#QuotableMondays: Killing Coffee… or the Planet?

Used_LB_coffee_capsules

The Washington Post has a WonkBlog piece up about K cups and coffee pods killing Americans’ love of coffee. From the post:

Coffee pods, however, are incredibly efficient by comparison. People tend not to make more than they will actually drink—or, at least, first intended to drink.

“People used to make a pot of coffee. Now they make a cup,” Pedro Gavina, the owner of Vernon, California-based roaster Gavina & Sons, told Reuters. “Right there we’re losing the sink as a consumer.”

They are also cutting down on the number of beans used per cup, because they tend to be less caffeinated.

There’s certainly some truth in this article, but I am (and always will be) a full-on auto-drip guy. here’s why:

  • Used coffee grounds are excellent for compost (read more)
  • Doing auto drip or French press means you can adjust the strength/amount yourself
  • Supporting local coffee artisans who aren’t in the K cup business
  • Less waste than with K cups or coffee pods

On that last bullet, The Atlantic has a post up that eviscerates K cups and our disposable lifestyle:

Last year, Keurig Green Mountain pledged to create a fully recyclable version of its blockbuster product, the K-Cup, by 2020. Last month the company’s annual sustainability report reaffirmed that vow. It’s a point that Oxender has reiterated multiple times during damage control in the wake of #KillTheKCup. But promising only five more years with this amount of waste has done little to satisfy detractors. Some say it won’t be possible, ever, to make a K-Cup that is anything short of an environmental shitstorm.

“No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” Sylvan said. “The plastic is a specialized plastic made of four different layers.” The cups are made from plastic #7, a mix that is recyclable in only a handful of cities in Canada. That plastic keeps the coffee inside protected like a nuclear bunker, and it also holds up during the brewing process. A paper prototype failed to accomplish as much.

There’s also a snazzy video, entitled “Kill the K Cup,” where people get beaned by marauding K creatures. The video is sprinkled with some startling statistics of our K cup usage.

You can certainly buy a refillable insert that goes inside the Keurig machine, but to me it’s just not the same. But, if you have one of those single-serving deals, then the insert is the way to go.

Reusable-Single-Cup-Coffee-Pods

The moral of the story for me is I feel very good about my Morningside Blend from San Francisco Coffee House, right here in Atlanta. All of my grounds go in my compost and feed my backyard—after they’ve fed me.

#QuotableMondays: EVOO from Italy, Under Pressure

“One thing is clear: We can’t take olive oil for granted.”

The piece’s nut graph:

“More than any time in recent memory, olive oil is an increasingly precious commodity. Last year’s harvest was severely damaged by extreme heat, torrential rains and hailstorms, as well as a devastating fruit fly infestation. But even worse, a few regions to the south, in Puglia, olive trees have suffered a catastrophic bacterial infection that has wiped out at least one million trees. It’s been a disastrous year. Some experts predict many olive farms will go out of business; others foresee skyrocketing prices. One thing is clear: We can’t take olive oil for granted.”

Before you assume EVOO will always be at your fingertips and at the exact same price, read this piece in full on the NYT’s website.

On #EarthDay, #NoFoodWasted

Tom Colicchio is one of my Foodie Heroes, and today is a good example of that.

Food waste is a huge problem in this country—we waste between 40% to 50% of our food, and when it hits landfills it emits methane. Methane is worse than anything your car or truck emits, and it contributes to climate change.

“Just Eat It” is airing at 10 p.m. tonight on MSNBC, so make sure to tune in. Meantime, here are some of the best tweets on the #NoFoodWasted hashtag:

I’ll try to add more later. Here’s what I do at home:

compost all non-meat waste
grow edible produce in the backyard
recycle all plastics and plastic bags
and I even pick up recyclables around Midtown Atlanta—items that would have a) ended up in a landfill, or b) clogged up our sewer system.

In my opinion, EVERY day should be #EarthDay. And you can start now. ❏

#QuotableMondays: Patricia Arquette Steals the Oscar Evening

You might call it an “Actor’s Barn-burner.”

At last night’s Oscar ceremony, Patricia Arquette won for Best Supporting Actress in a film called “Boyhood.” The film is basically unprecedented in that it was shot over a period of 12 years with the same cast members. (read more)

But it was her speech that charged up the room. She said “the time is now” for wage equality for women in America. Meryl Streep, whom Arquette had just beat in the category, leapt out of her chair as she sat next to a very clap-happy JLo. Not everyone was pleased with her comments, that’s for sure.

The #QuotableMonday moment was not up at the Oscar podium, but rather, something she mentioned on the red carpet: GiveLove.org. She’s spoke passionately about it in a red carpet interview, so I decided to dig a bit deeper. Among many other mission points, the organization advocates and works in developing nations to devise better composting and eco sanitation practices.

The irony, at least to me, is our own situation in this country. We waste a tremendous amount of food, and much of it rots in landfills, which in turn releases methane. From the National Resource Defense Council:

“The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia, up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. This means there was once a time when we wasted far less, and we can get back there again. Doing so will ultimately require a suite of coordinated solutions, including changes in supply-chain operation, enhanced market incentives, increased public awareness and adjustments in consumer behavior.

The U.S. government should conduct a comprehensive study for food losses in our food system and establish national goals for food waste reduction. One key action will be to standardize and clarify the meaning of date labels on food so that consumers stop throwing out items due to misinterpretation. A waste reduction organization in the United Kingdom has estimated this type of clarification could prevent about 20 percent of wasted food in households.”

Source: National Resource Defense Council

Source: National Resource Defense Council

Household and business composting would solve a lot of these issues, but we also have to change our behavior and purchase practices as well. I compost at home here in Atlanta and I wish more folks did it, because rotting food waste accounts for nearly 25% of national methane emissions.

For us in a developed nation, few people are talking about food waste and the consequences to us as a society. For developing nations, though, some of the basic things we take for granted like sewers and sanitation don’t exist.

Quoting the group’s mission direct from the GiveLove.org website:

• To introduce low-cost compost toilets in order to reduce disease and provide dignity for people living without basic sanitation
• To reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers by producing organic compost products that can improve soil and improve food security
• To teach people how to compost organic wastes and protect water resources
• To change attitudes about human waste & increase awareness about sustainable land-use practices
• To promote EcoSan and composting as viable solutions to water-based sanitation systems

Pizza for Good is based upon the notion that it’s in our nature to give back—to our communities, to charity or people less fortunate. PFG gives you a fun and effective way to do it, too. So what are you waiting for? buy now

I’m going to have a number of exciting announcements soon, so stay tuned! ❐

Pizza for Good: Buy it for recipes, use it for community

Executive Chef David Bradley Leaving Lure Atlanta

Chef Bradley in the kitchen at Lure (photo credit: Will Pollock for Stone Four Media)

Chef Bradley in the kitchen at Lure (photo credit: Will Pollock for Stone Four Media)

The very talented executive chef of Lure—part of Fifth Group restaurants—is leaving the restaurant to join Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School as chef and nutrition director. Bradley was quoted within the pages of Pizza for Good, making common-sense suggestions on how to eat fresh and plan ahead when cooking at home. Here’s the passage from the book:

For your Pizza for Good party, try to think of it this way: choose local where it counts, and fill in with readymade items that can make your life a lot easier. There are ways to create an authentic experience pizza experience without killing yourself over the minutiae (see also Chapter XX).

David Bradley, executive chef of Lure in Midtown Atlanta—part of Fifth Group restaurants—urges Pizza for Good readers to build relationships with local purveyors, whether at a green market or another local establishment, to buy local, then fill in where you have to with easy-to-buy stuff.

“Not every single thing on a plate or in a dish has to be 100 percent local for me,” he says. “I’d much rather use a canned tomato than a fresh one, probably nine months out of the year. If I’m going to make sauce I’ll make it with canned tomatoes and then try to buy locally made mozzarella. Or buy some really nice milk and make my own ricotta or something like that.

“You can still have that element and a handmade feel to it, but again it goes back to quality,” he adds. “The ambitious and proper thing would be to make it at home. But that’s probably not most people’s reality.”

And it might not be yours—you can decide that as you go. The main thing to remember is that this is an ambitious project that will suck quite a bit of your time. A labor of love, to be sure, but you can save some energy here and there and still endeavor to search or locally sourced ingredients.

Remember, PFG is way more than a blueprint for building community and fundraising. The book gives you lots of tips on how to cook fresh at home, and make some creative pizzas in the process. Good luck to Chef Bradley!

‘Pizza for Good’ #QuotableMondays: Rocco DiSpirito says ‘Cooking is the Answer’ [VIDEO]

“How would you like to be a better parent? Or a better citizen?” Rocco DiSpirito asks pointedly in an appearance on CBS Sunday Morning. It was a compelling segment on the myriad reasons to cook fresh and at home, and since Pizza for Good, at its core, is about making America’s favorite food at home, his thoughts resonated greatly.

“That take-out pizza you order every night? It’s costing us some real dough.” Amen, we say—amen! Whether you buy PFG for the recipes or to host your own party for charity, consider making your next meal out of locally sourced ingredients at home. The impact is less on your world, and greater on your family. 😉