Top 10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Halloween

posted in: Blog | 0

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays! It’s a built-in excuse to eat candy, get dressed up, and let loose with good friends.

Here are 10 tips for a zero-waste Halloween:

 

1. Make your own costume or buy secondhand.

Enough Halloween costumes already exist. Get creative and see what you have at home!


2. Trick or Treat with a reusable bag or pillowcase.


3. If you’re handing out candy, try to pick candy packaged in cardboard (Milk Duds, etc).

Every year, over 600,000 tons of candy are purchased: enough to fill 6 Titantic ships. (most is packaged in plastic).


4. Challenge yourself to create a zero-waste item to hand out. (apples, clementines with jack-o-lantern faces drawn on, etc.)


5. Walk with your kids instead of drive.


6. Bake up that pumpkin!

Did you know 1.9 billion pounds of pumpkin are grown in the US every year?! Sadly, a lot of that ends up in the landfill after Halloween. Roast it up and freeze it in jars for all of your pumpkin bread/muffin/soup recipes.


7. Drink wine! (It’s recyclable…)

Bring a reusable cup to parties or a growler of beer. Where drinks are concerned, there are LOTS of options for those 21+. 


8. Take your kids on a walk the day after and bring a bag to clean up your neighborhood. It’ll save lots of plastic wrappers from ending up in a lake (and it’s a great lesson about taking care of the planet).


9. Throwing a party? Do it zero-waste style. Ditch the plastic cups, silverware, and plates. Break out the real glassware! You go from (literally trashy) to classy in two seconds.


10. Have a compost bin ready for whatever is left on your guests’ real plates. Check if your city has a composting program with drop off locations.

Happy Halloween! 

MiNNBOX is hiring!

posted in: Blog | 0

General Manager Position 

 

Requirements:

  • Must be personable and comfortable reaching out to potential new clients for meetings and sales pitches.
  • Have a basic knowledge of computer programs, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Our business message focuses on the zero-waste movement (reduction of single-use plastic). We are looking for someone with an appreciation or passion for the environment

 

Work Environment: Must be able to work well remotely and periodically obtain product at our office space in downtown Duluth.

 

Supervision: Regular meetings over the phone, in person, through email will be expected and scheduled.

 

Compensation/Benefits:

  • Part-time position
  • Paid hourly
  • 30-40 hours a month
  • Hands-on business management experience with meaningful responsibilities
  • Develop relationships with Minnesota business owners and news organizations
  • Public speaking opportunities (if desired)

 

Application Process: Please submit your resume and cover letter to Paula and Dirk Meyer at the contact information listed below.

 

Specific Expectations:

  • Correspond with customers regarding technical and subscription issues
  • Contribute to our social media to help grow and retain our audience
  • Identify and reach out to new product suppliers
  • Help coordinate our quarterly subscription and gift box combinations
  • Assist with assembly and shipping of product
  • Sales:
    • Identify new business clients and individual customers and close new sales with these new customers
    • Take a leading role in maintaining relationships with all our customers
  • Willingness to learn new programs, including WordPress and Sketch.

 

Contact:

MiNNBOX

P.O. Box 3435

Duluth, MN 55803

218-230-8542

www.minnbox.com

Paula Meyer, CEO paula@minnbox.com

Dirk Meyer, COO dirk@minnbox.com

Get Started on Your Zero Waste Journey!

posted in: Blog | 0

There is no better time to start your zero waste journey than right now. For those of you who are considering making this lifestyle change, we have put together a list of Zero Waste Resources to get you started. Here you will find some blogs to follow, and tips to help you make the necessary changes.

Zero waste doesn’t mean you can’t live a beautiful, full life. It just means you have a more active role when making daily decisions. Once you get started, you may even come to realize that it was easier than you expected!

If you have any additional questions or need any further guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to help you get started on a plastic-free minimalistic lifestyle!

 

Photo Credit: Zero Waste Home

 

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

posted in: Blog | 0

Earth Day is this Saturday, and many people are still wondering what they can do to celebrate. For those of you who are unsure, I have compiled a list of 10 things you can do in honor of our Mother Earth.

Give your car a break

If your normal routine involves driving your car to get you wherever you need to be, try something different this Earth Day and give your car the day off. Instead of driving, there are many different environmentally friendly alternatives available. If you own a bike, try biking to your given destination. This will not only help our planet, it will be a great work out for you as well. If you currently do not own a bike, try walking. If the distance is too far for a walk, different modes of transportation like a subway or a bus are great options. These vehicles are more efficient due to the fact that they hold a lot more people for each trip. If you can’t see yourself doing either of the above options, at least try and carpool this Earth Day!

Change all your current bills to e-bills

All of the bills and junk mail we receive takes the lives of millions of trees. To save trees, and even save some time, try switching to electronic bills. With e-bills there is no need for paper, and you can usually use your card to pay them. If you currently are using e-bills but still receive paper copies, Saturday is the day to make the call and stop the unnecessary waste.

Clean up local streams and beaches

It is through our water ways that a lot of waste gets into the ocean and into our food. This Earth Day, try and dedicate some time to picking up trash around local streams and beaches. Trash (especially plastic) can be consumed by local fish, trap wildlife, and even kill certain animals. A beach clean up is a great way to get the whole family involved and outside on this Earth Day!

Fix leaky faucets

If you have leaks in your pipes or faucets that you have been avoiding, Saturday is the day to fix them. Not only will you be able to cross one more thing off your to-do list, it will also help to save a ton of water! Clean drinking water is becoming more scarce each day, and any water saved helps.

Share Knowledge

If you have some environmental knowledge that you would like to share, Earth Day is the perfect time to do so. Knowledge is the key to change. The more we are able to educate the public, the more likely changes will be made. Even a simple conversation can go a long way.

Stop drinking bottled water

Make a pact that you will stop purchasing and drinking bottled water. Each day, millions of plastic water bottles are used once and thrown away. There are many alternatives available, including purchasing a stainless steel re-usable water bottle. This simple change can save you from using a huge amount of plastic.

Start gardening

This doesn’t have to be an elaborate garden where you get all of your produce. Something as simple as a tomato plant, or some herbs can help to eliminate plastic and carbon emissions needed to transport the produce to your plate. If you do want to start planting your own vegetables this year, make Earth Day your planning day and start purchasing your seeds!

Go to a local event

If you have a local Earth Day event in your community, try stopping by and educating yourself on what you can do in your city to help the environment. Many events will have an educational aspect that you and your family can also learn from. These events can be a fun way to get involved and active in your local community.

Plant a tree or some wildflowers

Help the environment by planting a tree, or the bees by planting some wild flowers. The bee population has been dropping dramatically over the last few years, due to pesticide use and habitat loss. Help to rebuild the population by planting more flowers for pollination.

Look at your workplace 

Are there things that your company could be doing to become more environmentally friendly? Are they currently still using styrofoam cups for their coffee, or plastic cutlery in their cafeteria? These little changes can make a big impact over the lifetime of a business. Seeing what changes a company is willing to make may surprise you.

 

Whatever you do this Saturday, do it with the environment in mind. If you live near Duluth Minnesota, stop by the Duluth Farmer’s Market any time between 10am and 3pm to say hello and learn more about what MiNNBOX is doing to minimize our use of plastic and waste. Remember that if each of us try to make a difference, we can have a great impact.

 

 

Zero-Waste Easter Ideas

posted in: Blog | 0

Easter is well known to be a day filled with brunches, spring flowers and warmer weather. It also a day that is filled with plastic, plastic and more plastic. Everything from the Easter egg hunts, to the baskets usually contain a crazy amount of waste. If you are looking to have a “greener” Easter this year, we have come up with some tips to help you out!

 

THE BASKET:0900d71c-fd1b-41e9-a5c6-2cd04cd4d66b_1.5c23cdbff0ad0a2ed07fd7dd2effc186

Easter baskets are traditionally filled with tons of new toys, candy and games. Recently, pre-packaged baskets (like the one in the picture on the right) have become more popular. With this option comes a lot of excessive plastic. This year, try creating your own basket with these tips:

  • Look for a basket or some sort of container that you already have on hand at home. If you do want to buy a new basket, try and make sure it is made out of a natural-non glossy wood fiber that will compost.
  • SKIP the plastic grass! There are so many alternatives. Whether it is using shredded paper, left over yarn, or even a blanket or clothing gift in the basket.
  • Avoid the pre-packaged plastic items. Try and look for goodies that are not packaged, such as goodies from the local bakery, homemade candy, and wooden toys.
  • For the chocolate bunny, look for an option that is wrapped in a tin packaging. Avoid those that are wrapped in plastic, or heavily coated cardboard that is not easily recycled. There are quite a few of these options in stores.

 

THE EGG HUNT: 

As a kid, I remember plastic eggs filled with jelly beans (that came in plastic bags) or tiny little plastic toys that I easter-4never really used. Here are some “greener” options if you plan to do a hunt at your house this year:

  • If you already have plastic eggs, you may as well re-use them until they break or fall apart. If you are looking to buy something new, try wooden eggs like these from Etsy! It could also be a fun craft for your kids to be able to decorate the eggs.
  • If you do not have time for the decorating aspect, there are also Eco Eggs. These eggs are made from plants and are fully compostable once they can no longer be used.
  • To fill the eggs, try to use candy from the bulk section of your local co-op, money, or other small gifts like handmade jewelry.

 

EGG DYEING:

Many households buy white eggs (sometimes packaged in styrofoam..yikes!) from the grocery store, and How-To-Dye-Eggs-Naturally-12dyeing kits that are filled with plastic stickers, egg holders and plastic-packaged coloring tablets. This year try a more natural approach with your egg dyeing festivities.

  • Use cage-free organic brown eggs, in recyclable packaging, or eggs from a local farmer. Brown eggs can be dyed too!
  • Dye your eggs with natural spices and ingredients that you can get at your local co-op. The image to the right show just some of the options. You can also use beets, blueberries and tea.

 

 

These are just a few of the changes you can make to have a greener holiday season. Hopefully these tips help you to minimize some of your waste and to have a very happy Easter!

 

The First Day of Spring

posted in: Blog | 0

The first day of Spring has sprung! It has been a beautiful day in Duluth. We reached 50 degrees and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to pick up some trash along Lake Superior.IMG_3429

During my clean up today, I found everything from plastic water bottles, to popped balloons and even single-use floss sticks (which are so wasteful! They use a ton of unneeded plastic and I found two of them!).When you go out on a day like today, it really opens your eyes as to how much plastic is not discarded properly. Now that all of the snow is melting, there is a lot of garbage that is currently being uncovered. All of the trash and plastic I picked up had the potential of being blown into the lake. In fact, I chased an airhead wrapper until it blew straight off of a cliff and into the water below.

Spring is the perfect time of year to do a little extra when it comes to trash. If you can’t seem to find the time to go out and do a clean up there are many other options. One great thing to do, is to look at ways you can minimize your use of single-use plastic. You can invest in reusable grocery totes if you do not currently use them. If you find that a lot of your plastic comes from personal products, try making your own! A lot of the ingredients can be purchased in bulk at your local co-op and stored in reusable glass jars.

Spring cleaning doesn’t always have to be about scrubbing floors. Spring cleaning can mean pledging to live a cleaner lifestyle with less plastic as well!

The MiNNBOX Team

Change in Subscription Frequency

posted in: Blog | 0

Dear MiNNBOX Subscribers,

As a young, evolving company, we’re still figuring out what works best! 

For many reasons, we have decided to make a significant change to our subscription structure starting April 1, 2017. 

We will be moving all of our monthly subscribers to a quarterly subscription schedule. 

That means you will receive one MiNNBOX every:

April 

July 

October

January 

Existing subscribers will be grandfathered in at their same price: $35.00/quarter (to be charged the month prior to shipment). 

From now until March 31, 2017 new subscribers can also to take advantage of the same great $35.00 rate. 

All new subscribers starting April 1, 2017 will be joining for $40/quarter. As usual, shipping is included in all of our subscription pricing.

This change will allow us to focus on the gift box side of our business and our environmental advocacy efforts, which are ever-growing.

Thank you for your business and for supporting MiNNBOX in its journey to zero-waste! 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

In the meantime, make sure to stay in touch! 

Check out the latest additions to our shop:

www.minnbox.com/shop

Read the latest blog posts here:

www.minnbox.com/blog

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/minnbox

Instagram:

www.instagram.com/minnbox

All the best,

Your MiNNBOX Team

Halfway Point

posted in: Blog | 0

It’s already February 15th and you know what that means? There is only a couple more weeks before the next set of subscription boxes will be sent out. It is also an exciting time of the month because we have just finalized the last product that will be included in the box and we cannot wait to share them with you!

One of the best parts about finalizing what will be included in each box is discussing with the local businesses what they might want their green commitment to be. We always like to make sure that the green commitment should be something that speaks to the business on a personal level. We also want to make sure that the commitment is something that is measurable, realistic, and attainable. This month has some very exciting and unique green commitments that really speak for each businesses mission.

There is only 14 more days until we are able to share all of these amazing commitments and products. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

-The MiNNBOX Team

One Month at MiNNBOX

posted in: Blog | 0

Hey guys!15826496_1144326909020229_8343643629151625238_n

My name is Devin Lenzmeier and I am the new General Manager of MiNNBOX. If you didn’t see the introductory post that was shared about me, I decided to share a little about myself and what it has been like working for this amazing company for one month (I can’t believe its already been a month!!). I recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I absolutely love the Duluth area and was really hoping to be able to stay upon graduation. Thankfully, I came across this wonderful opportunity at MiNNBOX.

When I first met with Paula and Dirk and heard about the mission behind their business, I knew it was going to be a great fit. I have always felt the proudest of my work when I am doing it for the greater good. The commitment to the environment that has been set by MiNNBOX is admirable in so many ways. Plastic has become so ingrained in our society that many of us do not think of the issues surrounding it. The more I learn about the problems that single use plastics bring to our planet, the more I am trying to educate those around me.

In one month at MiNNBOX, I see myself growing in ways that I didn’t even imagine. I have learned the ins and outs of what it takes to run a subscription box business. I have been in meetings with small local businesses that gave me such great happiness, and I have learned how many great local products Minnesota has to offer. Being able to network and meet the owners of businesses local to Minnesota has to be my favorite part of working for MiNNBOX so far. I know that I still have a lot to learn, but I cannot wait to see the kind of change that MiNNBOX brings to the Minnesotan communities. I cannot thank Paula and Dirk enough for asking me to join their team, and mentoring me along the way.

Cheers to a month at MiNNBOX, and knowing that the best is still yet to come!

-Devin 🙂

 

The MiNNBOX Extra

posted in: Blog | 0

MiNNBOX Water BottleMiNNBOX extras are meant as lifestyle items to help customers reduce reliance on everyday single-use plastics. In the past we’ve included products like bamboo toothbrushes, stainless-steel straws, and other similar items. If we can’t find a Minnesota maker for these, we are forced to look elsewhere. These are items that, unfortunately, are not always found in the US either in whole or in part. The bamboo toothbrushes, for example, are partially made in California and partially in China. That company is absolutely the greenest company for that item and economics mean certain components are made abroad.

Even some of our local makers have component parts made in China. The glass jars they use, some of their fabrics, and other parts are sourced elsewhere. If we could make sure that every single item used in our packaging was made in Minnesota, we would. Our next step, for example, is to look for bulk popcorn grown in Minnesota.

For our “MiNNBOX extras,” we have to evaluate pros and cons for the greater good. For this month, it was about finding a water bottle that could last for years and replace hundreds of plastic water bottles from ending up in the ocean or the landfill. For us, that was more important than a Minnesota source, since none could be found.

On top of that, we also have to evaluate cost. We are on the upper-end of the subscription box price-point because we pay our Minnesota small businesses true wholesale price. We work tirelessly each day to make sure all elements are either recyclable or compostable, down to the plant-based tape we use. Every now and then, the “extra item” (and we want to keep including them) will not be made in Minnesota.

We thought it was important to share this additional information about our extra items in the MiNNBOX subscriptions. If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to hit the contact button and we will be sure to answer them.

 

-The MiNNBOX Team

 

Box Review – The first three months

posted in: Blog | 0

Here is a review of our first three months worth of MiNNBOX!

 

In August we featured:

  • Vestiges Vintage Kitchen Towel
  • Organic Columbian Coffee from Duluth Coffee Co
  • Organic SunCream by Wildroots
  • Handmade MiNNBOX Coffee Mug by Dorian Beaulieu
  • MiNNBOX Extra: Skoy Cleaning Cloth

August MiNNBOX

 

Our July box included:

  • Lazy Monk snack bag
  • Duluth Preserving Co Jam
  • Epicurean Cutting Board
  • Untainted Lip Balm
  • MiNNBOX Extra: Stainless Steel Straw
July MiNNBOX

 

 

Our first ever MiNNBOX in June included:

  • Great Northern Candle Co Soy Candle
  • Lake Superior Honey Co Organic Honey
  • Gracia’s Great Lakes Soap
  • Duluth Pack Tote Bag
  • MiNNBOX Extra: Chemical Free Laundry Detergent

MiNNBOX Deluxe

 

Three Month-Iversary Recap

posted in: Blog | 0

cake
On August 1st we will send out the third run of subscription boxes! If you’re close to How Sweet it Is Cakes in Duluth on Monday, come celebrate over the noon hour for a free anniversary sweet!

We have come a LONG way in a few short months. Here are some of the highlights and what YOU have helped facilitate with your support.

Green Commitments

Over the last three months we’ve seen:
  • Over $500.00 donated to environmental groups throughout the state
  • Beach cleanups along the shores of Lake Superior
  • Dozens upon dozens of wildflowers have been planted to help support a healthy bee community
  • Single-use plastic avoided in a host of products.
BClean2
Duluth Pack Beach Cleanup
BClean
Duluth Pack Beach Cleanup

Where do we go from here?

IMG_3629
Emmy

Starting in September, we are going to start offering periodic, themed box combinations. We realize that some people want at least a hint at the types of items they will be receiving.

Our first theme will be a Get Outdoors MiNNBOX in September. In it you’ll find lots of items you would use on any camping/outdoor adventure. Summer is SO short in Minnesota, so this is the perfect zero-waste gift for you or any outdoor enthusiast in your life.

One of the most special themes that we have coming up this fall is a dog theme: the Emmy, honoring our beloved friend that was taken from us much too early.

With this theme, we will be asking our subscribers to submit names of a pet that has had an impact on their life, past or present. These names will be compiled and listed in that MiNNBOX. With each of those boxes sold we will be making a donation to Animal Allies, a rescue organization based in Duluth, Minnesota.

It’s Almost Shipping Day!

posted in: Blog | 0

June 1 is upon us. Each MiNNBOX has been wrapped with care, sealed with compostable plant-based tape, and ready to set out for destinations all over the country. If you had asked us a year ago whether we thought this was possible, we would have disagreed. At that point it was just a crazy idea.

The response has been more than we could have imagined. Businesses have jumped on the Green Commitment idea and we’ve been working together to make some very positive changes. Make sure to keep following the website to see updates about all of their projects and accomplishments!

When the boxes go out on June 1, we will have to hand each MiNNBOX off to our trusted mail carrier. We will cross our fingers that each and every MiNNBOX gets to its destination timely, in one perfect piece, and that when you open it you’ll be so very happy. If you have suggestions for improvements, call or e-mail us and we will look at how we can be better. At this point we are constantly learning by experience and will continue to work out kinks for the next few months. Please be patient and know that we’re doing our best to make sure MiNNBOX is a great experience for everyone involved.

 

The downside of free shipping

posted in: Blog | 0

Flat Rate Mailing (Excess Packaging Woes)

USPS Mailing Pic

Many of you (like me) will wonder why we’ve elected to ship using flat-rate mailers. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? Put a beautiful box inside another box? That’s wasteful.

Believe me, friends, we tried. After a lot of exploring different options, we realized that if we did it any other way, we couldn’t make MiNNBOX work. It would simply be too expensive for the customer. We had shipping quotes as high as $28 and nothing cheaper than the flat rate. That’s $28 PER box. That means a vast majority of consumers, even if they believed in the idea, would not be able to access the product.

So for now, that’s what we have. Make sure to recycle the mailing boxes you receive and the envelopes. That’s an order! 😉

Branding Video

posted in: Blog | 0

 

To celebrate the arrival of our branding iron we had a little dinner party!

The iron will be used to brand all of our boxes, wooden as well as cardboard.

By the way, the gentleman behind me during the first shot is Cal Metts. He’s the one who hand-makes our beautiful wooden boxes!

Enjoy!