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Fill your cup and eat it too! Food packages go eco-friendly

Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to lower your impact on the environment? Turns, out there are some tasty ways to follow through!In recent months, more and more food companies have begun to focus on the ingredients that go into their products, a welcome effort given the numerous food safety stories we hear about every day. (Arsenic in chicken? No thanks.) But a small group of pioneers
These edible cocktails cups are delicious AND good for the environment. We'll toast to that!
These edible cocktails cups are delicious AND good for the environment. We'll toast to that!Loliware

Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to lower your impact on the environment? Turns, out there are some tasty ways to follow through!

In recent months, more and more food companies have begun to focus on the ingredients that go into their products, a welcome effort given the numerous food safety stories we hear about every day. (Arsenic in chicken? No thanks.) But a small group of pioneers have taken this one step further creating sustainable packaging for their goods.

The latest is Loliware, a line of edible flavored cups, created by four Parsons Design School graduates. The cups, which are crafted from fruit pectin and sweetened with evaporated cane crystals, are available in five flavors: salty lime, bitter bitters, sour lemon, sweet vanilla and spicy pepper, and serve as a delightful complement to your favorite cocktail. (Digestible drinkware is sure to give your guests something to talk about too.) The cups have a soft texture that’s easy to bite into but surprisingly durable. And the flavor is seriously intense. I sampled the salty lime version which can only make a mojito or margarita even tastier. While Loliware is currently available only in New York City, the creators hope to have the product distributed nationally in early 2013.

Out west, we’re making strides too. In Austin, grocery store In.gredients, provides a completely package-free experience for its customers. All of the store’s products are stocked sans packaging and shoppers are encouraged to bring their own containers to house grains, oil and dairy products. (If you don’t have your own, In.gredients will give you compostable ones). The store aims to make a dent in the 570 million pounds of food packaging that Americans add to landfills each day. It’s a pursuit that is thankfully catching on among other food purveyors.

Evol Foods burrito bowls are made from sugar cane pulp—material that is otherwise burned or discarded in the sugar production process. Numi Organic Tea not only uses cardboard packaging that’s made from 85 percent post-consumer waste, but their tea bags are made from natural, biodegradable filter paper. And if the idea of buying pre-washed lettuce in a plastic clamshell makes you shudder, opt for Earthbound  Farm Organic, a company that uses 100 percent post-consumer recycled polyethylene teraphthalate (PCR PET) plastic for all their clamshell salad packages. Post-consumer recycled PET is made from plastic products like soda and water bottles that have been used and then recycled. The process saves as many BTUs of energy as 5,000 homes use in one year!

It’s also worth noting that you can use sustainable, eco-friendly paper goods and packaging at your next soiree. SustyParty.com sells a host of products made from sustainable, compostable materials. (And if you live in the NYC area, they’ll even come by and pick up your used party goods for composting.) Full disclosure: I used Susty Party’s products for my sustainable baby shower and I can attest that their products are as pretty as they are practical.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, consider not only what goes into the food you’re buying, but how that food is displayed. Support brands that care as much about the outside of their product as they do about the inside. That’s the only way more food brands will follow suit.

Get more tips and recipes for seasonal eats at Made By Michelle.

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