HAPPY SPRING 3/25/2021

Quick things:


Hi friends! First, a couple of follow up notes from last week’s missive about plastics

  1. Several of you (I’m sorry I didn’t reply to you all individually!) sent me links to segments from NPR’s series last year about plastics. Relevant, for sure, so thought you all might like to see them as well — here’s their quick summary article, and here’s a link to the “Plastic Wars” episode of Frontline (which I haven’t watched).
  2. I said last week that our plastic carrier (grocery) bags were 100% recycled plastic, but then I looked at the bags themselves this week and this round actually says 25% recycled. I’m not sure if this varies by manufacturing lot or by colorway — I do know we’ve had some from the same line that said 100% — so looking into that/talking to our vendor is now on my to do list. Maybe not in the immediate future.
  3. The focus of the NPR series linked above, or at least a focus, is that the plastics industry lied about the viability of recycling, and that very little plastic is actually recycled. I 100% believe this to be true. But! some plastics are easily recycled and/or can be recycled multiple times. PET (with a recycling symbol of #1 cuz it’s #1) is the highest on this list — it’s super recyclable, and can be recycled multiple times. I’ve got some little mental rules about what plastic is worth rinsing before throwing in the recycling bin or what should just be thrown away (because if it’s not going to be recycled anyway, might as well not contaminate the stream or waste the water, right?), and if it’s PET I think it’s worth rinsing. #2 (milk jugs), HDPE, is also easily and commonly recycled. My understanding is that #2 can’t be recycled as many times as #1, but it can be more safely reused prior to recycling. #3 is bad! Reject #3 (PVC). #4 is film, like grocery bags, and can easily be recycled but it’s less common because it can’t be put in with your curbside recycling (because it’ll get caught in sorting machines). Instead, bring it to R&R! #5, Polypropylene, has historically not been recycled, but new innovations in the last couple of years are showing some promise. However, it is often very suitable for re-use — it’s what the nice takeout containers are made of, the ones that you save to use for times when you don’t want to risk your glass storage containers. After that, though, is where it really gets ugly — #6 (foam) is not commonly recycled. #7 (other) — well. No. My point here is — what plastic you’re using really does matter if we’re trying to create a closed loop, and basically, the lower the number, the more recyclable it is.
  4. While trying to verify what the less commonly recycled numbers were (I feel like PET and I are pretty intimate, #4 and I have gotten to know each other pretty well lately, and #5 I have a complicated relationship with — but all the others, I know relatively little about), I fell down a rabbit hole of some interesting things you might also be interested in, like Loop, which is working with national brands to package products in returnable containers (for a deposit),and Terracycle, which partners with brands to help recycle hard-to-recycle packaging, and offers pre-paid “zero waste” boxes that basically enable you to pay for the sorting and processing of things your curbside bin won’t take. I don’t have any experience with either of these companies.

I *do* have experience with RADISHES and that’s what I actually want to talk about this evening. RADISHES! It’s spring.

Do you know the story behind our name?

It starts nearly fifteen years ago(!?!?!), when I spent my days behind the front desk at The Circle School. That desk was the hub of the school, with a constantly ringing phone, and a constant stream of folks walking in and saying, “Have you seen….?” At some point I bought walkie talkies to give to two of my commonly-requested and often hard-to-find colleagues — two colleagues who happened to be named JD and dee, respectively. (Yes, “dee” is deliberately lowercase.)

It didn’t take long for us all to realize that, over walkie talkies, “dee” and “JD” are indistinguishable. We needed handles. “What do you want your walkie talkie handle to be?” I asked dee. “Well,” she said, “My grandmother used to call me Pumpkin and I liked that, so I’ll be Pumpkin.” JD didn’t have a choice — he’s tall and skinny and often wore a green sweatshirt. He was clearly Green Bean. “And what about you?” they asked. I didn’t really think I needed a handle since my name wouldn’t be confused with anyone else’s, but after not very much thought I said, “Radish!”

And so for the better part of a decade, every morning when JD — I mean Green Bean! — got to his desk, he’d turn on his walkie talkie and say, “Good morning, Radish.” “Good morning, Green Bean,” I’d say in reply. Sometimes JD would be with a group of young children by the time he got around to the walkie talkie, and he’d let them greet me. If I heard a chorus of little voices, my response was, “Good morning, Brussels Sprouts!”

We’re approaching six years now since Dusty and I started brainstorming names for this business adventure we were about to embark upon. We came up with some real stinkers, and very nearly settled on one. It just didn’t quiiiiite click, though, so we kept thinking. One evening we were sitting around, me at the laptop, him maybe sketching on real paper, and he said something like, “Your nickname at school is Radish, right? What about something with that?”

I honestly don’t really remember what happened next, or how long it took, but in my memory it was like as soon as he said that something clicked and the logo appeared on my computer screen as if it sprang from my head as Athena from Zeus. I don’t think that’s really quite how it happened, but settling on the name, at least, took only minutes after Dusty’s initial idea.

At some point, people started asking us (not that often), “So who’s Radish and who’s Rye?” We’ve got a schtick. Dusty says, “She’s Radish because she’s small and spicy,” and I say, “And he’s Rye because he’s tall and likes whiskey!”

I tell you all this to say — I didn’t have any particular feelings about radishes when I chose my walkie talkie handle all those years ago, and I really have no idea why I even selected them as my patron vegetable. But, over the years, I sure have developed an affinity for them. Let me count the ways — they are crunchy and spicy and fresh; they’re one of the first non-leaf new things to appear in the spring; they’re great for snacking or garnishing or dipping or slicing and layering onto buttered bread; they’re VIBRANT and also super cute. But also did I mention that they’re one of the first new things to appear in spring? It’s enough to make my heart sing.

Maybe, really, I tell you all this to say — HAPPY SPRING!

<3 Julia (aka Radish)