An interview with the Bay Area’s Sustainability Concierge and Planted Table Member, Friday Apaliski.
PT: What made you want to become a Planted Table member and what do you enjoy most about the service?
Friday: I’ve always wanted to eat vegan food, but I’ve always been intimidated about cooking it. Planted Table is a great way for me to understand and experience the flavors and techniques.
Additionally, as a small business owner who works from home, I found I was just eating a hand full of almonds for lunch.
My husband would go out to lunch daily at work. My son would get fed daily at preschool. But nobody was taking time to cook me a nutritious meal. So I subscribed to Planted Table so I could eat a healthy meal each day.
PT: Tell us more about your business?
Friday: I am a Sustainability Concierge, which means I help people “go green” at home. Because most people want to be more green, but it is just so confusing to know what to do and so hard to find the time to do it. Most people need a little help.
PT: How did you become a sustainability Concierge?
Friday: I started this business after a lifetime of caring for the environment and 6 years of in-depth training at the San Francisco Department Of The Environment. During my time working for city government I would constantly get text messages from friends saying “hey, I know there is a problem with XYZ, can you please just tell me…” “what mattress did you buy, what shampoo do you use, where can I buy a plastic free lunch box, is this thing recyclable, etc etc etc.” People need solutions. They want to do better they just don’t know exactly how. So I started a business to help.
PT:: What is your average day like?
Friday: The best thing about my job is that I don’t have a typical day. Some days I am meeting in clients homes, some days I am writing reports full of solutions, sometimes I spend all day buying and installing LED light bulbs, and sometimes I’m at City Hall advocating for environmental legislation.
PT: In what ways do you help people live a greener life?
Friday: You name it! From using less plastic in the kitchen, to detoxing personal care and cleaning products, to reducing energy use and signing up for 100% renewable power. I am happy to help people wherever they are. Nobody is perfect, but we can all be better. I believe it all starts with one thing.
PT: What are three things people can do to make their home more environmentally friendly?
#1 – If you live in the Bay Area you likely have access to a CCA power option. In SF this is CleanPowerSF. It is a super easy and inexpensive way to sign up for 100% renewable energy. It takes all of 5 minutes (maybe less), costs about as much as a fancy avocado toast, and is easily the most impactful thing you can do today.
#2 – Eat your food. Food waste is a big problem for our planet. When food is in a landfill it emits methane. It is a much better use of resources to eat all your food, rather than compost it. So my trick for that is to store your food in visible containers (glass). If you can’t see what you have in your refrigerator you won’t eat it. That also sometimes means you need to block the back half of your refrigerator space so food doesn’t “get lost”.
#3 – Eliminate the use of toxic cleaning products. This is something that not only effects personal health but also the health of your surrounding environment. I highly recommend all the products made by Meliora. They are all MadeSafe Certified so they are certain to be non-toxic. The company is owned by a fabulous couple in Illinois. Their products are plastic free, work great, and are inexpensive!!
MadeSafe is a great resource for non-toxic products.
Bonus: since we are talking about toxics, ditch all your non-stick pans. All of them. They are filled with gnarly chemicals that get into the water and are bad for everyone. Homework: watch The Devil We Know on Netflix or Dark Waters in theaters now. Both are the story of non-stick PFAS chemicals.
Oh, and the obvious first step that I now frequently forget to mention: refuse single-use items. Bring you own coffee cup. Put a fork in your bag. Carry a cloth napkin. These three things will get you a LONG way.
PT: What are some of the biggest impacts you have made?
Friday: My job is a slow and steady labor of love. But I know I’m making impacts when I see my friends and clients spread the word on their own. When I see the changes they have made and then they ask me “what’s next?”
PT: How can Planted Table readers learn more about you?
Friday: They can follow me on Instagram @Sustainability_Concierge or check out my website www.sustainabilityconcierge.com
PT: Anything else you want to add?
Friday: I feel so lucky to be doing this great work alongside so many other women who turned their passion for the environment into a business. If you look closely you’ll see women supporting women all over this Bay Area network of sustainable businesses.