A Challenge Engaging Food Co-op Members on Waste
Organized by Member Co-ops of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association
NOTE: Due to COVID-19 and concern for community safety, we are postponing this challenge.
Act Now for climate justice! Join members of food co-ops across the Northeast in pledging to reduce waste and Slash Your Trash during the Month of April — the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in the U.S.!
Did you know that the 267.8 million tons of waste generated in the US in 2017 was primarily made up of plastics, paper, paperboard, and food? As individuals we can take basic steps to reduce our waste. And working together as a community we can have a big impact!
Join your local Food Co-op and co-op members across our region to Slash Your Trash! It’s easily done:
- Pledge to take at least one of the actions below to Slash Your Trash.
- Share Your Experience! Use “#SlashYourTrash” and “#ActNow” and tag your local food co-op in social media posts letting friends know what you are doing.
- Visit the United Nations #ActNow Webpage and let them know about the actions you are taking on Climate Change: https://www.un.org/en/actnow/
Pledge Participants will be entered in raffles at participating Food Co-ops, with winners announced during Earth Day or Earth Week.
Slash Your Trash Challenge Goals
- To shine a light on Food Co-op members’ efforts to reduce waste and Act Now on Climate Change.
- To promote how Food Co-ops enable their members to achieve their goals and aspirations that they can’t accomplish alone by highlighting all of the amazing things our food co-ops are already doing to help your members reduce waste and address climate justice such as:
- Bring your own bags & containers (shopping, veggie, bulk containers)
- Bring your own mug reward
- Refill not Landfill pledge
- Sustainable Shopping Class
- Sustainable Shopping Tour
- Bulk Flash Sale (IncrediBULK)
- Coaching, classes on waste reduction, etc.
- Trash on Your Lawn Event
- Repair Café
- Home Waste Audit
For Food Co-op members to Act Now on Climate Change by reducing the amount of trash they send to the landfill during the month of April — the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
Resources for NFCA Member Food Co-ops
- Slash Your Trash Logo helping to promote this region-wide effort by Food Co-ops and their members.
- How to Participate with action steps and timeline.
- Metrics of Success to measure and communicate our shared impact.
- Set Up Steps for the Challenge.
- Sample Pledge Card to print out at registers/ offer online.
- Promotional Ideas to help spread the word, including social media examples and sample web and e-mail content.
How Your Co-op Can Participate: Challenge Rules
- During the Month of March: Promote challenge, inviting members and shoppers to pledge to Slash Your Trash.
- April 1st: Launch the Challenge! Ask members/shoppers to fill out pledges in store/online and share their experiences.
- Weekly in April: Reward pledge participants through weekly raffle drawings.
- Member/Customer Focus: Celebrate and feature your members’ activities through social media, website, newsletters, etc.
- April 22nd Earth Day/Week: Conclude the challenge with prizes, awards, etc.
Measuring Our Impact
The NFCA is asking participating Food Co-ops to help use track our collective impact by measuring:
- Number of Members filling out pledge cards.
- Number of shopping bags brought to co-op by shoppers.
- Number of reusable containers used by co-op shoppers.
- Number of reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.
- Number of classes on waste reduction offered.
- Total number of participants in these classes.
- Prepare Project Webpage. See below for sample content or use the content from this page.
- Develop Promotional E-mails based on sample ideas below.
- Customize Pledge Cards with your co-op’s logo and upload them to your webpage so members can print them out and enter in the raffle. Contact us for a template.
- Print Pledge Cards and place them by registers/around store with collection boxes during April.
- Design a Poster promoting the project to post on bulletin boards and other areas. Contact us for a template.
- Create a Store Display promoting the pledge and things your co-op does to help your members reduce waste (e.g. Your bulk section and reusable containers).
- Prepare Prizes for drawings for the month of April that highlight what your Co-op is doing to help shoppers reduce waste (i.e. basket of wax wrap, metal straws, bulk containers, reusable silverware, etc.). Reward participants with saplings or seed packets.
Ask pledge participants to share their experience with a friend, with family, or on social media and tag your Co-op AND use the hashtags #SlashYourTrash and #ActNow. Sample post ideas/content (should feature/tie into what members are doing):
Celebrate Pledge Participants
Celebrate, feature, and repost participants of the Slash Your Trash Challenge on all your Co-op channels to spread the word:
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Use “#SlashYourTrash” and “#ActNow on ClimateChange”.
- Newsletters: Include a pledge card that members can print out at home and bring to the co-op.
- Community Advertisements: Include information on the campaign and include a link to your “Slash Your Trash” webpage.
Slash Your Trash Challenge Background
As a co-operative of Food Co-ops across the Northeast, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) works to foster innovation and shared success among its member co-ops. For example, the theme of “co-creation of value” became a focus of a training on ‘Enhancing Business Performance through Co-operative Management Practices’ for co-op leaders held in October 2019 in partnership with the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University. As a follow up to this training with Professor Daniel Côté, participants collaborated in the development of a “Slash Your Trash” Challenge designed to engage co-op members and shoppers in efforts to address sustainability, waste reduction and climate change. The goal was to create a template for a campaign that could be easily adopted by member co-ops, incorporated into efforts already being planned for the month of April, and ending with a prize on Earth Day/ Week. The project is not only an example of the co-creation of value among member co-ops, but builds on the co-operative difference by inviting individual member-owners and shoppers to participate directly in sustainability efforts — co-creating value for their co-op and community, and wider efforts to address climate change.
A Co-operative Thanks
Special thanks to Professor Daniel Côté of the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University for laying the foundation and inspiring us to co-create value with our co-op members, and to our food co-ops leaders who took the training and then came together to plan this first Slash Your Trash Challenge, including creating the name, designing the logo, packet, and details: Emily Hershberger from Buffalo Mountain Food Co-op, Emily Rogers from Co-op Food Stores, Mary Mullally from Hunger Mountain Food Co-op, Becky Colpitts from Littleton Food Co-op, and Shannon Klepner and Karin Mott from Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op.
A co-operative is the property of all its members, which means that all the members are responsible for the results of the co-operative’s activities now and in the future.
Maria Janas, President, Muszynianka Co-op, Poland. In Together. How Co-operatives Show Resilience to the Crisis (2012)