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My Family's Traditions: How I Became an Environmentally Conscious Adult

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When I was growing up, I always thought my family’s traditions were the same as everyone else’s. However, as I got older I came to the realization that my family’s traditions and ways of life were different from other people’s families. I am very fortunate to have parents who were born and raised in Italy. Their Italian traditions have made me appreciate the environment and everything nature has to offer us. My parents always had a vegetable garden in our backyard that would provide us with fresh, organic vegetables to eat. Every August, my parents and I would take organic tomatoes from our garden and make homemade tomato sauce, which would last us a whole year! We also had grapevines and made gallons of homemade wine that would last for the year.

It wasn’t until about 20 years ago when I was much older, that I started hearing about going organic, and buying organic produce in the media. The public was starting to hear about the dangerous health effects of spraying pesticides and other harmful chemicals on produce. That is when it occurred to me that I have actually been eating organic foods my entire life. Every vegetable and fruit that was put on my dinner table came straight from my backyard garden.

Now that I’m an adult, with my own family, I have kept these traditions of gardening and eating organic foods. I take great pride in my homemade tomatoes and my fig trees. Tending to my garden has also given me endless therapeutic benefits because I get a sense of relaxation and peace when I’m outside, working in my garden every weekend. In addition to gardening, I also compost all of my grass clippings and unused fruits & vegetables back into my garden. This helps my crops grow to be robust and strong without having to use any unnatural chemicals and pesticides in my garden.

Today, many cities around the country are being forced to not only cut cost on waste hauling, but also find ways to reduce their organic waste in general. In New York alone, each person produces approximately 1 ton of waste per year, at a cost of $449 per ton! In addition, only about 16% of this waste is currently recycled back into raw material.

I am proud to work at Emerald Brand, where we make every day sustainable products for homes and businesses. We manufacture a variety of compostable disposable products and have partnered with companies who specialize in food waste disposal. The ORCA is a food waste disposal solution that Emerald Brand is working with, which transforms a facility’s food waste into environmentally safe water that then flows straight into the municipal sewage system. Here at Emerald we are proud to reduce waste hauling costs, methane gas emissions, and pounds of organic waste from being put into landfills.

Growing up as a kid, I never knew my Italian roots and traditions would bring me to where I am today. I am proud that I continue to garden and compost, as well as work for a company that promotes sustainability and a healthier environment!

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