The never-ending story of farmers, grocery makers, Food Hosts and goings on at the CERES Fair Food warehouse.
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Vic Cardemone is a fixer

In the Fair Food car park a delivery truck returns from a run with its back step dangling off in an alarming angle. Andrew, the driver, gives it a few tugs and the whole thing breaks off, hitting the concrete with a clang.  The call goes over to the CERES Site Team and Vic Cardemone wanders over to take a look.  Vic looks over the broken step and under the truck where it came off. The truck disappears over to the Site workshop and returns later, the step not just fixed but totally redone, held together with strong clean welds, reinforced with a piece of recycled box steel.  The whole thing made better than before.

Vic Cardemone has been fixing things around CERES for the past 14 years, he started volunteering not long after he retired from his job in the workshop at Caterpillar, the heavy machinery company.  Working through a never-ending list of things needing building or fixing, in his own way Vic has kept CERES going and perhaps CERES has kept him going too. Vic turned 80 the other day, (that's him above watching on uncertainly as his 80 candles are ignited with a blow torch).

When it comes to recycling things CERES is a place of huge optimism but the gap between the dream and the reality of making some pile of old rusty steel into something useful is regularly summed up by Vic's well-worn refrain, "What is this f#*!ing s#%t!?".  Invariably however, what emerges is quite the opposite. The results of Vic's patience and skill can be found all over CERES in resurrected gates, bike racks, meter cages, fortress-like steel cupboards and endlessly repaired wheel barrows, trolleys and vehicles.

And like so many "no longer required" people and things that come to CERES, Vic's story is another line in the universal CERES song - a mantra sung to our throw-away world.  In an old unwanted rubbish tip, there is an old unwanted man, making old unwanted things, new again.

Happy Birthday Vic


What's the story with those plastic-lined window bags?

The other day we got an email asking how to recycle the window bags we put oats and rice and things in (like this one in the picture).  The first thing to do with an empty bag is to redeploy it for some other purpose -eg putting other things into it.  As well as holding items these particular bags also make outstanding hand-puppets and at a squeeze will work as an emergency aquarium?  

Anyway, when the bag has reached the end of its useful life and it's time to throw them out the good thing about these bags is that the plastic window part is compostable.  

What does that actually mean you ask?  Well the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) says that in order for a plastic to be called compostable three criteria need to be met:
  • Biodegrade - break down into carbon dioxide, water, biomass at the same rate as cellulose (paper).
  • Disintegrate - the material is indistinguishable in the compost, that it is not visible and needs to be screened out
  • Eco-toxicity - the biodegradation does not produce any toxic material and the compost can support plant growth
The window bag liners, from Detpak, are made of a compostable bioplastic called PLA (aka polylactic acid) which is made from corn or dextrose.  PLA's resins break down at 43C which means they decompose best in a hot compost over 2-4 months, alternatively they'll  take about a year to breakdown in a typical home compost.   To speed up the composting process rip the bags apart so bacteria can get in there and start doing their work as soon as they hit the heap (oh and remember to take the steel wire tie thing out beforehand).

And if you feel like further reducing the energy footprint of our incredibly fortunate but all to easily wasteful lives then one easy but effective thing you can do is flat-pack your used Fair Food box and leave it out at your Food Host or in the spot where your order is dropped off. Your driver will bring it back to the warehouse where it will be lovingly reused or recycled.  

Have a great week


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