How Can I Reduce My Plastic Use at the Co-op?

By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator

Plastic pollution today is a global dilemma. Did you know that more than 40% of plastic is used once, then tossed? In 2015, 79% of total plastic waste ended up in landfills or the environment. How can our co-op help reduce the amount of single-use plastics? Luckily, we offer a variety of options for owners.

Stainless Steel Straws

Looking for a green smoothie boost on these hot summer days? After the success of the City of Ashland’s “Straws on Demand” pilot project, the Co-op will no longer offer single-use plastic straws. We provide paper straws upon request and stainless steel straws (which can be purchased for 75 cents at the Deli Counter).


Dine In and Save

Stopping in for a bite to eat at our Deli? You can save 15 cents when you use our in-house durable plates and bowls,or bring in a reusable container for drinks. Don’t forget your stainless steel straw! We also offer reusable sporks for $4.99.

Reusable Produce Bags - Coming soon!

Reduce your use of plastic produce bags and invest in our new reusable produce bags. Find them in the Produce Department mid to late September. These new bags are made from recycled plastic and can be washed by hand. They are large and strong enough to hold your kale, lettuce, or bunch of carrots. Other options include using recyclable paper bags, or washing and reusing plastic bags from home.


Clamshell Recycling

Additionally, we offer plastic clamshell recycling - with some important conditions. The Co-op will only take clean #1 PETE plastic clamshells for recycling that have been originally purchased at the store. One of our produce suppliers brings these recyclable plastics to International Paper for processing. Bring in your clean clamshells to a member of the produce department today!

Glass Containers

For bulk products, you can find clean, reusable glass containers by the hand washing sink, next to bulk liquids. You can also bring in your own clean containers for stocking up. Be sure to measure the tare weight of your container first - we have scales throughout the bulk section. Feel free to ask a co-op employee to help you find the glass containers or measure the tare of your container.

Plastic Wrap

What about plastic wrap? According to a webinar from the Climate Collaborative on bio-packaging and plastics, in the overall life cycle of a product, packaging is one of the lowest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Proper packaging can prevent product loss in transport and food waste at home, which has a greater impact on reducing these emissions. Currently, we are researching options for sustainable packaging that also reduces our use of plastic wrap. Maybe one day you’ll be able to bite into a seaweed-based edible sandwich wrap!

At the Co-op, our first goal for sustainability is to become zero-waste. We are committed to reducing our plastic use to the best of our ability by researching new options and providing the best choices to our owners. The road to zero-waste takes collaboration with producers, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers. We hope that these options provide ways for all of us to make easier choices that leave a positive impact on our local and global community.

More Co-op News

Wellness Secret Weapons

There are still plenty of colds and viruses making their rounds, and we want to help you better defend against them!

In January, we asked on social media what kind of secret weapons you use in the winter to stay healthy. We had a lot of responses, so we'll start with the All-Stars.

With your initial recommendations, our Wellness team reviewed the suggestions and picked the products with the highest quality standards and best feedback. Check those out below.


Mushrooms for wellness

You may have heard about the fascinating discovery that trees can communicate with each other. What’s the secret? The mycelia - tiny strands of fungus - in the soil form a vast underground network through which trees send chemical signals to their neighbors.

The mycelia differs from the fruiting body of the mushroom, which is the reproductive component that contains spores and is thought to be higher in Beta Glucans.

What to do with all this citrus?!

So you grabbed a few too many extra oranges and grapefruits and lemons (and some finger limes, and some satsumas…), and rather than watch them go bad, we want to provide you with some ideas on how to reduce waste. You’ll also get to enjoy citrus in a lot of new ways!

There are many guides and recipes across the internet (like this one by our friends at Grow Forage Cook Ferment), so here are a few ideas to get your creative and citrus juices flowing.

Update from the General Manager: "Food for Paradise" campaign

Ashland Food Co-op's General Manager, Emile Amarotico, ends 2018 on a very uplifting note with a report back on the "Food for Paradise" donation campaign. Watch the video below, or read on for an extended written update.

Hello, this is Emile Amarotico, the general manager of Ashland Food Co-op with an update on the Co-op’s Food for Paradise initiative.

5 Fresh Ways to Save at the Co-op

We’ve all been there: your bank account is looking thin after a month of celebrations, but you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to save up for a big purchase later in the year

Now’s the time to make some changes to your spending - but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality goods at the Ashland Food Co-op.

These are some lesser known ways to save at the Co-op. Think of them like ordering off the secret menu. 

Savings Level: $

4 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

It’s the New Year, our favorite time for goal-setting, making positive resolutions, and shifting our impact. One of the Co-op’s goals is to become a Zero Waste facility. Our staff works to divert as much food waste as we can - and we hope our member-owners will join us in this goal too.

Understanding CBD

The world of CBDs is continuing to grow, adding to our already vast assortment of medicine available, and sometimes adding to the questions we have about it. We asked our Wellness team to answer the five most common questions about CBD here at the Ashland Food Co-op.

How is CBD different from what I might find in a dispensary?

Meet Cooking Class Instructor Charlie Douglass

Many talented local chefs share their expertise in the Co-op Kitchen. Charlie Douglass is no exception. As the former Master Chocolatier at Harry and David, Charlie knows a thing or two about chocolate and candy making. 

Tell us how your love of cooking and food began.

Meet Cooking Class Instructor Tiazza Rose

From bread baking to Moroccan cooking, many talented local chefs share their expertise in the Co-op Kitchen. We'd like you to meet a few of them. Tiazza Rose has been teaching the Ashland community the art of Moroccan cooking for years. If you haven't taken a class from Tiazza yet, you should. Here's why.


Tell us how your love of cooking and food began.

Give the Gift of Wellness


Finding the perfect gift for a friend or loved one is an art. This winter, we carefully selected these assortments for those who love some good self-care, are working in partnership with their gut health, or for those making efforts to reduce their pain. Each of these gift ideas will help you make your loved ones feel extra special and extra healthful.


We'll cook. You feast.

Spend more time relaxing with friends and family this holiday. Order the Deli’s ready-to-heat and serve Thanksgiving meal without all the fuss. We make everything from scratch and all recipes use the highest quality ingredients.

Choose from three options:

Give the Gift of Good Food

During the month of November, Co-op shoppers can nourish their own families and help fight hunger in the Rogue Valley. We’ve teamed up once again with Smart Chicken® for the Smart Giving Holiday Challenge.

Here’s how it works.

  • For every 10 pounds of Smart Chicken® you purchase from the Meat Department or the Deli, Smart Chicken® will donate one pound of chicken to a local non profit