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    November 9, 2015


    Janell Says: Working Towards a Zero Waste Life

    Janell Schroeder is the Document Control & Certification Specialist at IN. She loves spreading the word about sustainability, tending to her urban garden and sailing in the summertime.

    Have you ever
    heard of zero waste? It’s a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource
    life cycles so that all products are reused. It’s also gaining steam as a
    lifestyle movement – blogs like Zero Waste Home and Trash is for Tossers have
    become popular guides for living trash-free.

    It might sound
    daunting to switch to a zero waste lifestyle, but maybe less so when you
    consider this: the average person in the U.S. creates about 4.3 pounds of waste
    per day–about the size of a very cute
    and very small dog.

    We work really hard as a company to compost and
    recycle everything we can at IN HQ, effectively diverting 88% of our waste out
    of the landfill / incinerator. We do this by focusing on eco-friendly
    alternatives. Rather than foam peanuts, our products are shipped with Geami paper, which is an eco-friendly
    alternative to standard, less sustainable shipping materials. And we also
    choose the highest post-consumer recycled content for all plastic packaging, including tubes.

    That’s why I
    was so excited to attend the 1st annual Zero Waste Summit this past September,
    hosted by Eureka Recycling in Minneapolis. The speakers ranged from recycling
    industry leaders to businesses that make products exclusively from recycled
    goods–so cool!

    I really
    appreciated that each individual speaking at the summit discussed a different
    hot topic they found to be a problem, and then figured out a way to be the change
    they wanted to see. Here are
    a few amazing companies and projects that are doing a lot of great, important
    work in the Twin Cities:

    •   Andy Papacosta of Gandhi Mahal spoke about the tilapia aquaponics system
    in the basement of their restaurant. Using this system, they grow some of the herbs
    used in their restaurant in addition to partnering with 14 local farmers. This
    past year they even added beehives to the roof of their restaurant! Talk about
    talking the talk and walking the walk. These folks are going all out for
    sustainability. It’s also open for a tour any time–highly recommended.

    •   Tech Dump is a non-profit organization
    that recycles and refurbishes electronics. In 2014, 41.8 million tons of
    electronics were discarded globally. Tech Dump recycled 4 million pounds last
    year. They encourage folks to  ‘see the value of stuff’ meaning that there
    is value in electronic waste. They also give permanent jobs to at-risk people.   

    •   YOXO toys in St. Paul makes cool toys using recycled wood. All
    of the toys are made of material that can also be recycled or composted. The
    key take-away from his speech is: We are right, so be bold and just keep
    doing it!

    Perhaps the most important idea I heard at the summit is that small
    efforts collected together make a big impact
    . Which got me thinking–we all can really
    make an immediate difference in the waste we produce just by changing a few small
    things in our daily lives. Here are three easy ways to reduce your waste:

    1. Shop bulk at co-ops and embrace reusable containers.
    You’ll be more inspired to make your own lunch for work at home, which will
    save you money AND reduce waste. Win win!

    2. Refuse plastic disposable drinking straws and Styrofoam
    to-go-ware at restaurants
    . Instead, go straw-free and ask for foil when you
    want to take food home–all commercial kitchens should have this
    available. Milo Cress, a
    10-year-old who started a campaign against disposable drinking straws after
    seeing them create so much waste, inspired me to ditch straws for good. It may
    not seem like much, but 127 school buses full of drinking straws go to the
    landfill in the US each day. Cutting out straws–and encouraging your friends and family to do so
    too–can make a huge impact on the environment. 

    3. Bring your own reusable cup when meeting friends for
    coffee or tea
    . Reduce the use of the plastic hot cup to-go lids, as they are
    usually made of resin code 6 polystyrene plastic which is generally not wanted
    on the used commodities/ recycling market. It means that even if you put the
    lid in the recycle bin, it will not be re-used, as there is no real use for the
    recycled material.  These plastic lids
    will then end up either in a landfill or an incinerator.  

    Make sure to share this post with friends and family so we can all work
    towards living a zero waste life.



    Five Questions for Nicole Rechelbacher, IN Co-Owner

    We caught up with our fearless leader & daughter of Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Intelligent Nutrients and Aveda.

    Q: How was your childhood different from others?
    A: How wasn’t it? My friends thought my dad looked like John Lennon. He was flying all over the world, cooking clove shampoo in our sink, inviting Tibetan monks and Native elders over, and telling us to eat organic instead of OREOS. We didn’t have a picket fence, we had a mandala.

    Q: How did growing with an entrepreneur change your worldview?
    A: Creativity was a way of life for us—but so was hustle. I was cutting hair in high school. I was schlepping to shows and assisting him onstage. I was doing makeup backstage at hair shows and photo shoots. All while my friends were working jobs as lifeguards or retail.

    Dad was never impressed by who people said they were. He was impressed by what you did. And that instilled a big work ethic in me.

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