In 2020, that’s a question worth asking when you make choices that involve environmental impact and sustainability. Here are four bright ideas that could improve the odds for the blue marble we call home…
Tired of overpaying for organic, non-GMO produce? Annoyed that—in a state where food stress and food deserts are real issues—more than a third of fruits and vegetables grown for your store end up in the dumpster because they are “imperfect” in some way? Too big, too small, shaped like a space alien—or too expensive for anyone to buy in the produce aisle. Misfits Market is one of several companies looking to narrow the waste factor by bringing quality food to your door. A box of “ugly” just-picked fruit and vegetables averaging 20 pounds will set you back $35 including shipping—so a good thing for the planet and a relative bargain. There are other options (and smaller sizes), plus you can stage deliveries so you never have too much, or run out. Each shipment comes in an eco-friendly box and contains a mix of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruit. And Misfits often throws in something new and wonderful you might not encounter unless you find it at an upscale eatery.
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
The drinking water that comes out of your home tap has been in the news a lot lately, and not for good reasons. New Jersey is one of those states that keeps popping up on lists we don’t want to be on. There are filters you can screw onto your kitchen faucet and filtered pitchers you can keep in the fridge. Many people opt for home delivery of expensive and cumbersome jugs of filtered water. These solutions are all less than perfect. Watergen, an Israeli company that knows from water solutions, is rolling out a machine it calls GENNY. It pulls moisture out of the air—in your home, your office, wherever—and purifies both the water it dispenses and the air it pumps back into the room. The technology, which has a thumbs-up from the EPA, has also got the World Health Organization excited. GENNY dispenses premium-quality hot and cold water, doubles as a dehumidifier and can be controlled if you like with a smartphone app.
The issue of single-use waste—what some of us call the “packaging problem”—has become overwhelming for a lot of consumers. You try to recycle as much as possible and maybe use some of the big boxes for storage, but end up throwing away a huge percentage of the stuff that other stuff comes in. A company right here in New Jersey, Trenton-based TerraCycle, has made strides in alleviating this problem, which impacts our homes and, obviously, the environment. Loop is a line of durable and reusable packaging and containers made largely of upcycled materials that you send back to the company when you’re done with its contents. It might be a detergent container or a juice bottle or the little box deodorant or toothpaste comes in. TerraCycle cleans it up and puts it right back into circulation. Among the corporations that have already “in the Loop” are Procter & Gamble, Nestle, and Unilever. Consumers pay a refundable deposit to get in on the program.
SAFE AND SOUND
As single-use plastic bags disappear from supermarkets and other retail stores, you can bet environ-mentalists will take aim next at disposable food-storage bags. As well they should. Most end up in a landfill or, in increasing numbers, the ocean. Which is why the reusable silicone bag is finally catching on. They’ve been around for a while and there are at least a dozen companies making them around the world. But Stasher may be the product to watch in 2020. The product was developed by Berkeley grad and plastic-free pioneer Kat Nouri a couple of years ago and got a boost from Mark Cuban on an episode of Shark Tank. Stasher reusable, airtight microwave-safe bags are made from “platinum-grade” silicone with no chemicals (e.g. BPA), fillers or petroleum byproducts and can be heated without leaching harmful toxins. An added benefit is that Stasher is ideal for sous vide slow-cooking.
To learn more about these products, visit these web sites:
- misfitsmarket.com • terracycle.com
- watergen.com • stasherbag.com