AP Climate Solutions


Letters: The Art of Free Speech


Letter to Whole Foods management regarding their excess thermal receipt printing:

August 7, 2019

Thank you Ms Fox for getting back to me.

I am a Berkeley resident, and recently volunteered to help Berkeley reach its voter approved 2020 Zero Waste Goals.

Several Whole Foods customers I know have mentioned the change in receipt policy at your store and are concerned with both the needlessly generated paper waste when unwanted receipts are printed as well as the stores policy of discarding those receipts into the city's compost. One customer, the Chair of the Zero Waste Commission did seek answers but found she was getting nowhere with your Customer Service. When she expressed her grave concerns to me about your changed policy and composting, I offered to help pursue the issue.

Your Whole Foods cashiers explain they don't have the option anymore to prevent the receipts from printing, but assure customers the unwanted receipts are recycled in the city's compost. Evidently printed receipts are necessary for returns. Cashiers also explain that the thermal paper Whole Foods uses is BPA free. You are the first manager to respond, and I greatly appreciate that you have. If you are not the decision maker for receipt process or thermal paper purchase, please share my email with those who do make those decisions.

I realize Whole Foods is not the only grocery printing thermal paper receipts and that no regulation requires you use Phenol-Free thermal paper. Whole Food's image purports they are more environmentally aware and observant than the other grocery stores. Your response will let us know if that is true.

There are two concerns I'd like to bring to your attention today.
First, and a Zero waste principle main concern, is the generation of unnecessary waste. The receipt should not be printed if the customer doesn't want it. Utilize your electronic system to email receipts to Prime members and when time permits expand that question to every customer. A large chain CVS already does this. For returns, customers without receipts are usually satisfied with Safeway and Lucky's policy of store credit or exchange.

Berkeley doesn't want non-nutritious receipts in compost, and thermal paper suppliers recommend none of their paper be composted. Martin Bourque, Berkeley's Executive Director of The Ecology Center, who provide all of Berkeley's residential pick up services do not want any receipt tape with BPA or BPS to enter the recycling system, as the water in the paper recycling process releases the chemicals, which are not extractable at discharge. Your unwanted receipts must go to landfill and that directly conflicts with Berkeley's Zero Waste goal.

Second, regarding ill health effects of phenol chemicals (BPA and BPS.)
Scientific studies still do not prove ill health effects. NTD's abstract from their Sept 2018 study shows only minor effects correlate to exposure, and that these might be expected from such a large data set.

Continuing NTD studies remain inconclusive, and Clarity-BPA Report” is expected Fall 2019.

But European studies show the chemicals as more egregious and started reducing acceptable exposure levels as far back 2015.

As American studies have not establish ill health effects in rats I can't regulate you change for that reason, but a responsible food distributor might not want to expose their customers and employees, especially their cashiers, to a chemical based on an animal who's short lifetime may not show the delayed consequences a human could experience. A chemical that could seriously impact their health and the health of their families.

As studies crawl to conclusions, unplanned health risks and higher medical costs may be the real rewards for a poorly designed receipt printing process where cashiers must handle extra thermal paper or for the few dollars saved by not purchasing BPA and BPS free paper. I don't think that's what Whole Foods is about. Am I wrong?

When processes need to be changed its good to learn from the efforts of others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided the initial funding for Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's work on thermal paper.

contains suggestions and help for businesses keep their employees healthy and their businesses ecologically cutting edge.

Please reply so I know you received this email. I will wait until the end of August to hear back from Whole Foods regarding my requests, before proceeding through other channels.

Thank you for your time and attention,
Adele Poenisch


Letter to George Clooney, born and raised in Kentucky, to consider running against Mitch McConnell.

Verified 7-29-19 that Clooney publicist, Stan Rosenfield, has forwarded my letter to Mr. Clooney.

Meanwhile, donate to Amy McGrath, a very qualified Kentuckian, who has already announced her run against McConnell.  She is up against his huge money supporters.  Meanwhile, McConnell polls at 36% in his state, the lowest of any Senator running for re-election.

July 22, 2019

Stan Rosenfield & Associates - Los Angeles
2029 Century Park East
Suite 1190
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Dear Mr. Rosenfield,

Please forward my email (sent July 22, 2019) or this letter to George Clooney. Thank you.

Dear Mr. Clooney,

Mitch McConnell is the person who is breaking our democracy. It doesn't matter if he is majority or minority leader. He propagates the abilities for a tyrant to operate, promotes torture and inhumane treatment, condones elections to be rigged. He stops all good from happening in our country. He is worse than Trump and more powerful.

That is why I'm asking you to consider running against Mitch McConnell in your home state of Kentucky. Removing him entirely is necessary to eliminate his influence.

Even though McConnell polls at 36% in his state, the lowest of all Senators up for re-election, you may be the only person capable of defeating him, because he is backed by powerful anti-environment lobbyists. You have name recognition and notoriety; both would immediately garner votes in Kentucky. Your progressive ideas can give Kentuckians hope for their future, unlike McConnell who has not improved their lives during all his years of service. He has made Kentuckians the poster-child of a backward non-thinking society.

I realize what I'm asking you may not be a mission you want to accept. But to not accept may be worse for your family as they are part of this world. We all must do what we can to save our planet and democracy. For the sake of our children we must do what we can to prevent devastating war. This is what you can do.

Thank you for considering,

Adele Poenisch

Calls for Action:


Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state is the only 2020 presidential candidate running on a strictly climate change solution platform.  Right now he is very behind and trying to get enough individuals to donate so he qualifies for the 3rd debate.  To qualify for the debate candidates need 130,000 individuals from 20 states.  Donations can be as small as $1.  Even if he isn't your favorite consider donating to keep climate change highlighted and in the conversation.