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November 2004

Laptop Lunch Times: November 2004

The Laptop Lunch Times

November 2004

Coming to a store near you...!


A big THANK YOU to all our customers who have told buyers at their local natural foods stores, children's stores, and bookstores about Laptop Lunches. We remain committed to supporting local economies by selling Laptop Lunches at stores near you. If you have a favorite store where you can already envision Laptop Lunches on display, please tell them about us and send us their contact information ([email protected]) so we can follow up.


For many of us, the arrival of November means that we have been packing school lunches nearly every day now for two months. If you're looking for some creative new sandwich ideas, try some of the sandwich wrap recipes listed below. Laptop Lunch Photo with Food

November also marks the official start of the holiday season, when many of us will be looking for green gifts for friends and family. Consider purchasing Laptop Lunches, and make sure to check out EcoMall, a wonderful resource for green gifts. Finally...if you're traveling this holiday season, consider supporting the environment by choosing a green hotel. They deserve our support!

    Amy and Tammy

In this issue, you'll find:

  • Sandwich Wraps

  • Green Giving
  • Green Opportunities
  • Green Hotels
  • Featured Web site:
  • What works...Success Stories

Sandwich Wraps

If you're looking for sandwich alternatives, try some of these delicious sandwich wraps from our readers.

#1: The Iron Girl Wrap

  • Spread organic (lowfat) cream cheese on a whole wheat tortilla.
  • Place several leaves of fresh spinach all around the circle.
  • Roll it up into a log.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning before packing lunch, cut the roll into little wheels.
  • They're great for lunch or a mid-morning snack!

  • We also grate carrots into the wrap, or add tofu, cut olives, or other easily grated or sliced veggies. My girls love them!

  •       --Lizanne Schader, Bellingham, WA

#2: Garden Wrap

  • Cut a piece of whole wheat lavash bread into a 3-inch by 8-inch piece.
  • Spread a layer of soft goat cheese on top.
  • Add a layer of basil pesto sauce.
  • Add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes or sun-dried tomato spread.
  • Sprinkle with pine nuts or chopped walnuts (optional).
  • Sprinkle with pitted and chopped Kalamata olives (optional).
  • Roll up and serve.

  •       --Monica Van Natta, Clovis, CA

#3: Mexican Fiesta Wrap

  • Spread refried beans (or sprinkle black beans) on a spinach tortilla.
  • Add a layer of mashed avocado.
  • Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and fresh grated carrots.
  • Sprinkle with shredded lowfat cheese or soy cheese.
  • Add sprouts or shredded lettuce.
  • Sprinkle with black olives. (optional)
  • Roll up and with a sharp knive slice into 1-inch rounds.
  • Enjoy with your favorite salsa!

  •      --Rob Lindeman, Silver Spring, MD

Green Opportunities

Some earth-friendly tidbits that have landed in our office in recent weeks...

  • GreenMatters is an environmental resource for busy people. They facilitate change and action with simple weekly eco-tips, online activism, Q&A, a green product finder, and helpful links to concise, reliable information on important and popular subjects.

  • Stonyfield Farm has teamed up with Recycline to make toothbrushes from used, recycled yogurt cups. Why not purchase some for stocking stuffers this holiday season? The PreserveTM Toothbrush by Recycline is dentist-designed for an effective and thorough cleaning. The Preserve Toothbrush is also recyclable! When you're ready for a new brush, mail your used Preserve toothbrushes to Recycline, where they will be made into plastic lumber. Visit Recycline for a 15% discount.

  • Find out what a truly green economy would look like at Green Festival 2004 (November 6-7 in San Francisco), featuring fair trade retailers, organic food sellers, renewable energy innovators, inspiring speakers, and much more. Visit for more information. To get in free of charge, show up with an empty HP printer cartridge (for recycling)...and don't forget to stop by the Laptop Lunches booth and introduce yourself!

  • If you're looking for step-by-step instructions for starting a waste-free lunch program at your school, consider subscribing to Green Teacher Magazine, and make sure you receive the Fall 2004 issue.

  • Non-profit E Magazine contains valuable information and in-depth stories on all aspects related to the environment. For a free trial , click here.

Green Giving

Tammy speaks with Marianne Schnall, co-founder of EcoMall, about activism, green gift giving, and "greening-up" your lifestyle.

What is EcoMall?

The EcoMall is an online portal ( which features resources for people to live a more environmentally-aware lifestyle. We list over 300 companies in over 70 different shopping categories. Our mission is to educate and inspire people to support earth-friendly alternatives. We also publish "Green Living Magazine," an online magazine which includes hundreds of articles on a range of topics, as well as news, activism, links to government resources and environmental non-profit organizations, and more. We like to think of ourselves as a community rather than a "mall."

When was EcoMall founded?

EcoMall was founded in 1994 by myself and Tom Kay. Tom has a background in solar and alternative energy, and my background is in media with a strong interest in environmental issues. We joined forces and started EcoMall back before the Internet took off, and before most people had home computers. We saw that the Internet had great potential, and our goal was to help network people to environmental resources and companies, but because most companies didn't yet have Web sites, we started out by creating in-house ads for these companies.

As time went on and companies began creating their own Web sites, we started offering links to companies that offered environmental or sustainable products and services. We are very encouraged to see the growth of the environmental sector both online and off. And the Internet has certainly proven to be a powerful and growing new medium to support environmental awareness, education, and activism.

I noticed that activism seems to be a big part of what you do. Tell us why it's an important component of EcoMall?

We want to encourage people to be part of the political process and to feel that they can contribute to change in various ways. We want to make it easier for people to find an issue that they're passionate about and empower them to get involved.

Does "green shopping" seem to be a growing trend?

Yes, more and more people are beginning to demand and support environmental alternatives to conventional products. We're also seeing that as the demand increases, prices go down, which makes green shopping more affordable. In fact, many traditional companies are beginning to notice the demand and have started offering more earth-friendly products and services.

What is the most popular product section?

The Babies section. Many people become interested in leading healthier lives when they start having children. As a mother myself, I think it's a natural instinct for parents to want to protect their children from toxins and to provide them with the most natural products available.

With the holiday shopping season set to begin, what can we do as consumers to make earth-friendly choices?

Creative gift giving is really important. When you're out shopping, look for items with minimal packaging made out of the most natural materials. Use your consumer dollars to support environmentally responsible companies. Don't buy disposable items. Buy gifts that will be used over and over again and will last a long time. Consider making gifts from the heart, like a photo album or a tin of homemade cookies.

Find creative ways to wrap gifts. Place gifts in a reusable canvas shopping bag or wrap in newspaper comics. You can also wrap in magazine pages with colorful pictures. Or forego the wrapping, and play a game of hide and seek instead by hiding the gifts and giving clues to find them.

Be sure to save decorations and bows. Or instead of buying decorations, string popcorn or berry garlands.

Any words of advice for people wanting to "green-up" their lifestyle?

Yes, it's easy to become overwhelmed, so start with what comes naturally for you. For example, many people start by purchasing environmentally-friendly household cleaners. Once they see that these products clean just as well as conventional brands (without the headache), they easily make the switch. Others start by purchasing organically-grown fruits and vegetables.

Becoming an environmentally-aware consumer has numerous benefits for our health and the health of the planet. Living more in harmony with the Earth is the next evolution in humanity's consciousness towards a healthier, more sustainable future.

For more information visit


Green Hotels

Managers at green hotels are eager to implement programs that save money and help protect the earth by conserving water and energy and reducing solid waste.

Consider supporting these hotels the next time you travel or arrange a business event. Before making event and travel reservations, consider visiting for a list of hotels committed to protecting the environment. The "Green" Hotels Association® has dedicated itself to researching ways for the hospitality industry to save water, save energy and reduce solid waste. They provide their member hotels with the comprehensive 110+ page Guidelines and Ideas, which offers concrete suggestions for making hotels more environment-friendly.

Their Green Catalog of environmental products helps hotels find the products they need to implement green programs. For example, the toilet-tank fill diverter saves about 3/4 gallon of water per flush, is invisible to the guest, does not affect the flush in any way, and costs less than $1. Hair and skin care dispensers save money and offer guests shampoo and soap at the push of a button. The guest room recycler basket is a beautiful, sturdy open-diamond pattern, and is designed for long service.

The "Green" Hotels Association's TOWEL RACK HANGERS and SHEET CHANGING CARDS, which ask guests to consider using their linens more than once, are now found in thousands of hotel guest bathrooms.

If you find yourself at a hotel that doesn't seem to be following green practices, let the management know that the environment is important to you by printing the following list of suggestions and dropping it off at the front desk or attaching it to their comment card. Hotels need to know that many travelers are eager to support environmentally-responsible hotels.


  1. Start a linen (both towels and sheets) reuse program in all guest rooms.
  2. Install low-flow showerheads and sink aerators.
  3. Switch to low-flow toilets or install toilet-tank fill diverters.
  4. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs in guest rooms, lobbies, and hallways. Use sensors and/or timers for areas that are infrequently used.
  5. Whenever possible, buy food and guest amenities in bulk (i.e., use refillable hair and skin care dispensers).
  6. Educate your staff to close drapes and turn off lights and turn off heating/air conditioning when rooms are unoccupied.
  7. Install window film to lower heating and cooling loads and reduce glare in guest rooms
  8. Provide guest room recycler baskets for newspaper, white paper, glass, aluminum, cardboard, and plastic.
  9. Provide recycling bins both in public areas (i.e., poolside), in the kitchen, and in the back office (including one at each desk) to make recycling as easy as possible.
  10. Buy office and guest amenity products that contain recycled material. Look for recycled paper products (with high post-consumer recycled content) that are either unbleached or bleached using a chlorine-free process.
  11. Use least toxic cleaners, sanitizers, paints, pesticides, etc. throughout the hotel. Make sure all chemicals are stored safely in a well-ventilated area.
  12. Purchase "energy star" appliances wherever possible (
  13. Replace old washing machines with water and energy conserving models.
  14. If the hotel has a pool and/or hot tub, install a solar water heating system and use pool and hot tub covers when the pool area is closed.
  15. Provide your guests with bicycles, walking maps, and information on public transportation.
  16. Provide reusable items such as cloth napkins, glass cups, ceramic dishes, etc. with all food and beverage services.
  17. Provide glass cups and ceramic mugs (instead of plastic) for in-room beverages. Place cups and mugs upside down on paper doilies (instead of covering opening with a plastic wrapping).
  18. Use daylight exclusively in your lobby, bar, and restaurant for as much of the day as possible. Consider installing skylights if needed.
  19. Donate leftover food to a local nonprofit organization and/or use a compost bin.
  20. Buy organic, locally-grown food for your kitchen whenever possible.
  21. Plant an organic garden to provide fresh produce for your guests.
  22. Switch to native plants in garden areas. Replace mowed landscaping with ground cover.
  23. Minimize the amount of paper used for each guest (i.e., reduce paper size of invoices, etc.).
  24. Replace exit signs with Light Emitting Diode (LED) exit signs.
  25. Include filter changes, coil cleaning, thermostat calibration, and damper adjustments in your ongoing maintenance plan.
  26. Monitor, record and post rates of energy and water use. Make repairs or replace equipment when rate changes indicate problems.
  27. Use an energy management system (EMS) to tie in air handling units, HVAC, and lighting to prevent conditioning space when it is not necessary.
  28. Create an incentive program to encourage your staff to participate in and improve upon environmentally-friendly practices.
  29. Use proper insulation and reflective roof coverings.
  30. Buy previously used or recycled-content products when doing office, construction, or remodeling projects.
  31. Consult outside sources to evaluate the total system when replacing major mechanical equipment (such as chiller, water tower, etc). Often, this can lead to downsizing and other opportunities to reduce both the initial investment and operating costs.
  32. Replace electric package terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units with more efficient heat pumps or other geothermal technologies.
  33. Donate leftover guest amenities, old furniture and appliances to charities.

  34. Resources:

    Green Hotels Association (
    Energy Star for Hospitality ( )
    Green Globe 21 - Sustainable 21st Century Tourism (
    GreenLeaf Eco-Rating Program (

What Works...Success Stories

  • "I read about your product in Parents Magazine about a year ago. I immediately ordered one kit. We loved it. With the new school year starting, and the fab new colors, we had to order another. This time I went upscale with the whole outer carrying case as well. It arrived promptly and my daughter loves taking it to school. I have shared the Web site with new friends at my new job, so hopefully others will discover how cool they are too. Thank you!!!"

       --Robin Alonso, Tujunga, CA

  • "I don't have kids in school, but I am the one who needs a 'mom' to help me eat more healthfully (too many places to go, people to see, and no time to think about food). So knowing that I had to be out early today with no time for breakfast until mid morning - when I would be on the road - I packed my Laptop Lunch with fruit, cottage cheese and yogurt and a homemade pumpkin muffin, and off I went for the day, fortified against the urge to stop for fast food. (Did I admit that?) Thanks for your commitment and contribution to conscious living! I wonder if Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig know about Laptop Lunches?"

       ---- Mary Margaret Peterson, Santa Cruz, CA

Do you have a success story to share? Email it to us at [email protected].

Featured Web Site:


Farm to School programs are popping up all over the U.S. These programs, promoted by parents, teachers, farmers, and a host of organizations and public agencies, connect schools and local farms. The program objectives include serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, and supporting local small farmers. For more information, visit

Farm Field Trip

  • FARM FIELD TRIPS allow children to experience food from its source, and instill an appreciation for local food and farming.
  • SCHOOL GARDENS engage students in hands-on educational opportunities with growing fresh fruits and vegetables. The garden becomes an on-site "living laboratory" for teaching a multitude of subjects, especially nutrition.
  • COOKING CLASSES involve children directly in food preparation and provide tools for families in making healthy meals.
  • IN-CLASS NUTRITION EDUCATION deepens the understanding behind healthy food choices, utilizing the suite of available curriculum that uncovers the science behind "5-a-Day."
  • THE CAFETERIA becomes the perfect place to showcase the fresh produce students have been growing and learning about, putting healthy eating into practice. To get involved or to learn more, please contact: Community Alliance with Family Farmers at

December Highlights

Healthy holiday appetizers, eco-wrapping tips, and green games for the whole family!

Comments, questions, concerns? Please email us at [email protected].

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November 2004, by Obentec, Inc.


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