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Happy Fall - Announcing Think Zero Home!
While most of us are still working from home and some are navigating school re-entry, this Fall feels different than the spring. Here in NYC, people are out and about (with masks) eating and drinking. On the west coast, our partners are experiencing devastating environmental events (extreme heat and uncontrollable wildfires). Last week, it was noted that the smoke from the west coast had reached NYC!
We hope that wherever you are reading this newsletter that you are doing well.. Check out our new Zero Waste Blog to read our latest blog posts on Trainings and Employee Engagement, Low Waste Moving, and so much more. Stay tuned for more newsletters from us!
As most people are working from home these days, we have launched our newest offering - Think Zero Home. Learn more about in this newsletter.
- Think Zero Team
What is Think Zero Home?
Think Zero Home is a personalized zero waste coaching program designed to help individuals and families achieve low or zero waste lifestyles in their homes. We know that our clients are starting at different places in their sustainability journeys when we begin working with them, and we will meet you where you are! There is no shame or judgement, ever!
Our coaching sessions are designed to help clients set realistic goals for themselves and their families. We challenge our clients to look through their kitchens, bathrooms and all around their homes to see how many single-use items they currently purchase, and how they are disposing all materials in the home. During our coaching sessions, we help you set low or zero waste goals and give you the tools to achieve them, through recommendations for changing buying habits, making one or a few products yourself, conducting simple waste audits, and maximizing recycling and composting. By the end of our coaching session, clients will have the framework for how to create a zero waste lifestyle.
You can book a consultation on our website or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org set up a time. Our consultations are $250 for a 60-90 minute consultation that includes a detailed follow up report and our switch out guide. We are running a promotion until October 31mention “NOTIMETOWASTE” to receive $50 off the consultation.
What a recent Think Zero Home client said about her experience
“The Think Zero Consultants provided me with their valuable expertise and knowledge in changing my lifestyle to living more sustainably. The tools and resources they provided me with during my in home consultation assisted my family in taking steps we have been looking to take for many years.”
- Client in Northern Jersey
Bloomberg Green Festival took place last week with an incredible lineup of speakers on the topic of sustainability and how we make change happen NOW, including Matt Damon, Jane Goodall, Christiana Figueres, Robert Redford, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates and many corporate and non-profit leaders. Here are two important quotes touching on waste as an issue directly linked to climate change and the pandemic:
“Since the virus started spreading, the world has used 129 billion single-use face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves every month.” said Dune Ives, managing director at Lonely Whale. “In general, only 9 percent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.” As we know, plastics and carbon issues are inextricably linked.
“If plastics production continues on a business-as-usual trajectory, plastics will take up about 13 percent to 15 percent of global emissions by 2050,” said Janis Searles Jones, CEO, Ocean Conservancy.
Climate Week NYC started on September 21, the week is packed with great events touching on all areas of sustainability and climate. On Sep. 23 attend Zero Waste in the Urban Environment, featuring Think Zero LLC Co-Founder and Partner Ushma Pandya.
Think Zero LLC is proud to partner with Oceanic Global a non-profit working to save our oceans by helping industry adopt more sustainable solutions. Check out their fantastic Covid-19 re-opening guidelines to help restaurants and businesses open safely while limiting single-use disposables and keeping sustainability in mind.
Reflection on Spring 2020
Our last newsletter was sent at the beginning of the Covid - 19 pandemic. The world has changed so much in the past few months - from new ways of working and living to heightened awareness of racial injustice and widespread commitments to addressing racial inequity.
Sheltering in place had some temporary positive consequences for the world we live in - CO2 emissions decreased as a result of reduced air travel and commercial activity (scientists estimate that it could be close to a 7% drop). Other positive signals include increase in fish populations, more wildlife out and about, cleaner air and oceans, etc. And individuals are seeing the impact that collective action makes on the environment.
The Black Lives Matter movement has elevated conversations about environmental justice and the disproportionate environmental impact to minority communities. Waste is a social justice issue (“waste equity” is a term that is used), but not usually viewed with that lens. For example, people of color are more likely to live near a hazardous waste facility and until recently the Bronx handled up to 73% of NYC’s residential waste, resulting in significant truck traffic impacting community health and safety. We Act is an organization focused on environmental justice and their website is a great place to access information and ways to get involved. We have an article on our new Zero Waste blog that explores how environmental issues intersect with racial equity. We also highlight resources on our Instagram page as well as in this newsletter.
As a reminder, we have launched our online learning program to support individuals such as facilities managers, property managers, corporate green team members and others in their journey to develop and implement plans to reduce waste in buildings and office spaces. We have 7 modules and over 2.5 hours of video instruction. Please share our program with colleagues and friends who may be interested in helping their office divert and reduce waste. And read below for our newest consumer offering - Think Zero Home.
Happy summer. We hope you have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors after a few months of sheltering in place!
- Think Zero LLC team
Tip of the Newsletter - Properly Disposing of PPE
Remember to dispose of your PPE in the trash bin and not the recycle bin. Even better consider using reusable masks (and gloves) if you can.
Some key waste updates to be aware of
Plastic Free July 2020
Plastic Free July is here! Check out the website plasticfreejuly.org to access tips, checklists and sign up for the challenge.
We know that with heightened focus on not spreading Covid-19, organizations are using a significant amount of single use plastic for their catering and cafeterias. Some cities have also put on hold their plastic bag bans and some stores will not let you use your own reusable bags! But please know that reusables are safe - just make sure you keep them clean! Regularly washing your reusables in hot, soapy water will keep them safe to use. Single use plastic is touched just as often as reusables so it is not necessarily more safe than reusables. Check out Upstream for more information on the safe use of reusables and using less plastic and spread the word. Using reusables and bringing your own lunch (BYOL), if you go into an office, are both easy ways to meet your plastic free July challenge!
New Offering - Think Zero Home
With more people working and staying at home, we are launching a new service - helping individuals and families adopt zero or low waste practices in their home. Introducing Think Zero Home. Contact us if you are interested in having us working with you to implement waste strategies at home - we are beginning virtual home consultations starting in July! We do a visual audit of your home waste and purchasing, discuss the goals you are looking to achieve and develop an easily implementable plan. We are available to help you implement the plan and answer any questions you may have along the way (as well as to help celebrate your low waste achievements!)
Media of Interest
We have been reading about the environmental justice issues that are being elevated and gaining momentum. There are some great articles to provide background. Here are a few links:
Follow us on Instagram for regular updates on all things waste reduction and diversion and Zero Waste at @ThinkZeroLLC.
We wish you a happy holiday season and a happy New Year! This was a big year for the waste reduction with more media attention, regulatory action and consumer desire to see change. We can’t wait to see what this means for 2020.
3 Facts to End the Year:
1. American household waste increases 25+% between Thanksgiving and New Years (source: US EPA).
What can you do to lessen this waste?
Refuse: single-use items like wrapping paper and shopping bags
Reduce: number of physical presents given and received. Instead, give the gift of experiences like a date for a card game with the family, tickets to a show or museum, tea for two, or a spa treatment
Reuse: opt to gift used or vintage items instead of new; wrapping paper, bows and ribbon that aren’t torn up can be collected during holidays or other occasions and used another time; use kids artwork, used newspaper or brown paper bags as wrapping paper
2. Did you know: "The fancier the wrapping paper, the less recyclable it is. The challenge with the ‘fancy’ paper is that it simply isn’t all paper. Glitter, foil, and cellophane are made of plastic or metallic materials, and it’s impossible to separate them for recycling.” - Jeremy Walters, sustainability ambassador Republic Services
3. "If you want to reduce the environmental impact of your consumption, the best way to do that is to not manufacture more stuff. In that sense, the best thing you can do is not buy more stuff."
- Adam Minter, author of "Junkyard Planet" and "Secondhand" in an interview with Terry Gross (via NPR.org)
Looking for some books to read over the holiday? Consider reading Adam Minter’s new book “Second Hand”.
Jumping into Fall!
Happy Fall! September has been full of activity with the climate strike (over 7.6M people marched around the world and raised awareness of climate change globally), International Coastal Clean-up Day, and Climate Week NYC. Our Instagram page details our participation in these events so make sure you follow us @thinkzerollc. We also share tips and the great work our partners are doing in waste reduction and diversion.
This fall we are gearing up to launch our self-guided waste reduction and diversion program. We are packaging up our experiences and work in an easy to read and follow program that will enable small and medium-sized businesses to implement the program within their office.
In this issue we profile one of our partners, Rock and Wrap It Up!, who is working with us to divert unused toilet paper from landfills / incinerators and instead donate it to the needy. They also work around the country rescuing edible food that would have been wasted at stadiums, arenas and other large venues, delivering it to food pantries, churches and homeless shelters.
- Think Zero LLC team
Tip of the Newsletter - Office Swap Area
If your offices are in a multi -tenant building consider talking with the property manager about instituting a building-wide Office Swap Area where offices can donate items that other offices could potentially use. The category we see most wasted is office supplies, but a swap area could also help extend the life of equipment, desks, chairs, books, decorations, or pantry items. The building would need to put some processes into place including guidelines on type of products, length of time they can stay in the swap area, etc. and a plan for donation or disposal if they are not taken. This is a great way to keep these items out of the trash and help increase your building’s diversion rate. We have instituted this with some clients to positive reception. This can also be done on a smaller scale in individual offices for office supplies only. Contact us to learn more.
Food Donation & Food Scraps Recycling Law in NY State / Expansion of NYC Organics
We saw a large wave of plastic bans being passed this past year and highlighted in our summer policy briefing. We now highlight the food rescue and organic material regulations that are being introduced.
In 2019, New York State passed the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law. Effective January 1, 2022, large generators of food scraps (defined as generating an annual average of two tons per week or more) must donate excess edible food and recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler (composting facility, anaerobic digester, etc.).
Examples of large generators of food scraps:
This law does NOT include:
In NYC, DSNY recently introduced rules that could be in effect by early 2020 that expands the number of commercial establishments that must divert organics (criteria below). We will keep our clients updated once a determination has been made on if the rules go into effect.
• Food service establishments larger than 7,000 square feet, such as restaurants
• Chain food service establishments with 2 or more locations in NYC
• Retail food stores larger than 10,000 square feet, including grocery stores
• Food prep spaces larger than 6,000 square feet
• Food service establishments in hotels with 100 or more rooms
• Catering establishments hosting events with attendance of more than 100 people
• Sponsors of temporary public events
Featured Partner: Rock & Wrap It Up
Rock & Wrap It Up is an award-winning anti-poverty think tank that has operated for 28 years. Think Zero LLC has been working with the organization for the past year on diverting unused toilet paper from commercial buildings to shelters and organizations serving those in need. It has been a great partnership because, surprisingly, we often find half-full rolls of toilet paper being tossed because the cleaning staff needs to ensure there is a full roll of toilet paper available 24/7.
We sat down with Syd, the Founder and CEO of Rock and Wrap It Up, to learn more about the organization and how they ended up diverting toilet paper!
How did you get started?
Syd: We started by recovering food from backstage at the Jones Beach Theatre in 1991. Most rock bands travelled with a full catering staff and would have leftovers at the end of the night. I was doing various philanthropy work and I learned that there was always leftover food at Jones Beach. So I asked if we could recover the food. And from there we became the food recovery organization for some of the largest bands in the world including Aerosmith, Phish, 9 Inch Nails, Michael Bolton, etc. It was 160 bands around the world.
One of the things I did was develop a contractual stipulation which was placed put into the band’s contracts and it stated that the caterers could not throw away the food. They had to call Rock and Wrap It Up. So we found partners in all the big cities and when we got a call we would connect the partner with the catering company.
Are you still working with rock bands?
Syd: No, not really, as rock bands do not travel with caterers anymore, they just order food off menus. Now a big source for us are the sports teams and their stadiums plus the movie studios. All of the arenas work with us to donate food.
How did you move from music to sports?
Syd: We were interviewed in Detroit and the wife of a Detroit Tiger Pitcher, Brooke Maroth and her husband Mike got in touch with us and we started with the food at their stadium. When they came to play in NYC, I met them and got an introduction to the NY Giants and now I work with the Mets, Yankees, Giants, and Jets. And now we have Madison Square Garden. We work with over 80 teams nationwide.
What do you accept food wise?
Syd: We take whatever is prepared and not sold. We ask that it be frozen and then is picked up by affiliates.
What non-food items do you take?
Syd: We take paper products and hotel items. Marriott is a big partner of ours. We also work with colleges at move out time to pick up items that college students are tossing as they move out (e.g., lamps, toaster ovens, pillows, etc.). We are now also working to source feminine products with our newest initiative (Hannah’s Project) as that is in high demand at shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks.
Who is an affiliate?
Syd: An affiliate is an organization that we have vetted. The need to have an ongoing program. They need to have a health certificate and we review them before they join our program.
How can organizations work with Rock and Wrap it Up?
Syd: We have a simple model. We have a network of affiliates in cities all over the US and we connect corporations with these partners and help get food and other items to those who can use them. We ask for a $15 donation for each pick up to support our work.
One thing I like to highlight is that we have also developed a Whole Earth calculator that calculates the greenhouse gas emissions that are diverted, and water that is saved as a result of the donation – corporations can access it and use the information for their reporting or external marketing. You can download the app and get the information from our website.
Thanks Syd for taking the team to speak with us!
To learn more about the organization please visit their website: www.rockandwrapitup.org
Media of Interest