bulk

Zero Waste Body Care

If you’re looking to meet your zero waste goals without giving up your body care routine, you’ll be excited to hear that all of our bulk body care products are 20% off for the entire month of July! Perhaps you haven’t yet noticed this new and growing section of our Wellness department? This is a perfect time to get acquainted! Our goal is to offer all the body care staples, minus the packaging. If DIY body care is your jam, you’ll also be glad to find everything you need to make your own lip balms, salves, bath soaks, and other body care products at home!

The Co-op Bulk Body Care section is located in our Wellness Department

Here’s how it works:

  • Bring your own clean, empty container from home or select from our wide variety of containers.
  • Get a tare weight on your container using the scale in our Bulk Department. The unit should be in pounds. This ensures that you’re only paying for the weight of the product, excluding the weight of the container.
  • Fill the container with the product(s) that you love.
  • Record the PLU somewhere on your container. This number can be found on the box, bottle, or carton from which you poured the product.
  • Take it to any cashier and checkout!
Getting a “tare weight” means weighing your empty container (in lbs) and recording the weight somewhere on the container
The “PLU” (in this case, #5081) from the box or bottle from which you’re pouring should be recorded somewhere on your container.

 

Here are the Products You Will Find in our Bulk Body Care Section:

 

If you’re feeling inspired to try making your own DIY natural body care products, Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful resource for recipes, tips, and tricks!

Zero Waste Body Care

If you’re looking to meet your zero waste goals without giving up your body care routine, you’ll be excited to hear that all of our bulk body care products are 20% off for the entire month of July! Perhaps you haven’t yet noticed this new and growing section of our Wellness department? This is a perfect time to get acquainted! Our goal is to offer all the body care staples, minus the packaging. If DIY body care is your jam, you’ll also be glad to find everything you need to make your own lip balms, salves, bath soaks, and other body care products at home!

The Co-op Bulk Body Care section is located in our Wellness Department

Here’s how it works:

  • Bring your own clean, empty container from home or select from our wide variety of containers.
  • Get a tare weight on your container using the scale in our Bulk Department. The unit should be in pounds. This ensures that you’re only paying for the weight of the product, excluding the weight of the container.
  • Fill the container with the product(s) that you love.
  • Record the PLU somewhere on your container. This number can be found on the box, bottle, or carton from which you poured the product.
  • Take it to any cashier and checkout!
Getting a “tare weight” means weighing your empty container (in lbs) and recording the weight somewhere on the container
The “PLU” (in this case, #5081) from the box or bottle from which you’re pouring should be recorded somewhere on your container.

 

Here are the Products You Will Find in our Bulk Body Care Section:

 

If you’re feeling inspired to try making your own DIY natural body care products, Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful resource for recipes, tips, and tricks!

Business of the Month – Stone Leaf Teahouse

A whistling tea kettle, the spicy aroma of simmering chai, a quiet space to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment…these are all part of the typical experience when you visit our featured Co-op Connection Business, Stone Leaf Teahouse, and it seems to beckon us this time of year when the air turns cool and crisp. Of course, the challenges to community health and safety presented by the COVID pandemic have led Stone Leaf Teahouse owner John Wetzel to make the difficult decision to transition to a slightly adjusted model where you can place your order and sip your tea outdoors on the teahouse patio.  You can also place an order online and select curbside pickup or have the tea delivered right to your door. Perhaps recreating the cozy atmosphere of the Teahouse in the comfort of your own home as you sip your delicious tea can be a fun way to spend a restful weekend day? The indoor area of the teahouse is now open for browsing Stone Leaf’s beautiful collection of teaware!

The staff at Stone Leaf Teahouse has an intimate knowledge of the impressive list of teas offered and John has traveled to many of the farms from which their teas are sourced, gaining an even deeper understanding of the tea’s journey from farm to cup. They have applied their collective knowledge to develop an extremely handy online “Tea Guru” tool that will walk you through the process of selecting a tea that you will love.  Remind them that you’re a Co-op member-owner and you’ll receive 10% off your order! You can also find their premium loose leaf teas in our Bulk tea department. It’s a unique treat to have teas this fresh available in our store. Read on to learn more about the teahouse and its offerings.

About Us:

Based in Vermont, our teas reflect our ideals; grown with skill and heart to cultivate a healthy ecosystem and global community. Each year we visit the tea gardens that produce the finest teas in the world. We connect you to the families that have grown and processed tea for generations.

Established in 2009, Stone Leaf Teahouse was built, well from the stone. Upon returning from travels in India and Taiwan, we searched for the perfect space for storing and serving quality tea. We found that space in the Marbleworks in Middlebury, Vermont…our little “tea cave”. Surrounded by stone, our fresh teas keep fresh, and our aging teas age gracefully.

 

Our Focus:

We travel to all the regions where we source tea to forge a connection between the grower and drinker, directly importing from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Japan (with more to come as we grow!).

We source teas fresh, buying the best harvests, often multiple times a year.

We connect the tea drinker to the tea garden.

We are students of tea, here to share the connection through a cup of tea.

Workshops:

Would you like to delve deeper into the world of tea? Check out the workshop calendar for some exciting opportunities to learn more! Of course, for now, these workshops will be offered online. You can also visit the Tea House blog to read more about the world of tea, including a fascinating post on the rich and complex history of tea, sugar, and slavery. 

The Menu:

Stone Leaf Teahouse offers an extensive menu of some of the freshest and most unique tea varieties available. Many of their tea offerings are certified organic. To view the full menu, click here.

Business of the Month – Stone Leaf Teahouse

A whistling tea kettle, the spicy aroma of simmering chai, a quiet space to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment…these are all part of the typical experience when you visit our featured Co-op Connection Business, Stone Leaf Teahouse, and it seems to beckon us this time of year when the air turns cool and crisp. Of course, the challenges to community health and safety presented by the COVID pandemic have led Stone Leaf Teahouse owner John Wetzel to make the difficult decision to transition to a slightly adjusted model where you can place your order and sip your tea outdoors on the teahouse patio.  You can also place an order online and select curbside pickup or have the tea delivered right to your door. Perhaps recreating the cozy atmosphere of the Teahouse in the comfort of your own home as you sip your delicious tea can be a fun way to spend a restful weekend day? The indoor area of the teahouse is now open for browsing Stone Leaf’s beautiful collection of teaware!

The staff at Stone Leaf Teahouse has an intimate knowledge of the impressive list of teas offered and John has traveled to many of the farms from which their teas are sourced, gaining an even deeper understanding of the tea’s journey from farm to cup. They have applied their collective knowledge to develop an extremely handy online “Tea Guru” tool that will walk you through the process of selecting a tea that you will love.  Remind them that you’re a Co-op member-owner and you’ll receive 10% off your order! You can also find their premium loose leaf teas in our Bulk tea department. It’s a unique treat to have teas this fresh available in our store. Read on to learn more about the teahouse and its offerings.

About Us:

Based in Vermont, our teas reflect our ideals; grown with skill and heart to cultivate a healthy ecosystem and global community. Each year we visit the tea gardens that produce the finest teas in the world. We connect you to the families that have grown and processed tea for generations.

Established in 2009, Stone Leaf Teahouse was built, well from the stone. Upon returning from travels in India and Taiwan, we searched for the perfect space for storing and serving quality tea. We found that space in the Marbleworks in Middlebury, Vermont…our little “tea cave”. Surrounded by stone, our fresh teas keep fresh, and our aging teas age gracefully.

 

Our Focus:

We travel to all the regions where we source tea to forge a connection between the grower and drinker, directly importing from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Japan (with more to come as we grow!).

We source teas fresh, buying the best harvests, often multiple times a year.

We connect the tea drinker to the tea garden.

We are students of tea, here to share the connection through a cup of tea.

Workshops:

Would you like to delve deeper into the world of tea? Check out the workshop calendar for some exciting opportunities to learn more! Of course, for now, these workshops will be offered online. You can also visit the Tea House blog to read more about the world of tea, including a fascinating post on the rich and complex history of tea, sugar, and slavery. 

The Menu:

Stone Leaf Teahouse offers an extensive menu of some of the freshest and most unique tea varieties available. Many of their tea offerings are certified organic. To view the full menu, click here.

Business of the Month – Stone Leaf Teahouse

A whistling tea kettle, the spicy aroma of simmering chai, a quiet space to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment…these are all part of the typical experience when you visit our featured Co-op Connection Business, Stone Leaf Teahouse, and it seems to beckon us this time of year when the air turns cool and crisp. Of course, the challenges to community health and safety presented by the COVID pandemic have led Stone Leaf Teahouse owner John Wetzel to make the difficult decision to transition to a slightly adjusted model where you can preorder your tea online, have it shipped to you, or pick it up curbside Monday – Saturday between 11 am and 4 pm. Perhaps recreating the cozy atmosphere of the Teahouse in the comfort of your own home as you sip your delicious tea can be a fun way to spend a lazy weekend day?

The staff at Stone Leaf Teahouse has an intimate knowledge of the impressive list of teas offered and John has traveled to many of the farms from which their teas are sourced, gaining an even deeper understanding of the tea’s journey from farm to cup. They have applied their collective knowledge to develop an extremely handy online “Tea Guru” tool that will walk you through the process of selecting a tea that you will love.  Remind them that you’re a Co-op member-owner and you’ll receive 10% off your order! You can also find their premium loose leaf teas in our Bulk tea department. It’s a unique treat to have teas this fresh available in our store. Read on to learn more about the teahouse and its offerings.

About Us:

Based in Vermont, our teas reflect our ideals; grown with skill and heart to cultivate a healthy ecosystem and global community. Each year we visit the tea gardens that produce the finest teas in the world. We connect you to the families that have grown and processed tea for generations.

Established in 2009, Stone Leaf Teahouse was built, well from the stone. Upon returning from travels in India and Taiwan, we searched for the perfect space for storing and serving quality tea. We found that space in the Marbleworks in Middlebury, Vermont…our little “tea cave”. Surrounded by stone, our fresh teas keep fresh, and our aging teas age gracefully.

 

Our Focus:

We travel to all the regions that we source tea to forge a connection between the grower and drinker, directly importing from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Japan (with more to come as we grow!).

We source teas fresh, buying the best harvests, often multiple times a year.

We connect the tea drinker to the tea garden.

We are students of tea, here to share the connection through a cup of tea.

Workshops:

Would you like to delve deeper into the world of tea? Check out the workshop calendar for some exciting opportunities to learn more! Of course, for now, these workshops will be offered online. You can also visit the Tea House blog to read more about the world of tea, including a recent fascinating post on the rich and complex history of tea, sugar, and slavery. 

The Menu:

Stone Leaf Teahouse offers an extensive menu of some of the freshest and most unique tea varieties available, including 38 varieties of tea from the 2020 harvest. Many of their tea offerings are certified organic. To view the full menu, click here.

Compostable Conundrum

The secret is out:  Americans have a serious waste problem. Since the onset of the first publicly-funded recycling pick-up programs in the late 1960s, we’ve been trained to dutifully separate our paper, plastic, and glass from the waste stream. Billions of dollars have been spent on educational programs and infrastructure to support these initiatives and, in the decades since, we’ve packed cargo ships with countless tons of our recyclables destined for China where they’re made into goods such as shoes, bags, and new plastic products. An awareness of this cycle allowed us to feel a little less guilty about our increasingly disposable culture.

For much of the last half-century, Americans have had little incentive to consume less. It’s relatively inexpensive to buy products, and it’s even cheaper to dispose of them at the end of their short lives. We gave very little thought to where these products went after being discarded. In the summer of 2017, however, this convenient denial of our flawed relationship with consumption and waste came screeching to a halt when China announced that they were no longer interested in receiving our recyclables. Since January of 2018, China has banned imports of various types of plastic and paper and tightened contamination standards for materials it does accept. Thus, without a willing market, much of America’s carefully sorted recycling is simply ending up in the trash.

The Promise of Compostables

Amid mounting backlash against single-use plastics, many looked to the promise of compostable packaging to meet our perceived need for convenience. We were quickly sold on the notion that these products, made from renewable materials rather than petroleum, were gentler on the environment and capable of reducing waste by breaking down naturally like the banana peels in our compost heap. What we failed to realize was that many compostable products are made from chemically-intensive monocultures of genetically modified corn and that they wouldn’t actually break down on their own. Their breakdown would require high heat and moisture, conditions found mainly in special industrial facilities that don’t exist in most communities, including here in Addison County. The Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD) is unable to accept and process compostable containers or bags. Our infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep pace with innovation and, as such,  many of these products end up being burned or sent to landfills, where—deprived of oxygen and microorganisms—they don’t degrade.

They also cause serious contamination issues in recycling facilities, according to the experts at the ACSWMD. The issue of contamination causes problems for waste management facilities in both recycling and compost systems. Compostable products often look identical to their recyclable counterparts and inadvertently create more waste when mixed with recyclables on a large scale. During the processing of recyclables at solid waste facilities, compostables can degrade, contaminating the plastic, and rendering entire batches of plastic recycling too contaminated to meet market standards.  Alternatively, when recyclable plastic containers find their way into the bin with compostables and are delivered to the limited number of existing high-heat composting facilities, the quality of the compost is severely compromised.

As our Co-op staff learned of these challenges, we tried to balance increasing consumer demand for more compostable packaging with the stark reality that offering these products might simply amount to greenwashing. Determined to find a solution, we continued to work with experts at the Addison County Solid Waste Management District, Casella Waste Systems, and Vermont Natural Ag Products to explore ideas. In 2018, we hatched a pilot program that involved setting up systems for collecting our compostable deli to-go containers and Casella’s agreed to transport them to Vermont Natural Ag’s compost heaps at Foster Brothers Farm where they would, ideally, turn into compost.

Former Cafe Refuse Station Included a Bin for Compostables

We knew from the onset that this was to be an experiment, as we still needed to answer some big questions: Would their processing equipment be hindered by our containers? Would the chemistry of their compost heaps handle such a significant addition of carbon?  Would our staff and our customers be able to sort effectively enough to minimize contamination? In the end, the third question created the most significant hurdle to the program’s success.

Around the time that our pilot project began, a group of Middlebury College students partnered with us to collect data on the rate of contamination. They determined, through daily bouts of messy sorting and counting over the course of two weeks, that our contamination rate hovered around 30%. Upon hearing this news, we doubled-down on our efforts but, despite putting considerable energy toward sorting education and generating clear signage at the receptacles for the compostable containers, our contamination rate ultimately proved too high for the program to continue.

Compostable Containers Must Go in the Trash. Addison County Solid Waste Management District Does Not Currently Have the Infrastructure to Process These Items.

Where Do We Go From Here?

We’re still collecting clean, compostable food scraps both for pickup by area farmers and for collection by Casella’s, but we’re no longer permitted to add compostable containers to the mix. This means that all of our deli to-go containers must, unfortunately, be deposited as trash. It also means that we cannot in good conscience switch to compostable bags in our Produce Department, despite significant customer demand. Until we’re certain that these compostable bags can be received and effectively processed by our local waste management facility, it simply doesn’t make sense to use them. Thankfully, there are other options!* If you’re dining in, we encourage you to choose our reusable plates and bowls. If you’re on the go, we offer a reusable to-go container that may be purchased for a $5 deposit and filled with hot bar and salad bar items, excluding soup. When you’re ready to return it, give it a rinse and drop it back off with any cashier to reclaim your deposit or swap it for a new, clean reusable to-go container. In order to remain compliant with State Health Department regulations, we cannot allow customers to bring their own containers for use at the hot bar or salad bar but we do encourage you to continue bringing your own containers when shopping for bulk items throughout the store.*

Given that selling our recyclables to China is no longer an option and compostables don’t deliver on their promise, it’s incumbent upon us to find our own solutions. One suggestion involves the adoption of a fourth “r” beyond “reduce, reuse, and recycle”— we must learn to refuse. Becoming more discerning consumers and learning to say no to items we don’t need is an important step. Refusing disposable straws, plastic cutlery, and other single-use plastics, and saying no to compostable packaging ultimately destined for the landfill provides us with another way to vote with our hard-earned money for the kinds of changes we’d like to see in the world. When there’s no longer a market for products packaged in plastic, manufacturers will seek alternatives and we’ll all move a little closer to a zero-waste culture.

 

*Note – This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Co-op’s Under the Sun Newsletter. Due to the impacts of COVID 19, we are currently unable to offer our hot bar or salad bar, nor are we able to offer dine-in options. Thus, the information in this article regarding our reusable dishes, reusable to-go containers, and bringing containers from home for Bulk purchasing is not currently relevant. We look forward to being able to resume these practices once it’s safe to do so. We’ll keep you posted. Thank you for your understanding!

Business of the Month – Stone Leaf Teahouse

A whistling tea kettle, the spicy aroma of simmering chai, a quiet space to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment…these are all part of the experience when you visit our featured Co-op Connection Business, Stone Leaf Teahouse, and it seems to beckon us this time of year when the air turns cool and crisp. Located in the heart of Middlebury’s Marbleworks, the Teahouse offers an oasis of calm in the center of an otherwise bustling little town. The staff has an intimate knowledge of the impressive list of teas offered and owner, John Wetzel, has traveled to the farms from which their teas are sourced, gaining an even deeper understanding of the tea’s journey from farm to cup. Even the greenest tea novice will feel right at home as John and his crew help you pick out the perfect tea to sip during your visit. Remind them that you’re a Co-op member-owner and you’ll receive 10% off! You can also find their premium loose leaf teas in our Bulk tea department. It’s a unique treat to have teas this fresh available in our store. Read on to learn more about the teahouse and its offerings.

About Us:

Based in Vermont, our teas reflect our ideals; grown with skill and heart to cultivate a healthy ecosystem and global community. Each year we visit the tea gardens that produce the finest teas in the world. We connect you to the families that have grown and processed tea for generations.

Established in 2009, Stone Leaf Teahouse was built, well from the stone. Upon returning from travels in India and Taiwan, we searched for the perfect space for storing and serving quality tea. We found that space in the Marbleworks in Middlebury, Vermont…our little “tea cave”. Surrounded by stone, our fresh teas keep fresh, and our aging teas age gracefully.

 

Our Focus:

We travel to all the regions that we source tea to forge a connection between the grower and drinker, directly importing from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Japan (with more to come as we grow!).

We source teas fresh, buying the best harvests, often multiple times a year.

We connect the tea drinker to the tea garden.

We are students of tea, here to share the connection through a cup of tea.

Workshops:

Would you like to delve deeper into the world of tea? Check out the workshop calendar for some exciting opportunities to learn more! You can also visit the Tea House blog to read more about John’s tea travels and tips on brewing the perfect cup of tea!

 

Business of the Month – Stone Leaf Teahouse

A whistling tea kettle, the spicy aroma of simmering chai, a quiet space to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment…these are all part of the experience when you visit our Co-op Connection Business of the Month, Stone Leaf Teahouse, and it seems to beckon us this time of year when the air turns cool and crisp. Located in the heart of Middlebury’s Marbleworks, the Teahouse offers an oasis of calm in the center of an otherwise bustling little town. The staff has an intimate knowledge of the impressive list of teas offered and owner, John Wetzel, has traveled to the farms from which their teas are sourced, gaining an even deeper understanding of the tea’s journey from farm to cup. Even the greenest tea novice will feel right at home as John and his crew help you pick out the perfect tea to sip during your visit. Remind them that you’re a Co-op member-owner and you’ll receive 10% off! You can also find their premium loose leaf teas in our Bulk tea department. It’s a unique treat to have teas this fresh available in our store. Read on to learn more about the tea house and their offerings.

About Us:

Based in Vermont, our teas reflect our ideals; grown with skill and heart to cultivate a healthy ecosystem and global community. Each year we visit the tea gardens that produce the finest teas in the world. We connect you to the families that have grown and processed tea for generations.

Established in 2009, Stone Leaf Teahouse was built, well from the stone. Upon returning from travels in India and Taiwan, we searched for the perfect space for storing and serving quality tea. We found that space in the Marbleworks in Middlebury, Vermont…our little “tea cave”. Surrounded by stone, our fresh teas keep fresh, and our aging teas age gracefully.

 

Our Focus:

We travel to all the regions that we source tea to forge a connection between the grower and drinker, directly importing from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Japan (with more to come as we grow!).

We source teas fresh, buying the best harvests, often multiple times a year.

We connect the tea drinker to the tea garden.

We are students of tea, here to share the connection through a cup of tea.

Workshops:

Would you like to delve deeper into the world of tea? Check out the workshop calendar for some exciting opportunities to learn more! You can also visit the Tea House blog to read more about John’s tea travels and tips on brewing the perfect cup of tea!

 

Business of the Month – Stone Leaf Teahouse

A whistling tea kettle, the spicy aroma of simmering chai, a quiet space to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment…these are all part of the experience when you visit our Co-op Connection Business of the Month, Stone Leaf Teahouse, and it seems to beckon us this time of year when the air turns cool and crisp. Located in the heart of Middlebury’s Marbleworks, the Teahouse offers an oasis of calm in the center of an otherwise bustling little town. The staff has an intimate knowledge of the impressive list of teas offered and owner, John Wetzel, has traveled to the farms from which their teas are sourced, gaining an even deeper understanding of the tea’s journey from farm to cup. Even the greenest tea novice will feel right at home as John and his crew help you pick out the perfect tea to sip during your visit. Remind them that you’re a Co-op member-owner and you’ll receive 10% off! You can also find their premium loose leaf teas in our Bulk tea department. Most of the 2017 teas are in stock and it’s a unique treat to have teas this fresh available in our store. Read on to learn more about the tea house and their offerings.

About Us:

Based in Vermont, our teas reflect our ideals; grown with skill and heart to cultivate a healthy ecosystem and global community. Each year we visit the tea gardens that produce the finest teas in the world. We connect you to the families that have grown and processed tea for generations.

Established in 2009, Stone Leaf Teahouse was built, well from the stone. Upon returning from travels in India and Taiwan, we searched for the perfect space for storing and serving quality tea. We found that space in the Marbleworks in Middlebury, Vermont…our little “tea cave”. Surrounded by stone, our fresh teas keep fresh, and our aging teas age gracefully.

Our Focus:

We travel to all the regions that we source tea to forge a connection between the grower and drinker, directly importing from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Japan (with more to come as we grow!).

We source teas fresh, buying the best harvests, often multiple times a year.

We connect the tea drinker to the tea garden.

We are students of tea, here to share the connection through a cup of tea.

Workshops:

Would you like to delve deeper into the world of tea? Check out the workshop calendar for some exciting opportunities to learn more!  The upcoming “Tea Through the Senses” workshop sounds particularly enjoyable. You can also visit the Tea House blog to read more about John’s tea travels and tips on brewing the perfect cup of tea!