November 2011 
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Greetings!
Change is in the air. Enormous global challenges are growing fast, but consciousness of the issues and especially of the interconnected nature of ecological and social problems, also seems to be growing exponentially. The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be reviving a spirit of populism and democracy in the USA, drawing inspiration from the Arab Spring as well as populist movements in our own history. Increasingly, even in more mainstream media, connections are being made between political corruption, climate change, and extreme resource extraction (deep sea oil, hydrofracking, tar sands oil, mountaintop coal). At a Halloween party, I overheard two young people (under 16) discussing the importance of humanity's surging past the 7 billion mark. They reminded me of the power of a younger generation to bring rapid culture change, and helped me decide to reserve a seat on a bus this coming weekend to the Tar Sands action in DC. My philosophy is "every little bit helps", from a protest march to changing a light bulb or choosing to buy something locally made. We all have many ways to contribute to a much needed wave of change.
--Joe
 
Local Waste Stream Drying Up?

coyuchi bedding
 Our local efforts in the area of recycling made some important strides forward this past summer. Tompkins County Solid Waste now accepts more plastics in their curbside collection, such as plastic takeout containers and cups, and small rigid plastic items (smaller than a 5 gallon bucket). In addition, they now accept plastic bags and films and large rigid plastics (like a Big Wheel I suppose) at the Recycling Center. I spoke with TCSW about the bags/films, and it seems they accept most of what previously came through our house that was hard to repurpose/recycle - things like newspaper bags, liners from cereal boxes, bubble wrap, etc. It does need to be clean and dry. About the only plastics that are still not recyclable here are styrofoam and compostable plastics. Any businesses who are handing out compostable plastic cups or forks should also be collecting them to send to Cayuga Compost (Otherwise they could be reminded that regular plasticware is now recyclable). Lobby those few businesses who are still handing out styrofoam cups or trays to knock it off, and we could soon be sending very little household waste to the landfill!(A photo and some interesting tidbits about our local landfill is here).

Another material increasingly being diverted from landfills is organic waste (food and yard waste). Home composting is growing at a double-digit pace, and locally we have Cayuga Compost helping the restaurants, festivals and institutions to compost as well. We see evidence of this trend at HGH, where countertop compost pails continue to be a top seller. Responding to customer requests, we recently began stocking BioBags compostable pail liners. Although it is probably a little greener to just wash your pail out (or in my case, not wash it but occasionally sun bake it), for some people it apparently makes composting more enjoyable by reducing the "ick factor". We have many reports from staff and others that the BioBags do in fact decompose in home compost piles. According to a Coop Extension Master Composter I spoke with, if newspaper and leaves degrade in your pile, then BioBags should too.

Relocalization Dividends
 
coyuchi beddingAuthor and economic development consultant Michael Shuman gave an intriguing talk recently on the benefits that can accrue when people and businesses buy more goods & services locally. Quoting from his blog, "Growing evidence suggests that every dollar spent at a locally owned business generates two to four times more economic benefit - measured in income, wealth, jobs, and tax revenue - than a dollar spent at a globally owned business". Shuman also spoke about the billions of dollars tied up in people's retirement savings, which because of complex securities laws are difficult to invest in smaller, more local ventures. According to Shuman, this is likely to change soon, as the Obama administration and other agencies seem to be getting behind laws that would make "crowd funding" easier. If so, this could mean an important financial boost for small entrepreneurs and local economies.

 

Watch for some exciting new buy-local initiatives coming soon from Local First Ithaca

HGH's Local Economic Web

ithaca aerial
OK, so I've covered the theory of the local economic multiplier, but how does it play out at HGH?

Well, for starters, we buy products from a variety of local CNY suppliers, some familiar faces from the Farmer's Market and some less well known, including 17th Century Suds, Sunbeam Candles, Sundancer Designs Apparel, Peaceblossom Pottery, Earth Care Market, Wolff & Nagel Furniture, WJ Southard Mattress, Acorn Designs, Christi Sobel, Fernando Llosa, David Van Nostrand, Paul Colucci, Amelia Rosenthal, Kerra Quinn, Green Creations, Syracuse Cultural Workers, and more.

Secondly, we use local small businesses and organizations for various business services, including Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Sprague & Janowski CPA, Elizabeth Aherne (lawyer), Blink Digital Graphics, Black Box Computer Consulting, Bianchi Financial Software Consultants, as well as advertising though a wide variety of local charitable org sponsorships and media outlets such as Cinemapolis, WSKG, 98.7 The Vine, The Ithaca Times, Ithaca Festival, Local First Ithaca, Sustainable Tompkins' Green Resource Hub & the Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneur Network (SEEN), Downtown Ithaca Alliance, and more.

Consumable supplies for the store come primarily from local businesses like Race Office Supply and GreenStar.

Last but not least, HGH has 6 employees, and we're a certified Living Wage Employer. When you spend a dollar at HGH, you can be sure a good portion of it will continue doing good work in Tompkins County for some time to come.

Thanks for reading!

Joe & the HGH Staff 
 
Save 20%Save 20% in our Yoga Department this month, including natural rubber yoga mats, organic yoga towels, yoga blocks, bolsters and straps, mat sprays, and organic yoga apparel from Stonewear Designs.
 
Offer Expires: 11/30/11