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August 2008

Laptop Lunch Times: August 2008

August 2008

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Homemade Flavored Waters
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Garbage!: An Interview with Andrew Nisker
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

Whew! The heat here in Santa Cruz has prompted us to include some recipes that will help keep you cool this summer. Consider keeping a pitcher of chilled flavored water in the refrigerator so you’ll have it at the ready. Pour your flavored water into your on-the-go reusable bottle instead of reaching for a single-use bottle of water or soda. It will keep you hydrated, AND you'll be doing your part to keep disposable plastic bottles out of the waste stream.

Did you know that Americans consume more than 70 million bottles of water each day? The good news is that more and more people understand just how important it is to say no to bottled water. In fact, the US Conference of Mayors recently passed a resolution calling for an end to spending tax dollars on bottled water. It’s a small step, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Canadian filmmaker Andrew Nisker is also doing his part. His feature length documentary, Garbage!, follows an average family saving every scrap of their garbage for 3 months. To learn more, check out our interview with Andrew below.

The recent media coverage surrounding the potential negative effects of bisphenol A (BPA), has inspired many water-toting consumers to switch from polycarbonate bottles to bottles made from polypropylene, polyethylene and stainless steel. This increased demand, unfortunately, caused us to sell out of all of our water bottles, but we're happy to report that all of our plastic and stainless products are back in stock--while supplies last. Enjoy the rest of the summer...and remember to drink plenty of water!

BACK TO SCHOOL: We are expecting the 2008 back to school season to be our busiest ever! Help us meet your needs by placing your order as early as you can this year. We want you to have everything you need BEFORE the first day of school!

DOOF-a-Palooza: It was great to meet so many of you at the DOOF-a-Palooza event last month. Thanks for stopping by our booth, introducing yourselves, and participating in our activities. A great time was had by all! For more information about this event, visit
Laptop Lunches at Doof-a-Palooza

EXTRA MISC CONTAINERS STILL AVAILABLE: We still have some medium and large unlidded containers available for 50 cents each, and a few dip containers now as well. For more information, visit or call us at 831-457-0301. These are available in a limited number of colors while supplies last. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT HAVE ANY INDIVIDUAL LARGE LIDDED CONTAINERS AT THIS TIME.

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!

  • Bean burritos
  • Tortilla chip soup, topped with avocado slices
  • Mexican-style potato salad, garnished with cilantro
  • Grapes
  • Tortilla chips with black bean dip

Here's a picture of a lunch I made. Delicious!

                     -- Anonymous

Flavored Waters

When you're feeling hot and find yourself tempted to reach for a sugary drink, try some of these refreshing homemade flavored waters instead. They taste great, and your kids will love helping prepare them.

Spa Water

  • 1 gallon of cold water
  • 5 slices of fresh lemon
  • 5 slices of fresh cucumber

1. Place all the ingredients in a pitcher and serve.

2. For a stronger taste, let the water sit in the refrigerator for an hour prior to serving.

Spa Water

Mint-infused Water

  • 1 gallon of cold water
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh mint


1. Cut and remove stem ends from mint bunch.

2. Wash mint.

3. Add mint to pitcher and fill with water.

4. For a stronger taste, break mint leaves to release more flavor.

Mint Water

Pineapple-Orange Water

  • 1 gallon of cold water
  • 1 cup of fresh pineapple, cut into cubes
  • 5 slices of fresh orange


1. Place pineapple and orange into a pitcher.

2. Lightly mash the pineapple and oranges to release their juices.

3. Add cold water.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour and serve.

Pineapple-Orange Water

Green Opportunities

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

  • SUBURBAN FARMING – With food and fuel prices on the rise, and suburbanites becoming increasingly more interested in eating food grown closer to home, homeowners and renters alike are turning their lawns into suburban farms. Check out these inspirational videos to see what some suburban gardeners are doing:, and
Carpet Recycling
  • ORGANIC FOOD ON A TIGHT BUDGET – One of the quickest ways to reduce your organic grocery bill is to buy in bulk. But this doesn't mean limiting yourself to buying from the bulk bins at your natural foods store.

    Many grocery and natural food stores will special order food by the case. It's similar to buying a 12-pack of soda or juice instead of an individual can. Check in with your store to see if this is possible. If so, make a list of the foods you purchase regularly, buy them by the case, and let the savings begin.

    A case of 12 cans of your family's favorite soup, for example, may cost 20% less than what it costs to buy those cans individually. Looking for more organic money saving tips? Visit
My Plate Mate

  • MY PLATE-MATE– Designed by two moms, Michele Wong and Paige Akabane, this unique spill guard promotes independence while minimizing messy spills at meal time. It easily attaches to standard round plates for convenience. My Plate-Mate promotes advanced self-feeding with toddlers and serves as an assisted eating aid for the elderly and for those with special needs. It promotes independence, self confidence, and dignity at meal time. For more information, visit them online at

Laptop Lunches in the News

The Wall Street Journal

July 15, 2008

Businesses Emerge to Help School Fund-Raisers Go Green

Parents and Kids Want Goods to Sell That Do Some Good


For decades, children have hawked candy and cookie dough to friends and family to help fund extracurricular activities and school playgrounds. Now a handful of entrepreneurs have set out to change that paradigm, offering ecologically friendly products for kids and parents to sell for school fund-raisers. From recycled wrapping paper to fair-trade coffee, the business owners are pitching the products as viable fund-raising alternatives for schools.]

Green Fundraising

New Retailers

225 Camino de la Placita
Taos, NM 87571
(575) 751-1402
7 Elizabeth Cres.
Orton, ON L0N 1N0
(519) 855-4496
Greenlife Grocery
70 Merrimon Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-5440
The Green Store
71 Main St.
Belfast, ME 04915
(207) 338-4045

How On Earth
62 Maron Rd.
Mattapoisett, MA 02739
(508) 758-1341

The Whole Earth Center, Inc.
360 Nassau St.
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 924-7377

Whole Foods Market
200 Alewife Brook Pkwy.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 491-0040

Whole Foods Market
1333 Newell Ave.
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(925) 274-9700
Whole Foods Market
17991 Redmond Way
Redmond, WA 98052
(425) 881-2600
Mountain Kids
10095 Dorchester Dr. #E
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 550-7475

Chartreuse Life
528 E. New Haven Ave.
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 537-9435
Whole Foods Market
327 Russell Street
Hadley, MA 01035
(413) 586-9932

Whole Foods
3135 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 975-4500

Abundance Cooperative Market
62 Marshall St.
Rochester, NY 14607
(585) 454-2667

It’s Our Earth
127 N. Main St.
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 858-8556
Whole Foods Market
3100 Cahaba Village Plaza
Birmingham, AL 35243
(205) 912-8400

Whole Foods Market
650 Ponce de Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 853-1681

Whole Foods Market
77 West Paces Ferry Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 324-4100

Whole Foods Market
5930 Roswell Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30328
(404) 236-0810

Whole Foods Market
2111 Briarcliff Rd. NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 634-7800
Whole Foods Market
5945 State Bridge Rd.
Duluth, GA 30097
(678) 514-2400
Harry's Farmers Market
70 Powers Ferry Rd. SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 578-4400

Harry's Farmers Market
1180 Upper Hembree Rd.
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 664-6300

Whole Foods Market
102B New Waverly Place
Cary, NC 27518
(919) 816-8830

Whole Foods Market
3540 Wade Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 828-5805

Whole Foods Market
41 Miller St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
(336) 722-9233

Whole Foods Market
1140 Woodruff Rd.
Greenville, SC 29607
(864) 335-2300

Whole Foods Market
81 South Elliot Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 968-1983

Whole Foods Market
621 Broad St.
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 286-2290

Whole Foods Market
4021 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 440-5100

Whole Foods Market
923 Houston Northcutt Blvd.
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 971-7240

Whole Foods Market
7245 Lake St.
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 366-1045
Whole Foods Market
815 Southeast 160th Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98683
(360) 253-4082

Whole Foods Market
2610 NE Hwy 20
Bend, Oregon 97701
(541) 389-0151

Whole Foods Market
774 Emerson St.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 326-8676

Whole Foods Market
340 Third St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 451-6333

Down to Earth
305 Dairy Rd.
Kahului, HI 96732
(808) 872-2661

Whole Foods Market
3535 NE 15th Ave.
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 288-3414

Whole Foods Market
1210 NW Couch St.
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 525-4343

Whole Foods Market
621 E. Washington St.
Petaluma, California 94952
(707) 762-9352

Whole Foods Market
15 Washington St.
Brighton, Massachusetts 02135
(617) 738-8187

Whole Foods Market
2210 Westlake Ave.
Seattle, Washington 98121
(206) 621-9700

147 Maplewood Ave.
Maplewood, NJ 07040
(973) 762-4148

Austin Baby
505 W. Mary St.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 448-0118

Whole Foods Market
3060 Excelsior Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416
(612) 927-8141

Chapters/Indigo Books
(All 86 Store Locations)

(All 69 Store Locations)

Visit for a complete list of retailers.

Want to see Laptop Lunches at a store in your neighborhood? Email us at [email protected], and we'll give them a call.

Andrew Nisker: Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home

Canadian filmmaker Andrew Nisker is the writer and producer of the feature length documentary, Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home. In his film, Nisker takes an average urban family, the McDonalds, and asks them to keep their garbage for 3 months. Nisker then takes the viewer on a journey to find out where the trash goes and what impact it has on our environment. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Andrew and to learn more about his film.
Andrew Nisker
Tammy: What inspired you to make this film?


During a garbage strike, I walked through a park where the trash had piled up, and I started to think about all the waste we generate. I started to wonder what would happen if my garbage stopped being collected. Would that have a profound impact on my consumption habits?

So instead of subjecting myself to a self-imposed garbage strike, I found some willing “victims” who agreed to succumb to my experiment. I figured if I could document the process and share it with audiences, they too might start to think about the impact their lifestyle choices have on the environment. The film is not just about garbage, it’s about all the waste a typical household creates by driving, cleaning, eating—and living.

Tammy: Was it difficult to find these “victims”?


Casting is always a challenge. We wanted a normal family, but what normal family would subject themselves to keeping their garbage for three months? Eventually, my friends volunteered, and I decided to take a chance on them because I felt they represented an average family: three kids, two cars, big home, typical consumers.

Tammy: What was the most difficult challenge for the family?

Andrew: Realizing that they weren’t as eco-friendly as they thought and figuring out how to change their polluting ways. At first, it seemed almost impossible, but after awhile, the habits were easy to break and new green habits emerged.

Tammy: How much waste did the McDonald family end up producing?


I can’t tell you. I would be like giving the plot away. All I can say it that it was a lot.

Tammy: Glen McDonald was a much less willing participant than his wife, Michelle. In the end, do you think it changed Glen’s consumption or recycling habits?

Andrew: Glen seemed much less willing, but he had no choice. His family forced him to change. They have gotten rid of one their SUVs, stopped drinking bottled water, stopped using plastic bags, and are now much more environmentally aware. They avoid over-packaged goods, and have gotten rid of chemical cleaners, simple steps that over the course of a year add up to a big savings for the environment.

Tammy: As a film maker, what was the most difficult part of creating this feature-length documentary?

Andrew: Keeping the message positive and entertaining while not overwhelming viewers with facts and statistics. Although some of the most powerful parts of the film shine a light on the darkest corners of our environmental destruction, like the removal of mountain tops in West Virginia for coal, in the end I really tried to give the audience a sense of hope because things can change, and we are all empowered to make that change. It is just a matter of choice. A viewing of Garbage! will hopefully fuel the inspiration to fight for a cleaner environment for our children.

Tammy: In the making of the film, what was your most astonishing discovery?


Two things. How destructive and ultimately wasteful bottled water is. With millions of plastic water bottles going to landfills every day and the enormous amount of energy used to manufacture those bottles, transport them to the bottling plant, filling them, shipping them to the store, you driving to the store to pick them up, throwing them away, then hauling them (85% of the time) to the landfill is just NUTS! Any sane person would agree that this just doesn’t make sense.

Then there was the issue of cleaning and chemicals. Our indoor air quality is worse than our outdoor air quality because of all the chemicals we use! Forget about Febreeze, what happened to THE BREEZE ? Open the window. When I realized that marketers were selling me fresh air in the form of a chemical flavored mist, I had to stop and think about all the other polluting things I had in my cupboards. I threw it all away.


What message do you hope viewers will walk away with?

Andrew: Garbage! enables the average person to see the direct impact their lifestyle has on the environment. By doing this in a familiar setting, a typical home, audiences can quickly identify with the problems and see how they can take action. That in itself is empowering. Leaving the theatre knowing you can do something about the environment can only be a positive experience. Like the title of the film says, THE REVOLUTION STARTS AT HOME.


Tell me about the screening parties you’re promoting.


Since the release of Garbage!, 100 communities worldwide have screened the film. The screening party idea is simple: buy the film and share it with your friends.

After a screening we hope the audience will take action and join our online community and help us spread the message.

We also want viewers to upload videos that inspire others to change. We hope they will tell us what they’re doing to reduce their environmental impact. We’ve posted examples on our Web site at


What are you presently working on?

Andrew: Our next project is called Chemical Nation. We’re asking families to go chemical free for three months. We’ll then show the lifecycle of typical household products and how they affect the environment inside and outside our homes. We are currently casting families, so if you want to be involved in the film, please drop us a line at


Describe your perfect “garbage-free” lunch.

Andrew: I fill my stainless steel water bottle with filtered tap water and a splash of lemon, maybe infused with some fresh-brewed, chilled organic green tea. I fill my Laptop Lunch with the following: a halved avocado filled with a dollop of Dijon mustard, grilled boneless organic salmon on a spelt pita stuffed with garden fresh tomatoes, olive paste, pesto, and spinach, and one oatmeal chocolate chip cookie for dessert. I’m always surprised by the quantity of food my Laptop Lunch holds!

Andrew Nisker has produced award winning television, promotions, games, multi media, and films. As a pioneer of Documentary Entertainment, Andrew created the first DE programming for Canada’s Life Network (Slice) in 1992. Over the years Andrew has ventured into documentary genres which include children’s programming, sports profiles and race coverage, lifestyle, technology and science, paranormal investigations, gardening and fashion. Andrew’s Programs have been broadcast throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Garbage Revolution

Garbage! The Revolution Starts At Home is Andrew’s first feature length documentary. For more information, visit

What Works...Success Stories

"Here's a cute photo for your newsletter. It's called 'hungry kids enjoying a healthy Laptop Lunch picnic on a hot sunny day.' The kids are Stella, Noah, Amelia and Maddox. Thanks!"

        -- Heidi and Cheryl (the moms!), Petaluma, CA

Bento Picnic

"Hello! We wanted to write and tell you how happy we are with our Laptop Lunch Systems. My children received them as gifts from my parents for Christmas. They have used them every day and enjoy deciding what to pack for lunch. Their only complaint is that one of the smaller containers should have a top for yogurt, applesauce or pudding. My daughter, who is in 4th grade, has decided to do her science fair project based on recycling and trash. She is documenting how much trash she creates (very little to none) versus a friend's trash daily. So far she is quite amazed at how much trash children create daily! We are so glad that we found your Web site and are excited to share our find with friends. Thanks so much! "

        -- Kelly Larkin, Tucson, AZ

"I purchased two of your Laptop Lunches sometime ago (one for me and one for my boyfriend), and I absolutely love them! Mark says it is the coolest lunchbox he's ever owned (and that's saying a lot!) The smaller size of the inserts really helps with portion control and encourages us to eat smarter, and I have saved so much money from packing my lunches rather than buying food every day. As the founder of Sacramento Green Drinks (an eco-friendly bunch of people who get together, share cocktails, and swap ideas on making the world a more earth-friendly place), I have been recommending your product to all of my fellow Greenies. A truly great product, and well worth the price. Thank you!"

        -- Amber Beckton, Sacramento, CA

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

Featured Web Site:

Recycle That Old Fridge

The ENERGY STAR Recycle My Old Fridge Campaign is a new, nationwide effort, brought to you by the U.S. Department of Energy and the government’s ENERGY STAR program. The campaign encourages every American who owns an old, inefficient refrigerator to save money, energy, and the environment by recycling old refrigerators and, when a replacement is needed, to buy a new ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator.

Refrigerator Art

On this site:

  • Calculate your Annual Energy Usage and Cost
  • Locate a Refrigerator Recycling Program Near You
  • Find a More Energy-efficient Refrigerator
  • Learn About Art Fridges
  • Submit Your Own Recycle-My-Fridge Video
  • Download Their Teacher Guide

For more information, visit

September Highlights

Quick Lunches, Green Opportunities, and School Fundraising Strategies


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

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© August 2008 Obentec, Inc.

849 Almar Ave., Suite C-323
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Feel free to reprint or forward this newsletter with the following acknowledgment and contact information clearly visible: "Thank you to Obentec, Inc. for permission to use this copyrighted material. For more information, contact Obentec, Inc. by email at [email protected] or by phone at 831-457-0301, or visit their Web site at Reprint permission granted with this full notice included."