Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Photo Friday | Southern Louisiana Charm

This week, I got to visit Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast just outside of Kaplan, Louisiana, as an event guest. What makes the century-old home unique is the crawfish pond behind it, and more in the near vicinity, allowing guests to go on crawfishing excursions. Talk about eating local food when you can eat crawfish caught just feet away!


The home includes a newly built enclosed patio made with materials from a detached garage that had been torn down. I love that they salvaged so many materials to make the patio, and my favorite accents were these crawfish trap lights.

Reusing materials to make something else that's functional? Those materials are crawfish traps? That, my friends, is pretty much the epitome of the "eco cajun" spirit!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A New Recycling Contract and New Blue Bins

The times, they are a-changin', especially if you're a resident of the city of Lafayette or unincorporated parts of the parish (say THAT three times fast!)

Earlier this year, Lafayette's city council voted to approve a new recycling contract from the current trash provider, and the biggest change in service for residents is the discontinuation of glass recycling. However, while it may seem like a big change, it really wasn't, as the previous recycling provider was sending glass to the landfill anyway. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my concerns and frustrations, and shared some informative feedback from our city's environmental quality manager.

So now, it's go time, whether we are ready or not. The new contract takes effect this Sunday, May 1, and the first day of the new pickup is Monday, May 2. If you're part of the contract's coverage area, you've got a few changes to remember.

While some of these changes suck, and seem like backward progress, it's important to follow the rules so we can all have an efficient recycling system and we don't jeopardize the service we do have. In the meantime, we can look for other options and make our voices heard where it matters in order to push for forward progress.

A NEEEEEEEEEWWWWW BIN!

Okay, so it's not a new car on Price is Right. Womp womp. However, most city and unincorporated parish residents should have gotten their new bins by now. It's conveniently the same color as the regular trash can, with the exception of a baby blue lid. (Hey Republic, call me and I can consult on why you should make recycling bins a different color from the trash bins!)

It comes with a sticker on the lid that serves as another reminder of the following rules.


Do you notice the irony of how we used to have a dedicated glass recycling bin, and now we have a single-stream bin that doesn't accept glass? (Look at my basil growing!)

NO GLASS.

Sigh, grumble. Even if you don't agree, you still have to abide by dem rules. (At the end of my ranty blog post, I shared a few tips on how to reuse the glass containers you accrue. Just remember to reduce and reuse before you have to recycle.)

PLASTICS #1 AND #2 ONLY.

Before, all plastics except for styrofoam were accepted. Numbers 1 and 2 are the most commonly used plastics, at least. Hit up my blog post on the meaning behind the plastic numbering codes for a refresher course.

Ya think it's made of recycled plastic!? It should be, at least!

YOUR PICKUP DAY HAS PROBABLY CHANGED.

Before, most residents had two separate collection days, one for trash and one for recycling, because it was two different service providers. Under the new contract, all pickup is done by Republic Services. Whatever day your trash pickup currently is will be your new trash and recycling day.

IF YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE COLLECTION FACILITY

The recycling dump on IG Lane off of Cameron Street is no longer operational. Republic's recycling facility is located at 201 Mire Road in Scott, and is conveniently open Monday-Friday 8-5 and Saturday 8-10 for you to drop off your items. For city of Lafayette apartment dwellers or renters who may not have a recycling bin, this is your option.

The official LCG rules on the new recycling program for city of Lafayette and unincorporated parish residents.

This is not a change from our previous service, but a reminder that plastic bags do NOT go in the recycling bin. Reuse those plastic shopping bags, use cloth bags instead, or bring plastic bags to a store with a plastic bag collection bin instead.

And since you shouldn't throw bagged recyclables into your bin, and all materials will be loose, I've got my fingers crossed the workers don't totally litter the street on collection day, like what the recycling guys do now. What. a. mess.
Download, print or share a PDF flyer courtesy of Lafayette Consolidated Government.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Photo Friday | HAPPY EARTH DAY!

The rain has moved out of the Acadiana area, and it's both Festival weekend and Earth Day!

Although I'm not wearing anything the color green, I am representing different eco-friendly  alternatives by rocking a fair-trade cotton dress from Liz Alig, handmade necklace I purchased at Festival International last year, my great aunt's vintage pearl earrings, and a handmade in Haiti purse.

A reminder, if you are heading to Festival, check out my tips to reduce waste and be sustainable all weekend long. I'll be heading out there this weekend and following my own rules, of course! Gotta walk that walk.

At the beginning of April, I shared some tips on how you can celebrate Earth Month, like riding your bike, picking up litter, conserving water and choosing reusable containers. How have you done so far on greening your daily life?

Trash from the Vermilion River on display at the Bayou Vermilion District Earth Day festival.

Always nice when the recycling truck leaves behind a trail of litter. And then I pick it up after them.


Hug a tree today!

I hadn't colored in awhile, so I did this leaf design in honor of Earth Day, with all my shades of green (and green-blue).

Appreciate the little elements in nature.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Music for Earth Day

Tomorrow is Treehugger Christmas, also known as Earth Day. It's a great time to practice your reduce, reuse, recycle skills, and just a fun day to appreciate our planet and our natural resources.

And why not celebrate to music? I've put together another little Spotify mix featuring some of my favorite artists and some well-known environmentally friendly musicians. Check it out below or follow me on Spotify (ecocajun, of course!)


Last week, as I was celebrating the 19th anniversary of my favorite band's first single (ahem), I got to thinking about how music has changed since 1997 (and long before that too). I used to buy CD singles for my favorite bands, and now I listen to the same song in my car via Bluetooth, streaming from my phone.

From vinyl to 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs to digital formats, the footprint has gradually shrunken. I will always love physical copies of my favorite music, but digital music has taken over in terms of saving space in your home or your car, and has cut down on physical materials needed in production. The trade off is in the increase of power consumption, from keeping your devices charged to the servers that store files (and backups of backups).

Jack Johnson is one of the most well-known eco-friendly musicians, and the album below was recorded in his solar powered studio in Hawaii. He's also a member of 1% For the Planet, an organization dedicated to giving back to the environment through business sales.

The Meiko CD was "pre-loved", so I gave it a second life!
 


Want to learn more about which musicians are committed to protecting the environment and work to lessen their tour's carbon footprints?

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Continuing Earth Month Events

Even though Earth Day is April 22, the eco-friendly fun doesn't have to stop on Friday! There are two events planned for Lafayette on Saturday, April 23 that help you get involved in keeping Lafayette and your home clean.

Household Chemical Collection Day

https://www.facebook.com/events/1412174928800010/

Lafayette's biannual Household Chemical Collection Day is happening at Cajun Field this Saturday from 8-noon. If you're a resident of the City of Lafayette, you're eligible to bring paint, yard poisons, household cleaners, and this time, your electronic waste! Sponsored by CGI, they'll be collecting computers, printers, cell phones or other electronics.

All collected latex paint will be reblended and recycled. The paint will be packaged for sale at the Lafayette Habitat for Humanity ReStore (now on Johnston Street). All details are on LCG's website.


Festival International Project Front Yard Trash Mob

https://www.facebook.com/events/243510595996517/

For the second year, Project Front Yard is organizing a Festival International Trash Mob. Happening at 2:00 on Saturday and Sunday, volunteers register to participate, and then pick up trash for an hour and a half. It's a great way to free our Festival streets of litter that you KNOW is going to be everywhere (as much as I dream of a litter-free Festival).

Everyone who registers (click on the image to visit the Facebook event page with instructions) receives a Project Front Yard t-shirt. Volunteers meet at the tent behind
Scéne Chevron and receive their instructions. It's a mob that does good for the community!

Let's all continue our Earth Day and Earth Month spirit by participating in these community events, and if you're attending Festival, don't forget to geaux green!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

Photo Friday | You Can't Make This Up

Last Saturday, I participated as a one-lady team in Project Front Yard's annual Trash Bash. While burning calories and working on my step goal, I soaked up some sunshine and filled a bag with all kinds of litter.

While there were many teams that participated in the Trash Bash and collected way more than I did, it was still a thought-provoking morning in terms of the impact you can make as an individual.

In only one hour on a few streets, I filled an entire kitchen-size trash bag with items like drink bottles, fast food containers, napkins (y'all, the napkins that morning!), straws, cigarette butts, a shattered dinner plate, one slipper, chip bags, paper and half of a pair of reading glasses. These are all items no longer littering our sidewalks and our community, no longer posing a threat to people walking or riding bikes, and that won't end up in the Vermilion River.

Just remember: Every single person makes a difference.


This might have been my favorite piece of litter collected, for the sheer irony. A cigarette pack that uses its entire back panel to talk about respect for the earth and recycling. Yes okay, and I found it on a sidewalk by a high school. Next to a cigarette butt. This would be an excellent example of greenwashing. There's not much respect for the earth AT ALL from cigarette companies. Or from many people who smoke. I am also curious how using organic ingredients makes these cigarettes any less toxic.

This weekend, as we gear up for local Earth Day celebrations and for Earth Day itself on April 22, remember to do what this hilariously ironic cigarette pack says: Respect the Earth.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Geaux Green at FIL

It's the most wonderful time of year to be a Cajun...Festival International is only one week away! For the diehards, it's five days of music, dancing, eating, drinking, shopping, and seeing everyone you've ever known, all contained in downtown Lafayette. For the casual Festival-goers, it might only be a couple days...but where's the fun in that? Get out and enjoy Festival International de Louisiane 2016!

Geaux Green for FIL 2016 | EcoCajun.com

For all you Festival fans, I've once again created my Eco Cajun Geaux Green at FIL guide. This year, Earth Day falls on Festival Friday, so there is no excuse to be wasteful and litter-prone! Follow the Green Guide and make a big impact on downtown cleanliness.

Zero-waste FIL anyone? (Well, I can always dream...and try to lead by example!)

So let's get to it...here's how you can Geaux Green!

Courtesy Festival International

BEFORE LEAVING HOME

If you plan to spend a good amount of time at Festival (as you should), the key is to pack your backpack with reusable and strategic items.
  • Reusable water bottle. Look, chances are, it's really going to hold margarita, but it's important to hydrate with water, so at least alternate, okay?
  • Weather gear. Sunscreen (unless you're a fan of funky sunburn patterns), a light sweater (right now it's forecasted in the low-to-mid 60s in the evenings), sunglasses (obvs), a portable fan (or repurpose your Festival map into one), and a rain jacket or poncho (leave those umbrellas at home.)
  • Cloth shopping bag. For all your unique vendor and merch scores! Spare the plastic...you know, zero waste and all that shizzzz. The best kinds of bags to bring are the foldable ones with a carabiner that you can clip to the outside of your pack.
  • Fork, spoon and cloth napkin. You'll be able to cut down on a lot of trash if you use your own fork, spoon and cloth napkin. Rinse the utensils after using them, and throw the napkin in the wash when you get home. A lot of food vendors will stick a utensil in the food before handing it to you (grrr), so if you can't avoid plastic, rinse and reuse it, or clean it before recycling instead of throwing it away.
  • Official Festival app downloaded on your phone. Geaux paperless! But the app is more than just a schedule and map - it's interactive! You can save your favorite bands and add their show time to your phone's calendar. You can also save your favorite food and merch vendors, so you don't forget to visit all of them before the weekend is over.
  • Small towel. Skip the napkins and paper towels, which cause a LOT of litter because they fly around as free as the...uh...flower crowns. You can also use it as a makeshift seat, instead of lugging around one of those camping chairs.
  • Ziploc bag or waterproof case for electronics in case of rain. We pray to the festival gods that rain will hold off until after the weekend is over. But...should it rain, be prepared and keep your phone or camera dry.
  • Portable backup cell phone charger. If you're out all day, and you're busy Instagramming or Snapchatting, your phone battery will probably die. Stock up with a portable backup battery before Festival and make sure it's fully charged when you leave the house. When you're getting close to 10% battery, the backup will give you just enough boost to make it until the last band stops!





HOW TO GET THERE

  • Ride. Yo. Bike! When you roll in on two wheels, you don't have to worry about parking or the shuttle. It's the best eco-friendly way to travel to and from downtown, and it'll help burn off calories from that crawfish and spinach boat. Bike racks are located throughout downtown. Be courteous and don't lock your bike in the middle of crowds or sidewalks.
  • Carpool with friends. The fewer cars on the road, the better traffic and fewer parking nightmares.
  • If you don't have a bike or live too far away, ride the Service Chevrolet Cadillac Shuttle from Cajun Field, which runs every 15 minutes. Shuttles drop off at Lee and Jefferson, and at Garfield and Buchanan. On Sunday, the shuttle will pick up at Blackham Coliseum instead of Cajun Field.
    • Thursday: 5:00–11:30pm
    • Friday: 4:00–11:30pm
    • Saturday: 10:30am–12:00am
    • Sunday: 10:30am–8:00pm
  • Take advantage of Uber and get dropped off near downtown.



ONCE YOU'RE AT FESTIVAL 

  • Reduce paper waste. Use the Festival app to refer to band schedules and stage information instead of grabbing a handful of paper guides that will either end up at the bottom of your backpack, spilled on or left-behind. Wet paper can't be recycled anyway. If you really prefer to have a paper guide, only take one and use it for the whole weekend, then recycle it when you're done. Unless it's wet
  • Reuse as much as you can. Not all vendors will take your own reusable bottle, but those souvenir Festival cups are totally reusable and totally recyclable! Ask the vendors to refill your existing cup, then bring them home to keep forever and ever, or drop them in a recycling bin when you're done for the day/weekend. Don't forget to use your cloth napkin and utensils. It won't be zero-waste when your food is inevitably served on a styrofoam plate, but it does at least lessen the overall impact.
  • Recycle! When it's time to chunk something, recycle it if possible. Not sure what's acceptable? Save da handy graphic below to your phone.
  • Leave the glass at home. It's super dangerous for all the sandal-clad feet! The vendors won't be serving anything in glass, and if you want to bring something from home, transfer it to a safer reusable container.
  • Also, please don't vomit in the recycling bins. (Seent it happen.)


SHOPPING

  • This year, Project Front Yard is partnering with CGI to provide a limited number of reusable shopping bags at La Boutique souvenir locations. Grab you a bag early and reuse it all weekend.
  • Many vendors sell green products, whether they use recycled or repurposed materials, to sourcing local materials, to making their goods by hand. Support these vendors and show them you support sustainability! There are some truly great recycled things to find, and they are beautifully unique. Get the vendor lineup here.
  • Many vendors take credit cards now, but bring cash for a quicker checkout process.

 

OTHER FESTIVAL POINTERS

  • Volunteer and help Festival run smoothly! You can even volunteer for recycling duty, which is as glamorous as it sounds. All kidding aside, volunteering makes you feel good good.
  • When you're sharing photos, don't forget to use the hashtags #HowIFestival and #GeauxGreen! 

So in short, pack what you'll need for the day to make you comfortable and sustainable, use alternative transportation, support all the local and sustainable vendors, and RECYCLE as much as you can!


Artwork by Eco Cajun friend and 2016 Official Festival International Artist, Denise Gallagher






Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Celebrating Earth Day Around Louisiana

Even though Earth Day is still 10 days away, many organizations across Louisiana are gearing up for Earth Day festivals starting this weekend. These are great times to round up friends or the children and enjoy the outdoors (weather permitting) while learning about the environment.

If you attend any Earth Day events, remember to be a good steward of the planet - bring a reusable drink bottle, a cloth napkin (especially if you plan to eat), share one map or program with your whole group, and don't leave any trash behind!

Lafayette

Bayou Vermilion District is hosting their annual Earth Day Festival at Vermilionville. A new addition this year is a big clothes swap! Bring what you don't want and look around for a new treasure. There's also educational booths and canoe rides. And on your way home, grab a free tree to plant in your yard!
Sunday, April 17
Vermilionville
10am-4pm
Free admission
Image: Bayou Vermilion District

Lafayette Middle's Environmental Sciences Academy is hosting their annual festival this coming Saturday. There will be plenty of activities for children and music by Curley Taylor.
Saturday, April 16
Lafayette Middle School
12pm-4pm
Admission: at least one plastic bag (I love this!!)

UL Lafayette's Office of Sustainability is hosting week chock-full of events, starting with a guided Bayou Vermilion paddle on Saturday morning. Other events include a debris installation, e-waste collection, bike day, and an expo on Earth Day itself.
Saturday, April 16-Friday, April 22
UL Campus (check the linked graphic for specific event information and locations)

Baton Rouge

The big kahuna, the Louisiana Earth Day Festival, is also this Sunday. It's held in downtown Baton Rouge and has tons of educational booths, and lots of food and music. There's also an art exhibit and a bike corral (staffed by Bike Baton Rouge) to encourage eco-friendly transportation.
Sunday, April 17
Downtown Baton Rouge
12pm-6:30pm
Free admission


Original art by Terri McNemar Dakmak


New Orleans

Head out out to City Park in New Orleans next Tuesday and grab dinner from a food truck (with compostable containers!), have the kids make a recycled art project, and learn about sustainable ways of life from local businesses.
Tuesday, April 19
City Park
4pm-7pm
Free admission

http://neworleanscitypark.com/events/earth-day

Shreveport

The Rainforest Art Foundation is holding an Earth Day festival on April 22 where they'll unveil the completion of their sculpture garden and veranda. There will also be live music and performance artists, kids art and biology activities, local artist booths, and local nonprofit and green organization booths! Plus, various local culinary artists will be set up with tapas-style tasting plates for $3 a plate. (Man, if this weren't during Festival International, I might be looking at a road trip to Shreveport!)
Friday, April 22
Marlene Yu Museum
6pm-9pm
Free admission, suggested donations

Make your plans and celebrate Earth Day with your family and friends at one of these festivals!

Did I miss any events happening in Louisiana? Drop me a line and let me know!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday, April 8, 2016

Photo Friday | Green Everyday

The past week, south Louisiana has seen absolutely beautiful sunshiny days. Every day in April, I'm Instagramming photos with green in them with the hashtag #GreenEveryday. It's part Earth Month celebration, part personal experiment to find and share something natural or eco-friendly in my everyday life.

With this weather, it's been way too easy to find the green in every day. I've been soaking up the sunshine and spending as much time as I can outdoors, including going for walks outside instead of jogs on the treadmill. The real trick will come when it rains and everything is gray, ha.

Here are a few favorite images from this week, and for more, head over to Instagram!

Surprise amaryllis blooms in the front yard. We don't usually get ones this color!

Outdoor aerial yoga at sunset - it's magical! The Yoga Garden really sets a perfect scene.

I just can't get enough! The sunshine, the yellow-green of new leaves, the low humidity...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Glass Recycling Problems | Potholes in the Sustainability Road

Last year, the Lafayette Consolidated Government began looking into new recycling service providers, as the current contract was coming up for expiration this year. The RFP had intentions of upgrading current services for Lafayette city and unincorporated parish residents, including the option of apartment and business recycling.


However, the city council voted this week to approve a proposed no-bid recycling contract from the same provider. Apartment and business recycling service (under the contract) is off the table, and glass will no longer be accepted in the curbside recycling bins.


Whaaaaaa? Not cool at all. My first thoughts were, there's no way I'm bringing myself to throw all this glass in the trash. I preach for people to use glass over plastic, but this change basically promotes using plastic because at least (some of) it can be recycled.

So, I wrote to my city councilman, and to Mark Pope, our city environmental quality manager (whom I know through Keep Lafayette Beautiful), and let them know my concerns about this regression in service. Although the contract price remains the same for consumers (another big factor in this contract approval), the amount of goods being picked up is lessened.

One of the reasons glass is no longer accepted is the lack of value to recyclers combined with the cost of transporting a heavier material. But, if they are no longer transporting glass, then the same monthly cost actually has a different value to residents, because the company's operating costs will shift.

When I wrote to Mark, I explained:

I don't mean to discredit what you do in the public works department. Without your many years of passionate work, Lafayette would not even be where we are today. I know there are reasons that went into choosing this option, but I disagree with these terms of the renegotiated contract. 
I would just like to ask the city to reconsider the terms of the recycling contract. I am also contacting my district representative to ask him the same thing.

I am so proud to recycle as much as I do, and I cannot in good faith throw away recyclable glass material. I reuse as much as I can, but that can only go so far.
I understand there is a glass recycling facility in Baton Rouge. If I had the ability to drive my glass contents to Baton Rouge, I would, but unfortunately, that is not feasible.
If there can be no glass recycling under the new contract, is there another option Lafayette can offer to the city's residents? Is there another local company who can accept the materials outside of the contract? What options DO we have besides a landfill?

He responded quickly and shed some light on the issue, and explained how this is really a higher-level issue with manufacturers and costs.

I understand your concerns, and the issue with glass has existed for years. In fact, the glass that has been collected with Lafayette’s curbside recycling program has been going to a landfill for years. The market for glass has all but disappeared throughout the United States. Middle-man recycling companies – such as the Recycling Foundation (Progressive Waste), Waste Management, Inc. and Republic Services – simply cannot find a recycling processor that will accept glass.

The reason that glass has dropped off the viable list recyclable commodities has to do with costs. Manufacturers are not willing to pay substantially more for recycled glass when they can purchase the predominate raw material, “silica” (sand) for so much cheaper than recycled glass. Hence, the supply/demand formula sounds the death knell for recycled glass. There is very limited demand for recycled glass; therefore, recycling processors do not supply the product which they cannot market. This means that municipalities that collect glass with their recycling programs have no outlet to be able to dispose of collected glass.

Glass has been a problem since the early days of recycling: it’s heavy and more expensive to transport, and its value has been amongst the lowest for all consumer recyclables. Additionally, with the advent of single-stream recycling, more problems were created: glass breaks and shards get caught up in newspaper and other paper products. Entire loads of paper have been rendered worthless (i.e., headed to the landfill) because of contamination caused by shards of glass.

Rest assured that if our contractor can locate a recycling processor that will accept glass, then glass will be added back to the list of acceptable recyclables for the Lafayette program. As stated in the recycling contract, LCG and the contractor can agree to add or delete recyclable items to the list of recyclables accepted.

I thanked Mark for his insightful answer and sat back to think a little.

It's frustrating that there is no market for recycled glass when its benefits are great, even according to Waste Management. Glass can be recycled more than once without losing integrity.

It's even more frustrating to know that glass has been trashed for years instead of being recycled.

My biggest ideal situation would be manufacturers making recycled glass containers the standard, instead of new glass containers. It would be having all salsa jars, spice jars, soda bottles, beer bottles and wine bottles automatically made of recycled glass. (Some are now, but clearly not enough.)

But until I can sway the glass manufacturing industry to see the light (ha!), I'll bring it back down to what this blog is about: things that each of us can do to be greener.

REDUCE AND REUSE.


The best thing you can do is reduce your waste. Don't buy extras, or too much of something in glass. If you don't have it in the first place, you don't have to worry about recycling it or throwing it away. Buy in bulk if you can and use your own containers.

The next best thing, especially for glass food containers, is to reuse. I wrote a blog post last year on why reduce and reuse come before recycle in the slogan, and this is a great example why.
  • Reuse small jars as candle holders
  • Reuse mason jars as drink cups or salad containers
  • Save food jars to store leftovers in (saving money on buying food storage containers)
  • Use jars to store rice and pasta in the pantry, or sugar next to your coffeemaker
  • Hell, make a lamp out of a mason jar
  • Buy items made of recycled or reused glass, to support those companies. (Another shoutout to Syrup Row and her wine bottle candles!)


What ways do you reuse glass at home?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Green Around Acadiana | Robie's Food Center

While Lafayette is the heart of the Hub City, sometimes the real treasures lie outside the city limits. As part of a new focus on the blog, I'm going to explore the ins and outs of Acadiana to find environmentalist efforts and eco-friendly businesses.

For the inaugural Green Around Acadiana feature post, we're heading south on Highway 167, to the quaint town of Abbeville, the seat of Vermilion Parish. Abbeville has become a second home to me over the past four years; while I was born and raised in Lafayette, Abbeville is where my fiance hails from, and it's where we're getting married in October.

In South Louisiana, it's all about the food, and Abbeville is no exception. The restaurants are plenty notable, but for everyday life, you look toward the grocery store. And if you know anything about Abbeville, you know to go to Robie's Food Center.

Courtesy Robie's Facebook

Located on South State Street, Robie's is locally owned by Jim and Robert Russo, a family with strong ties to the history of Abbeville. The grocery store was opened by the brothers' father, Mr. Robie himself, and his wife, Joyce, in 1953, with a simple philosophy: “Sell quality products at a value while providing the best personal service available.” It retains that neighborhood feel to this day, even after a couple location changes.

Robie Russo, courtesy Robie's Facebook

The deli features traditional southern plate lunches (I'll work on that styrofoam!) and homemade specialty items (get yourself some spicy chicken salad and go picnic in Magdalen Square...trust me), and many of the products sold are from local companies.

You can find a variety of local brews, meats and fish come from local suppliers, and lots of sausage is homemade at the store (okay, trust me on two things: spicy chicken salad and Steen's syrup sausage!) The commitment to selling local brands helps to keep many local businesses thriving.

Local produce, courtesy Robie's Facebook


"My favorite parts of running a locally owned business are the people, the relationship building, and the community service. It's not easy by any means, but these connections keep us going every day," says Jim.

The store shows that gratitude and commitment by continuously giving back to the community. They support schools, churches, civic clubs, and youth sports organizations, and they're involved in many fundraisers for local charities. It's an example of the impact shoppers make when they choose to support a local business. More money stays within the community, compared to larger regional or national chains.

And although Abbeville is not known for being a mecca of accessible eco-friendly services, Robie's does its part to recycle as much as it can. It's a true testament to business responsibility!

"We recycle paper, cardboard, plastic bags, biofuel from our used cooking oil recycling, fat recycling from meat byproducts, printer cartridges, wood, and aluminum. We encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. Our plastic bags are biodegradable, and we have collection bins where shoppers can return old bags for recycling," Jim says.

Fat recycling? Even I learned something new on that one. There is one company that picks up the used cooking oil and fat products. The fat products are turned into other items, like animal feed, soap, cleaners, or makeup.

In a smaller town, why is corporate recycling so important? Though it can be difficult finding an outlet for all of the recyclables, it's all about reducing waste at Robie's, and it's especially impactful in an industry that can generate a lot of waste.

The store takes a big sustainability step even before the customer gets involved, but those steps go further when the customer uses cloth shopping bags; recycles their plastic, glass and paper packaging; and takes care not to waste food.

You can purchase these handy cloth wine carriers at the store! Photo courtesy Robie's


When you visit Robie's Food Center, take a moment to appreciate the down-home aspect where you'll probably run into 25 people you know, smell the amazing deli offerings, and thank the owners for their commitment to recycling and waste reduction.

And both Jim and I agree, let's push for curbside recycling in Abbeville!

Oh, trust me on three things. The spicy chicken salad, the Steen's syrup sausage, and the deli's macaroni and cheese. Y'all. I think I just talked myself into a trip to Abbeville.

VISIT

604 South State Street
Abbeville, LA 70510
Open daily 6:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Facebook | Website

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

Photo Friday | EARTH MONTH!

Because I hate being fooled, I am going to try to ignore that today is April Fool's Day, and instead, focus on the fact that it's the first day of Earth Month!



A treehugger's favorite month of the year, obviously. And it's also a Cajun's favorite time of the year, because it means we're only a few weeks away from Festival International, and the weather hasn't turned to oppressive summer heat just yet.

Since it's Photo Friday, I won't ramble too much, and I'll let the pictures demonstrate just how you can celebrate Earth Month this year!

Ride your bicycle.



Get outside and enjoy nature.



Shop with cloth bags.



Get and use a reusable water bottle.



Pick up litter.



Recycle.



Conserve water.



Attend a local Earth Day festival. (Look for a blog post this month on statewide Earth Day celebrations.)

 


And not just this month, but always:



I've got some fun posts planned leading up to Earth Day on April 22, so I hope you stick around.

Happy #EarthMonth!
Eco Cajun | The Earth Just Wants To Be Loved Ba-You! All posts, content, graphics and photographs copyright 2009- 2016 Eco Cajun, unless otherwise credited. BLOG DESIGN BY Labinastudio.