7 years ago my sister and I started this business with the vision of making fresh almond milk in NYC for NYC. Sustainability has always been core to what we do - from our returnable glass bottle program to using the byproduct of making almond milk and turning almond pulp into flour and nut butter so no food goes to waste. We often talk about the importance of local when it comes to your health - fresh is better! and when it comes to our community (providing jobs and helping power the local economy). But, in honor of Earth Day today, I want to highlight some of the things we do as a business and as individuals that help make our planet a little greener!
First off, we can’t talk about being environmentally conscious without recognizing our incredible customers! We deliver all of our milk in insulated delivery bags and glass bottles - both of which are returnable through our recycling program. The truth about glass and packaging is that in general, packaging is not eco friendly - whether it’s glass or plastic. BUT, where glass wins is when it is returned and reused and that doesn’t happen without you all! When our customers participate in our recycling program (and the vast majority do!), we are able to reuse our bottles and our delivery bags (after properly sanitizing them of course). This lowers the carbon footprint of our packaging and helps us to be more eco-friendly. This does not happen without each and everyone of YOU! So, we want to say a big THANK YOU to our customers who have participated in our #passtheglass challenge this month and every other month. You all keep us GREEN!
It is the little things we do every day that add up to a big impact on our planet - like returning your glass. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the doomsday scenarios we often hear about the state of carbon emissions and global cooperation in achieving emissions reductions standards. You might even be left with the feeling that there isn’t anything we can do. I know I certainly feel that way sometimes! But I ask myself, what can I do? How can I be part of the solution and not part of the problem? Here are some simple tips and rules that I live by in an effort to be just a little more eco-friendly every single day. As they say, small changes to your everyday habits lead to big changes in the long term!
Carolyn’s Simple Rules for Eco-Friendlier Living
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (Thank you Michael Pollan!)
There is tons of literature explaining why eating a plant based diet is better for your health and also for the planet. I personally am a plant-based eater so this is easy for me, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone - no judgment! Try eating plant-based a few days a week, or even once a week! It’s a little thing you can do for your health and for the environment.
Throw away a little as possible
I will be the first to acknowledge we live in a modern world full of convenience and ease that we are all grateful to have! It’s easy and convenient to have things delivered to your door -we know! When you order delivery, try to order from places that accept back packaging and if you can’t, try to place fewer orders so your items come in fewer boxes. Fewer boxes = less garbage in landfills.
Shop at local stores and farmers markets and bring your own bag when you can. Avoid disposable packaging as much as possible and opt for compostable if you are going to discard it. Fortunately, more and more businesses, restaurants especially, are providing compostable packaging. Participate in local recycling and composting programs. Every item you compost or recycle is one less item in a landfill!
Buy vegetables from farmers!
There is a lot of debate on whether or not local food is more environmentally friendly. I would note that most of the studies on local food do not examine hyper local markets and often make the point that the emission of trucking products across the US is much higher than the emissions from sailing a ship. Here are some things to keep in mind. Small local farmers are more likely to engage in organic farming practices to preserve their land than big agri-growers. Also, the shorter the distance your food travels from where it’s made/grown to where you eat it, the fewer carbon emissions are created in that transport.
Farmers markets in NYC are a great place to get food directly from farmers without driving to a farm. Also, vegetables at markets are not sold in packaging that ends up in a landfill so you are generating less waste, especially plastic waste when you shop at farmers markets. Many farmers even accept back their cardboard for eggs and berries so you return those too! Grab your reusable bag and shop!
Appreciate the good!
The last rule I live by is to appreciate the good in what is around me. We are so lucky in a place like New York City to have gorgeous parks and trees and seasons! Springtime is a wonderful time to be in New York and watch the trees bud and the flowers bloom! It’s a wonderful time to appreciate the beauty and transformation of the natural world. A little gratitude goes a long way.
Much love and appreciation to you all!
Carolyn and Team Nuthatch