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Los Alamos Co-op Expands Sustainability Programs

on October 30, 2012 - 8:26am

Co-op board members, Gale Zander Barlow and Nancy Savoia display the Terracycle Bin at a Gordon's Concert this summer. The artistic styling was created by Marshall Jansen. Photo by Greg Kendall/ladailypost.com

Staff Report

The Los Alamos Cooperative Market launched three green programs this summer.

Two Terracycle bins now greet shoppers at the entrance to the Co-op. Sandra West, Community Outreach at the Co-op Market, credited Gloria Brehm for suggesting the Terracycle Program.

"When I was president of Pinon Elementary PTO, I implemented this program within the school with the intention of teaching the kids the importance of thinking outside of the box and coming up with innovative ways of reducing their ecological footprint within our environment, Brehm said. "I have always been drawn to the concept of 'upcycling,' the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or higher environmental value."

The is the Terracycle mission. Upcycling takes products that are already made such as juice pouches and converts them into products like purses, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. with very minimal reprocessing. In addition to it being beneficial to the environment and reducing the amount of waste sent to our landfills, Terracycle also makes donations for the items you send in and pays for the shipping, Brehm said.

The Co-op Market accepts the following items in the Terracycle bins:
    1.   All Chip Bags
        Including: chip bags, tortilla chip bags, pretzel bags, pita chip bags, bagel chip bags, soy crisp bags and salty snack bags.
    2.   All Cereal Box Liners
        Including: any brand cereal box liners (the plastic bags, which preserve the cereal freshness and are inside the cereal boxes)
        We do NOT accept cereal boxes.
    3.   All Bagged Cereal Bags
        Including: Nature's Path, Malt-O-Meal, and any other bagged cereal.
    4.   All packaging from Bear Naked Products
        Accepted Bear Naked packaging includes: Bear Naked brand granola bags, trail mix bags, and granola cookie boxes.
    5.   All Energy Bar & Candy Wrappers
        Including: foil lined wrappers, clif brand wrappers, individual candy wrappers, large candy bags, and multi-pack candy bags.

The second sustainability program implemented this summer was the installation of a PV solar array in the parking lot. It was installed by Select Solar of Los Alamos.

Co-op General Manager Steve Watts explained that the goal is to experience about a 7-9 percent reduction in the Co-op's electric bill over the course of a year.

Greg Mechels, President of Los Alamos based Select Solar puts the finishing touches on the PV array this summer. For more information, visit www.selectsolarpower.com. Photo by Greg Kendall/ladailypost.com

PV Array is installed and operational. Photo by Karen Kendall

The third sustainability program implemented this summer at the Co-op Market is the Gimme 5 recyling program.

This recycling program is through Gimme 5, who turns number five plastics into toothbrushes, tupperware and more.

A designated bin is located near the cafe.


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