Packaging Matters

By Christopher Wiesman, Deli Manager, Co-op Owner


GreenTree’s deli is committed to promoting sustainable consumer habits, and as such, we only use packaging from companies that emphasize sustainability and endorse healthy business practices. Smartcycle and Placon, whose packaging we currently use, state on their website that, “[m]ore than 25 million tons of plastic packaging are sold in the U.S. every year… Unfortunately, less than 5 percent of that gets recycled.” Fittingly, then, their packaging is made from post-consumer recycled PET plastic. In fact, Placon uses more than 120,000 pounds of PCR PET plastic each year. Anchor and Fabri-Kali, two
other deli suppliers of ours, engineer many of their products so that they may be consumer-reusable. (In fact, most of our plastic containers can easily be washed and reused. Our dinner packaging works great for leftovers and lunches!) Our soup cups, which we source from Huhtakami, are made with water-based inks and an elemental chlorine-free bleaching process. And the cutlery we will be using is made from potato starch, which does not come from a genetically modified organism and is compostable. This is only an abbreviated list of our suppliers, but we will always keep an eye toward fostering relationships, whenever possible, with suppliers whose business practices most closely match our own at GreenTree.

Not only do we seek out packaging with the best green attributes, we also try to stay green ourselves! Because most of our packaging is recyclable, we recycle it whenever we can (along with other materials we use in the kitchen, like glass and plastic jars, tin, and cardboard). This year, we are also trying to begin a composting program that we can stick with. Although we’ve tried in the past, we’ve lacked a dedicated volunteer to pick up the compost regularly. Like most busy kitchens, we produce a voluminous quantity of compostable food material. If you or anyone you know would be interested in helping us turn food scraps into compost for needy gardens, feel free to contact me (Chris) at deli@greentree.coop! Or if you have any alternative ideas you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

But why does this matter? Well, at GreenTree we seek to promote a healthier world where people engage in sustainable lifestyles and where cooperative enterprise is the foundation of a sustainable economy. We look forward to sharing our vision and our food with you. We try to put our Ends policies into practice as much as we can, in this case, our goal is to ensure that “our environment is positively impacted.”

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