Green Stampede rolls on…

The grass wasn’t the only thing that was green in the University of Colorado (CU) football stadium this season.  For the fifth year, WhiteWave was a sponsor of CU’s “Green Stampede,” a program aimed at making CU’s Folsom Field stadium a “zero waste” destination. This means that nearly all concessions packaging at home games are recyclable or compostable, and encouraging CU and visiting team fans to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost food and beverage containers, leftover snacks, game programs and more.

Folsom Field was the first major sports stadium in the nation to be converted to a completely zero waste facility.  Now, more than 30 zero waste stations inside the stadium make it simple for fans to recycle and compost. In fact, last season alone, over 42 TONS of recyclables and compostables were collected inside the stadium. Since the program’s inception in the 2008-2009 football season, the Ralphie’s Green Stampede program has resulted in the collection of more than 163 tons of recyclable and compostable material and Folsom Stadium’s total waste generation has dropped by roughly 21 percent.

Like CU, we at WhiteWave have a long history of supporting sustainability and renewable energy In fact, to date, our renewable energy purchases are the equivalent of taking nearly 90,000 cars off the road for one year or providing the electricity for almost 55,000 U.S. homes for one year.

 

Portion Control²

Last year we updated you on the first phase of our effort to change the way our International Delight and Land O’ Lakes brands portion control (PC) cups are made, meaning a smaller carbon footprint and less waste.

We’re happy to announce that our Research & Development team recently completed the final stage of this project – reclaiming and reusing post-industrial scrap from the manufacturing process and using it to make additional portion control cups.  This reuse of scrap material further lightens our PC’s environmental footprint.

Completing this redesign is just one part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable packaging and is in keeping with our mission to become the Earth’s Favorite Food Company.  We’re always brainstorming other ways we can make our packaging more sustainable and hope to bring more updates to life in the future.

In the meantime, you can enjoy using an International Delight or Land O’ Lakes coffee creamer portion control cup knowing that your PC is now, well, PC. Pun intended.

WhiteWave joins city of denver to expand resident’s recycling options

Earlier this week, in celebration of Earth Day, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, in partnership with WhiteWave Foods, Waste Management of Colorado, and the Carton Council announced that food and beverage cartons are now recyclable as a part of the Denver Public Works’ residential recycling program, Denver Recycles. That means that nearly all household containers used by Denver residents are recyclable!

When we first heard about this opportunity, we knew we needed to be involved.  As a local food company that packages most of its products in cartons, this was a natural fit for us. It’s an opportunity to help ensure Denver residents can recycle food and beverage cartons, including: milk (dairy, soy and almond); juice; single-serve juice and milk boxes; cream; egg whites and egg substitutes; soup and broth; protein drinks; eggnog, wine, tofu; and ice cream and frozen yogurt.

In 2008, only 18 percent of U.S. households had access to carton recycling programs. Today, thanks in part to the Carton Council, this number has doubled to nearly 36%. Denver is now the largest city in the Rocky Mountain region to recycle cartons, and is part of a national movement of major cities across the country to expand residential recycling programs to include cartons.

The recycled carton paper fibers are a valuable resource for making new products and consist of some of the highest quality fiber among recyclable products. Consequently, cartons have global demand and are shipped to paper mills, where the paper fiber is extracted to make new products like paper towels, tissue, and even building materials.

At WhiteWave, our Mission is to be the Earth’s favorite food company, so we’re looking forward to working with the City of Denver, Waste Management and the Carton Council to raise awareness about carton recycling and hopefully increase the number of Denver households that are doing it.

Denver residents who want to learn more can connect with Denver Recycles on Facebook or Twitter, or through their website (you can also simply call 3-1-1). Click here to find out if carton recycling is available in your local community.

Gardens, Growing

Last week we received our annual (giant) bin of free compost from Eco-Cycle and A1 Organics, and a huge bundle of heirloom tomato plants from our friends at Growing Gardens. We actually helped make the compost through our on-site recycling and composting efforts (Check out more details here).

Gardening season at WhiteWave is officially on. Do you have a home garden? Tell us about in the comments below…

Leftovers, not just for dinner

I get the same elated feeling when I find five dollars in my pocket as I do when I open the refrigerator at dinnertime and find a homemade, pre-prepared meal already waiting for me. Leftovers and their trusty ally the microwave can relieve any distressed person needing to get food on the table quickly. I’m an advocate for using any leftovers—it is efficient and waste-free. But a recent New York Times article informed me that I am missing a further opportunity to take advantage of leftovers’ potential.

Stem-to-root cooking accepts all parts of fruits, vegetables, and legumes as edible, a no-waste philosophy on foods’ capabilities. Stems, leaves, cobs, rinds, seeds, peels, and scraps still contain valuable nutrients and flavors that can be incorporated in delicious and healthful recipes. Anything else, of course, is compostable.

Here at WhiteWave, we take a stand for leftovers’ efficiencies as well, both in our eating, living, and office habits. Through our partnership with Eco-Cycle, paper, cardboard, trash, food, and other waste produced at the office are all diverted to appropriate recycling or composting locations. Even liquid refuse in drains is pumped into liquid composters. In 2010, WhiteWave’s recycling and composting program diverted over 115,000 pounds of waste from landfills.

Another key cornerstone of WhiteWave’s green campaign for a zero-waste operation is reusability. That means using reusable mugs, water bottles, grocery bags, and dishes to cut out constantly trashing plastic bags and paper dishware. Even my zippy work station and desk chair are over 90% recyclable. (Hopefully that information doesn’t ignite any office pranks around here.)

Start a compost pile in your backyard, try a fennel and carrot frond salad, or switch out that plastic water bottle for a reusable one. Wise use of leftovers can cut costs, increase efficiencies, and make a little change in our environment.

How do you use leftovers?

California Greenin’

The nation’s largest Natural Products Expo is set to kick things off in Anaheim tomorrow with an expected 50,000+ attendees and 2,000+ exhibiting companies.  That means over a three day period (March 11-13), there’s going to be a whole lot of people eating, drinking and collecting all the free samples and tchotchkes handed out by those 2000+ booths. And while every exhibitor probably feels like their tchotchke is worth keeping, it’s unfortunately not the case… which means there’s also going to be a whole lot of trash. But, with the help of our friends at New Hope Natural Media, we’ve got a number of green initiatives lined up to hopefully help offset all that waste, and reduce energy use as well. Check out a few of the highlights:

• Waste reduction: We’re providing reusable water bottles for retailer attendees in lieu of disposable plastic bottles, and will also sponsor water stations throughout the convention center for water bottle refills.

• Sponsoring recycling stations: Attendees will find recycling stations throughout the venue in an effort to mitigate the amount of waste produced at the show.

• Offsetting energy use: All of the energy used at the show, and at the two host hotels will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits and renewable energy certificates from Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF – we’ve mentioned them before on this blog).

There’s also going to be a good contingent of WhiteWavers in Anaheim, so if you’re planning on going to the show be sure to stop by our booth #2136. And if you’re in the mood for cake, swing by on Friday afternoon to help our Horizon brand celebrate its 20th anniversary.

If you’re not attending the show, keep an eye on our twitter feed for live updates and images from the  floor. And as always, feel free to share your own thoughts or pictures via the comments below, or on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Stuff worth watching

Recently I stumbled across a very interesting, 20 minute online film called The Story of Stuff, which uses simple and easy-to-understand narration and stick figure cartoons to expose the cycle of wastefulness in current society.  The movie was the brainchild of environmental activist Annie Leonard who spent 10 years researching the topic and wanted to share her findings in a witty and engaging way that would inspire, not scold.

The Story of Stuff peels back the layers of a complicated process to show us where all our stuff comes from and, more importantly, where it all goes once we throw it away. Highlighting what’s wrong with the current model of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal, Leonard shines a light on why it’s so critical to chuck the old-school throwaway mind-set and move towards a less linear and more renewable system, one that’s focused on closed loop production sustainability, zero waste, equity, green chemistry, renewable energy and local living economies.

Since its release in 2007, The Story of Stuff has garnered over 12 million on-line views, making it one of the most widely viewed environmental-themed short films of all time.

Leonard was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times where she was quoted, saying “I’ve been reading about the emerging science of happiness. It turns out that after our basic needs are met, more stuff doesn’t make us happy. It’s the quality of our relationships. It’s coming together around shared goals.”

Cheers to that.

To view the film and learn more about what you can do to reduce the amount of stuff in the world, visit www.storyofstuff.com.