Sustainability and environmental responsibility has been important to GreenTree since our founding. As an organization our choices are informed by our Ends Policies. (Ends policies are a set of statements explaining why an organization exists, and what its goals are.) One of these policies is that ‘Our environment is positively impacted’ by GreenTree’s existence. This is a goal that we are actively working toward all the time. Here are some of the ways we create sustainability in our day-to day operations:
Packaging: GreenTree’s Deli is committed to promoting sustainable consumer habits, and as such, we use packaging from companies that emphasize sustainability and endorse healthy business practices. Click here to learn more.
Bag Donations: Each time a customer brings in a reusable bag instead of using a new bag they receive a dried garbanzo bean. This bean (equal to a donation of $.05 each) can then be donated to one of three organizations. (Recipients are chosen yearly at the Annual Meeting.) In the 2017/18 Wooden Nickel cycle GreenTree Owners and shoppers saved 8631 bags from going through the carbon cycle.
Reusing and Recycling: At the Co-op we make waste reduction a priority. Instead of paper towels in our kitchen we have cotton cleaning cloths. We reuse our scrap paper and recycle it afterwards. All of the cans, jars, and bottles used by the Deli get recycled, as do all of the cardboard boxes our products are shipped in. We even collect our leftover packing materials, such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts, and make them available to customers on request.
Cleaning Products: As much as possible we utilize natural products, rather than harsh chemical cleaners, throughout the store. (Bleach is required by health code for certain food-handling applications.) This is out of concern for both the environment and the health of our employees.
BPA-Free: Our receipt paper is BPA-free. We also carry a wide variety of foods packaged in glass and BPA-free cans.
Bulk: Our bulk department offers our shoppers the chance to dramatically reduce the amount of packaging their food comes in, and to utilize their own reusable food containers if desired.
Local: We prioritize carrying locally produced and processed items whenever possible. This is in line with our economic and access related Ends Policies, and also reduces the amount of fuel required to transport the products to the Co-op. Click here to learn more about our local vendors.
National Efforts: Through our Membership in the National Co+op Grocers organization, we participate in a variety of national (and even international) environmental advocacy projects. These efforts include maintaining strong USDA Organic standards, GMO Labeling, reducing food waste, and the Co+op Forest project.