The archive for April 2009 Green Tip of the Day had some great ideas on reducing waste, which was the major theme for the month. In the second part of her food waste series Cathy Isom explains who would be reaping the benefits of reducing food waste. Recycling and rubbish collections have changed throughout Taranaki, featuring new bins and an improved recycling system. Each person in Taranaki produces an average of 87 rubbish bags, or 580kg, of waste every year. Follow these links for more information, and check your District Council's website as well. Read how Taranaki companies and organisations large and small have enjoyed positive outcomes for the environment and their business by taking waste minimisation seriously. Mounting evidence links excessive sodium consumption to serious health problems, and yet salt remains a mainstay ingredient for processed foods—both as a preservative, and because the salt burst is tasty and  addictive. Setalg, a seaweed processing company based in France, recently launched a product called AlgySalt. In addition to an appealing flavour, Setalg claims that the high mineral content of AlgySalt’s natural compounds offers the preservative benefits of salt. AlgySalt was just launched in late October, so it’s too early to say what response from the industry—or consumers—will be.
Size and Weight: The adult raccoon is a medium-sized mammal and the largest of the Procyonidae family. Physical Features: The mask of black fur that covers its eyes is its most characteristic and familiar feature. Life span: In the wild, a raccoon has a life expectancy of about 2 to 3 years, but in captivity a raccoon can live up to 20 years. Diet: The raccoon is an omnivorous and opportunistic eater, with its diet determined heavily by its environment. Geography: The raccoon is native to North America and can be found throughout the United States, except for parts of the Rocky Mountains, and southwestern states like Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.
Habitat: Originally raccoons lived in the tropics where they could be found foraging along riverbanks.

Breeding and Social Structure: The animal is nocturnal, mostly foraging and feeding at night.
Risks: A raccoon has few predators though the animal has been known to be attacked by cougars, bobcats, and coyotes.
The species makes a variety of vocalizations including hisses, whistles, screams, growls and snarls. A series of studies in the mid-to-late-twentieth century show that a raccoon can remember solutions to tasks for up to 3 years. Firms that give their excess of products or products which limit date of use is close to food banks or associations would receive a bonus in the form of tax reduction or subventions.
A longtime staple of health-food diets, the underwater flora may now offer a way for the food industry to reduce its salty excesses.
As more of the population seeks lower sodium levels in processed food, while retaining a salty flavour, substitutes are appearing – in this case, from the sea.
A natural, GMO-free ingredient developed from seaweed extracts, it contains up to eight times less sodium than salt and can be substituted up to 30%, helping food labelling meet the nutritional ‘25% less salt’ label definition. But health-conscious diners, as well as the food industry, will no doubt be keeping an eye on this salty development. One hypothesis for the dark fur is that it may help reduce glare and enhance the nocturnal animal’s night vision. Common foods include fruits, plants, nuts, berries, insects, rodents, frogs, eggs, and crayfish. It can also be found in parts of Canada, Mexico and the northern-most regions of South America. Over time they moved north up the continent, successfully adapting to new territories and expanding their diet. Though previously thought to be quite solitary, there is now evidence that the species congregates in gender-specific groups. Disease, infection, and run-ins with cars are generally the primary risks for the species.  Some of their diseases, including roundworm, trichinosis and rabies, also place people and pets at risk.
Carl Linnaeus placed the raccoon in the Ursus genus—first as Ursus cauda elongate (“long-tailed bear”) and then as Ursus lotor (“washer bear”).

The species has grayish brown fur, almost 90% of which is dense underfur to insulate the animal against the cold.
During the 20th century, the species was introduced to other parts of the globe, and now has an extensive presence in countries like Germany, Russia, and Japan. Traditionally, they live in tree cavities or burrows emerging at dusk to hunt frogs and crustaceans while keeping an eye out for predators such as coyotes and foxes. Mating season for raccoons falls generally anytime between January and June.  Most females begin reproducing around the age of one.
In 1780, Gottlieb Congrad Christian Storr created a separate genus for the species, Procyon, meaning doglike. Barns have aided their northern migration, offering refuge from cold northern winters, and now, raccoons have been found as far north as Alaska. The female has a 65-day gestation period and gives birth to two to five kits, usually in the spring. Because its hind legs are longer than the front legs, a raccoon often appears hunched when they walk or run. The species originally kept to the deciduous and mixed forests of North America, but its impressive ability to adapt has enabled the animal to move into a wide range of habitats, from mountainous terrains to large cities. The five toes on a raccoon’s front paws are extremely dexterous, functioning essentially as five little fingers which allow it to grasp and manipulate food it finds in the wild as well as a variety of other objects, including doorknobs, jars, and latches.
Raccoon populations do very well in urban areas, primarily due to hunting and trapping restrictions, a general lack of predators, and an abundance of available human food.
The kits stay in the den with their mother until they are between 8-10 weeks old, and will stay with their mother until they reach 13-14 months of age.

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