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Environmental Impact Efforts (+ ways you can help!)

April 22, 2021

Environmental Impact Efforts (+ ways you can help!)

In the spirit of authenticity and transparency (two important tenets of the Picky brand!), the Picky Crew thought we would take this Earth Day to share some updates since our lastSustainability Story blog as we continue to strive to decrease our impact on our planet. 

 

WHAT WE'RE DOING:

Packaging

If you read last year’s Sustainability Story, you know that one of the biggest impacts we see right now is our packaging. We’ve struggled to find a good solution for our packaging that is both recyclable or compostable as well as shelf-stable and able to maintain the quality of our products. Recycling in our country is (to put it simply) flawed, and without an entire system overhaul, recycling options for packaging such as ours currently look bleak. We will continue to research this and look for better alternatives, but in the meantime, here are some small but hopefully impactful updates we’ve made to our packaging from this past year:

  1. We revamped our single-serving Performance Oatmeal pouches & cups into an updated form factor-- meet thePop-Up Cup! This new style not only packs flat in boxes (maximizing space for shipping), but is made with a recyclable cardboard outer shell that is a huge step-up from the past non-recyclable pouches & cups. Right now, the inside “bowl” isn’t easily recycled, but trust us--- we’re working on it!
  2. Hello, largerPerformance Oatmeal multi-serve bags! This size increase encourages less waste + more oatmeal. (What more could you want?)
  3. When we changed over the oatmeal forms, we donated the excess product of the old forms to a local food bank to avoid any food going to waste. 
  4. Our bar cartons are now made out of 100% recyclable cardboard, are no longer sealed with hot glue, and are made with environmentally-friendly plant-based ink. 

Ingredient Sourcing

We are proud to work with contract manufacturers who try to source local ingredients whenever possible, and we are continuing to seek out ingredient sources that use sustainable and responsible practices. Some news on the ingredient front:

  1. The coffee found in our belovedSmooth Caffeinator bars is back to Portland, OR basedStumptown Coffee, a certified B-Corp operation. Booyah!

The Bars

We are continuing to work with our manufacturers to increase production line quality & efficiency when making our products. We’ve seen a decrease in the number of bars with packaging flaws or excess oil from the nut butters, which decreases the amount of bars we have to discard (read: eat for snacks at HQ). 

Shipping

This is another area where we hope to see improvements in our footprint as we continue to make small tweaks and updates to our shipping system to get our customers the real [good] food they ordered quickly and efficiently. 

  1. We started to track our shipping sustainability data in February 2021 throughShopify’s Carbon Offset Project. By allocating some of our budget to this service, Shopify will pay to offset delivery emissions through their nonprofit partnerPachama for every order made by our customers online through Shop Pay. Although this isn’t a perfect solution, it’s a necessary tool and step in a larger strategy to compensate for emissions we can’t avoid. To learn more, click on the links above!
  2. Our warehouse manager, Lindsay, redesigned the size of our shipping boxes in order to pack products more efficiently and max out our box sizes. Nice one, Lindsay!
  3. For smaller shipments, we now usepadded mailers made out of post-industrial recycled content that themselves can be recycled and even used more than once!
  4. Our used pallets get repurposed by various folks and companies around town for projects or their own shipping needs.

IN THE WORKS:

Sustainable, DEI-driven Partnerships

We are actively working to develop partnerships with West Coast Indigenous & BIPOC-owned farms to source ingredients in order to support local, equitable, and sustainable farming.

Fair Trade + Eco-friendly Options

We're constantly on the hunt for ingredients, materials, and practices that increase the positive impacts our products can make on the world, from the seedlings in the ground to the final product you put in your mouth!

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Optimize Your Picky Club

We are working on building out a better one-time product solution for club members to reduce shipping. The process is far from perfect as it stands right now, but we hope to see improvements on this front this year. 

If you would like to make a small but impactful change to help us reduce shipping, you can increase your club shipment order and space it out to every 2 or 3 months by visiting pickybars.com/my-account. 

Refilling/Reusing bags + jars

This is one we still hear a lot from customers-- “Can I send in my Oatmeal bag and/or Drizzle jar and get it refilled?” Unfortunately, the answer is still “We wish!” Food safety regulations at our manufacturing partners say otherwise. However, here are some clever packaging reuse ideas we’ve heard from customers (and many we’ve tested ourselves):

  1. Drizzle jars
    1. Drizzle Spice jars! If you live by a grocery story with a bulk spice section, collect those jars & fill them up!
    2. Tupperware for those small bites of things you want to save for later or snacks to bring on the trail. 
    3. Small items travel case-- no need to buy something fancy to carry your headphones, jewelry, or beloved lip balm on your next getaway. 
  2. Oatmeal and Granola Bags
    1. Storage bags (sandwiches, snacks, you name it!)
    2. Dog poop bags

         ^ (Very important to follow that order.)

For a Better Future!

We hope to continue to make small improvements to our processes, packaging, products, and business that contribute to the bigger picture of sustainability at Picky Bars. 

Just like last year, feel free to reach out with any suggestions, ideas, info, and/or resource sharing on sustainable practices to the team atmyfeedback@pickybars.com. Taking care of our planet will continue to be a team effort, and we are so thankful for your support as always! 

Happy Earth Day!