Archive for A Greener World

Welcome Chicagoland’s First Vegan Shoe Boutique!

Amour De La Terre photo

Amour De La Terre Photo

I am over the moon excited for a friend of mine who has just opened Chicagoland’s first vegan shoe store. Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

The store boasts “Beautiful shoes with beautiful souls.” These shoes are Vegan, eco-friendly and ethically produced!

Alisha Kettner with her husband Kris, opened this little gem in Oak Park, Illinois on August 6th, 2014. Their grand opening will be this weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11-6.  I am excited to be going for the ribbon cutting, which is first thing Friday. I would love to see you there! See below for details.

Some people are very curious… why vegan shoes? Alisha recently had a great interview with Ashley Gilday.  Here is a little insight from Alisha:

“I learned of the toxic chemicals used to prepare the animal skins (into leather), the contamination of waterways, the massive amounts of water used, the high incidence of cancer in leather tannery workers, the frequent child-labor involved and the animal abuse, specific to the leather industry. The thing that really pushed me over the edge was learning that some of the leather we buy can be cat or dog skin!”

Read the entire interview here to learn more about Alisha and her reasons for opening a vegan shoe store. You can also read more about Amour de la Terre on their website.

I personally learned the ugly truth about the leather industry from the much recommended documentary Earthlings. We all think we know before we dig deeper, but we really have noooooo freakin’ idea.  I have had dreams of shopping at a vegan shoe store ever since.

I met Alisha a few years ago when she was a beautiful bride (and vegetarian at the time). I had the pleasure of doing her wedding hair.  One wonderful day, while we were practicing her updo we had a conversation about vegetarian vs. vegan. She wondered how I could live without cheese as a vegan, and I shared with her a little truth about the dairy industry. Voila, another vegan couple was born. I say couple because Alisha’s wonderful husband Kris followed her lead. Well, I guess it really wasn’t voila… it was actually after doing her own homework and research that she came to the vegan conclusion. But still, isn’t that cool? I had no idea that a little inspiration and meaningful conversation would lead to a much needed vegan shoe boutique! YOU are ALL very welcome. Lol!

I always say, if I can inspire just one person, it’s all worthwhile… and this is really really exciting for me because Alisha is someone I am so proud to have inspired, and in turn she will inspire so many more through her beautiful store.  You never know who you might inspire or how you might play an important role in others lives. So vegans… please keep on being your awesome vegan selves and sharing your light and your knowledge. We are making a difference!

Again, this weekend will be the grand opening of Amour de la Terre at 130 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60301. Come see it for yourself and enjoy some snacks and enter the raffle. It is sure to be a fabulous time. By the way, you certainly don’t need to be vegan to visit Amour de la Terre. Beautiful shoes are beautiful shoes. And if veganism is a new concept that speaks to you, taking “steps” toward a better planet while rocking some cool shoes is an awesome start. You can find Amour de la Terre at their website: Amour de la Terre,  on Facebook, and on Instagram

Amour De La Terre in local news paper

See you soon,

~The Karmatarian


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A Message from Hurricane Sandy

So many good hearted people want to change the world… as long as they don’t have to change themselves. Therefore, not much changes. But it seems that Mother Nature has had enough. To the earth, we humans are like fleas on a dog and she is in dire need of a flea bath. In order to remain as an inhabitants on this big old dog, we are going to have to change our outdated ways and evolve for the benefit of all, not just a few greedy corporations.

Meteorologists claim that hurricane Sandy is the biggest storm in modern US history! Scientists warn that because of global warming, we have set a new trend helping to create monster storms like hurricane Sandy become the new norm.

Think about it… it was the BIGGEST storm to hit the US!! Are we listening now? Hurricane Sandy’s message seems loud and clear. Change needs to happen.

But is Sandy a result of global warming or could this be God’s will to wake us up and make us work together, take heart and help our fellow humans? Could this be related to the numeric energy of 2012 being a 5? Remember my post at the beginning of the year, predicting record breaking weather events?!

If you do not believe in global warming, as it seems controversial, with a little research you will certainly believe in “intelligent” human beings absolutely destroying our planet’s non-renewable resources, producing massive pollution, species extinction, deforestation, land erosion and water contamination and much more.

It’s very real, whether it warms the globe or not.

I don’t disagree with global warming, but I have my suspicion that this storm is spiritual and energetic and perhaps one of the changes predicted that will help to awaken our planet as we move into the golden age of Aquarius. I also believe our individual energy plays into the energy of the whole. Our everyday choices build up and contribute to the consequences.

Global warming or not, it is going to be impossible for us to keep up at our desired standard of living with the rate of our population expansion. And I am no scientist. It’s common sense. Something has to give!

People automatically think that I am vegan for the animals… others understand that I also enjoy the lifestyle for the amazing health benefits and delicious food, but most people don’t have a clue that veganism is the future, I am just ahead of the game, and it’s eventually going to be mandatory for our mere existence on this planet. Veganism has a very small carbon footprint compared to that of meat eater and even surprisingly smaller than Prius owner.

Veganism heals the planet from our destruction.

The United Nations report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems.. All the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also states that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level, local and global.

Based on this report, senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization official Dr. Henning Steinfeld stated that “the meat industry is one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems and that urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

How many “Hurricane Sandy’s” will we have to endure before the majority finally make the connection? I am a little scared, aren’t you? This storm along with many other freak weather patterns is most likely the result of systematic consequences related to our everyday choices; diet being our most important choice having the biggest impact on our environment. Period.

When change is eventually thrust upon us all at some point in the near future, I bet many will be wondering if it wouldn’t of been easier had we done it on our own terms…voluntarily? Don’t expect the government to do too much at this point as the food industry is so interwoven in and around greed throughout our politics. Change is up to us as individuals. Unfortunately, we are a reactive culture and change usually results in response to catastrophes. So hold on tight. More is surely heading our way!

I highly recommend education and the internet. The internet is the coolest place with truth being revealed anywhere and everywhere you are willing to see it. Take one month and dedicate it to researching food production and animal exploitation regarding food production and then please let me know when exactly it was that you became vegan as a result. That is if you are courageous enough to be the change. It’s important to be educated about these topics as we certainly don’t learn this stuff in school.

Sometimes we need to be moved with our senses, so don’t just take my word for it. Listen to this passionate 10  minute speech by Phillip Wollen, the former CEO of Citibank. I posted this before, but in case you missed it, here is another chance to catch it. It is powerful, educational and will get you thinking. It is worth every minute.

We have to start somewhere. If it’s not by my inspiration, please let someone inspire you who is helping to make a positive impact on the world. Ask yourself what you can do and then do it. And always know that I am here along with 600 million others who choose vegetarian or vegan, so you are not alone in being part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Eating greener and kinder is an easy, wonderful and fulfilling lifestyle. There is not just one reason to go vegan, there are 101 reasons to go vegan!

Be the change you wish to see.

Many prayers, love, and light go out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, the largest storm that in my opinion served a huge purpose. I am listening.

Do you believe in global warming? What is your take on the message that hurricane Sandy delivered this week? Spiritual? Energetic? Cyclical?

Enjoy the Journey,

~The Karmatarian

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A Powerful Vegan Speech with WOW Factor!

If there is suffering on your plate… there is suffering in your future.

~ Unknown

If this isn’t the best speech I have heard in a long time! Wow Wow and WOW! Feel this man’s passion!!! It gives me chills each and every time I listen to it. Don’t let the title scare you. Hear and learn in ten minutes what I have been learning about for the past 5 years! Really take in what this man is saying with an open mind. I wish this was me up there at that podium! This explains so much about my path and my passion and the passion of so many like minded people.

This is more than a fantastic reminder of why to choose plant based! I hope Phillip Wollen’s speech helps you as much as it did me, to remain STRONG on this path. This couldn’t of come at a better time. This week, there has been a bit of a questioning in my soul as others questioned me and caused me to second guess my choices. I am grateful this happened because it made me ask. I received an answer and it strengthened my character just that much more.

It absolutely never fails… when I quietly ask God, the universe, infinite intelligence or the higher power (or whatever you choose to call it) to show me an answer to my question, and when I let it go and forget about it, I always wake up to the answer within a day or two. It usually hits me SMACK across the face! This video was my answer. It appeared in my experience after I asked WHY? Why did I wake up to the mess we have created here on earth, while so many others are still asleep? It’s not an easy path at times. Why do I have such strong convictions for peace on earth? More importantly, why am I questioned by those who wish and choose to remain in the dark and continue to contribute to the mess? Shouldn’t I be questioning them? How is it that I am extreme? People kill emotional, thinking and feeling beings by the billions per week. Aren’t they really the extremists? What is so wrong with having and showing compassion for those with no voice? Why is it a sign of weakness to the opposed when someone shows mercy for the planet and animals? Why am I holding strong, choosing vegan and feeling the push to educate? Why me… when I could easily remain ignorant too.

“Let’s just call things what they are. When a man’s love of finery clouds his moral judgment, that is vanity. When he lets a demanding palate make his moral choices, that is gluttony. When he ascribes the divine will to his own whims, that is pride. And when he gets angry at being reminded of animal suffering that his own daily choices might help avoid, that is moral cowardice.”

~Matthew Scully

Choosing vegan is not always easy and (unfortunately) it makes you different. People don’t like when someone they know is being or acting different. People naturally want others to be the same. This point has been used against me, too and I get it. But the way I see it… anything on the flip side of choosing vegan and choosing peace, when those choices factually and clearly cause suffering on so many different levels only contribute to the death energy of our culture. How is this good and how can it be defended in any way at all? Except for the fact that we were born into it. But now we have the opportunity to get educated and do what we can to stop contributing to the disaster. It has been confirmed by Cornell and Harvard that the amount of animal foods we need in our diet for good health is precisely ZERO.

Veganism isn’t a religion, it’s based on cold hard facts. I believe that humans are inherently good and this is still true of carnivores, for which I was once one. But this is why vegans educate. We won’t get anywhere in our evolution towards peace by being silent about things that matter. The world needs educators. This world needs vegans. Until all religions practice what they preach, I guess we the vegans are the preachers! So be it.

“If we all understand that animals can use their eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, mouths to eat, legs to walk, feathers to fly, fins to swim, genitalia to procreate, bowels to defecate. I’m always perplexed that most people don’t believe that they can also use their brains to think.

~Gary Yourofsky

My questioning goes further…Why do I feel such opposition to something that is so wanted by so many people… Peace on earth? They say they want it… But how are they going about creating it? Actions speak louder than words.

I do feel that I am on the right path, but why is it so damn frustrating at times? Should I give in and just give up on peace? My answer was clear. NO. “The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones”. We evolve…. we are still evolving and we are heading into the age of Aquarius – the Golden Age – when peace is finally at the forefront. This revolution needs pioneers. I guess I was picked to be one of them. I really hope to see vegans out number the unconscious at some point in my lifetime and I hope it’s before the year 2048 when the oceans run dry and my son and his children have to deal with it. Pass the buck… hasn’t this been the way all along?

This FACT about destroying our waterways and ocean was confirmed by Cornell University’s Oceanography Professor, Bruce Monger, who lectured in my plant based nutrition course. It’s Cornell! Not some unknown, credit-less university. We also had David Pimentel, Professor of Ecology and Agricultural Sciences from Cornell teaching us the facts and how we are destroying the earth with our Western diet choices! So if you have to, forget optimal health, forget animal suffering. This planet is going down, simply due to food production, and that’s enough reason on it’s own to preach a plant based diet! The good news… Over 600 Million vegetarians and counting. It is comforting for me to know that among this group, we all have one thing in common and it’s found within our hearts. Peace.

If you know anything about quantum energy and how it works – by contributing to bloodshed, it just creates more bloodshed. Human bloodshed, animal bloodshed… Blood is blood. There’s nothing peaceful about it. What’s more is that the greed of people on this planet is beyond reasonable. “The Earth can produce enough food for our need but not enough for our Greed”. Perfectly stated. Thank you, Phillip Wollen. Follow his Facebook Page to keep up with this amazing hero! I also found his website. There is something fascinating about a man who exudes confidence and compassion and a has a burning passion in his heart to end suffering and bring peace. A man who is also fearless in spreading the word of peace even though he knows he will be greatly opposed… Uh…kinda reminds me of Jesus, wouldn’t you say?

Too often, I am afraid of speaking my mind on my own damn blog for fear of offending someone. Well I am over it. I should be the one offended by those not taking the free education that I offer and then choosing better. It’s not hard. Where we are heading is going to be a lot harder. I am also a bit fed up with those who choose to debate me but who refuse to educate themselves on the topic. They just all of the sudden become an expert nutritionist or biologist. I actually study this stuff for a living. I wasn’t born vegan. It was an educated choice. It was the smartest choice I saw fit for the best in health for me, my family and everyone around me who benefits from my choices. I should be thanked, honored, and rolled out a red carpet. To be and do different (in the name of peace) in this world takes bravery. Period. If I reflect to those a lack in ability to live up to their fullest potential to be and do their best in this lifetime, instead of perceiving this as a threat of some kind, use this reflection to take a closer look at the ways in which you can do better. For your best health and the world around you.

Let me please share and clarify where I stand. At first, when my eyes were freshly opened to our food production system. I was horrified. I did open my big mouth on Facebook and post a lot of animal rights issues. My friends may have branded me for that. I do not apologize for it by any means BUT I have come to learn that people don’t respond well to animal suffering for whatever reasons that their egos use to protect them. I have however, for my own sanity, switched my main focus back to health because animal suffering is not a fun topic… and what do you know? I’ll say it again… It has been confirmed by Cornell and Harvard that the amount of animal foods we need in our diet for good health is precisely ZERO. So my education in plant based nutrition only solidified that I was on the right path from the start. When we honor ourselves and eat whole plant based foods. Everyone wins. Studying nutrition and becoming certified in plant based nutrition has helped to shift my focus from shock and awe of animal abuse back toward helping people beat and avoid horrific diseases that are coincidentally only caused by animal foods. This is a win win! I still haven’t forgotten the animals and I never will. Why? Because we are all one. We are all connected. Because that animal who suffers is you… and me.

Inevitably, there will be more peace energy on this earth when the majority finally decide to eat the way that God intended. That damn flood had to go and ruin everything! Give people an inch and they take a mile… in this case they are taking down the whole damn planet!

In this weeks conclusion, I settled back onto my path with stronger convictions than ever before and I was reminded of a few amazing quotes –

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”

~Arthur Schopenhauer

And when this day comes, where truth is all of the sudden self evident to those who question and oppose me now, I will have to write another blog post about how pissed off I am that at times it felt like my quest for peace never existed in this equation in the first place… even though I stood here all along beating this BIG ASS DRUM! Lol

The most important thing to remember for those of us who strongly choose to light the way… let it be by way of education and living a great example, even a good debate every now and then but NO judgment…. Even still, your opposition will try to knock you down. Just get back up! Because for every one who can’t see the light, there are ten others who will, and it’s because of the torch we carry.  The good news is, that we are all to start waking up. 2012 is just the beginning. If you are one on this vegan path, I just want to say thank you for adding to the collective energy that will shift this dark planet into the light! I have no doubt this is right where I belong.

So take a few minutes to hear one of the best speeches toward peace on earth and leave me your thoughts in the comments below!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

~Martin Luther King Jr.

Enjoy the journey,

This rant brought to you by…

~The Karmatarian

PS. If you subscribe via Email, you may be missing some of the photos and videos so please visit my site and please join me on Facebook so we can light this world together!

PSS. The recipe didn’t win out this week. Lol… Next week! I try to write this blog organically, what is strong in my experience at the time gets put out there into the universe, as there must be a reason for it’s timing.

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Zullo’s is a Zero Waste Kitchen… Is Yours?


Waste~ produced every single day, averages out to about 2,000 pounds per person! And I did say per day! The majority of this waste comes from the Food Industry. From how the animals are raised, the produce grown, to all the materials produced, used and discarded into landfills, the food industry is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage.

A few reasons to buy local~  ever consider how far food has to travel to reach the grocery store or your local  restaurant?  Try an average of 1,500 miles!  To make the long trek, food has to be doused in chemicals to keep it “fresh” on top of all the pesticides and  herbicides it takes to grow if it isn’t organic.  Unnecessary transportation only adds to environmental damage.

Good news~ there are conscious, passionate leaders in the food service industry who are devoted to help shift it to an environmentally sustainable evolution. Dear fellow vegans, this may not be a vegan restaurant, but promoting organic, local and seasonal is a major stepping stone in the right direction for the food industry. They are helping  promote awareness.  It’s highly commendable!


Adriana Marzullo, Creator and Owner of Zullo’s, an organic Italian restaurant founded on the principle of sustainability based at the French Market in Chicago, provides fresh, seasonal and organic Italian food which all comes from local farmers! Adriana wanted to recreate the essence of her family’s heritage from the Molise province of Southern Italy, the town of Castel San Vincenzo. Zullo’s menu is made up of rustic recipes that are passed down from Adriana’s grandmothers, all while keeping the environment in mind.

Going Green = More Green $

To create a green business plan, Adriana sought out the help of a well respected Chicago Chef, Caterer and Consultant, Greg Christian who’s Sustainability Consulting company helps the food service industry reduce their environmental footprint and become more profitable by going green. Greg has over 25 years experience in food service, catering, and sustainability.   Click to read more about Greg Christian . Greg formed Zullo’s into a Zero Waste, B-Corp Certified kitchen. Everything used within the kitchen is recycled, composted or reused. Even the cleaning products are environmentally friendly. They serve their food in biodegradable materials from a booth that  was  even  created from recycled goods!  Learn how to green your  food service business and become more profitable

Cooking with Greg Christian

Recently, I was invited by Zullo’s, to come learn how their Zero Waste Kitchen operates and to cook with Greg Christian. I jumped on this exciting opportunity and brought along my great friend Rochelle to share a new experience.

Antonio and Abraham

Our morning started very EARLY! We met with Greg who is just a really cool guy and very passionate about what he does. Then we met Abraham, Greg’s Sous Chef and Antonio the kitchen assistant, two really nice guys! We also met Adam who stopped in to shoot video for the Zullo’s blog. He was really great and hopefully I will be adding his video to this post as soon as I get my hands on it! We also had the pleasure of meeting Adriana herself who stopped in to check on some things before getting on with her day, and then it was down to business. We had lots of work ahead of us, cooking for two farmers markets and Zullo’s at the French market. We were a little slow trying to learn our way around what is normally a very fast paced kitchen, but no worries because Greg was excited to show us what he does.

Greg and Adam

Zero Waste~It’s All in Your Head

Still wondering just what a Zero Waste Kitchen is? Sounds high tech, sounds intimidating, but really and surprisingly it’s not! Similar to other industrial kitchens with the main difference being the level of consciousness regarding food and waste. It’s about thinking a little… keeping separate containers for garbage, one for food scraps plus paper products for composting and another for recyclables. In the freezer, to avoid stinking up the kitchen, were two very large garbage cans to store that compost waste which is picked up weekly. Grease is also saved for a local farmer who picks it up and uses it for his equipment. We didn’t turn all the lights, burners and stove on first thing and leave them going all day long (even when not in use) like most other kitchens. We only turned things on when we needed them and respected the fire and the flame. Keep in mind, that we didn’t get into all the details that go on behind the scenes of a Zero Waste Kitchen. I know there’s much more to it. We were  just focused on the fun stuff… Cooking!

We were very conscious of the pans we used, and used the same ones on the stove over again with what seemed to be a planned out system regarding what foods we were cooking and in what order… Or maybe it was pretty early? Because this however, was just my observation. Less pans mean less water used for cleaning. Everywhere we could save, we did. The point is, that thought was put into the entire process and in turn there’s less waste and more profit. You have to wonder why all kitchens don’t operate this way?!


Getting into the ZEN of Food

While Rochelle was busy working with dough for the pizzas, I got to help out with the veggies. I learned that each food/veggie is different, Greg taught us about how certain veggies prefer to  be cooked  and others prefer to be cut, the main lesson was, to respect food and learn from it, how it wants to be handled and cooked. I never realized the importance of using all of your senses in the kitchen, like listening to the food cook for instance, while you are doing something else… this helps multi-task!

The food has a way of letting you know when it needs tending to by the change in sound as it cooks.  This is fascinating to me because I cook so often but can’t believe I really didn’t notice this before! The bottom line is: PAY ATTENTION and be gentle. Greg had us thinking about the food we were working with and where it came from. There’s something different about the fact that it was seasonal, organic and local that really heightened the level of honor and respect for that food. When you stop for a minute and realize that a farmer put much care into growing it for us organically, you see it in a totally different light and you certainly don’t want to waste it!


My Serious Scorpio

Don’t Be A Flavor Chaser

I did not have a pen in hand because my hands were immersed in Zullo’s potato salad (delicious by the way!) among other things, so I may be leaving out a few important details. I won’t quote Greg as I certainly don’t want to mis-quote Greg, but while we worked we had great conversation which really resonated with me as I totally get into the “deeper” meaning of just about everything! We talked about how disappointing it is that most Chefs are busy chasing only Flavor. It’s a shame and almost sinful, because a talented Chef can make any dish taste fantastic with whatever ingredients are available, so why not respect the environment and use sustainable food to create wonderful dishes that not only taste great, but which are far more satisfying on a much deeper level? I was happy that my own beliefs, being that food grown with respect to the environment and the animals tastes SO much better, were actually validated by a well respected Chef!

Not only are most Chef’s chasing flavor, but most people in general lack respect and honor for food and themselves by choosing only to chase the flavor. Being rather gluttonous, living to eat rather than eating to live, most people tend to think every bite needs to be pleasureful. We are not put on this earth just to pleasure ourselves with food, which we talked about with Greg, if pleasure happens, Great, but we should honor and respect food and our bodies!

This lead into Greg’s deeper philosophy (which I love) about knowing which foods your body actually needs rather than wants… We talked about holding love energy or  the love vibration in your mind and heart when making decisions for yourself or for who you may be cooking for, at say the grocery store or while deciding from a menu, the right food with the right nutrients your body needs will  jump out at you (so to speak) when you are in that loving place. Like animals, we also have that ability to “know” what our bodies need for nourishment but we are far too busy and our minds far too cluttered to listen.

Food and Forgiveness

Greg wrote a  book called Food and Forgiveness: How  a Chicago Chef Came Around. “Ultimately, it will be forgiveness of self and others that will allow us to move ahead together in partnership to envision and create a safer, saner world.” Learn how the debilitating asthma of his youngest daughter caused him to search for ways to help her recovery, both through organic food and holistic medicine


Click here to buy your copy of Greg’s book from the Karmatarian E-Store


Our Finished Products

We made beautiful dishes from Specialty Pizza’s to Eggplant Parmesan, Potato Salad and more! These are a just a couple of pics because I didn’t take too many.  Everything turned out amazing to be enjoyed on every level (physically, mentally and spiritually… let’s not forget environmentally!). I am not sure if it’s because Greg is a fellow Scorpio lol, but I really admired his passion and thought he was an excellent teacher! We had an awesome time! Rochelle and I want to give a BIG THANKS to Greg and Zullo’s for a fantastic experience!

What?! Did you really think I was going to leave you with pictures of Rochelle and I taken at 6 am! We are both Hair Stylists… Pleeeeeez

Visit Zullo’s in Chicago

Zullo’s Blog

Catering Available call-1-312-454-5900


The Green City Farmer’s Market

Located next to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 N Cannon Dr.

Chicago, Illinois 60614

Every Other Saturday (First weekend in 2011 will be January 15th)

8 am – 1 pm

* The South end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton


The Glenwood Farmer’s Market

6900 N Glenwood Ave

(the annex space of the Glenwood Bar)

Second Sunday of each month during winter months 2011

Nov 14, Dec 12, Jan 9, Feb 13, March 13, April 10, May 8

9 am- 2 pm

Enjoy the Journey,

The Karmatarian~

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Statistics about Waste~Facts and Figures!

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