Since it’s Earth Week, we thought we’d share what we’re doing at Fillmore Container and pull together some other practical ideas in one spot! If you’re reading this, you’re probably already of the mindset that earth day is every day, but perhaps you’ll find something new.
We aim to be as earth-friendly in our operations as we’re able here at Fillmore Container:
We went solar! Our roof is covered in panels that harvest more than enough energy to power our operations. Since we pulled the lever in June on 12th of 2022, the system generated 441,700 kWh.
We’ve been making our own peanuts for several years now, right here at our facility. It allows us to drastically reduce our carbon footprint, and because the peanuts are corn & potato based, there aren’t by-products created, and they are 100% biodegradable…actually water soluble. Many of our customers re-use them to send out their products or share them with other businesses who can use them. When they no longer have a use, they can be added to the compost.
We carefully sort all of the inbound packaging (even that from our households) so that as little as possible goes into the recycle hopper or the trash. Re-using our strong cardboard boxes for shipping, our smaller boxes for corralling pick-up orders. Re-using wrapping and packing materials to protect jars of fragrance in pick-up orders.
Re-Purposing by Donating:
Extra samples and discontinued glassware goes to our local Creative Re-Use Center.
Being Intentional about what we Carry:
We’re also pretty diligent about the products we carry – like our Stainless Steel Straws (if you’re in it for the long haul) and other mason jar accessories. It feels good to support manufacturers who share the desire to operate with environmentally sound standards!
Make Salad Dressing! You might not ever have to buy salad dressing every again! Chances are, you’ve got most of these ingredients in your home already. One of the simplest ways to use up leftover Jam is to whip up some amazing dressing! Use that pickle brine as a vinegar replacement in your favorite vinaigrette recipe or try one of these homemade vinaigrette recipes.
Make Stock! Keep a bin/bag in your freezer to collect vegetable scraps to make vegetable stock or as part of a batch of meat stock. While you can certainly freeze the stock once it’s done, you can also pressure can it so that it’s shelf stable!
Make Pesto! We share a great post – Homemade Pesto Recipes . You can also find some suggestions for swapping the greens or the nuts to vary your pesto to suit what you have on hand.
Conserve water! It’s amazing what great ideas arise from necessity! Theresa Loe ‘s 8 Tips for Growing Food in a Drought contains a long list of (more than 8!) quite practical ways to conserve water and to re-purpose water in useful ways.
We’re hooked on making our own Cleaning Products, which are more earth friendly than those loaded with the chemicals and fragrances and result in little or no plastic packaging. You can get some recipes and more links here.
If you’re looking for more ways to minimize plastic & packaging waste, The Zero Waste Chef has a seemingly endless list of ways to get, prepare, store & preserve food with minimal waste. One of our favorite posts is “My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets” in which she admits to coveting jars. And, although we’re in the business of jars, it doesn’t break my heart that most of her jars appear to be very re-purposed. It simply reinforces the reason we’re fond of jars, strengthens our resolve to do what we can to be better stewards of this earth and gives us hope that there are others willing to be intentional about doing the same.
A friend passed along this link on how to no-sew a T-Shirt Tote Bag, we made one, loved it, used it and promptly gave it away to the first person who saw it in use! I was so inspired to use up some of my other clothing scraps I’d squirrelled away, I made a Jar Sleeve – in about 20 seconds with my sewing machine. I could’ve done the knotting, but my machine was out! Use these when you go to market so you can skip the plastic & paper! I use my jar sleeve to hold a jar of local yogurt or 2 of my 8oz jelly jars full of spices.
Ask if you can return your jar for a refill. While there are some special guidelines for those in the food industry, some makers do have the ability to refill their jars. Don’t expect a discount…as the effort to meet the guidelines & administer a return program requires time, equipment and money.
Depending on the labeling and wicking, some candle makers have return programs that do get you a bit of a perk.
Zero Waste Chef has an entire blog dedicated to reducing waste in the kitchen and in life. She’s sure to inspire a few changes!
If you’re selling your products, try sharing ways in which your customers can re-use or re-purpose your containers. Grab some inspiration from our Pinterest board or come up with your own ideas if you’re not able to re-use returned containers.