The Green Team, a group of co-op employees who are passionate about sustainability and driven to lead projects in support of that passion was revived in 2017. This year, the Green Team will focus on a variety of projects with both local and global impact.
Your co-op is a leader among grocery stores in food waste prevention and recovery. With the philosophy that unsellable food should be directed to “humans then animals then soil,” the Green Team has made further reduction a top priority.
In fiscal year 2017, the co-op donated 4.07 US tons of food to Just Food. Meanwhile, our produce department continues to provide free trimmings to local farmers for use as animal feed. We have started composting with Missouri Organic, and now divert nearly 10,000 pounds of food waste from landfills each month. Our coffee cups and soup bowls are compostable, and the team is currently examining ways to convert more supplies to compostable materials.
Further Green Team efforts include enhanced recycling. Since leasing an in-house cardboard baler three months ago, we have recycled 22,000 pounds of cardboard, saved $6,842 in fees and generated $745 from recycling sales.
Your co-op has already reduced electricity use by over 30% since 2012, and the Green Team is committed to building on that momentum. While our solar installation is underway outside, employees inside are constructing and investing in coverage for open coolers to reduce electricity consumption overnight. In addition, the team is focusing on preventative maintenance and reducing the chance of refrigeration leakage – a large contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.
Led by the Green Team, the co-op is now participating in Co+op Forest, a National Cooperative Grocers (NCG) program designed to help offset carbon emissions. Launched in 2014, Co+op Forest grows a sustainable forest in a formerly deforested region of the Peruvian Amazon, in partnership with organic farming cooperatives and Pur Projet.
The idea behind this unique program is simple: food co-ops calculate their annual carbon emissions then fund the planting or protection of a corresponding number of trees sufficient to offset that carbon. As of 2017, Co+op Forest includes an estimated 1.7 million trees which will offset 3,510 metric tons CO2e, while also providing income and environmental benefits to the surrounding community.
This important work could not be done without our dedicated owners, shoppers and employees. Your participation in this co-op makes it possible to identify, invest in and enact these sustainability projects. For more information about our Green Team and their efforts, be on the lookout for our team members (below) or contact the co-op at firstname.lastname@example.org.