PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

Co-op Wins EPA Emissions Award

October 13th, 2015 by

Scott and Rene Food Co-op Roof 2015

Food Co-op staff Scott Marble (left) and René Tanner sit atop the co-op’s roof next to the low-temperature compressor with an iced-over visible accumulator. Marble and Tanner’s attention to the co-op’s refrigeration systems earned them an award for best emissions rate from the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership.

The Port Townsend Food Co-op has earned the GreenChill 2014 Achievement Award for Best Emissions Rate from the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership. This award goes to the partner with the lowest corporate-wide refrigerant emissions rate of all the 11,000 partners which includes well-known retailers such as Target, Whole Foods Market, Hanover Co-op stores and many others.

Refrigerants used by supermarkets are harmful to the environment when emitted into the atmosphere; some harm the ozone layer, and most are very potent greenhouse gases. Refrigerants that are commonly used in supermarket refrigeration systems are anywhere from 1,800 to 4,000 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide.

“For comparison, our emissions rate for 2014 was 2.6 percent or 12 pounds of refrigerant, said René Tanner, Facilities and Maintenance Manager for The Food Co-op. “A typical supermarket leaks 1,000 pounds into the atmosphere annually. That is because we do in-house preventative maintenance on our refrigeration equipment and catch things early before they become a large problem. We also work with a responsive refrigeration contractor, Mayda Mechanical LLC.”

The EPA’s GreenChill Partnership works with supermarkets to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change. The Partnership helps supermarkets transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants; reduce harmful refrigerant emissions; and adopt greener refrigeration technologies and environmental best practices.

For more information on the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership, please visit Anyone may use the EPA’s climate change calculator for references to put the climate impact of refrigerants into context. It calculates equivalency results for passenger vehicles, gallons of gasoline, forests, etc. Find it at

To learn more about The Food Co-op’s environmental efforts, please read the store’s recently published 2014 Sustainability Report.

Living Without Plastic – Could You?

November 1st, 2012 by

Beth Terry didn’t just give up plastic bags. She has attempted to give up all plastic. For the past five years, since 2007, Terry has strived to bring absolutely no new plastic into her life. She comes to Port Townsend at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 to speak of her experience at the Cotton Building at 607 Water St. The event is free.

“Bringing Beth Terry to town seems like a natural thing to do considering that the city’s plastic bag ban went into effect this month,” said Kathie Meyer, outreach coordinator for the Port Townsend Food Co-op. “And she has graciously waived her speaking fee to come here.”

It was one day, while laid up from surgery, that Terry became personally affected by a photo of a baby albatross carcass, dead from being fed plastic bits by its mother.  It was then she decided, if something were to be done about the effects of plastic on the global environment, she had to start with herself.

Since her “plastic awakening,” Terry went from personally generating almost four pounds of plastic waste per month (yes, she weighed it) to a little over two pounds per year. The average American, she says, generates between 88 and 120 pounds per year.

To keep herself on track, Terry started a blog ( which grew into a book titled Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. Her book combines useful information about plastic-free alternatives with personal stories and the occasional rant.

“I didn’t write this book to tell anyone what to do, but as an invitation to join me in this journey of personal and ecological discovery. Sure, in all honesty I do want to inspire you and your friends and family to use less plastic. But more than that, to learn what it is about plastic that makes it the symbol of what Captain Charles Moore (discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) calls the ‘crisis of our civilization,’ and figure out ways to get out from under the thumb of plastic addiction,” Terry writes in her book’s introduction.

Terry walks her talk in every area of her life. She made sure that her book was as plastic-free as possible too.  “Most books are full of plastic,” she writes. “So we’ve stripped things down. The jacket is uncoated, the thread is made of cotton, and the boards and spine are exposed. Our printer even managed to find a plastic-free glue to use. With all that in mind, we assure you that if the book’s not 100% free of plastic, it’s as close as can be!”

Beth Terry’s book is for sale and signing at her presentation. Her appearance is presented with the cooperation and sponsorship of the City of Port Townsend, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Program, Old Consulate Inn, Port Townsend Food Co-op, Port Townsend Public Library, and Jude Rubin, aka the “Plastic Bag Monster.”

For more information, call 385-2831, ext. 309.

How to Shop GMO-Free at the Co-op

October 26th, 2012 by

Member/Owner Jack Olmsted made this video of the Food Co-op’s SIPS Manager Deb Shortess explaining how to make sure the products you buy at the Food Co-op are GMO-free.

How to Sew a Drawstring Bag

September 16th, 2012 by

With the new plastic bag ban coming to Port Townsend effective Nov. 1, 2012, you will want to save on that mandatory nickel charge for a paper bag at the Co-op (for more information about the new ordinance, check out the 2012 Fall Quarterly issue of the Food Co-op Commons, available on Sept. 26). You can make your own double drawstring bags using these simple instructions, courtesy of our amazingly talented graphic artist, Mindy Dwyer. Here is the downloadable pdf of the instructions. These bags can be made in any size, and are also great alternatives to gift wrap for the holidays!

New Recumbent Trike Parking at Co-op

June 20th, 2012 by

Recumbent Trike Parking:  In response to member requests we have adjusted our green bike rack along the south side of our store to accommodate parking of larger bikes. A sign is posted that identifies that a 4 foot wide bike parking slot is reserved for such trikes. Happy and safe biking!

May 9 Meeting: Bag It Supporters Please Attend!

May 8th, 2012 by

Hey there, Bag It Friends:

Here we go – THIS IS IT. DECISION TIME. Please attend the City Council Special Projects Committee meeting about BANNING PLASTIC BAGS in PT. This committee will make a recommendation to the full council.

Weds, May 9th

4:00 PM

City Hall Chambers

City Hall, upstairs. Enter from WATER STREET SIDE ONLY.

I believe there will be time for public testimony. Council is “anticipating a lot of people,” but not many people know about this meeting. Please make your voice heard! Nothing says “I care” like actually showing up!

PLEASE COME – THIS IS IT. This is a time for serious discussion, so no bag monster theatrics…

Monster hugs, Jude Rubin

Please spread this message to others who wish to BAN DISPOSABLE PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS in PT.

Midori Organic Veggie Starts!

April 9th, 2012 by

Begin your garden with organic plant starts! Midori Farms, located in Port Townsend, has given you a head start on your veggies. Many options to choose from available at the Co-op just outside the north entrance. Plant today to harvest early.

Also available are lovely rosemary plants. Ummmmmmm, smells so good!

Eco-Friendly household products

February 2nd, 2012 by

Natural Ingredient Choices

Supermarket: vinegar, salt, washing soda, abrasive green pad
Mail Order: washing soda
Hardware: powdered graphite
Pharmacy: zinc oxide

Natural Cleaning Recipes

From Clean & Green: The Complete Guide to Nontoxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping by Annie Berthold-Bond

The Green-Pad-and-Vinegar Solution
1/4 cup vinegar, green pad

  • Scrub the vinegar onto the brick or stone with a mildly abrasive supermarket green pad. Rinse.

Soot Cleaner
1/4 cup washing soda, enough hot water to make a paste

  • Dissolve the ingredients in a bowl, scoop onto a mild abrasive supermarket green pad, and scrub the affected area. Rinse. If there is a heavy odor, leave the washing soda on until it dries before rinsing. This recipe requires a lot of rinsing. For less rinsing mix the washing soda with up to 2 gallons of water.

Smoke Residue Remover
1/8 cup salt, a few squirts of zinc oxide, enough water to make a paste

  • Blend salt, zinc oxide, and water into a paste and rub onto the spot. Rinse well with water.

Cast Iron Woodstove Touch-up
powdered graphite

  • Rub the graphite onto the area needing a touch-up.

General Purpose Cleaners

From “Eco-friendly Household Products,” The Steep Hill News (June 1995, Steep Hill Co-op, Saskatchewan, Canada

Room Deodorizer
a quick and easy tip: set out a container of baking soda, cedar chips, cinnamon, and cloves in your room.

Drain Cleaner
Apply a little elbow grease and use a plunger followed by 50 ml of baking soda and 125 ml of vinegar. Let sit 15 minutes, then rinse with boiling water. A plumber’s snake can also be used. The best alternative is prevention-insert a screen into the drain and avoid flushing hair down the toilet.

Dust Cleaner
Combine 50 ml white vinegar and 1 liter of water. Apply with a soft cloth.

Glass Cleaner
Combine 30 ml vinegar and 1 liter of water.

Carpet Spot Cleaner
Apply club soda immediately, blot dry, and repeat. Sprinkle with cornmeal and vacuum after 30 minutes.

Automatic Dish Washing Detergent
Combine 250 ml borax with 125 ml baking soda. Works reasonably well and is phosphate free.

Brass & Copper Polish
Make a paste with lemon juice and baking soda. Rub on with a soft cloth, then rinse well and dry.

To Remove Burned-on Food
Dampen spot slightly and sprinkle well with baking soda. Leave overnight and scrub clean with a plastic scrubber.

Basin, Tub & Tile Cleaner
Sprinkle surfaces with baking soda or borax. Scrub with a dampened sponge.

Grout, Mold & Mildew Cleaner
Wipe surface with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and scrub tile grout with an old toothbrush to remove old growth and prevent new infestation.

Glass Cleaner
In a spray bottle combine one part vinegar to one part water. Spray on glass or mirrors and wipe dry with a rag or crumpled newspaper.

Laundry Detergent
Use soap flakes or non-phosphate detergent. If clothes are heavily soiled, add 125 ml borax to the soap.

Stain Remover
Scrub with a paste made from soap flakes and warm water before washing.

Fabric Softener
Add 50 ml white vinegar to the final rinse cycle.

Carpet Cleaner
Sprinkle cornstarch on dry carpet (it absorbs dirt and grease). Wait five minutes then vacuum thoroughly.

Carpet Deodorizer
Combine 500 ml cornmeal with 250 ml borax and sprinkle on the carpet. Leave for 15 minutes or longer, then vacuum.

Furniture Polish
For wood that is stained, varnished, or painted: wipe with olive oil and dry with a clean cloth. For varnished wood: combine 30 ml olive oil with 15 ml white vinegar and 1 liter water in a spray bottle. Spray wood lightly then dry with a clean cloth.