Earth Day 2015: From Climate Change, To Changing the Climate of Consumption

Earth_DaySo, here we are: Earth Day, 2015.

What does that actually mean?

Earth Day had very modest origins in 1970 as a day of environmental “teach-ins” and “Keep America Beautiful” volunteer cleanup projects, demonstrating support for environmental protection.

In the intervening 45 years, however, the focus of Earth Day has morphed into a mass-media consumer extravaganza.

Angry_BirdsFor example:

  • In honor of Earth Day, skin- and haircare product manufacturer Kiehl’s has enlisted celebrities to design special packaging for their the Limited Edition Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado series (a whopping $47 for a .95 oz jar), proceeds from the sale of which will go toward standardized labels on recycling bins. You know, so that you don’t throw your trash in the recycling bin by mistake.
  • Editors at E! Online exhort you to “Treat the planet, treat yo’ self!” and buy some “eco-chic” goodies, including vegan handbags ($940) and (because nature can be full of germs) hand sanitizer (a bargain at $6).
  • Clothing retailer H&M has unveiled its new “conscious collection,”  a line of pricey-but-eco-friendly clothes ($300 silk dresses, for example) designed by actress Olivia Wilde.
  • Black Eyed Pea is hosting an all-star Earth Day concert on the National Mall this weekend featuring performances by Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, Common, Train, Usher and Mary J Blige.  Organizers are also teaming with Google, Toyota, and, somewhat inexplicably, heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar to promote the concert.

And don’t get us started about the Earth Day partnership with developers to make a climate change-themed Angry Birds game.

It can sometimes seem as though we have lost sight of the original “Love Mother Earth” meaning of Earth Day, amidst the more recent consumerist clamor and glamor associated with the April 22 celebration.

At AllSpice, we aren’t mounting a big Earth Day extravaganza with celebrity-designed dresses or skin care packaging, recycling bin stickers, fancy vegan purses, or corporate-sponsored rock concerts.

But we do have the prospect of a quieter, less consumption-oriented, (dare we say, greener?) approach to Earth Day — every day of the year.

Changing the Climate of Consumption

Six special ingredients to get you cookin.’

AllSpice owner Rory Brown says, “We do many green things – on Earth Day and every day.” Here are just a handful of things we do to keep our business practices earth-friendly and sustainable:

Packaging: pretty and practical.

  • It’s recyclable – Almost all of our packaging is recyclable: from our brown-paper shopping bags, to our themed cardboard gift boxes, and fill.
  • We repurpose – When we ship your online and gift orders, we use earth-friendly packing, and often repurpose the packing material that we, ourselves, receive in shipments to Allspice.  (That is, except for styrofoam peanuts and shredded paper that comes in boxes addressed to us – we find that stuff to be too messy to repurpose).
  • And we recycle – in terms of packaging that we don’t repurpose, we recycle about an 8 cubic foot dumpster of cardboard every week.

The burden of bulk. Sure, you can go to the warehouse store and buy your industrially-grown spices in 1-lb bulk containers for cheap. But finding storage space for bulk purchases can be burdensome! And besides, can you use up all 96 teaspoons (1 lb) of caraway seeds or paprika before the whole package gets stale? It is far more eco- and price-conscious to buy just as much as you can use, and not store or waste excess. Come shop with us for the highest-quality, freshly-packaged ingredients you need, in just the right amount.

Eco-friendly, reusable and refillable containers.

  • 10171752_10152058278381463_4940873790871514722_nBottles – We offer a $1.00 per bottle refill discount on every regular-size bottle (375 ml/12.7 oz) of olive oil and balsamic vinegar we carry! Just wash your bottle out at home and bring it back in. What’s more you, you can choose to refill with the same oil or balsamic, or try something new.  We’ll put a new label on your bottle, a new cork, a new seal and off you go!
  • Jars – We offer 1/2 Cup refills on all of our dry ingredients. Next time you’re in the store, just look for the small bags in the mesh bins under the display shelves. Those bags contain the same amount of your favorite herb, spice, chile, salt or pepper, and the price is a bit lower, too! So just grab a refill bag, take it home, and refill your original AllSpice jar. Rory says, “Save a little green while helping save the earth.”
  • Put a cork in it! We seal our vinegar and oil bottles with the finest synthetic stoppers, conserving endangered cork tree resources.

AllSpice_Cocoa_Powder_Organic_Dutch_Process100% Recyclable containers. Our ingredient jars and bottles are made of 100% recyclable glass. When you’re done with them, once and for all, just toss them in the bin for recycling.

AllSpiceOnline: your personal, paper-free cookbook.


Rory adds, “And one of the things I love about our business is that what we sell is consumable goods. You use our products to make good things to eat, and there really shouldn’t be that much waste left over that has to go to the landfill.”

We practice the sustainable business ideas that we preach here at AllSpice, and  we’re proud to do that all year ’round. Come celebrate good food, good times with good friends, and making a better, tastier world, every day.