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Birdology – Sy Montgomery



Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur

Sy Montgomery

Genre: Biology

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: April 6, 2010

Publisher: Atria Books


Meet the ladies: a flock of smart, affectionate, highly individualistic chickens who visit their favorite neighbors, devise different ways to hide from foxes, and mob the author like she’s a rock star. In these pages you’ll also meet Maya and Zuni, two orphaned baby hummingbirds who hatched from eggs the size of navy beans, and who are little more than air bubbles fringed with feathers. Their lives hang precariously in the balance—but with human help, they may one day conquer the sky. Snowball is a cockatoo whose dance video went viral on YouTube and who’s now teaching schoolchildren how to dance. You’ll meet Harris’s hawks named Fire and Smoke. And you’ll come to know and love a host of other avian characters who will change your mind forever about who birds really are. Each of these birds shows a different and utterly surprising aspect of what makes a bird a bird—and these are the lessons of Birdology : that birds are far stranger, more wondrous, and at the same time more like us than we might have dared to imagine. In Birdology, beloved author of The Good Good Pig Sy Montgomery explores the essence of the otherworldly creatures we see every day. By way of her adventures with seven birds—wild, tame, exotic, and common—she weaves new scientific insights and narrative to reveal seven kernels of bird wisdom. The first lesson of Birdology is that, no matter how common they are, Birds Are Individuals, as each of Montgomery’s distinctive Ladies clearly shows. In the leech-infested rain forest of Queensland, you’ll come face to face with a cassowary—a 150-pound, man-tall, flightless bird with a helmet of bone on its head and a slashing razor-like toenail with which it (occasionally) eviscerates people—proof that Birds Are Dinosaurs. You’ll learn from hawks that Birds Are Fierce; from pigeons, how Birds Find Their Way Home; from parrots, what it means that Birds Can Talk; and from 50,000 crows who moved into a small city’s downtown, that Birds Are Everywhere. They are the winged aliens who surround us. Birdology explains just how very "other" birds are: Their hearts look like those of crocodiles. They are covered with modified scales, which are called feathers. Their bones are hollow. Their bodies are permeated with extensive air sacs. They have no hands. They give birth to eggs. Yet despite birds’ and humans’ disparate evolutionary paths, we share emotional and intellectual abilities that allow us to communicate and even form deep bonds. When we begin to comprehend who birds really are, we deepen our capacity to approach, understand, and love these otherworldly creatures. And this, ultimately, is the priceless lesson of Birdology : it communicates a heartfelt fascination and awe for birds and restores our connection to these complex, mysterious fellow creatures.

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Birdology – Sy Montgomery

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Our Mathematical Universe – Max Tegmark


Our Mathematical Universe

My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

Max Tegmark

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last—this is a book that has already prompted the attention and admiration of some of the most prominent scientists and mathematicians.

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Our Mathematical Universe – Max Tegmark

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Fermat’s Enigma – Simon Singh


Fermat’s Enigma

The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem

Simon Singh

Genre: Mathematics

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: September 8, 1998

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

xn + yn = zn, where n represents 3, 4, 5, …no solution "I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain." With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations.  What came to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years.  In  Fermat's Enigma –based on the author's award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS's "Nova"–Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it.  Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics.

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Fermat’s Enigma – Simon Singh

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How To Grow a Clover Lawn To Improve Biodiversity

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The American obsession with a pristine, green lawn presents a few problems. That green lawn requires a lot of work to maintain and is a huge drain on resources. Lawns in the U.S. are the country’s largest irrigated crop, consuming more land than any food crop. Besides hogging resources, the solid carpet of turfgrass we’ve created also hurts wildlife by discouraging biodiversity and creating runoff that pollutes waterways.

There are benefits to having a yard full of grass. And it’s possible to have a gorgeous, biodiverse lawn that benefits the environment. It just takes a little rethinking about what makes a lawn, including reconsidering clover — a plant that we redefined as a weed after WWII.

Embracing clover as a mainstay of your lawn can tip the balance back in an eco-friendly direction. You’ll also benefit from a lower-maintenance, self-fertilizing green lawn.

Choosing the Right Clover Strategy

The benefits of clover are vast. It’s drought tolerant and self-fertilizing. The plant absorbs nitrogen from the atmosphere and returns it to the soil. In other words, it creates its own fertilizer and fertilizes nearby plants. When you mix it with common grass types such as Kentucky bluegrass or fescues, it creates enough nitrogen to eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.

Clover provides forage for pollinators such as bees. It also looks magical and you may find your neighbors admiring it. Just make sure you choose the variety best suited to your needs. Dutch white clover (Trifolium repens) or micro clover (Trifolium repens var. Pipolina) are the best species to incorporate into your turf. Dutch white clover stays green year-round, while micro clover turns brown during the winter. Micro clover is more tolerant of foot traffic and blooms 90 percent less than Dutch white clover. That means fewer bees and less support for pollinators .

Most people are happiest with a combination of turfgrass and clover. While some perform aggressive lawn makeovers to completely convert to clover, that isn’t necessary. If you already have a lawn, you can overseed it with clover and gradually let the clover take over.

White clover is low growing and needs no fertilizing. Source: Flickr

Planting Clover

To establish a mixed grass/clover lawn, you can sow clover seed into the lawn, encourage existing clover patches, or both. Encouraging existing patches is as easy as mowing over clover with the mower blade set low, between 1½ and 2 inches. This will allow the clover to take over by weakening the grass.

Sow seed in spring as soon as the last frost has passed. Dutch white clover should be seeded at 1 pound of seed to 1,000 square feet, and micro clover needs double that. After you seed, water the lawn daily until seedlings are visible, and then only once in a while, as needed.

Maintaining a Clover Lawn

There’s no need to fertilize a clover lawn. It takes care of that for you! It is also imperative that you do not apply broadleaf herbicides to a clover lawn unless you want to kill it. Your irrigation bill should drop, as this classic “weed” is drought tolerant. Try irrigating every other week in summer and see how it performs. A bonus? You only have to mow a clover lawn once a month to keep it looking tidy. Other than the frequency, just mow clover the same way you would mow a regular grass lawn.

The very same weeds that homeowners have been struggling to eradicate might be the answer to the low-maintenance, green lawn you dream of. Unlike typical turfgrasses, a clover lawn reduces water use, eliminates the need for fertilizer, cuts time spent on lawn care in half, and increases biodiversity. Plant it right and enjoy a future where your lawn is part of the solution rather than contributing to the lawn problem.

About the Author

Alexis Jones is a freelance writer whose work appears on the LawnStarter blog and other publications. An amateur landscaper who prides herself on being eco-friendly, she uses only native plants to encourage biodiversity and wildlife-friendly backyards.

Feature image courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

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How To Grow a Clover Lawn To Improve Biodiversity

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Puzzles, Games, & Tricks – Jerome S. Meyer


Puzzles, Games, & Tricks

Understanding the Mystery and Magic of Numbers

Jerome S. Meyer

Genre: Mathematics

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: October 17, 2017

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

Fun facts, formulas, and Fibonacci numbers—a brain-teasing book that brings mathematical ideas to life.   Just how big is a billion? Well, if you had a billion dollars and invested it in a business that lost a thousand dollars a day, do you know how long it would take you to go broke? Answer: Two thousand years!   Although few of us really understand figures greater than a few thousand, we live in a vast world of numbers. Puzzles, Games, & Tricks confronts this world in a fun, informative, and accessible way. Contained within its pages is a gold mine of information to absorb and comprehend, including mathematical puzzles, formulas, games, and tricks that will captivate readers young and old. Author Jerome S. Meyer provides a fascinating and amazing key to the magic world of numbers—in one of the most readable books on mathematics ever published.   Previously published as Fun with Mathematics

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Puzzles, Games, & Tricks – Jerome S. Meyer

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It All Adds Up – Mickaël Launay & Stephen S. Wilson


It All Adds Up

The Story of People and Mathematics

Mickaël Launay & Stephen S. Wilson

Genre: Mathematics

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 1, 2018

Publisher: William Collins


‘Fascinating … so enlightening that suddenly maths doesn’t seem so fearsome as it once did’ SIMON WINCHESTER From Aristotle to Ada Lovelace: a brief history of the mathematical ideas that have forever changed the world and the everyday people and pioneers behind them. The story of our best invention yet. From our ability to calculate the passing of time to the algorithms that control computers and much else in our lives, numbers are everywhere. They are so indispensable that we forget how fundamental they are to our way of life. In this international bestseller, Mickaël Launay mixes history and anecdotes from around the world to reveal how mathematics became pivotal to the story of humankind. It is a journey into numbers with Launay as a guide. In museums, monuments or train stations, he uses the objects around us to explain what art can reveal about geometry, how Babylonian scholars developed one of the first complex written languages, and how ‘Arabic’ numbers were adopted from India. It All Adds Up also tells the story of how mapping the trajectory of an eclipse has helped to trace the precise day of one of the oldest battles in history, how the course of the modern-day Greenwich Meridian was established, and why negative numbers were accepted just last century. This book is a vital compendium of the great men and women of mathematics from Aristotle to Ada Lovelace, which demonstrates how mathematics shaped the written word and the world. With clarity, passion and wisdom, the author unveils the unexpected and at times serendipitous ways in which big mathematical ideas were created. Supporting the belief that – just like music or literature – maths should be accessible to everyone, Launay will inspire a new fondness for the numbers that surround us and the rich stories they contain. Reviews ‘I found Mickaël Launay’s fascinating book so enlightening that suddenly maths doesn't seem nearly as fearsome as it once did. Maybe It All Adds Up should, for me at least, have been re-titled “It All Makes Sense. At Last.”’ Simon Winchester ‘An enjoyable and timely tour around the mathematics of everyday life, past and present. Mickaël Launay ably demonstrates his thesis that "you only have to change how you look at the world" to find numbers and patterns in the most unlikely places. And he extends a welcoming and sympathetic hand to those who would like to like mathematics but don't know how.’ Benjamin Wardhaugh, author of ‘How to Read Historical Mathematics’ and ‘Gunpowder and Geometry’. 'It's difficult to carry on saying you do not like mathematics, [Mickael Launay] is so good at making this subject – which is so nightmarish for many students – captivating … The teacher you always dreamt of having' Le Monde About the author Mickaël Launay graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure Ulm in 2009 with a degree in maths. He holds a PhD in probability and curates the Micmaths YouTube channel, which has garnered 24 million views and on which he has over 315,500 subscribers. He is the author of two previous books.

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It All Adds Up – Mickaël Launay & Stephen S. Wilson

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Understanding Owls – Jemima Parry-Jones


Understanding Owls

Biology, Management, Breeding, Training

Jemima Parry-Jones

Genre: Nature

Price: $7.99

Publish Date: October 1, 2012

Publisher: F+W

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

Sharing expertise gained from a lifetime’s experience of working with birds of prey, the author provides “an entirely different way of looking at owls.” ( Booklist )   Owls. With their glowing, unblinking eyes they seem to notice everything—and to have the wisdom to understand it all, too. From biology and taxonomy, to housing, feeding, incubation, and rearing to training and flying, a master breeder and trainer of owls shares her extensive knowledge of these nighttime creatures—both in the wild and in captivity. A general overview covers their anatomy, and a morphology details the various subfamilies of owl. Find out about the role their specially adapted—and extremely beautiful feathers—play in aiding their “silent flight”; the incredible variety of noises they make (and how these can help you identify a breed); the intricacies of their behavior patterns; and the way the babies are hatched, fed, and nurtured. Here’s what you need for those first attempts at breeding and to train and hunt with your birds of prey. Dozens of remarkable full-color photos provide a close-up look at barn owls, Eagle owls, tawny owls, and snowy owls.

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Understanding Owls – Jemima Parry-Jones

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12 Simple Hacks for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Food waste. Energy-draining appliances. Toxic cleaning products. Your kitchen can be a very environmentally unfriendly room in your home ? if you let it. Fortunately, it?s also a space in which it?s easy to go green. Here are 12 simple hacks for a more eco-friendly kitchen.

1. Switch to energy-efficient appliances

When it?s time for a new kitchen appliance, be sure to do your homework on the most energy-efficient models you can buy. For instance, refrigerators with top or bottom freezers often are more efficient than the side-by-side models, as less cold air escapes when you open the door, according to HGTV. And if you?re in the market for an oven, consider convection. ?This type of oven uses a fan to drive heat rapidly from source to food so it cooks it 25 percent faster than a conventional oven,? HGTV says.

2. Conserve as you cook

Even if you have energy-efficient appliances, you still might be wasting energy. For example, cooking or reheating food in the oven when a microwave would have worked just fine uses a lot of unnecessary energy. ?Even small things make a difference, such as using lids on pots to bring them to a boil faster and using as few burners as possible,? according to the DIY Network.

3. Clean with natural products

Credit: Geo-grafika/Getty Images

Choose natural cleaning products to tackle messes in your kitchen (and around the rest of your home). Natural cleaners can be just as powerful as their synthetic counterparts ? but without all the toxins that are detrimental to your health and pollute the environment. Plus, if you make your own cleaning products, you?ll cut down on production and packaging waste. You might even have some ingredients already in your kitchen that can help clean it.

4. Swap paper towels for reusable rags

Towels and sponges are major sources of germs in the kitchen. So in that regard, single-use towels help to cut your risk of getting sick. But instead of turning to paper towels, choose reusable rags for a more eco-friendly approach. Have a stash of kitchen rags, such as small microfiber cloths, that you can use for one-time cleanups and then toss in a laundry basket. Once you have a full load of rags, throw them in a sanitizing wash. Yes, it?s a little less convenient, but you might be surprised by how many paper towels (and how much money) you save in the process.

5. Opt for a full dishwasher over handwashing

These days, being a dishwashing eco-warrior is as simple as filling your dishwasher, turning it on and walking away. ?It may feel more virtuous to wash by hand, but it?s actually more wasteful: You use up to 27 gallons of water per load by hand versus as little as 3 gallons with an Energy Star-rated dishwasher,? according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. ?And just scrape off the food scraps instead of rinsing each dish before you load it.?

6. Grow a kitchen herb garden

When you buy locally grown food ? or better yet, grow your own at home ? you?re helping the planet. ?When you eat from your own garden, you eliminate the need to use fossil fuels to transport vegetables from a faraway farmer’s field to your plate,? the DIY Network says. ?Even growing your own herbs on the windowsill helps; when you buy fresh herbs at the grocery store, you usually end up wasting leftovers and throwing away the plastic package.? Plus, the more plant-based your diet is, the fewer resources it takes to produce your food.

7. Buy in bulk

Credit: CameronAynSmith/Getty Images

Buying food in bulk often is better for your wallet and the environment ? just as long as you actually consume the food you buy. Certain foods are usually easier to buy in bulk, thanks to their long shelf life. But it all depends on what you eat and how well you store the food. Make space in your kitchen to properly keep your bulk buys, and enjoy this simple way to do right by the planet.

8. Keep a full fridge

Sometimes your refrigerator needs a bit of help to run as efficiently as possible. For starters, keep the condenser coils free of dust and dirt. This allows the fridge to stay cool with less effort. Plus, make sure the fridge door seal is still strong. And if you don?t tend to keep much in your refrigerator, you might want to fill that space. The Kitchn recommends placing containers of water in empty fridge space to ?keep things cold so your refrigerator doesn?t have to work as hard.? The containers help to reduce the amount of air transfer whenever you open the fridge door.

9. Store refrigerated food the right way

Besides maintaining the actual function of your refrigerator, how you store your food also matters for its efficiency. For instance, allowing hot food to cool (in a safe manner to prevent bacteria growth) before you store it in the fridge prevents the appliance from having to work extra hard to cool it, according to The Kitchn. Likewise, cover your food to stop it from releasing moisture. ?When left uncovered, foods will leach this moisture into the air and the compressor in your refrigerator will have to work twice as hard to remove it,? The Kitchn says. And it should go without saying that storing food in reusable containers will score you major eco-friendly points.

10. Maximize efficient lighting

Bright lighting is necessary in the kitchen for safe cooking. So you?ll definitely want to make sure you?re using efficient bulbs to conserve as much energy as possible. If you haven?t already, make the switch to LED bulbs, which use less energy and last longer than standard bulbs. And don?t forget about the lights over your stove or in your fridge. Plus, maximize the natural light your kitchen gets by limiting window treatments and using bright colors that reflect light.

11. Start composting

Credit: lucentius/Getty Images

Up your green game turning appropriate food waste into compost instead of tossing it in the trash. ?It’s easy to get started with a small bin that you keep moist and mix the contents of about once a week,? Food Network says. ?Then, after a few weeks, you’ll have nutrient-rich compost to perk up your garden ? and much less food waste in your trashcan.? Even if you?re an apartment dweller, there are several composting options that could fit your needs.

12. Skip the full remodel

If you?re looking to renovate your kitchen, aim not to rip things down to the studs. ?Think ?refresh,? not ?remodel,?? DIY Network says. ?New paint and updated hardware for cabinets can give you a new look without producing the landfill waste that a remodeling project generates.? Try to donate materials you don?t need anymore. And if you bring in anything new, look for sustainable options, such as countertops made from recycled materials.

Main image credit: jodiejohnson/Getty Images

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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12 Simple Hacks for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

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5 Easy Sustainability Tips, Just in Time for Earth Month

Earth Month starts tomorrow, and there’s never been a better time to?kick your green living into gear. These easy sustainability will help you get started.

Climate change is looking pretty grim?we no longer have the luxury of considering sustainability an “option”. Each and every one of us needs to start pulling our weight and pressuring businesses and governments to make rapid, significant?shifts if we care about?rescuing our planet.

To get you started on the road to personal sustainability, here are a few straightforward ways you can have a major impact on the planet (without much effort)?just in time for Earth Month!

1. Buy less stuff.

Fast fashion is a sustainability nightmare.?Buying new clothes every season? Guess what happens when you?toss your old clothes out?they get thrown in the landfill. And since?many clothes are made with manmade materials like polyester, they likely aren?t biodegradable. Let?s not forget that manufacturing clothing requires a tremendous amount of water resources and chemicals pollutants.

To lessen your impact, shop second hand when you have a craving to go shopping.?If you must buy new, invest in high-quality pieces that will last for years to come. It?s time to ditch fast fashion for good.

2. Take it easy on the new smartphones.

It can be tantalizing to go out and buy the latest and greatest tech device as soon as it hits the market, but if you care about sustainability you?re going to want to think twice.

According to the New York Times, ?The production of an iPhone 6, for example, released the equivalent of 178 pounds of carbon dioxide, or about as much as burning nine gallons of gas, according to a 2015 study.?

Sure, Apple and other tech companies have become more environmentally conscious since the iPhone 6 launched way back in 2014 (Apple has some particularly cool green initiatives going on), but the most sustainable option is still to keep your current phone for as long as possible.

You don’t?really need the latest,?shiniest phone, if you have a perfectly fine functioning one. And when it is time to replace your old phone, definitely make sure to recycle it with the manufacturer, so that it doesn’t leach chemicals in a landfill somewhere.

3. Divest from fossil fuels.

Take a peek at your retirement funds or other investments. Are you supporting the fossil fuel industry (and climate change alongside it)? Divesting is becoming a popular (and effective) way to take a stand.

According to a 2018 report, ?Today, nearly 1,000 institutional investors with $6.24 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuels, up from $52 billion four years ago?an increase of 11,900 percent.?

It’s not a fringe idea anymore?and it’s sure to make a direct impact on fossil fuel companies. Don?t be afraid to?take a real stand.

4. Reduce your use of plastics.

If you’ve been avoiding it, it’s finally time. No more single-use plastics. That means cutting back on plastic straws, single-use flatware, cups and bottles, grocery and produce bags, food wrap and even garbage bags.

It?s relatively?easy to find more sustainable alternatives?for all these plastic products?whether they?re compostable bio plastics or 100 percent plastic-free. All it requires is a small amount of effort.

5. Support businesses who care about sustainability.

When you buy things, put your money where your mouth is.?Find sustainable alternatives for the products you use most, and support the businesses that make them. For instance, instead of buying plastic food wrap a couple times a year, why not invest in parchment paper or reusable (and incredible) Bee?s Wrap?

The more we support green businesses, the more power we gain as consumers to encourage greater sustainability efforts across the board.

Do you have any other easily-adoptable tips for living a sustainable lifestyle? Share them with the community in the comments section below!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Easy Sustainability Tips, Just in Time for Earth Month

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How Trader Joe’s Will Save a Million Pounds of Plastic

Last year, Trader Joe’s officially announced that it would be making some major company-wide shifts?namely, to up its sustainability standards and reduce its plastic waste. While it all started as a response to a massive Greenpeace petition, Trader Joe’s is continuing to hold itself to a higher standard by scrutinizing all the wasteful, unsustainable facets of its grocery empire?and it seems to be working. When all is said and done, the company will have eliminated over one million pounds of wasteful single-use plastic from its stores.

Where’s all that plastic waste coming from?

Odds are, you’ve probably strolled through any supermarket and been frustrated by the amount of fresh food wrapped in plastic. From individually-wrapped cucumbers to plastic-wrapped styrofoam trays of apples, it’s like walking into an environmental nightmare scenario. There is so much unnecessary, un-recyclable plastic waste in our grocery system. And Trader Joe’s has placed itself on the front line.

Now that they’re keyed in on the problem, Trader Joe’s continues to strive to clean up their act.

In December, they informed customers that they would no longer be offering single-use plastic bags?one of the first nationwide grocery chains to do so. They’re also replacing their produce bags with compostable alternatives and limiting the amount of produce sold in plastic altogether. They are even going the extra?mile to remove the tiny bit of non-recyclable plastic and foil from their tea packaging.

It seems that no waste is too small to address, which is a sustainability outlook we can all get behind.

Curious to check out Trader Joe’s new sustainability principles? Here they are, straight from their press release:

1. Reducing and removing packaging

2. Sourcing renewable and recycled packaging materials

3. Choosing packaging that can be realistically recycled

4. Avoiding the use of harmful substances in packaging

5. Providing information to customers that increases understanding of how best to recycle or dispose of packaging

That right, your Trader Joe’s obsession?just got affirmed. The best chocolate-dipped, peanut butter-filled pretzels AND a conscious push towards greater sustainability?! It’s almost green grocery heaven.

Trader Joe’s closed their press release by stating, “We view this as ongoing work?in fact, never-ending work. As we continue in this endeavor, we are committed to openly sharing information about our progress.”

Hopefully more companies will adopt that outlook and become better stewards of our planet. In the meantime, Trader Joe’s: keep it up!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


How Trader Joe’s Will Save a Million Pounds of Plastic

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