Introducing Our 5th Annual Sustainability Issue

Illustration by Nik Garvoille.

Garbage. Trash. Waste.

Whatever you call it, we produce a lot of it. We’ve become, to steal from Tyler Durden, a single-serving society. Disposable cameras, diapers, contact lenses. If it can give us even the slightest sense of convenience, we’re all over it.

Over the years even those things that previous generations thought of as lifetime purchases – coffee tables, dining tables, dressers – have become subject to the whims of style trends, easily disposed of in a couple years. We fly through products like cell phones, MP3 players, televisions and computers that are made with dangerous materials, and we buy cheap, flimsy dishware each time Target or Wal-Mart puts out a new set or color.

Yet all of this trashing pales in comparison to the most precious resource we waste in unconscionable abundance – food. Some estimate that Americans end up wasting 60 percent of the food we produce, with a low estimate of 40 percent. This as so many people here and abroad want desperately for nourishment.

In this, our 5th annual Sustainability Issue, we take a look at waste on our peninsula. We look at where it goes and how to be smarter about it, and some tips for cutting back on the waste each of us creates, an estimated 4.5 pounds per day. Our editor, Allison Vroman, challenged herself with a No Waste Week, finding that waste has become so ingrained in our everyday lives that it was difficult to cut out even things we don’t need.

You’ll also find our annual list of local producers, your guide to finding fruit, vegetables, meat and more right here from your neighbors. Dean Volenberg provided a planting guide for individuals with the urge to start a garden, and some of you provided local recipes and tips for these pages. Writer Doc Chobot showcased how even the military has tinted green.

We hope you find that this issue, one of the most popular we produce each year, gives you at least a couple ideas to lessen your impact on our resource consumption. Take the time to read it, save it, use it any way you like – just don’t waste it.

DESIGNER’S NOTE: This issue of the Peninsula Pulse is set with low ink fonts, like Century Gothic and Garamond. The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay has switched its standard font for their publications to Century Gothic this semester, saying it uses 30 percent less ink than default fonts when printed.

Century Gothic is apparently even more economical than the well-known EcoFont, and when printer ink can cost $10,000 a gallon it’s a great eco-friendly initiative that not only helps the planet but also saves money.