Be a Zero Waste Hero in Four Easy Steps

By Stephanie Koerella, Education Coordinator

Reducing our waste has continued to be of greater concern for Rogue Valley residents, especially since January, when options for recycling became even more limited. While the Ashland Food Co-op is ramping up our efforts to reduce waste as a business, there is a lot that our community can do at home to help the cause.

If going zero waste in your home is overwhelming, my advice is this: Don’t worry! Simply start small with these four easy steps. One of these steps is both easy and incredibly impactful, to “Share What you Learned”, so really it’s just three steps.

Stop Throwing Your Money Away 

It may surprise you that 20% of the food we buy never gets eaten and is thrown in the trash. Throwing out food is a double-whammy; not only does it waste resources that go into making the food and transporting it to our home, but the price adds up. It’s like throwing your dollar bills right into the trash can. Being smarter about food helps save our planet’s precious resources. For example, did you know that throwing out two overripe bananas (approx 1 lb) is equivalent to turning on your shower for 42 minutes straight? That’s how much water is wasted with the tossing of two bananas!

  • Zero Waste Hero Exercise: Make a waste audit! Write down everything you throw out (at home and work) for two weeks straight. Notice any trends of what you frequently throw out and buy less of those items in the future. This helps you save money and precious resources.

Buy In Bulk

By refusing to pay for packaged goods, you’re buying just food, not the carton. If you’ve taken my free Co-op class, Eating Right When The Budget’s Tight, you’ll know you can save an average of over 50% when you buy the same items in bulk. The co-op’s bulk section hits all of your family’s needs: herbs/spices, grains, beans, granola, nuts, flours, oils, vinegars, honey, dish soap, shampoo, laundry detergent and more. You’ll never have to buy a plastic bottle of dish soap or a pound of pasta in plastic again.

  • Zero Waste Hero Exercise: Bring your own container and say no to plastic bags forever. We can save plastic bags from the oceans AND save money? Happy days! (For more info on how to weigh your glass jars, check out the scale in our bulk section or ask a friendly staff member.)

Bamboo Utensils

Your Flatware On-The-Go. Keeping a set of bamboo utensils in your car can help save the planet? Yes! You’ll find that once you have bamboo utensils in your car, you’re able to say “no thanks” to plastic forks and spoons. You’ll be enjoying your summer ice cream or to-go salads sans-plastic. The world will thank you for taking this one simple step towards less waste.

  • Zero Waste Hero Exercise: Put Down The Plastic Straw. Several companies are making reusable straws out of glass, stainless steel, and other materials, so you’ll never have to drink and discard again.

And Most Importantly, Share What You Learned

These practices may seem small, but when you add them up, you’ll be blown away at how much waste you avoid in a day, a week, a month, and a year. We all want to reduce our footprint, and be better stewards of the environment. Here’s your chance, spread the word!

More Co-op News

Meet Board of Director Trine Ostergaard

Trine Ostergaard is a newly elected Ashland Food Co-op Board of Director. She brings a world, literally, of experience to the table and has a sincere passion and love for the Co-op. We are thrilled to have her aboard and asked her to answer a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Meet Board of Director Dean Williamson

Dean Williamson is a newly elected Ashland Food Co-op Board of Director. He brings to the table a plethora of co-op experience and a love of chocolate chip cookies. We are thrilled to have him aboard and asked him to answer a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Staff Picks: Favorite Local Products

September is Love Local Month!  All month long we’re celebrating our local farmers and vendors with demos, events and more. Here are some of our staff's favorite local products.


Meet Pachamamma Coffee Cooperative

By Lauren Taber, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

Pachamama Coffee Cooperative started in 2001 with a few simple questions in mind: what would it look like to take Fair Trade a step further? How can coffee farmers be in direct relationship with end consumers in the United States?

We found that the answer was even simpler: cooperative ownership. Pachamama Coffee has been 100% farmer-owned since day one, and is currently owned by 140,000 small scale family farmers across the coffee producing regions of the world.

Community Cider Backyard Fruit Drive

How often can you browse the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, see a bottle of hand crafted, local cider and say, “Hey, I help make that!” Well, at the Co-op you can.

2018 Board Election Results

The AFC Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the 2018 Board Election. There were three excellent candidates running for two Board positions. In total, 905 votes were cast.

Congratulations to the following candidates who will serve three-year terms on the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors.

Thank you for voting!



Beat the Heat

When the heat of summer takes over, it can be hard on our bodies and moods. Don’t let the scorching temps get you down, cool off with one of these refreshing Staff recommendations.

Report from the Board of Directors: Strategic Plan Update

By Jeff Golden, External Relations Committee Chair

Ashland Food Co-op is striding into the future with careful intention. We’re especially focused on the three top priorities of our strategic planning process, a collaboration of our board and management team. A quick update:

Riding off into the Sunset


By Annie Hoy, Retiring Marketing Manager

Since I was born and raised in far West Texas, I cannot help but use some imagery from what is so familiar to me.

Staff Picks: Summer Hikes and Trail Snacks

Our staff loves to head outside and enjoy the gorgeous Oregon outdoors. Here's a few of their favorite trails and the Co-op snacks they like to take with them.