Straus Family Creamery, the first 100% certified organic creamery in the United States, said its creamery in Marshall, Calif., and its headquarters offices and warehouse in Petaluma, Calif., were awarded TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero Waste certification at the Gold level. The creamery is the first in the world to receive TRUE Zero Waste Certification. TRUE certification, administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), enables facilities to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals, cut their carbon footprint and support public health.
Straus Family Creamery said it continues 25 years of tradition in sustainable business leadership, reaching its goal of zero waste by diverting more than 1 million pounds from landfills and the environment. This goal is part of the mission-driven company’s climate change strategy and includes innovative practices to reduce waste.
Straus Family Creamery has long pursued climate-friendly agricultural practices, with climate resilience central to the company’s operating procedures. At the Marshall creamery, where Straus produces award-winning organic milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream and sour cream, 92% of waste was diverted from landfills in 2018. This waste diversion, which includes avoidance, reduction, reuse and recycling, is equivalent to more than 880,000 pounds of material, the company said.
Another practice is transporting the creamery’s milk waste six miles to the Straus Dairy Farm, where it is used in the farm’s methane (anaerobic) digester. The digester, operating since 2004, transforms milk waste and cow manure into biogas, which generates all the electricity for the farm, Straus Family Creamery said. The byproduct (called “digestate”) is also returned to the pastures to build nutrient-rich soil — a circular process that will help the 500-acre Straus Dairy Farm achieve its goal of a carbon-neutral dairy farming system by 2022.
“I believe that circular business practices help strengthen our communities for the next generation,” said Albert Straus, founder and CEO, Straus Family Creamery. “I am proud of our sustainability team for leading us to achieve our zero waste goals and become TRUE Gold certified so we can build a better future.“
At the Petaluma offices and warehouse, the company diverted 95 percent of the waste stream from landfills, resulting in more than 153,000 pounds of waste reduction. This high rate is achieved by separating “hard-to-recycle” materials, including shrink wrap and milk bottle caps, the company said. In 2018, the Straus’ team manually collected more than 18,000 pounds of milk bottle caps that were recycled. The caps fit on reusable glass milk bottles, which have been a cornerstone of the Straus brand since its launch in 1994. The glass bottles keep an estimated 500,000 pounds of milk containers and plastic out of the landfill each year.
Waste reduction strategies have also been implemented across Straus’ supply chain. Innovations include reusable pallet wraps and durable, reusable milk crates that replace cardboard boxes, and work with a local packing vendor to switch from cardboard boxes to reusable containers.
Straus Family Creamery employees are also partners in waste reduction. In the breakroom, reusable dish towels and bulk snacks are provided. The sustainability team leads frequent zero waste trainings to educate employees to properly sort recyclables and compost food waste. Employees of the Straus Environmental Stewardship team demonstrate zero waste leadership by committing to waste management goals within their departments, the company said.
“Zero waste is an important part of any company’s sustainability strategy,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council and GBCI. “Through TRUE, we’re helping companies like Straus Family Creamery enhance operations in a way that is transforming the sustainability of our facilities and improving our quality of life.”