for sale. Mutiara is one of more than 200 trash banks in Makassar, which has emerged as a model for other cities, according to the city’s mayor. Indonesia as a whole last year had 2,800 trash banks operating in 129 cities, with 175,000 account holders, according to the environment ministry.

For trash banking to succeed, government support is vital, said Sanjay K. Gupta, a waste management specialist at Skat Consulting Ltd. in Switzerland, who has studied the projects.  While Indonesia has the largest network of trash banks, he said, other similar practices are carried out in African countries including Ghana and South Africa, in India’s cities of Pune and Bengaluru, and in Manila, Bogota and Brazil.

The local authorities in Makassar are supported by a local non-governmental organization that receives funding from PT Unilever Indonesia and is headed by Saharuddin Ridwan, a former television journalist who covered the religious wars in eastern Indonesia in the past decade.


Eco-Friendly Lawn Care


Eco-conscious lawn care benefits more than just your lawn: it’s healthier for the environment, your family, and your pets. Here are some tips as you get your lawn in shape this spring.

Test Your Soil First: Never spend money on any fertilizer or soil amendment for your lawn or garden without first consulting the results of a soil test. These diagnostic results — available from virtually all Cooperative Extension offices across the U.S. — will tell you exactly how much N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) or K (potassium), lime, sulphur or other nutrients to add. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus can harm oceans, lakes, rivers and drinking water. Other excess nutrients can weaken and even kill grass and other plants. The bottom line, in other words, is to avoid guessing. That can be bad, for the environment, for your landscape and for your pocketbook. You can buy at-home DIY soil test kits for as little as $0.35 per test at or Or, try this electronic soil tester ($18.95 at

Organic Fertilizer: Soil contains an interconnected array of organisms that create natural fertilizer, Paul Tukey, a lawn-care expert and founder of SafeLawns, tells Martha Stewart Living. “Feeding with organics mimics the natural world, which grows tall trees just fine without our help,” he says. Treating lawns organically enhances soil life and reduces disease, which means healthier greenery and a cleaner environment. Studies also show that organic lawn care is safer for kids and pets, whose health can be threatened by many common lawn chemicals.

Eco-Friendly Grasses: If you’re looking to replace the grass variety in your yard, consider one of these environmentally friendly grasses. They require less watering, less mowing, and less fertilizer, all of which helps cut down on your carbon footprint.

  • Ecolawn: This blend of fine fescue grasses is highly drought-tolerant and requires less fertilization than traditional grass. It can be grown anywhere in the United States. (Learn more: Wildflower Farm)
  • Buffalograss: As the native grass of the Western Plains, this variety thrives in drier areas of the country such as California and Nevada. It only needs to be mowed once a month. (Learn More: Todd Valley Farms | High Country Gardens)
  • Seashore paspalum: This is an eco-friendly grass for Southern states with warm climates. It doesn’t even like fertilizer, and it tolerates recycled water, or even salty water. (Learn more: Phillip Jennings Turf Farms)

Using Water Efficiently: Watering too often encourages roots to stay near the lawn’s surface where they’re more susceptible to drought and disease. “By watering infrequently but deeply, we encourage roots to grow downward in search of the moisture,” Paul says. If you’ve just planted, it’s good practice to water every day until the new plantings are established. But after that, you should only need to water once a week, if that. To test whether you need to water, feel six inches down into the soil: if it’s wet, don’t water.

Lawn Renovation: If your grass has seen better days, try Paul’s eco-friendly renovation technique:

  • Rake lawn to remove thatch and dead grass, which creates good seed-to-soil contact.
  • Apply grass seed; don’t skimp.
  • Cover with layer of compost; this helps retain moisture and keep the birds away, and it’s a lot cheaper than spreading straw.


Reducing Food Waste Could Curb Climate Change

food waste

Reducing food waste around the world would help curb emissions of planet-warming gases, lessening some of the impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather and rising seas, scientists said early this month. News of this study was reported in The Guardian.

Up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better, according to a new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

“Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than 20% of overall global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010,” said co-author Prajal Pradhan. “Avoiding food loss and waste would therefore avoid unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate climate change.”
Between 30 and 40% of food produced around the world is never eaten, because it is spoiled after harvest and during transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers.

The share of food wasted is expected to increase drastically if emerging economies like China and India adopt western food habits, including a shift to eating more meat, the researchers warned.

Richer countries tend to consume more food than is healthy or simply waste it, they noted.

As poorer countries develop and the world’s population grows, emissions associated with food waste could soar from 0.5 gigatonnes (GT) of carbon dioxide equivalent per year to between 1.9 and 2.5 GT annually by mid-century, showed the study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal.

It is widely argued that cutting food waste and distributing the world’s surplus food where it is needed could help tackle hunger in places that do not have enough – especially given that land to expand farming is limited.

But Jürgen Kropp, another of the study’s co-authors and PIK’s head of climate change and development, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the potential for food waste curbs to reduce emissions should be given more attention. “It is not a strategy of governments at the moment,” he said.

The researchers analysed food requirements in the past and for different future scenarios.

They found that while global average food demand per person remains almost constant, in the last five decades food availability has rapidly increased – hiking the emissions related to growing surplus food by more than 300%.

The paper did not look at how food waste could be shrunk, but initiatives to tackle the problem are already on the rise in both developed and developing countries.

In January, for example, 30 company heads, government ministers, and executives with foundations, research groups and charities launched a coalition to work towards cutting food waste by half and reducing food loss significantly by 2030.

The aims are in line with the new global development goals that took effect this year.

“Champions 12.3” – named after the food-waste goal number – includes the bosses of Tesco, Nestle, Rabobank, Unilever, Oxfam America, WWF International and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Andrew Steer, another coalition member who heads the World Resources Institute, noted then that if food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

“Food loss and waste hurts people, costs money and harms the planet,” he said in a statement. “Cutting (it) is a no-brainer.”

Twenty Fun Facts About Garbage

fun facts

Here are 20 facts about garbage that are likely to surprise you. You may never look at your trash the same way again!

  • More Than 100 Tons of Waste for Every American: The average American throws away more than 7 pounds of garbage a day. That’s 102 tons in a lifetime, more than any other populations on Earth.
  • Bottled Water Is the “Grandfather of Wasteful Industries.” Edward Humes, author of the book “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash,” counts bottled water among the most wasteful of industries. In the US, Americans toss 60 million water bottles daily, which is nearly 700 each minute.
  • Food Waste Is a Problem Too: Americans throw away 28 billion pounds of food a year, which is about 25 percent of the US food supply.
  • Disposables Are a Drain: Ten percent of the world’s oil supply is used to make and ship disposable plastics – items like plastic utensils, plates, and cups that are used just one time and thrown away.
  • Trash Is Expensive: Most communities spend more to deal with trash than they spend for schoolbooks, fire protection, libraries, and parks.
  • Carpet Waste Alone Is Astounding: Americans throw away 5.7 million tons of carpet every year.
  • Paper Waste Is a Shame: Americans waste 4.5 million tons of office paper a year. Ask yourself… do I really need to print that?
  • Opting Out of Junk Mail Makes a Difference: According to Humes, the energy used to create and distribute junk mail in the US for one day could heat 250,000 homes. You can opt-out of junk mail by going to
  • Too Many Toys: Only 4 percent of the world’s children live in the US, but Americans buy (and throw away) 40 percent of the world’s toys. Buy less toys, opt for second-hand versions, and pass down the toys you do purchase to others.
  • Plastic Bags: On average, Americans use 500 plastic bags per capita each year. Such bags make up the second most common type of garbage found on beaches. Stash reusable shopping bags in your purse or car so you’re not tempted by plastic or paper.
  • Coffee Conundrum: The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.
  • Pitch the Plastic: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • Happy Holidays?: The estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards sold each year in the US could fill a football field 10 stories high.
  • It’s the Most Wasteful Time of the Year: Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, an extra million tons of waste is generated each week.
  • It’s a Wrap: 38,000 miles of ribbon are thrown away each year, enough to tie a bow around the Earth.
  • Bottled Water Waste: US landfills contain about 2 million tons of discarded water bottles, each of which will take more than 1,000 years to biodegrade.
  • Bags, Bags, Bags: On a worldwide scale, each year about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. At over 1 million bags per minute, that’s a lot of plastic bags, of which billions end up as litter each year, contaminating oceans and other waterways.
  • Going Green: Organic landfill waste has increased by 50 percent per capita since 1974.
  • Yard Waste Use: Since 1993, 1.6 million tons of yard and wood debris have been converted into premium quality organic compost and mulches, along with recycled lumber, firewood, and biofuel used to generate electricity.
  • Less is Sometimes More: While the number of landfills in the US has been decreasing in recent decades, they have, individually, been increasing in size.


Will America Embrace Precycling?


Many businesses in Europe have embraced the benefits of precycling – will America ever catch on?

Precycling is the concept of eliminating trash before it is created. If you don’t use new plastic, paper or metal to begin with, you won’t have to dispose of it.

It’s been 20 years since the Environmental Protection Agency began a media campaign to introduce precycling, but it’s yet to catch on in any substantial way with Americans. Now, a new breed of mostly European store owners, who are as aesthetically sophisticated as they are ethically minded, are trying to change how we shop by presenting the market as a curated space. In an age in which we simultaneously expect and are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice at the grocery — this brand of whole-grain pasta or that one? — these stores offer something defiantly old-fashioned: one or two alternatives carefully selected by those in the know.

Other stores are offering items in bulk, allowing the customer to weigh and measure the exact amount they need. Still others are offering reusable bottles — customers pay a small deposit for the bottles; when they’re returned, they’re cleaned and recirculated. At one store in Italy, shoppers use disposable plastic gloves to grab fistfuls of spaghetti from glass-domed containers, or scoop smaller shapes with ladles.

Precycling offers a secondary reward as well, by making us re-see what we’re looking at, more thoughtfully considering our food rather than hoping what’s hidden behind paper and plastic is truly what we want.

Rethinking and reinventing groceries in the interest of the environment would require the cooperation of manufacturers, as well as consumers. Americans are like the Felix Unger of the retail economy, with a reputation for fastidiousness — that’s why so many products are packaged and shrink-wrapped in layers of protection: Nobody’s touched those coffee beans since Juan Valdez grew them. But we weren’t always so persnickety; we used to buy pickles or crackers or penny nails from bins. Big Grocery, like Big Pharma, might argue that packaging provides 21st-century security, and that precycling on a grand scale is impractical. Not true, say these European shopkeepers: Their places are updating the old American general store cracker-barrel approach, while making hygiene a priority.

So is America ready? Denver is about to find out when it gets Zero Market, co-founded by Lyndsey Manderson, a former high-school science teacher, whose new store will be located inside an old aviation hangar and will resemble a modern apothecary. The walls will be covered with reclaimed barn wood that’s been sanded and waxed. Rolling ladders to access higher shelves will make shopping a bit of a joyride rather than drudgery. Amber- and clear-glass jars will be painted with chalkboard labels so the contents are both evident and inviting. ‘‘We’re asking people to slow down when they come to the store and take time to figure out how much they need,’’ said Manderson told the New York Times. ‘‘And we’ll have a tracker that will let them see the amount of packaging that’s been diverted from landfill.’’ How long, then, until Brooklyn catches on?

Spring Cleaning, the Eco-Friendly Way

Spring Cleaning

You may have been prone to clutter in previous seasons, but spring is the perfect time to change old habits. Here are 6 super simple steps from that you can take to clean your home the eco-way.

Reduce your paper towel consumption. Recycle your worn clothing by turning old fabric into rags to clean quick spills and tidy up the house. Can’t find any holey clothes in your closet? Try E-cloth. Currently, cleaners everywhere are sampling (and loving) e-cloth, a general-purpose glass and polishing cloth that reduces cleaning with chemicals, as it only requires water for use. These simple alternatives save you money and help conserve the environment.

Recycle your old electronics properly. Many of us have the urge to upgrade to the latest electronics, while our past purchases are often sitting tucked away in a junk drawer or closet. In fact, in developed countries the average lifespan of a mobile phone is only two years! But electronics in landfills are hazardous to our environment because of the chemicals they contain. Search online for sites that offer you cash for your used electronics, such as Gazelle. And if you’re looking to ditch old electronics quickly, local supermarkets might offer drop boxes that recycle and send your property to developing countries around the world.

Create your own or shop for non-toxic cleaning solutions. Many household products, like baking soda and vinegar, serve as strong cleaning agents. Plus, they don’t contain harmful chemicals that can trigger rashes or irritate your respiratory system. And if you can’t picture yourself mixing it up in the kitchen, be sure to choose the safest options for your family by thoroughly reading product labels, as some purchasing guidelines do not require companies to list all ingredients. For an effective counter cleaner, mix ¼ cup baking soda and just enough liquid castile soap until it becomes a creamy consistency.

De-clutter your home. Have a yard sale or host a party with friends to swap toys and clothing items!  You can also become a member of the fast-growing community which allows locals to give and receive items for free, with the purpose of keeping decent items out of landfills.

Keep your house smelling fresh, naturally. Avoid air fresheners – which can cause watery eyes, nausea, and headaches – by creating your own fragrant alternatives. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, air within your home could be up to five times more polluted than the air outdoors. Make your own potpourri using herbs, spices, and flowers or simmer fresh spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, or vanilla on the stove.

Treat cleaning like a game instead of a chore. By assigning age-appropriate duties to your children, they gain a sense of responsibility and self-discipline within their household. Rid those dust bunnies by having the kids wear old socks and “skate” throughout the house. Be sure to properly inspect the area for hazardous items on the floor before the game begins. You can even incorporate music into the task. While the kids are “skating” around, play wax museum: Once the music stops, they must pause in place.