How to stay sustainable with paper products
Have you thought about how sustainable your paper home products are? While the use of single-use plastics has (rightfully) been criticized, some products are made to be single-use - like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins. With these products, it’s best to examine sustainability by looking at what goes into their production.
While recycled paper is still a worthy alternative to ‘fresh’ paper - reducing or repurposing waste is always a good thing - it’s not guilt-free. Because recycled paper can contain receipts, tickets, food wrappers, and similar materials, BPA plastics show up in many of these products.
Of course, the Co-op works hard to get the most sustainable products on the shelves so you don’t have to spend hours researching. The two most sustainable ‘paper’ materials for hygiene products are bamboo and sugarcane.
Bamboo is grown around the world; kids can usually identify it because of its association with pandas. (Don’t worry - industrial bamboo is a different species that is not taking away a panda’s next meal!) What makes bamboo so sustainable? First, rate of growth: bamboo can grow between a foot and 3.5 feet a day! That’s partly because bamboo is actually a grass, not a tree. Compare that to an oak tree that grows 12” annually. On a large scale, an Agriculture Department study found that bamboo produced 14 tons of fiber an acre, compared to 8 tons for loblolly pine.
Additionally, bamboo is known for producing more oxygen than most trees, and sequestering more carbon - so it can be argued that bamboo products are doing more for the environment than traditional lumber/paper sources.
The Co-op carries Bim Bam Boo bamboo toilet paper, and NatureZway’s bamboo paper towels and toilet paper.
Sugarcane is quickly becoming a sustainable alternative to traditional lumber, as well. Like bamboo, it’s a grass, not a tree, so it grows rapidly and re-grows within 3-4 months after harvest.
While not as visually recognizable as bamboo, most of us are familiar with sugarcane’s typical usage: to create sugar. But after that sugarcane juice is squeezed out, very high quality fiber is left behind - usually destined for the landfill or burning. But instead, this fiber is being repurposed for processing into paper products. How’s that for Zero Waste?
Most of the sugarcane paper products carried by the Co-op are mixes with bamboo, like Ecos toilet paper and paper towels. You can also find Ultra Green napkins, made entirely of sugarcane fiber.
More Co-op News
Part of what makes co-ops unique are the guiding 7 Principles of Cooperation. One of the seven that is felt strongly in Ashland is "Concern for the community" - and that's why the Co-op is offering a new way to give back to our community for the month of October. When you pay at the register, you can round up your total to the nearest dollar. For example, $11.68 becomes $12, and $0.32 is donated.
Donations in October will go to the Ashland Food Co-op Community Fund, which funds the Community Grant program (over $29,000 was provided last year to local non-profits).
We're celebrating Co-op Month in October by highlighting products at the Ashland Food Co-op that are made by other co-ops.
That's one of the seven cooperative principles - Cooperation among Cooperatives - that you'll find being practiced at the Co-op everyday.
You can win a selection of those co-op products by entering your name and email below.
Entries will close on October 24, and a winner will be contacted on October 25 via the email address provided.
Thanks to alpine trails and shaded valley creeks, outdoor recreation is year-round in the Rogue Valley. But fall usually makes for more frisky feet, so we asked Co-op employees for their favorite fall activities and recommendations for what they grab before they head out.
Just in time for the school year, Applegate products are being added to the Co-op Basics program! The Co-op carries a variety of Applegate products, like sliced deli meat, cheeses, bacon, and sausages. Now as part of the Co-op Basics program, you’ll be saving up to $2 on Applegate products across the store, every day.
Another successful farm tour is in the books! With 30 farms this year, visitors could see how bigger farms work, like Herb Pharm, Fry Family Farm, and Rogue Creamery, while also experiencing the joys of smaller farms, such as Turning Point Farm, Fox Run Farm, and Daily Blessing Farm.
Visitors of all ages enjoying Goodwin Creek Gardens
Ashland is a paradise for the outdoors - but sometimes Mother Nature has different plans for us.
When smoke from wildfires becomes an issue, there are still plenty of great activities to enjoy around our wonderful town. Check out this list for some inspiration!
The AFC juice bar has several fresh, organic juices that help with lung support. Here are a few suggestions:
This year, the Ashland Food Co-op proudly celebrates their 20 year partnership with Magnolia Farms. Their pasture raised, no antibiotics, no hormones lamb is a staple in the Co-op Meat Department. Magnolia Farms is graciously donating the lamb for our August First Friday in celebration of our long standing partnership.
The Co-op has been asked if compostable plastic bags are a viable alternative to the standard plastic bags offered in the produce and meat departments.
For several reasons, compostable bags are not in line with the Co-op’s goals and standards.
Not compostable at home
We are happy to announce that we are a member of the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management program. This is a free program available to customers of Avista and Pacific Power, which offers awesome incentives including a paid internship!
The Ashland Food Co-op donated over $29,000 to 28 local nonprofit organizations through their Community Grant Program.
The Community Grant program is the focus of one of the fundamental Cooperative Principles, which all cooperative enterprises follow. Our Community Grant Program supports Principle 7, Concern for Community.
Congratulations to Annie Hoy, Melina Barker, Lisa Beam, and Steve Bowman for their election to the Board of Directors! We were delighted to have such a strong slate of candidates to fill our four vacancies. You can read more about each new director here.
We are grateful for the engaged community that supports the Ashland Food Co-op. We're a grocery store owned by you (with a few thousand of your friends). But your ownership isn't just coupons and discount; you help shape the future of the Co-op through the election of the Board of Directors.
This year, seven candidates are nominated for four board positions: two will serve a three-year term; one will serve a two-year term; and one will serve a one-year term. Additionally, the current board has proposed three by-law changes for approval.
The Farm Tour shines a spotlight on Southern Oregon - it represents the full range of products grown in the Rogue Valley. The Farm Tour isn't until July 14, but here's a list of tour activities for participating farms that are also on the shelves at the Ashland Food Co-op. Get an early taste of quality local goods!