Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Globetrotting

Three fl@vors subscribers will win a trip to Australia next month (click here for details). Thanks to Renewable Choice Energy 100% of carbon usage for this trip will be offset. How do you think about offsetting carbon usage in your daily life? What are some of the small steps you take to reduce carbon usage from day to day?

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

47 comments

Comments

Eileen says …

We do several things at our house 1. Dry clothes outside, rarely use the dryer in warm weather. 2.i use stairs at work 99% of the time. 3. Program our thermastat.my husband says too low in the winter, I say put on a sweater. 4. Recycle all our clothes 5. Have spiral florescent bulbs in the lamps 6.recycle all paper , magazines,aluminum,plastic,glass, cardboard. We recycle just about everything. Yard waste, garden recycled. Can ALOT in the fall Ride bike to work. We also recycle our books. This is just the everyday stuff. Thank you

ellie says …

I use the car extremely rarely since I work from home and live close to shops. I buy all locally grown produce and turn off the computer and lights when not necessary. I do laundry in the cold water cycle and on the low water setting. We have no Ac where we live and the flowers and shrubs are suited to this climate.

Sandra K. Moore says …

Our city isn't bike-friendly, but we *can* go to the grocery store and load up our bikes' panniers. (Did you know that several companies make "grocery bag" panniers for bicycles?) We also turn down the plastic grocery bags in favor of using our panniers. At home, we use an AC timer to automatically adjust the temperature when we're at work, and are working toward replacing all our light bulbs with the more energy efficient bulbs. Also, we put all of our battery chargers on a single switch, so with the flick of a single button, we can turn all of them off at once -- great when we head off to work!

Norman Riback says …

Love what Whole foods is doing-- and thats why I am promoting them on my site(www.SaveOurGreenPlanet.org) just go to the LINK page-& on the right you will see (in high neon green letters) GREEN ACTION(which goes to Whole foods' LINK called HOW TO HELP OUR PLANET)--on Save Our Green Planet.org OUR name is OUR message

david behar says …

I turn off my pc when it is not in use and I no longer have battery chargers plugged into the wall outlets 24/7. I also changed my light bulbs to those spiral florescent types that use less energy. Finally I take public transportation instead of driving daily to work.

lisa wardell says …

I think we should all purchase a tree for Arbor Day and plant it in our community. Also, there are a few non-profit charities that let you buy a tree for $1.00, and they will plant it for you. Plants are a great way of reducing carbon in the air.

Christina Stableford says …

My main interior electrical switchbox is in an alcove off my kitchen. Therefore, it's easy to turn the hot water heater off. I keep it off most of the time, turning it on first thing in the morning (for showering,etc.) and sometimes for awhile in the evening. Water heats up quickly (about 10 minutes) and retains its heat all day during the summer. Saves LOTS of kilowatts to turn off the "cooker" when it's not needed!

Owen says …

Take steps to offset carbon? That's easy -- take the stairs! Take the stairs up and down to the subway, take the stairs to your work floor. It's free exercise, and it's 'negawatts,' to boot. It may be hard at first, but it gets easier. It's often faster, too.

Linda Dumalac says …

While taking a walk, carry a plastic bag and those thin plastic gloves and pick up litter as you go.

Janea Boyles says …

I recently read on earth911.org that whenever an aluminum can is recycled, it's volume in gasoline is saved! Each time we walk our dog, I take an extra plastic bag, pick up a few aluminum cans and then drop them in my recycling bin at home. I have a few rules we abide by: Move the can with your foot to ensure there are no liquids or bugs inside. I never go off the road or into a ditch to collect a can and we wash our hands straightaway upon returning home. (I've even taken mini hand sanitizer in my pocket on longer walks.) Even though there are cans we avoid on our walk, I find I still come home with at least 3 cans everyday. That's about 15 cans a week. At 8 ounces each, I take pride in knowing I've saved approximately 120 ounces of gasoline on those weeks I have time to take my regular walks.

Christina Peterson says …

I have become a big fan of keeping a nightlight in my bathrooms. It's a great way to recreate a candlelit atmosphere in my bathroom without the mess of candles. I turn it on whenever I shower or brush my teeth, and find it a much more relaxing atmosphere than the glare of regular bulbs. Best of all, it is a great energy saver compared with turning on the regular lights (as long as you don't keep them on all the time.) It's not just for kids!

Jessica says …

I purchase locally grown foods. Whole Foods makes this easy by labeling the produce that comes from local sources. Less travel time in a gas-consuming truck on the way to the store equals less carbon used!

Karen Simmons says …

I'm in agreement with Norman and I turn off my computer each day after work. I work from home, so my travel is minimal. But, here's my TOP 10 LIST for reducing carbon debt: 1) Keep a shopping and errands lists so you can take care of multiples activities when you are out to save on transportation emissions. 2) Switch to or select green appliances when you can, otherwise turn off appliances at the wall rather than using standby. 3) Take fewer flights - you can save time and be more productive PLUS offset carbon debt if you make the most of new innovations in Internet meetings and conference calling. 4) Support low-carbon & carbon-paid products or companies that have already offset their carbon debt. 5) Support organically grown food producers and markets - organic food is usually less carbon-intensive than traditional products PLUS it's better for you. 6) Recycle more bottles, cans, paper and plastic. It usually takes less energy and CO2 to produce recycled goods than it does to manufacture them from raw materials. If you don't have recycling in your area contact your county and urge them to implement a program. 7) During the coming holiday, get more creative with your gifts ... gifts of service, time, or environmentally friendly products. Support a less materialistic society. 8) A low cost solution is replacing your old thermastat with one that is programmable ... less waste and more efficient. 9) Don't be so obsessive and status conscious with your lawn ... spread out your lawn mowing to reduce the number of times you mow each season. 10) I can't afford to trade my car in on a hybrid at the moment, so I greened my existing car ... I love speed, but I'm learning to stay at or below the speed limit and I unloaded unnecessary weight in the car, both of which reduces emissions. I learned that even a 10 mph difference can lower emissions by 10%.

Rebecca says …

When doing laundry, I used to wash "whites in warm water, colors in cold water." I now wash all my clothes in the "cold" cycle of the washing machine. This saves the energy that it would take to heat up the water.

Sarai says …

I bike commute. It may sound daunting at first, but as soon as you make up your mind to do it - it's not that hard. I started about 4 years ago riding my old mountain bike 5 miles each way, once a week. After a while I was riding everyday and it became my favorite part of going to work. Two years later, I bought a road bike and started commuting to work in the suburbs, commuting 20miles a day round trip. It's still my favorite part of going to work and my commute no longer contributes to air pollution....or my waistline! :)

susan troche says …

I unplug most of our appliances and lamps during the day when most of the family is at school or work. Also, I try to use candle light in the evening while watching tv instead of an electrical lamp.

Jennifer Ward says …

This page is so inspiring! What a wonderful read. Our family has reduced our curb garbage by about 50%, merely by purchasing more local and organic fresh foods, far fewer packaged goods (some bulk items), and starting a small compost pile out back. It's improved our health and energy, weight, pocketbook AND helped the environment! BONUS! (Plus, we just switched preschools, down to less than 16 miles/day from 60 miles/day.) Win, win for everyone!

Irene Free says …

Most "vanity" mirrors in bathrooms use 3-5 bulbs which is a lot of light ... probably more than most people need. We have eliminated all but 1 or 2 vanity bulbs in our bathrooms ... it's plenty of light.

Kathleen says …

We purchase foods in bulk and in an un-processed "state," which allows for multiple uses, less packaging waste and less trips to the store (thanks Whole Foods for your ample selection of bulk bin items). For example, one purchase of several pounds of wheat berries provides the raw material for: all baked goods in our house (we grind the grain for freshly milled flour); sprouted wheat provides sprouts for our salads, sprouts for crackers which I make in the dehydrator and sprouts for wheat grass which we juice; and, "rejuvelac," which is a health-building drink made famous by Ann Wigmore (the recipe is also in Nourishing Traditions, which is available at my local Whole Foods). The same "multi-use" occurs for lentils (sprouts, cooked lentils, lentil soup), garbanzo beans (spouts, raw and cooked hummus, in soup, etc.), black beans, white beans, adzuki beans, flax seed (great ground up and sprinkled on a salad or in a smoothie, good for making flax seed crackers/tortillas, etc). Having a supply of raw ingredients in the pantry not only saves on carbon usage, it is also empowering and fun for the whole family - my children included!

Valerie Dehl says …

I'm trying out a car air extractor that I saw at the store. The extractor runs on a solar cell and remains on constantly. When you return to your park car, the car is cool. Isn't that good for South Florida weather? Couldn't they have a big version of that for our homes? I would help the AC system and use up a lot less energy. Why don't they sell these great solar aids in more stores?

stephie says …

We try to be mindful of the footprint we make, replacing even small items like plastic water bottles with a Sigg, or using wind-up flashlights for evening dog walks. My favorite: beeswax candles for lighting at dinner or while watching a DVD. Beeswax is a wonderful air purifier. I have purchased all of these at Whole Foods, which is a close walk from home.

Cassie says …

I always refuse plastic bags. This goes beyond just bringing canvas bags to the grocery store. It's standard at shopping malls and restaurants to give an excessive amount of packaging. When I worked in retail I asked, "Do you need a bag?". When people think about it, they realize that they do not actually need a bag. We are just so used to receiving one.

M Deaton says …

Last year we installed thermostats upstairs and down so now we can more efficiently heat and cool the zones to save energy. We also regularly replace our air filters and have our ducts cleaned.

Liz Lipinski says …

We've upgraded our major appliances to be energy efficient, use low-energy lightbulbs, recycle glass, plastics and paper in creative & traditional ways, conserve water, drive our cars as little as possible and unplug whatever we can. So what's left? I realized that saving a few $$s and reducing carbon go hand in hand! I don't use a cleaning service for my home any more - they don't use the gas to get to my house and we make our own cleaning products, as well as using eco-friendly ones, instead of the typical ones that the service liked to use. I have had to become more organized, but the satisfaction in a job well done and knowing that i'm not hurting the environment anymore than i have to is well worth it. There is one other way we try to help. Planting trees is great! But there are lots of trees that are planted in local parks that need watering to survive. We attend park volunteer days - we walk to the park - and help water the thirsty saplings when we don't have enough rain.

Bruce Jones says …

I have done several things to go green. I drive a car that gets 40 MPG. I can increse the MPG up to 48 MPG by keeping proper air pressue in the tires, driving 5 MPH under the speed limit, make slow starts and coasting to red lights. Also, never be in a hurry to where your going. Each gal. of gasoline produces around 12 pounds of CO2 when it is combusted in a automobile engine. I also use Florescent light bulbs, installed a electric timer on my hot water heater, adjusted air condentioning up to 80 degress durning the day, 78 @ night, and recycle waste. The biggest thing I've done is to convert over 200 acres of pasture land to a tree farm, planting 600 trees per acre. Each tree can absorbe around 3-4 tons of CO2 each year though its lifetime.

Kristin says …

As a renter, I haven't had much success convincing my curmudgeonly landlord to install energy saving appliances or reduce the frequency with which the lawn maintenence team cuts the grass and uses wasteful leaf blowers instead of rakes. However, I CAN control how I LIVE in the apartment. I've changed all the bulbs to energy savers and made blankets easily accessible so we can warm ourselves without turning on the heaters. I even set up my office in the apartment's dining room to take advantage of the natural light in that room during the day, when I work. In the afternoon I follow the light upstairs where I read, and at night my partner and I snuggle in our bedroom, the smaller of the two in the unit, because the smaller space is more efficient to heat.

Terri Paulson says …

I do as much as I can to reduce carbon. I unplug all unnecessary appliances when not in use. I buy locally grown and/or organic produce. I buy locally produced HUMANELY raised meats and dairy products. Raising animals in their natural environment helps the earth by eliminating much of the waste issues associated with factory farming. It also eliminates issues created by chemical fertilizers, pestisides, hormones etc. I believe feeding cows their natural diet of grass may even reduce the amount of gas produced by less fiber rich diets fed to cows raised in feedlots. I've changed out all of my light bulbs to CFLs. I keep used FedEx packs and other large envelopes at my desk at work to gather envelopes and other paper items [calculator tapes etc] to bring home to recycle. I also make scratch note paper out of 8 1/2 x 11 paper by tearing them in 4 parts and keeping the stack on my desk for quick notes. I bring my own bags to stores rather than using their paper or plastic bags. I look for new ideas every day to help save our world for the generations to come. I also talk with my daughter daily about ways we can do out part to save the planet.

Hilary Marsh says …

I try to do my weekend errands by bike, and during the week I take the train to work. So there are many weekends that the car never leaves the garage! From June through October, I visit my local farmer's market and get as much of my produce there. Then I go to Whole Foods and do the rest of my grocery shopping. Also, I keep a few canvas bags in my bike panniers and some in the car trunk as well, so I can't forget them!

Bonnie says …

There are so many ways we help out....one of the main things we do is look at what we are about to recycle to see if we can use it for arts and crafts or storage. -Glass Jars are saved to store my husbands nuts and bolts. They also make great penny reward jars. -Formula containers and coffee tins are cleaned and reused to make toy drums and learning games (we punch out holes of various size widths in the plastic lid) you take milk caps and decorate them with your favorite character stickers or colored dots. Each milk cap can be popped in the lid to help young tots with muscle hand strength, color matching and learning and counting. -toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls are saved for making telescopes, flags and other arts and craft projects.

Richard says …

We recycle applesauce cups and yogurt cups for spring time growing season. instead of going to the store and buying starter kits we cut out holes in the bottom of the cups and start our seeds in them. we store them in a disposable tin with plastic dome lid that we recycled from a party we had. this serves as the greenhouse.

Tracy says …

As an environmental consultant who knows first hand how much stuff ends up in landfills, I understand how it is always important to first Re-duce, then Re-Use, and the final option is Re-cycle. One way to Re-use before Re-cycling is to use your printed cash register receipts - from Whole Foods or anywhere - for shopping lists, to-do lists, or for leaving notes for family or friends. You can even write on the printed side - usually pens are darker than the receipt print. When you can no longer Re-use the receipts, Re-cycle them!

Armin says …

I use a Scott's Classic Reel mower for mowing the lawn instead of a gas lawn mower and hedge shears instead of electric or gas hedge trimmers.

Linda says …

My husband and I no longer use plastic water bottles. We have lived on our sailboat 6 months out of the year anchored out in the remote islands of the Bahamas. The beaches are filled with the use once and toss plastic water bottles. We have made a commitment to not litter our earth with any more plastic. Also plastic is a petroleum product and if we all used less plastic perhaps our natural resources for could be extended. We are now using th SIGG water bottles. They are made in Switzerland and are made aluminum with a liner to prevent and toxins getting into your drinking water. We love them. Linda

Rebecca McDonough says …

There are three major changes we've made to decrease our carbon footprints and environmental impact: 1) My husband and I have taken to walking almost everywhere we can. Many days we never use the car at all, and we're well known now for walking for groceries, haircuts, dinner out, and just about any place we can. We currently have two cars, but are seriously considering selling one, as it's mostly idle anyway. It feels wonderful to be sparing the air (and the lungs of the many asthmatics we know) by walking, and we get to reap the benefits of the exercise as well. We also feel a greater connectedness to the local neighborhoods and cities because we're not just cruising in and out of them, but are a part of them. 2) We've also gone a step back in time and forward in efficiency by putting up a clothes line in an inconspicuous area of our backyard. The clothes are washed in the evening when the demand for power is low (with an efficient front-loading washer and planet-friendly washing supplies), and then hung up in the morning. By afternoon they're clean, crisp and nearly wrinkle-free. 3) Lastly, almost of all our bills are paid and magazine/newspaper subscriptions are read online, greatly reducing the need for paper and the gasoline to deliver it. Now more than ever, we live in a world where seemingly small changes can bring extraordinary results. We are fortunate beyond words for all we have, and all that is within our grasp to do.

Barbara says …

Simple as it sounds, we dress for the weather, open windows anytime the breeze keeps the house cool enough, and use our programmable thermostat. That way, our house always feels comfortable for us with minimal use of the heating and air conditioning. And the fresh air is always welcome.

Debi Pikulski says …

I've driven a hybrid vehicle for a few years now. The emissions are much lower and I use alot less gas. We are big on recycling, and also purchase whatever recycled items we can find. I also try to compost. Why pay to have them haul away garbage, when it can enrich the soil!

Natalie Hursky says …

Packaging: At my local Whole Foods store, I would like to see meat sold in something other than styrofoam and wrapped in plastic. I would buy it wrapped up in newspaper... I just called the local store and requested that. When shopping, I have started bringing my own bags everywhere and refusing to take another single plastic bag home. I have managed to remember to bring food containers to restaurants to take home leftovers.

Dean Patterson says …

Use tap water whenever possible. The cost of bottled water production, purification and transportation amounts to approximately one quarter gallon of oil-related hydrocarbon/carbon emissions per gallon of bottled water produced. The taste difference in bottled vs. tap in preparing food (rice, oatmeal, mixed drinks, etc..) is negligible but the environmental impacts are significant.

Maud Bech says …

Dear Wholefoods, I commend WF efforts in reducing our carbon footprint. Hereby some food for thought: I am from the Netherlands where everyone brings his own bags to the grocery store. I try to stick to this practice as I shop here at WF in Houston. Today, the bagging clerk thanked me for bringing my own shoppingbasket. A suggestion for Wholefoods to encourage their customers to bring/recycle their shopping bags could be to reward customers with a (for example $ 1) donation in their name to a WholeFoods green cause which aims to reduce the carbon footprint even further. .....I cannot see why introducing this in the US is not possible. It would only be natural that Wholefoods would take the lead in introducing the practice of bring your own bag or sell strong canvas recyclable bags similar to Albert Heijn in the Netherlands.

Maud Bech says …

Ask for "no ice" or "half ice" when you order a drink. Imagine the energy involved in cleaning the drinking water and freezing it into ice cubes. Most of the time those ice cubes end up down the drain, unused! Really, from an outsider's perspective, the quanttity of ice used in the US is excessive.

deanna rogowski says …

OUR FAMILY WRAPS ALL PRESENTS IN ART WORK THAT MY 5YR OLD TWIN BOYS HAVE DONE AT SCHOOL.THAT WAY-THE PAPER GETS USED AGAIN AND RELATIVES GET BEAUTIFUL DRAWINGS!!!

Andy says …

I am a huge Whole Foods fan, but I recently read an article that makes me a little uneasy about the company. Although Whole Foods is a lot "greener" than most other companies, they still have room to improve. Please read. http://www.slate.com/id/2138176/

Leanne says …

Re: Offsetting carbon usage in your daily life. We attempt to offset the damage by buying offsets for the CO2 that we contribute annually to the atmosphere. First, using www.carboncounter.org, we calculate the # of tons of CO2 that our household emits each yr (factors include house size, utility bills, type of car) donating to an organization). Then, we donate to an organizaton that works to reduce carbon emissions (eg. carbonfund.org, climatetrust.org). We usually donate $12 for every ton. By donating based on how much CO2 we contribute, we become more conscious of what we consume!

Crystal says …

I buy local and what is in season. Visiting the farmers market, shopping at Whole Foods, and planning my own vegatable garden are some ways to reduce carbon usage. I saw a great idea on "Get Fresh with Sara Snow". She calls it the 100 mile diet. You cook a meal with only ingrediants that came from a hundred mile radius of your home.

Jessie says …

<strong>Jessie</strong> Ok, I'm not in complete agreement with this, but I see your point. Thanks for sharing.

Gloria says …

To reduce the amount water run to get a face cloth warm I dampen one and place it in the microwave for 20 seconds. While it heats I apply my cleanser and then remove my makeup with a nice soft warm facecloth and cut down on the amount of water down the drain. And it feels good too.

Karen Simmons says …

Use cloth grocery bags. I learned that it takes about12 million barrels of oil to produce the 100 billion grocery bags that are used each year. Wow.