December 09, 2019

Hello digital world! 

Here's our final update on our Waste Elimination efforts of 2019:

So far the group we're trying to work with on our food waste recovery has been less than helpful. They keep telling us they're going to find someone but so silence. But given the issues around food waste, we're going to keep pushing on this until we get somewhere, so there's really not much to report. 

For December we took a shot at electric waste in Santa Monica (and a whole host of other things) and applied for our Green Business license. We looked into this process a while ago and it is very intense and very rigorous. As part of the process, we had to switch almost all our lights to LEDs. With that we'll hopefully be cutting down on our electric waste among other things. We're awaiting one final audit after which we (hopefully) will get our certification. Then we'll replicate it at the other cafes and apply for the Los Angeles equivalent. 

And that's that. It doesn't feel like it's been a year since we started tackling this problem, but somehow time has flown by and here we are. Over the course of this past year we've accomplished something I'm perhaps most proud of in the 9 years we've been in business. 

On Friday, as a part of Sustainable Little Tokyo, I gave a talk on how to be a less wasteful coffee consumer (feel free to email me for the list) and also a recap of the steps we've taken. Some were large steps. Some were small. Some were very profound for us. So for those of you just joining us on this journey, here's January through November:

January - replaced disposal water cups with reusable "for here" water cups .

February - replaced wooden stir sticks with reusable, metal chopsticks. 

March - replaced 5-lb, foil-lined paper bags for our internal coffee deliveries with reusable plastic ones. 

April - rolled out the reusable plastic bags to our wholesale partners to whom we deliver. 

May - replaced our ticket printer with a digital KDS at one cafe. 

June - replaced coffee sleeves with paper cups that have built-in insulation (a small part of my soul dies when I see someone put a sleeve around it anyway). 

July - replaced manual brewers that used paper filters with ceramic brewers that do use a ceramic filter. 

August - replaced paper batch brew filters with custom metal filters. 

September - replaced sugar packets with refillable sugar shakers. 

October - replaced the other two ticket printers with digital KDS systems. 

November - signed up (or at least attempted to) for food recovery programs. 

Thanks to Freedom from Design by Freedom who kicked this whole thing off in my mind. Thanks to my staff who had to execute and explain this whole thing to our customer base. And thank you to our amazing customers who supported us and encouraged us despite some of the inconvenience it has caused them. 

So what's next? In 2020 we'll look to get our B Corp certification (that's a small mountain of paperwork) and roll out the Green Business certifications at our other cafes as well. And yes, we'll for sure blog about it as we go. 

Thanks and have a fantastic holiday!


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