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How are you making your business more sustainable and/or environmentally friendly? ♻️ 🌱

Hi everyone! We are back from our break last week (I hope you didn't miss us too much!) with a new Question of the Week. This week, we are looking to learn...

 

How are you making your business more sustainable and/or environmentally friendly?

 

Feel free to share a link to your business in your reply too ♻️ 🌱! We look forward to reading all your recommendations and tips. 

Tra
Community Manager, Square
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Super Seller

Oooh! This is one I think about alot. I like to consider myself a biologist still since that's what my degree is in, although I'm not in practice with owning a bakery! But then as a business owner, I have to make decisions to use one-time products to save on costs (like using disposable piping bags instead of fabric piping bags that need washing, and therefore more labor). As a bakery, one thing we do try to avoid is food waste-both from the business perspective but then also for the environmental perspective. We sell our day-old product in "mystery boxes". Our customers like the great deal and we like that we don't have to throw away product. 

Ali Kenis

Sugar Lab Bakeshop

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Celebrating Since 2012
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Admin

Ohh, that's a great idea @sugarlab! My local coffee shops have mystery bags for sale at the end of the day and they are proving to be quite popular. 

Tra
Community Manager, Square
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Super Seller

I'm in a similar situation. I have a degree in industrial engineering, but I own a bakery as well 🙂

Jessica
Owner/Founder
We'reDough Bakery and Cookie Dough Cafe
Flint, MI
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Beta Member

Most of our waste is cardboard boxes, which we recycle. We do not have a kitchen, but customers bring in outside food. For this we have recycled utensils and napkins, and we only use paper straws. If we use plastic cups for an event, they are previously recycled cups.

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Super Seller

We try our best to be as concious as we can of our waste. We recycle whatever we are able to, but when it comes to cups, for example our paper cups, they are not able to be recycled because of their inner wax coating. If we were to upgrade to eco friendly cups they go up triple to 4x in price depending on the week. If our customers were okay with paying $7 for a black coffee and $15 for a latte we would totally switch. That just doesn't seem to be our customers.

We Do encourage customers to bring their own cups which they get a discount for bringing. This is actually extremely common in our shop which we find amazing. We have some new reusable cups coming into the shop this month for people to buy and we are really excited about it.

Lovewell Tea & Coffee//
Ventura, Ca

https://www.lovewellteaandcoffee.com/
https://www.instagram.com/lovewellteaandcoffee/?hl=en
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Super Seller

"If we were to upgrade to eco friendly cups they go up triple to 4x in price depending on the week. If our customers were okay with paying $7 for a black coffee and $15 for a latte we would totally switch. That just doesn't seem to be our customers."

 

👆🏽That, plus assuming they're even in stock, right?

 

How do you deal with guests handing over dirty reusable cups? Is that a thing there too?

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I run an green pest control company using mostly green and eco friendly products. 

So, I am lessening the amounts of dangerous chemicals that we put into our environment and our homes. 

www.AllGreenPest.com

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Super Seller

So since we own a bakery, I know the biggest impact is single use plastic usage, which we cut down a lot on by using Kraft cardboard bakery boxes, and preferring wax paper bags and boxes for just about everything we can. a few things do use plastic (like with bread bags, since the wax paper ones never held up well.).

 

The labor time sink on washing reusable pastry bags though is so high that disposable pastry/piping bags are a must for most busy bakeries.

 

We also use recycled or compostable plastics when we have little choices beyond plastic like with t-shirt bags, and plastic spoons for our ice cream and cookie dough.

 

We do our best to reduce our energy usage and we try to compost what food waste we can (IE fresh fruit scraps and egg shells).

 

Jessica
Owner/Founder
We'reDough Bakery and Cookie Dough Cafe
Flint, MI
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Super Seller

I try to make less use of any throw away items, I use microfiber rags for cleaning all surfaces. I try not to use more linen in a day than I have to. Almost everything I use though is single use and cannot be reused until washed/sanitized. The healthcare industry is a pretty wasteful industry as a whole.

Ryan Anton Schaffer RMT
www.reginamassagetherapist.com
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Super Seller

We have changed all the store lights to LED. This has brought our energy usage down significantly. 

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Super Seller

I operate a small pet shop inside an indoor year round local farmers market. I was talking to a fish monger in the market and he had a lot of salmon waste, skins, heads, tails. I convinced him if he dehydrated them I could sell them for decent money for both of us. He was skeptical, we now have  6 dedicated skus and several experimental ones. It was all waste before.

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Super Seller

Wow @JTPets! That is an awesome win-win solution! 

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I own/run Rayne Refillery - a low waste store.  We have low waste and no waste packing for our products.  We reuse the cardboard and packing material when we have online orders.  Some of our products come in larger 5 gallon plastic containers.  We partner with a company who accepts them back.  Once empty, we ship them back, they clean them and reuse them.  Another thing we do is use a library of donated containers to fill our online or pick up in store orders.  For example, someone purchases dish soap...we use a clean, donated container we have here in store.  Its free for the customer and it gives the plastic a bit more life.  This is a great thread, looking forward to reading all the replies.  Happy Holidays! 

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I have been recycling since the 70s so it comes natural to not be wasteful in the clinic. We recycle used paper that doesn't contain sensitive information by using the paper cutter and cutting the paper into fours and clip together and use the unused side as our pads for messages etc. We recycle our cups and don't use styrofoam. We don't use plastic bottle water, we use a water crock and buy water as needed. Little things that add up, like collecting plastic bottles out of the trash prior to emptying since the site doesn't have a recycle bin, and take home to our blue bin. little things that add up.

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Super Seller

We pay for a cardboard recycling service separate to our general waste, which we're also conscious of trying not to produce too much of.

 

All of our display fridge food is made in large enough quantities to look good merchandised, but small enough that we're not throwing anything away. The team's also encouraged to take home anything that doesn't sell.

 

Our coffee machine has scheduled startup and standby times so we're not running it 24/7. I'm also pretty unforgiving when I train people to dose and steam milk because it's the one station where a lot of wastage happens if you're not fully switched on. We don't re-steam milk--everything is made-to-order with very specific recipes and weights.

 

The food menu is streamlined too--every ingredient needs to do double or triple duty so we're not letting things go out of date. (I hate food waste.)

 

Oh, and last year we didn't run a cooling/heating system. But that's mainly because we couldn't afford one in the first place. 🤷🏻

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I love that you support your staff with food!! 

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My business is glass art, both functional and decorative. Glass can be recycled to some extent depending on the methods and recipes one is using. It's also a long-lasting, inert material, so if it doesn't break, you can use it forever, and if it must be trash, it's functionally a rock. Using a gas furnace takes a lot of energy, but I use a community hot shop which is being used more and more consistently, balancing the environmental costs more in favor of the benefits. My next project involves melting empty wine and liquor bottles flat to make interesting trays for snacks and a variety of other uses. I'm also looking into reusing broken glass for some projects. kellywow dot com fb, ig, patreon

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Super Seller

We have really upped our game with shipping so we recycle amazon boxes, the stuffing/filler in boxes, the bubble wrap, etc and use that to ship our inventory. It keeps costs down for us while protecting the packages and giving this "trash" a second life.

UV-Free Tanning Salon Owner, Northern California (Campbell)
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Hey there! We offer 10% off refills. We use recyclable, recycled and reusable packaging 🙂 https://bombacious.co.uk

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Super Seller

Our pub is located in rural South Devon located on the coast and in the countryside. We are surrounded by rare wildlife and beaches so we have a Environment Initiative.

  • NO SINGLE USE sachets, straws, sugar packets. Paper straws replaced plastic.
  • Zero plastic bottles are sold.
  • We recycle plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, metal.
  • All take away items are packed in 100% recycled cardboard, Bio Plastic and are compostable
  • We do offer free refills of tap water in water bottles and listed on refill.org.uk
  • For our events, our tickets can be downloaded onto the phone BEFORE the event (as we have no signal)
  • During are large events we sell our drinks in a £1 refundable reusable plastic cups which can be returned at the end of the night or kept as a memento. 
  • As of 2021 we removed our pod coffee machine and now selling freshly ground coffee from locally roasted in Buckfastleigh Voyager that also strives to be 100% sustainable and organic.
  • We use Square’s KDS (Kitchen Display System) instead of printed kitchen tickets to reduce paper waste
  • We offer other solutions to receipts other than paper, email or phone text visions instead
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