Green and Sustainable
I’m happy to let everyone know that our new home at Kol Ami will have all the green and sustainable systems in place so we can continue to take care of our bigger home (aka Planet Earth) on a daily basis.
Just as you would do at home, we will have bins for recycling, actual trash and composting. The largest bin outside in the back of the building will be for recycling. This bin will be clearly labeled for acceptable items. The system is very similar to your home set-up, however our bin will accept plastic film. Plastic film (bags, wrapping around packaging, etc) will go into a larger plastic bag inside the kitchen area. This large bag can be filled and taken outside as needed. Please note that saran wrap is NOT allowed in this bin. Each class and office and room will have a recycling bin.
The most exciting aspect of our new system is the composting. Imagine after every event we have, almost all of our waste can go into the compost bin and not the trash. Kol Ami will be using compostable cups and plates so clean-up will involve disposing of utensils in one place and throwing everything on your plate, including the plate and napkin into the compost bin. Items such as placemats, waxed cardboard boxes, pizza boxes and food-soiled paper can also go in to the compost. What can’t go into the compost bin? Plastic of any kind, liquids, coffee cups, grease and cooking oil. Again, there will be visual aids to help in sorting. Our composting bin will be picked up weekly and turned into something that is rich in nutrients that help plants grow. Additionally, it helps prevent erosion and suppresses plant disease.
We will also be able to put all our paper towels from the bathrooms into the compost bin. The bins for these paper towels will be outside the bathroom door or inside with a sign so everyone will see how easy it can be to make a huge difference.
Once we have purchased reusable utensils and coffee cups our waste profile will shrink even more. Our children have learned these steps in school and most every school is composting. If you have questions about what goes where, ask. And, although we would like to always do the right thing, remember – when in doubt, just throw it out.
An old adage teaches that “we are what we eat.“ As Jews, we are obligated to help preserve our planet so not only should we think about what is that we are eating, but also the steps taken to produce and transport our food.
With summer upon us, it is time again to support our local growers and reduce our carbon footprint by shopping at our neighborhood farmers’ markets.
•Vancouver Farmers Market: 9am-3pm Saturday and 10am-3pm Sunday.
Sixth and Esther streets, downtown Vancouver. Vancouverfarmersmarket.com
•Ridgefield Farmers Market: 9am-2pm Saturday.
Davis Park, Main and Mill streets, Ridgefield. Ridgefieldmarket.com 3
•Battle Ground Village Outdoor Market: 9am-3pm Saturday.
Battle Ground Village Center Park Pavilion, 1207 SE 8th Way, Battle Ground. Bgvillage.com.
•Salmon Creek Farmers Market: 3pm-7pm Thursday.
1309 NE 134th St (behind Shell Station and Biscuits Café). Salmoncreekfarmersmarket.com
•Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center: 3pm-7pm Tuesday.
2211 NE 139th St. Starts July 17
While local produce is better than what is available in commercial markets, organic is especially important for certain fruits and vegetables. Whenever possible always buy organic for these: •Apples •bell peppers • blueberries •celery •cucumbers •grapes •lettuce •nectarines (imported) •peaches •potatoes •spinach •strawberries •green beans •kale/greens
These are lower in pesticides: •asparagus •avocado •cabbage •cantaloupe (domestic) •corn •eggplant •grapefruit •kiwi •mangoes •mushrooms •onions •pineapples •sweet peas •sweet potatoes •watermelon.
Rabbi Mary Zamore wrote The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic. She discusses buying local as well as many other facets of “eating Jewishly”. Hazon.org also has some great guidelines for making informed choices concerning eating and our Jewish values.
Check out and buy something at one of these farmers’ markets and think about how just that one small act might make a difference in not only your own health and well-being, but in helping someone else and fulfilling a mitzvah.
When we are cleaning our houses we don’t want to compromise our health in the process. Unfortunately most of the cleaning products on the market today contain chemicals that are linked to skin irritation, asthma, fertility disorders and cancer. Additionally, when using these products, waterways are often polluted and the environment suffers. Ingredients like petroleum distillates found in kitchen and furniture cleaners are derived from oil sources and can cause damage to the nervous system and lungs. Phosphates, still found in some detergents, increases algae growth in waterways, robbing aquatic life of oxygen. Triclosan, common in antibacterial products, may disrupt thyroid function. These antibacterial products can harm the environment and there is no evidence that they provide any extra protection from germs.
What can we do? There are many helpful and useful recipes to make your own cleaners online and in bookstores. “Green” cleaners that are available in stores have come a long way and are
Universally, good healthcare is something that all of us need. Hardly a day goes by where we are reminded of rising health costs and its impact on our economy. While it can seem like an overwhelming problem, there is much that each of us can do to help ourselves, the community, our bank accounts and the world.
According to the website meatlessmonday.com, “Going meatless even once a week can reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.” It can also help reduce your carbon footprint as well as save resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
§ Higher consumption of red and processed meat is associated with colon cancer and increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It also leads to wider waistlines.
§ Replacing saturated-fat food (meat and full-fat dairy) with food rich in polyunsaturated fat (vegetable oil, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
§ Low meat or vegetarian diets produce lower body weight and BMI. Reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain and the problems that come with being overweight.
§ The meat industry generates nearly 1/5 of manmade greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change worldwide – far more than transportation
§ An estimated 1,800-2,500 gallons of water goes into 1 lb of beef, lots more than goes into growing vegetables or grains
§ 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feedlot beef in the US compared to 2 calories of energy to produce 1 calorie of plant-based protein
Start your week off right. Try going meatless on Mondays. For recipes and more benefits, check out their site. As you prepare to have a barbecue in the backyard this summer, think about how even the choice of slapping down a veggie burger instead of a hotdog or hamburger can affect your life and the lives of those around you. Every day we have the opportunity to make a big difference for ourselves and the planet. Who knew a delicious veggie burger could do so much?
Feeding the Hungry in Clark County
With Passover right around the corner and folks cleaning out their cupboards, there is no better time to tell you about the newly opened Vancouver Food Bank.
•The warehouse is located at6502 NE 47th Ave,just north of Minnehaha St.
• It is more than twice the size of the former location.
• Funding came from the state, grants from the city, county and federal sources and almost $2 million in private donations.
•Donations are accepted Monday – Friday from 8am-4pm.
• Greatest needs are shelf-stable meals, canned vegetables, and items like peanut butter.
•Fresh food can also be donated now that there is a space available.
•78th St. Heritage Farm and Fields of Plenty offer locally-grown food.
• Cash is most efficient donation since they are able to purchase large quantities at wholesale prices. The cash also allows them to assess what is most needed and stock up on these items for immediate needs.
• Food donations come from many sources:
-various food industries
-Walk and Knock
-USDA government programs.
•Among the many agencies that are serviced by the food bank are:
-FISH of Vancouver and Orchards
-Neighbors Helping Neighbors (Ridgefield)
-North County food bank
-Woodland Community Services
-centers in Camas.
•These groups come to the food bank and pick up what they need, which varies according to what is available at the time.
•Kol Ami will be helping regularly on the fourth Tuesday from 6-8:30. Please let Joni ([email protected]) know if you can come.
Join us in helping the Clark County Food Bank by bringing food or making a donation during our Passover Food Drive. Envelopes will be available at KALC as wel
Now that we are bringing our own bags to shop, buying local, and recycling all we can, here is another simple step to help save the planet: COMPOST!
What is compost?
Composting is the transformation of organic material (plant matter) through decomposition into a soil-like material called compost. Invertebrates (insects and earthworms), and microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) help in transforming the material into compost. Composting is a natural form of recycling, which continually occurs in nature. ??
•Studies have shown that home composting can divert an average of 700 lbs. of material per household per year from the waste stream.
•Composting is an excellent way to avoid both wasting useful, natural resources and creating environmental problems, while at the same time producing a high quality and inexpensive soil amendment.
•Yard and food wastes make up approximately 30% of the waste stream in the United States.
•Compost added to gardens improves soil structure, texture, aeration, and water retention.
•When mixed with compost, clay soils are lightened, and sandy soils retain water better.
•Mixing compost with soil also contributes to erosion control, soil fertility, proper pH balance, and healthy root development in plants. ??
•Landfilling organic wastes also takes up landfill space needed for other wastes.
How can I compost?
•Set aside part of your yard or use a container to collect your scraps.
•Before putting out the compost in your yard, first put down several layers of newspapers over the spot. This will keep any grass or weeds from growing in your pile.
•When you prune or rake your yard, put the trimmings or leaves on the pile.
•When you peel a carrot or an orange (or other fruits or vegetables) put them on the pile. You can also add coffee grounds, wilted salad makings, other organic material. Just make sure there is no oil or meat in your pile to keep the odors down.
What does a good compost pile need?
Organic materials: A good mix consists of three parts “browns” (materials such as dead leaves that are high in carbon) and one part “greens” (such as fresh grass clippings and garden prunings, and kitchen scraps that are high in nitrogen).
Moisture: Composting materials should feel moist but not overly soggy.
Temperature: Compost should feel warm to the touch except in the cold winter months.
Air: To prevent unpleasant odors that can occur when materials decompose without oxygen, compost should be turned regularly to ensure that air is reaching the center of the pile.
So find a pail or a bucket and start collecting your scraps to compost. Our world will be better for it.
In this time of sharing and giving, let’s look at new ways to do both:
For our neighbors and friends:
- Give your friends a holiday and take their kids (all of them) for a whole day
- For those who could use some assistance, help with repairs, clean out closets or garages, re-stock a pantry or library
- Host a block party/dinner
- Include them in a theatre or musical outing
- Give up, or at least cut way back, on meat and dairy
- Take that hike you read about years ago, but never did
- Try a dance class, yoga or tai chi, and bring a friend
- Teach or share a skill
For the planet
- Consider how purchases impact the planet – buy local
- Share books and dvds instead of buying your own
- Shop your own closet
- Host a clothing swap
For the world community
- Donate to worthwhile causes in someone’s name
- Heifer – Buy a goat for a family who could really use one
- Solar cookers – Empower women to provide for their families
- Global Exchange – Helping sustain communities worldwide
- Nothing But Nets – Providing protection against malaria
For more ideas, check out allforgood.org, a search engine that has the biggest database of volunteer opportunities on the internet. There you can find local and worldwide options for how to make a difference even if you only have a few minutes. There’s also a how-to guide for starting your own projects.
By sharing and giving in these ways, we model our Jewish beliefs and encourage our family and friends to follow suit. Happy Hanukah!
The act of eating should be a way to bring holiness into our lives. As we enter into the secular “eating holidays”, here are a few ideas to keep in mind.
How might eating this food affect my health?
•Eating large amounts of red and processed meats increases exposure to toxins and is linked to higher rates of heart disease, cancer and obesity
•Hormones used in beef and sheep may increase risk of breast, prostate and colorectal cancer
How might eating this food affect our environment?
•In a one-year span, if everyone in the US ate no meat or cheese 1 day a week,it would be like not driving 91 billion miles or taking 7.6 million cars off the road
•Lamb, beef and pork generate methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2. They use the most resources – mainly feed, chemical fertilizer, fuel, pesticides and water
•Slaughterhouses dump millions of pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways. Eight slaughterhouses rank among the nation’s top 20 industrial polluters
•Air-freighted cheese has a 46% larger footprint than domestically produced cheese
What difference would this make?
• Food being fed to animals in the affluent nations could, if properly distributed, could end both hunger and malnutrition throughout the world.
•A switch from animal-centered diets would free land and other resources, which could be used to grow nutritious crops for people.
•We would make fewer trips to the doctor and have more energy.
What are some solutions?
• Eat less meat and dairy
• Eat lower fat dairy products
• Buy grass fed organic meat with no antibiotics or hormones (eating less meat allows you to buy greener healthier meat)
• Buy locally
• Learn more about the effects your diet may have:
When eating is not just an act of “mindless consumption,” but something we do to gain strength and energy to benefit the world, then we are performing a mitzvah. As you sit down at the table, may you think about how this act can really make a difference.
October 2011 Making Smarter Choices
On Sukkot, we think about what the land has provided and our obligation to protect it. But how can we practically do this? We can make smart choices.
Hand washing dishes or using the dishwasher:
The dishwasher is more efficient. It uses about 5 gallons per load vs. 20 gallons typically used for hand washing dishes. Pre-rinsing can waste gallons so skip this if you can. Also, make sure the machine is full and use a phosphate-free detergent to help our lakes and streams.
Printed book or e-reader:
It’s estimated that making one Kindle creates 22 times more greenhouse gas emissions that producing a book; however, once you read about 23 books, the environmental hit of a Kindle is the same as the print version. When you upgrade the e-reader, recycle at Amazon or Best Buy.
Plastic wrap or foil:
Experts believe that plastic hangs around landfills for up to 1,000 years and aluminum foil for about 500; however, the process for making foil is complex, more energy-intensive and emissions-heavy than plastic. Making a square foot of plastic wrap uses about 30% as much energy and produces about 1/10th as many emissions as making foil. Reuse foil when you can, skip both and use reusable glass containers.
CFL bulbs or LED bulbs:
LEDs can go at least 25,000 hours, about 3 times longer than CFLs. LEDs contain no mercury unlike the CFLs. Use motion sensing LEDs for outside lighting can save even more energy.
Car Wash or DIY:
A car wash can use 45 gallons of water vs. 100 gallons per 10 minutes at home. At home, motor oil, gas and other chemical grit from your car goes into the sewer which empties into waterways harming marine life. The carwash filters and cleans the water before it reaches any waterways.
Aluminum cans or glass bottles:
Making cans takes less energy than making glass bottles. Aluminum wins in shipping since it weighs so much less than glass. Recycling that can can save 37 lbs of carbon emissions, compared with 1 lb. saved with glass. The best option if you drink soda is to buy the SodaStream, a home sodamaker that uses reusable canisters of CO2.
We are to be stewards of the land and we have a responsibility to care and protect it. As you sit in the sukkah looking at the fruits and vegetables hanging down, think about the choices you are making and how you can do tikkun olam by simply making smarter choices.
September 2011: A recycling refresher.
Here are some common recycling mistakes found in our beloved blue bins:
|Item||Where it should go|
|Plastic bags||take to grocery store or better yet, do not accept them and use a reusable bag|
|Clamshells||take to the central transfer and recycling center|
|Straws||buy reusable ones|
|Batteries||seal in a baggie and place on top of cart|
|Motor oil or antifreeze||set out in clear one gallon jug with lid screwed on tight|
|Block foam||take to mailing store|
|Old electronics||check ecyclewashington.org for sites|
|Reusable electronics||check with Empower Up and Free Geek in Portland|
|CFLs||take to Ikea, Lowe’s, Home Depot or Clark Public Utilities|
|Vehicle batteries||Take to Les Schwab|
|Medication||take non-controlled substances to your pharmacy, controlled substances to sheriff’s office|
|Paint||take to Miller Paint on Andresen or 20thSt in Salmon Creek|
Central Transfer and recycling Center,( 360) 256-8482, 11034 NE 117th Ave, Vancouver
Empower Up, (360) 735-0888, 5000 E. Fourth Plain, Vancouver
With back to school time just around the corner we should think about our children’s lunches not only should they be healthy they should be earth friendly. The average child throws away 67 lbs of lunch packaging waste a year. Here are some staggering statistics:
- With the population of kids in the US over 70 million that’s over 4.6 billion lbs of disposables.
- Eliminating disposable packaging and single serve items can save you $250 a year
- 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the US, the majority of those are thrown out after one use.
- Families spend $85 a year on baggies.
- Lunchtime trash is second only to office paper as the second leading source of school waste.
www.reuseit.com has come up with some great tips to save money and resources.
- Replace paper bags with reusable lunch bags.
- Use reusable containers to eliminate single serve packaging.
- Switch from plastic baggies to reusable baggies.
- Reusable napkins, utensils and straws replace disposable ones.
- Pack reusable water bottles instead of bottled water or juice
Check out www.reuseit.com for more ideas and their great earth friendly reusable items.
Joni’s Green Corner, June 2011
Even if you are using sunscreen you could be doing more harm than good unless you know what products to buy, The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit research organization dedicated to using the power of information to protect human health and the environment. They have compiled a list of the best sunscreens to use and some to avoid.
Top rated sunscreens contain the mineral zinc and titanium which offer the best UVA protection. Avoid products containing oxybenzone, a chemical that seeps through your skin and into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. FDA research has indicated that retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A) speeds up growth of tumors and lesions when used on sun-exposed skin. The SPF refers only to protection against UVB radiation, which burns the skin. It has nothing to do with UVA radiation that penetrates deep into skin, accelerates skin aging and may cause cancer.
Also, do not bother with high SPF products as they provide a false sense of protection. It has been proven that high SPF users stay in the sun longer with a single application but burn when the chemicals break down or rub off. As a result they get the same number of sunburns as unprotected sunbathers and absorb more damaging UVA radiation, which many high SPF products DO NOT BLOCK. All sunscreens should be reapplied every 2 hours.
Do not use sprays or poweders since it is so easy to inhale these chemicals.
Here are a few to check out:
- Alba Botanica–Mineral sunscreen, fragrance free
- Aubrey Organics–Natural sun sport stick, unscented
- Aveeno-Baby natural protection mineral block, face stick
- Jason Natural Cosmetics–Sunbrella’s mineral natural sun block
- John Masters Organics–Natural mineral SPF 30
- Kiss MY Face–100% natural blue, white, or pink sun stick
- Nature’s Grace–Mineral sports block or kid’s block
Many of these can be found at Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, or Target. Check out the ewg.org for more listings.
Here are a few to stay away from:
- Hawaiian Tropic–Contains oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. The UVA is less that 10 and is not good enough to be sold in Europe.
- Coppertone Water Babies SPF 70–Contains oxybenzone
- Banana Boat sport performance active max protect SPF 110–The UVA protection is only 12