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Sustainability

Ben & Jerry’s Commits to Phasing out GMOs

From: TriplePundit.com, published June 21, 2013

By Lisa Marie Chirico

“Consumers searching for greater clarity in food labeling have reason to rejoice. Ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s, a division of Unilever, decided that more transparency was in order. The Vermont-based company, the first wholly-owned subsidiary to gain B Corp Certification, recently announced their plan to completely eliminate all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from their entire product line by 2014. According to the company, about 80 percent of their ingredients by volume are sourced non-GMO in the United States and Canada, and all their products made in Europe are already non-GMO. ‘We have a long history of siding with consumers and their right to know what’s in their food,” Ben & Jerry’s stated.

According to the company’s website, although their goal is for all 80 flavors to be Fair Trade Certified and sources with non-GMO ingredients by the end of this year, the conversion will continue into 2014. Ben & Jerry’s cites complexity as the reason for this – a single flavor of their ice cream can contain almost 40 different ingredients.

The public outcry over GMOs continues to grow. According to a recent poll, 82 percent of Americans agree that foods containing GMOs should be sold with a label. The U.S. is currently the only industrialized nation lacking mandatory labeling for GMO foods. Although voters in the state of California did not approve the GMO labeling legislation Proposition 37, there are currently similar efforts underway in 20 other states, including Vermont, where the GMO labeling law recently passed by a vote of 99-42 and awaits state Senate approval. Concerns about GMO labeling have also begun to reach restaurant chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, who started labeling all ingredients, including GMOs, of their chains’ menu in March. According to the company’s spokesperson, the chain is also working to decrease the GMO content of its ingredients.”

For the rest of the story, go HERE.

 

Take Part in ECO-RUSH Days: October 22 – 25

Another on-campus opportunity to learn more about sustainability, food issues, and where some of the electricity feeding the grid you’re using to use or recharge the device you’re reading this on! Events are free and open to everyone!

Monday, Oct. 22:  Come to DIVE! the Movie – learn how you can supplement your diet with dumpster diving … ok, not really, but you will learn a great deal about the vast amounts of food wasted and disposed of in America. Movie will be shown from 5 – 6:3O in the Alumni Rooms, University Union

Tuesday, Oct. 23:  Autumn Fest at the Mauthe Center! Come enjoy a great gathering 7 – 10 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 24: Food Day.  All day at the University Union. Here’s an opportunity to learn more about food issues such as hunger, factory farming, urban agriculture and more about the local foods movement. Come for a locally source meal ($1 suggested donation for students, $2 for faculty/staff) in the Phoenix Rooms, University Union, starting at 4 p.m. and stay for keynote speaker, Will Allen, a MacArthur Genius grant awardee and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. He’ll be talking about his efforts in Milwaukee to introduce local and sustainable food sources.

Thursday, Oct. 25:  Beehive Design Collective at the Mauthe Center, 7 p.m. Come learn about The True Cost of Coal – using graphic design and great storytelling, the members of this collective give an informed presentation on the effects of mountaintop coal extraction.

Eco-Rush is sponsored by these student organizations:  PEAC, SLO, SIFE, UWGB Dietetics Club, as well as the Richard Mauthe Center and UW-Green Bay Sustainability Committee.

News Bit: Overcoming the Yuckiness of Eating Bugs and Seaweed Can Help Save the World

By Josh Schonwald, posted on Slate.com, June 25, 2012

“About 200 years ago, the lobster was regarded by most Americans as a filthy, bottom-feeding scavenger unfit for consumption by civilized people. Frequently ground up and used as fertilizer, the crustacean was, at best, poor people’s food. In fact, in some colonies, the lobster was subject to laws – laws that forbade feeding it to prisoners more than once a week because that was “cruel and unusual” treatment.

Things obviously changed for the one-time prisoner’s grub. It’s a gastronomic delicacy, the star of festivals, subject of odes to New England summers, a peer of prime rib.

I’m telling the story of the rise of lobster (as described in David Foster Wallace’s brilliant Gourmet piece ‘Consider the Lobster’) because it’s a tale of hope, a shining example of triumph over the yuck factor.

Much of the conversation about how to solve the coming food crisis caused by soaring population, diminishing resources, and a warming planet focuses rightly on technology, reducing waste, and improving food access and distribution methods. But equal urgency needs to be devoted to simply broadening our appetites. Two food sources that strike many as unpalatable – insects and seaweed – could play a critical role in not only feeding the 2.5 billion extra humans expected by 2050, but doing so in a green, climate-friendly way.

With the exception of honey (bee vomit), insects pretty much reside in Fear Factor and Bizarre Foods country. If you’re not familiar with the bug-food phobia, consider March’s Frappuccino incident. A barista revealed that Starbucks was using cochineal beetles to color its strawberry frap, prompting headlines like ‘Starbucks Lovers Bug Out Over Creepy Frappuccino Incident.’ Within weeks, Starbucks apologized, replacing the beetle juice with tomato-extract coloring. The point: insects are overwhelmingly viewed as filthy, creepy, dangerous, inedible – and not just to vegans.

But this prejudice against eating insects – four-fifths of all know organisms on earth – is slowly staring to change. A growing number of people are beginning to recognize that bugs, such as mealworms, grasshoppers, and crickets, may be the ultimate sustainable protein source. In fact, in January 2012, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization held an insect world summit of sorts – 37 international experts gathered in Rome to discuss the role of insects in achieving global food security.

Many insects are what you might call superfood – rich in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, high in essential vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron. More important, insects are green super-foods. Bugs are cold-blooded (they don’t waste energy to stay warm), so they’re far more efficient at converting feed to meat than cattle or pigs. Ten grams of feed produces one gram of beef or three grams of pork, but it can yield nine grams of edible insect meat, according to research from Arnold van Huis, an entomologist at Wageningen University. Yet insects still have virtually the same amount of protein as beef or pork. A 100-gram portion of grasshopper meat contains 20.6 grams of protein, just 7 grams less than an equivalent portion of beef.

If the protein numbers and energy efficiency don’t move you to try a grilled locust, consider this: Insects use a fraction of the water and land of conventional livestock, plus they’re climate-friendly. According to van Huis’ research, breeding edible insects, like locusts and crickets, emits just 10 percent of the methane from livestock and about 0.3 percent of the nitrous oxide. Insects are also natural recyclers that thrive on paper and industrial wastes – stuff that would normally be trashed.

Insect-eating doesn’t have a yuck factor in most of the world. Venezuelans eat French-fried ants. Ghanaians eat bread made out of termites. Thailand has more than 15,000 locust farmers. As pro-bug people like to point out, 70 percent of the world’s population eats more than 1,400 insects.

Fear of insect eating is peculiar to North Americans and Europeans. Advocates of a global surge in ‘micro-livestock’ – that’s the euphemistic term some like to apply to insect farming – are tyring to challenge the phobia.”

For the rest of this very thought-provoking article, go HERE. See what might be showing up on the shelves of Costco or Sam’s Club in the future…

Friday Factoids: Food Waste

  • How much food we throw out:  Vegetables are the most commonly wasted food in the average American home. Each home throws out $92 of fruits and vegetables a year.
  • Why we buy too much: It’s counterintuitive – People tend to overestimate what they need at the store when they are well-stocked at home, research shows.
  • What an average U.S. family of four spends on food each year that ends up in the garbage:  $500 to $2,000.
  • Fruit and juices make up 16% of trash in a home. (trash = avoidable waste)
  • Milk and yogurt make up 13% of trash.
  • Vegetables make up 25% of trash.
  • Grains make up 14% of trash.

Source:  “Leftovers: Tasty or Trash? With Food Prices High, There’s Guilt About Waste But Dread of the Reheated Dinner” by Sarah Nassauer, Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

News Bit: Buds to Suds

“Fans of beer will soon have yet another reason to imbibe, when a new partnership between Anheuser-Busch (now AB-inBev) and a company called Blue Marble Bio takes off. The two firms have launched a venture to convert brewery waste into a group of carboxylic acids that have a wide variey of commerical uses, including the manufacture of shaving creams and soaps. This renewable source of carboxylic acids will help the chemical industry along as it transitions out of petroleum-based formulas, and as a side benefit, the process also yields biogas that will be used to generate renewable electricity.

With the new venture, Anheuser-Busch also pushes the “green beer” movement up a few notches beyond the kind of measures that have becom expected from resopnsible beverage companies, such as water conservation, waste reduction and the intallation of renewable energy.”

Read more HERE.

Source:  TriplePundit.com

News Bit: Hershey Achieves Zero Waste to Landfill at 3 Plants

The Hershey Co. said three of its manufacturing facilities achieved zero waste-to-landfill (ZWL) status.

The Hershey, PA based candy retailer said in a news release that two plants in Hershey and another in Hazelton, PA, recycle about 90 percent of operational waste generated. The remainder of the waste goes to nearby Pennsylvania waste-to-energy incinerators in Bainbridge and Harrisburg.

“We achieved ZWL at these facilities through a rigorous process of eliminating waste, recycling and convertings waste to energy,” said Terence O’Day, senior vice president of global operations for Hershey.

The company’s Hazleton plant achieved ZWL status this month. Its West Hershey plant became a ZWL facility in October 2011. In addition, an ongoing $200 million to $225 million expansion of the facility is a ZWL project. The company’s Reese plant, located in Hershey, achieved ZWL status in 2010.

Hershey said it aims to continue improving its recycling and energy efficiency progrmas at all of its U.S. facilities.

Source:  waste360.com

SPECIAL NOTE: Hershey Kiss wrappers are recyclable!

News Bits: Cow Burps and Other Emissions

White Wave Looks to the Farm to Improve Environmental Footprint
“Of all the various sources of greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most little-known to the average consumer may be those from the wide-eyed cow and its environs.

“Some estimate that dairy industry emissions, including those from cow burps and manure, are responsible for about 2 percent of total emissions in the U.S. For some firms like White Wave Food Company, those dairy emissions account for a significant slice of their carbon footprints.

“White Wave, the Broomfiled, Colo.-based maker of Silk, Horizon Organic, International Delight and Land O Lakes, has been targeting its dairy carbon footprint for years. Between 2006 and 2010, the company cut its emissions 16 percent per gallon of product, exceeding its 10 percent goal for the time period.”

What to learn how … read more HERE.
Source:  GreenBiz.com