Why The Zero Waste Community Needs More Inclusivity
By now, most of us have heard the term “zero waste”, which one of the simple ways to put it, means to send little to no items to landfill. Zero waste living is about consuming less, being more conscious about our purchasing habits, supporting eco-friendly companies, and overall reducing our environmental impact. We’ve seen the zero waste community grow immensely over the past decade, especially as the Climate Crisis continues to rise.
But the issue with this community, is the lack of inclusion for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Big advocates tend to be White, seemingly middle-classed women. A typical day for them consists of them making their weekly batch of almond milk and placing it in their perfectly labeled jars, putting on their $350 dollar dress that was made completely out of plastic bottles, and the plastic free produce they just purchased from their local Farmer’s Market (which of course was only a five-minute bicycle ride from their house). For some, it comes off as an unattainable lifestyle if you are not White and not in the middle-upper class, but that simply is not true.
BIPOC communities have been living zero waste lifestyles for thousands of years. Most cultures live this way without even identifying themselves as “zero waste”, as it’s just something they have always done; repurposing empty containers to store leftovers, hand-me-down clothing, using every part of an animal they just harvested, etc. Thrifting was once only for low-income communities and was only for “poor people” because it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing or “cool”. Now that it has become trendy, everyone is doing it.
Zero waste community members have a responsibility to ensure their environmental sustainability is working towards:
- Ending Fossil Fuel extractions and Fossil-Fuel based products like plastic.
- Getting commitment from agencies and local governments to stop funding false or short-term solutions like waste-to-energy.
- Addressing Food Insecurity and Food Deserts in BIPOC communities.
- Addressing Environmental Racism.
- While Indigenous people comprise 5% of the world population, Indigenous People protect about 80% of the Earth’s Biodiversity in the Forests, Deserts, Grasslands, and Marine Environments in which they have lived for centuries.
- Studies have shown that White neighborhoods have at least 4 times as many grocery stores as predominately Black neighborhoods.
- 58 incinerators, or 79 percent of all MSW incinerators in the U.S. are located in BIPOC and low-income communities. Living near these sites increase the risk of health issues as they release heavy metals and mercury into the air.
These are just some of the many reasons why this community has to be more inclusive if it is to survive and achieve its end goal in protecting Mother Earth.
The movement needs to better reflect more diverse experiences to broaden its audience. BIPOC struggle to resonate with the zero-waste movement when they do not see their own personal environmentalism experiences in conversations. It must go beyond the conversations of what zero waste products you are purchasing and consuming.
To create a more inclusive Zero Waste community, we must follow/spotlight more BIPOC leaders, broaden the topics/issues within the Zero Waste Community, & have current advocates acknowledge how their portrayal of their lifestyle comes off as inaccessible to most people, especially within the BIPOC Community, and change the narrative of what it means to be Zero Waste.
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-Glass Jar, with Sealable Lid
-2 Cups Filtered Water
-1-3 Tbsp. Jojoba Oil
-1 Tbsp. Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel
**Optional- 15 drops of essential oils (rose, lavender, & chamomile are great for sensitive skin)
Add all ingredients to a mason jar, or any glass reusable jar you have available and shake the mixture. Apply a quarter-sized amount to a reusable round and apply all over your face. Can be gently used over eyes.
Shake the jar before each use.
All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner
-2 cups worth of peeled Citrus (Orange, Lemon, or Grapefruit. You can use more than one type if you’d like/have it)
-2 cups of White Vinegar
-2 cups of Water
-1 teaspoon of Castile Soap
-Mason Jar or Glass Spray Bottle
1. Add citrus peels and vinegar to a sealable jar. The citrus should be at least half full of the jar. Add vinegar (It should fill the whole jar. Add more vinegar if need be).
2. Seal the jar with a lid. (Avoid a metal lid, if possible, as the vinegar can corrode the metal)
3. Let this infuse for 2-3 weeks.
4. Once it has infused, strain the vinegar, discarding the peels and place the vinegar into a glass spray bottle. (If you have any leftovers, the vinegar mixture can be stored in a sealed jar, in a dark, cool spot.)
5. Add the water and castile soap.
6. Shake the bottle once all ingredients are in the spray bottle.
Shake before each use.
1 cup Filtered Water
1 Tsp Baking Soda
10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
1 tsp of Xylitol or Stevia
Combine all ingredients to a jar and shake.
Shake jar before each use.
**Never swallow the mouth wash, always spit out.
Bentonite Tooth Paste
2 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
4 Tbsp Filtered Water
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Stevia or Xylitol
1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
10 Drops Peppermint Essential Oils
5 Drops Clove Essential Oil
1. Mix powdered clay with water in a small, non-metal bowl, with a non-metal spoon (metal causes the clay to be less effective).
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.
Store in a sealed jar, in a cool spot.
-8 drops of each Essential Oil: Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, & Mint.
– 2 oz of Alcohol-free Witch Hazel
– 2 oz of Water
Add all items to a glass spray bottle, shake, and you are ready to go! Shake bottle before each use. Apply liberally, avoiding eyes.
Find all of the ingredients for these recipes at your Davis Food Co-op!
This is the ultimate guide to finding low – no waste gifts at your Davis Food Co-op! The goal of zero waste living is to direct as much waste away from landfills as possible while choosing to purchase responsibly produced products from companies who actually care about the health of us and the planet. In addition to diverting waste from landfills, all of these gift options are budget friendly! Nothing costs more than $40, most are below $30, and some are on sale this month as well. Here are our picks for gifts you can give yourself and others to help us all get a little closer to the goal of zero-waste living!
What better way to introduce zero waste living to someone than a reusable Klean Kanteen water bottle! Kleen Kanteens are on sale at the Co-op this month – from now until December 15th, 2020 you can get a great deal on water bottles, tumblers, and insulated food containers from Klean Kanteen. Klean Kanteen is a Chico, CA-based family and employee-owned B corp that is certified climate neutral!
Take it from a person with a green thumb who used to not have a green thumb, plants are always a welcome gift! We’ve expanded our green offerings so you have lots of options to choose from at the Co-op. Check out the native California plants – they’re drought tolerant and local pollinators love them!
Muffin-sized silicone baking cups are the perfect gift for anyone who loves to whip up muffins, cupcakes, and more on a regular basis. The best part? They’re naturally nonstick, dishwasher safe, and reusable! Want to really wow them? Check out some of the unique flours our bulk department offers.
I know what you’re thinking – Is soap really a good gift? Yes! High-quality super-lathery local soap free of plastic packaging is a great zero-waste gift. Soap bars from The Soap Doctor are made with Yolo County olive oil too.
Making coffee at home is a great way to save money, time, and lots of paper cups and plastic lids. Check out the french presses we carry and, while you’re at it, take a look at our locally made Davis Food Co-op insulated tumblers from Klean Kanteen or a DFC mug – neither come with plastic packaging!
Go the whole (bean) nine yards and add some whole bean coffee to your gifting. Equal Exchange coffee is on sale at the Co-op from December 9th-29th, 2020. Equal Exchange is a co-op too, and they’re products are fair trade certified!
Did you know we carry a wide variety of teas in our bulk department? Find something interesting and pair it with a reusable metal tea strainer! We offer a few different styles, including small mesh bags that can be used for tea, whole spice infusions, and more!
For your friend who loves to stand in line for hours waiting for the latest trending food, we recommend a reusable bamboo utensil set and metal straws that will stand in line with them, again and again and again. These bamboo utensils and metal straws are easy to toss in a bag or backpack and are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Wrap your gifts in Co-op or other paper bags, fabric scraps that can be reused again as wrapping, or give your gift inside a super cute Co-op tote or zipper pouch! Bonus: your gift AND it’s wrapping will help divert waste from landfills!
Making bone broth from your bird is an excellent way to use all parts of your Thanksgiving turkey! Bone broth is one of the most nutritious (and affordable) foods you can make at home. Simmering bones and connective tissue along with herbs, vegetables, and apple cider vinegar releases protein, amino acids, B vitamins, and compounds that support joint health. In addition to bolstering your joints, bone broth promotes a healthy gut, fights inflammation, and supports skin health. You can use your turkey bone broth as a base for soups, stews, and sauces, but sipping a steaming cup of this restorative draft is traditional! Our recipe also utilizes scraps from meal preparation (think onion skins, herbs you didn’t use, and citrus peels) that would otherwise be tossed out. You can enjoy your broth immediately or store in glass containers to freeze.
Turkey Bone Broth Recipe
- 1 carcass from your roasted turkey (no need to remove any remaining meat and skin)
- turkey giblets, optional
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 cup fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano) with stems, okay to mix
- 1 peel from citrus fruit (mandarin, orange, or lemon)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-2 cups vegetable scraps (carrot tops and bottoms, celery tops and bottoms, garlic skins, or onion skins)
- water enough to cover (about 7 quarts)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Add turkey, giblets (if using), veggies and scraps, herbs, citrus peel, apple cider vinegar, and bay leaves to a large stockpot. Add just enough cold water to cover the contents of your pot.
- Heat broth on medium-high heat until boiling. As soon as your broth is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 6 – 8 hours. Skim any foam that forms off the top of your broth.
- Remove from heat. Carefully remove solids from your broth. Strain with a fine mesh strainer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into glass containers for fridge or freezer storage. If freezing, allow 1 inch of space for broth to expand. As your broth cools, a layer of fat will form and solidify on the surface. Remove the fat layer before consuming.
Bone Broth Variations
While plain bone broth is a nutritional powerhouse, you can add additional ingredients to get even more out of your broth!
Bone broth already contains compounds which promote gut health, but adding ginger to your simmer can increase the gut-healing benefits! Slice 2-3 inches of fresh ginger (no need to peel) and add to your pot with the rest of your ingredients before setting to simmer.
For Pain Relief and Fighting Inflammation
Your joints will rejoice when you drink bone broth, but you can up the whole-body anti-inflammatory properties of your broth by adding turmeric. Before setting your broth to simmer, add 2 tsp of turmeric powder and ¼ tsp of black pepper to the pot with all of your ingredients.
For Immune Support
Once your broth has simmered and cooled for about 20 minutes, you can add fresh garlic to help increase overall immune function. Crush 6 cloves of garlic using a garlic press or crush with the flat of your knife and mince. Add juicy crushed garlic to your broth and reap the benefits!
We were fortunate to have the chance to speak with Emma Torbert from Cloverleaf Farm to hear about the unique structure they have and the sustainable practices that they use. Emma got her masters in Horticulture from UCD and worked for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis for seven years. Cloverleaf is an 8-acre organic orchard and farm outside of Davis, California on the Collins Farm that specializes in peaches, nectarines, apricots, figs, berries, and vegetables. The Cloverleaf follows regenerative principles including no-till, rotational grazing, and cover-cropping. The farm is co-owned by Emma Torbert, Katie Fyhrie, Kaitlin Oki, Yurytzy Sanchez, Neil Singh, Tess Kremer, and Kyle Chambers; who all manage the farm together in a cooperative and consensus-based fashion. You can find The Cloverleaf Farm’s produce at the Sacramento Farmers Market on Sundays and at various grocery stores in Davis, Sacramento, and the Bay Area.
Cloverleaf seems to break the mold of what a traditional farm functions like. Traditionally farms are passed down generationally within families, but all of your farmers come from diverse backgrounds, how did that model get started at Cloverleaf?
“We started out a group of four women and then the farm passed through a number of different partners. As different people were leaving we were realizing that for the sake of future transitions and the longevity of the farm operation a worker-owned cooperative farm would be best, although we are currently still structured as a partnership. There are currently seven partners right now.”
“We’ve been working with the California Center for Co-op Development for the last four years trying to figure out a way that everybody can own equal equity in the farm. 2014 was the first time that we started profit sharing and equity sharing. The equity sharing is not yet equal but that is what we are working with the CCCD on.”
“One of our core principles in our vision statement is working as a team. An important thing in thinking about farm management for us is recognizing everybody’s different skills and working together without an established hierarchical structure. We rotate who gets to be the crew leader every couple of weeks, so they are essentially the boss for those two weeks, which means everyone gets a chance to step into a leadership role.”
How do you limit your greenhouse emissions?
“In terms of limiting our carbon footprint, we do a number of things. In terms of the transportation of our food, we try to deliver as locally as possible. We purposefully choose markets that are closer and do not take our products further than the bay area. We are always making the decision to try to sell closer to home.”
“As for what happens in the field, all of our vegetables get grown no-till. Our orchards and all of our annual crops are no-till, which means that we don’t use a tractor very often at all. In doing that we use less fossil fuel. We’ve also put solar panels around the farm, and can’t wait until we can add more.”
“Something else that really contributes to greenhouse gas emissions is water use. We use moisture sensors so that we use as little water as possible. We tread that fine line of watering as little as possible without stunting the growth of the trees in our orchards.”
What are your pest management practices?
“We are an organic farm so we don’t spray any pesticides while the fruit is on the trees. We do use pheromone sprays, which disrupt the mating cycles of a lot of stone fruit pests. We put out raptor perches and owl boxes. The main pests that we have trouble with are ground squirrels and gophers.”
How do you try to limit your food waste?
We’ve been trying lots of different things for many years and I feel like this year it’s all coming together, we have very little food waste coming from our farm right now. Our compost pile is pretty tiny right now considering the size of our farm.
“We have an Ugly Fruit club, which allows people to buy our third-grade fruit at a discounted price. We also create a lot of value-added products like jams and dried fruit, which allows us to still sell our less aesthetic fruit instead of wasting it.”
“Something else that we do is donate to the food bank, especially this year when we’re worried about our community being food insecure.”
At the Davis Food Co-op, there are many designs of kitchen towels! Or buy some pretty fabric and make some yourself! Stick to 100% cotton or linen to ensure that they are commercially compostable once they’ve run their course.
Making your own Rags
- Old Cotton Shirts
- and/or Old kitchen towels
- Good scissors
- Needle or sewing machine and thread (optional)
Hold onto your old 100% cotton T-shirts and cut them into rags! Old kitchen towels that are stained also make great rags! Start by cutting off the sleeves and cutting out any seams. The best rags are 6-8 inch squares. Start by making the larger rags, and use the sleeves and odd spots to make small rags. Do not worry about making every rag a square, these are not for show and any shape will do! The small rags are great for small messes and for cast iron care!
Cut your kitchen towel into 2 or 4 rectangles, depending on how big you want them. it is nice to have a variety of sizes! Use your needle and thread or sewing machine to hem the edges. Fold ¼ inch of each side in and use a simple stitch to hold it in place. A zig-zag stitch will work the best to stop strings and runners from coming loose.
- Keep a separate bag for dirty rags. The rags are often covered in oil from a cast iron, dust from the bathroom, and various kitchen messes that you do not want staining your clothes! Once your stack is running low, it is time to wash them all including the bag!
- The great thing about using cotton, if you ever clean something that seems to gross to keep the rags, toss them in your city compost bin!
Why this Makes a Difference
More than 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year in the USA. At the Davis Food Co-op alone, 4,491 units (single rolls or multipacks) of paper towels were sold in 2019. Rags are a great way to limit or completely stop your need for paper towels!