B-Corp News

Peas Be With You

You may not think of books and compost as the most obvious friends, but when it comes to Lulu and CompostNow, we have a lot more in common than you’d first guess. Our organizations are passionate about sustainability, building community, and always looking for reasons to play in the dirt!

Earlier this year, Lulu partnered with CompostNow to provide composting bins in our Morrisville, NC office. Thanks to that effort, we have diverted approximately 267 lbs of food scraps since Feb. 2017.

Lulu’s scraps will produce 67 lbs of rich compost, and avoid releasing 35 lbs of methane at the landfill.1 That’s enough to offset 1,517 miles driven by a car, or like parking it for 5.2 weeks.2 Even better, the compost can grow 27 tomato plants, yielding 135 delicious tomatoes.

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Earlier this week, we teamed up to meet in the Alliance Medical Ministry’s community garden- an organization that provides healthcare services to uninsured Wake County residents, one of the recipients of compost from CompostNow. We were pretty excited to close the loop and see what good our veggie scraps were up to.

Some may remember Lulu’s volunteer day with Alliance Medical Ministry last July- a productive day described as “roasty toasty”. https://betterthanyesterday.lulu.com/2016/07/19/blog-post-title-2/

Once our group arrived, Alliance’s Garden & Wellness Program Coordinator, Jesse Crouch, lead us through the garden.

We toured each bed and were encouraged along the way to eat various flowers and leaves. “Try it! It’s good!” Jesse exclaimed with an extended hand full of tiny flowers. “These are collard green flowers. That’s an arugula that’s gone to seed. You can still eat it. Those pink flowers are… something you can eat, but I can’t remember what it’s called.” Some of us were a little skeptical, but most gladly put freshly-picked greenery in our mouths.

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Jesse also taught us how to carefully transplant delicate, baby plants. We first mixed up a garden bed with compost and dirt. Then, we made a little well in the dirt to help water run towards the plant. Next, we opened a small hole for the plant, covered it with dirt, and whispered sweet nothings to ensure plant happiness.

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Here’s a QA Engineer, Andrea, in the zone as she pulls weeds from the onion and garlic beds

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Below is a tiny okra plant transplanted by one of our QA Engineers, Matt. It can’t be confirmed, but I’m pretty sure he later gave the okra the tiniest high-five and whispered “You got this!”

 

The Alliance garden also has two new beehives! We weren’t able to get up close and personal, but we did watch from a distance as the tiny bees fluttered to and fro with pollen covered bodies.

To help out the bee friends, we pulled bunches of weeds from their pollinator flower garden. You’re welcome, bees.

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To learn more about Alliance Medical Ministry, check out: http://www.alliancemedicalministry.org/

They’re hosting a Farm to Table fundraiser dinner that is sure to be amazing. You may get to eat the veggies we tended to on our volunteer garden day!

CompostNow services the Morrisville, NC Lulu office. We toss our food scraps and they pick them up every Friday to begin the decomposing process and make that beautiful, dark compost. Easy peasy.

Residents of the Triangle and surrounding area can learn more about CompostNow and get a free two-week trial: https://compostnow.org/offer/lulu/

Lulu has a Can-Do Attitude 

Join Team Lulu on a tour of the Sonoco Reclamation Center to celebrate Earth Month and expand our knowledge of the waste stream!

On a crisp, Carolina blue Thursday, we embarked on a journey alongside our LaCroix cans, yogurt cups, and other recyclables. Our eco-excitement electrified the air. Or, it may have been the rumblings of trucks and giant machinery sorting paper from cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals.

Recycling Truck

For some of us, the thought of recycling and environmentalism may conjure images of crunchy folks in Birkenstocks asking if you have a minute for the environment as you nervously pick up your pace and avoid all eye contact.

However, there’s another aspect of recycling that many people don’t consider – JOBS!

The Sonoco Reclamation Center in Raleigh, NC processes around 350 tons per day in two 10-hour shifts, with 4 hours for cleaning. At the time of our tour, the Sonoco team was processing items at a rate of 11.9 tons per hour.

A recent article from The News & Observer pointed to statistics showing that recycling plastic bottles employs around 1,700 people in the Carolinas. Likewise, if each household recycled just two additional plastic bottles a week, we could create 300 brand-spankin’ new jobs.

Currently, 3 billion bottles, or about a third of all plastic bottles, are thrown away in North and South Carolina. We’re tossing out jobs left and right!

According to the Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council, we currently only produce 25% of the recycled plastic from bottles need to make new products. The other 75% is purchased from other states in the US and abroad. The more Carolinians recycle, the more we can cut costs, create jobs, and keep it local, y’all.

Recycling machine

That said, not all items are accepted by recycling centers. It’s important to keep in mind that plastic grocery bags should not be added to commingled recycling. Facilities like Sonoco are unable to process plastic bags, and when they find them among recycling, the bags end up in a landfill. Instead, consumers should bring back plastic grocery bags to grocers who can properly recycle the bags .

You can find a recycle location near you: http://www.abagslife.com/find-a-recycle-center/

Can’t remember which bin to toss your bottles, food scraps, and other trash? Lulu’s got your back! Download these free recycling and composting infographics.

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Check with your municipality to learn the specifics of what can and cannot be recycled.

Together, we can all be like Jake the trash truck and become recycling heroes.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/yvonne-osborne-and-scott-osborne/jake-the-happy-trash-truck/paperback/product-22765637.html

Go get ‘em, you recycling superstar!

Lulu Team Recycling

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article143301594.html#storylink=cpy

Your bottle means jobs: https://yourbottlemeansjobs.com/pledge/


About the Author

Sheridan is Lulu’s Coordinator of Sustainability and Outreach. She is also an author advocate, a friend to all cats everywhere, a clog aficionado, and an art maker.

Books, Beans and B-Corps: Making New Eco Friends

Larry’s Beans: Where the magic happens

Eco wonder woman, a.k.a. Arwen from Lulu’s Customer Support team, and I traveled to Larry’s Beans to meet a fellow B Corp company, learn new sustainability tips, and frolic in caffeine happiness. We were aware of the Raleigh-based coffee roaster’s reputation as a sustainability superstar, so we were eager to learn more about their practices.

Within seconds of entering the building, we were welcomed with mugs of hot coffee and introduced to Daniel Tassitino, Communications Ambassador for Larry’s Beans. We began our tour at the end of the production process – the compost, recycling, and trash bins. While learning about their waste reduction initiative, we ran into the company’s namesake, president and founder, Larry Larson!

We got to say “hello” to the little wriggly ones.

Larry, with coffee cup in hand, shared his perspective on sustainability and the challenges of promoting a culture that values environmental responsibility. I asked him if there were any best practices he’d like to share.  He quickly explained that Larry’s Beans doesn’t have “best practices.” They just know what does and doesn’t work for their business. They’re still learning as they grow.

On their sustainability journey, the coffee roaster has accomplished some pretty great things including:

  • Ethical Coffee Sourcing: All Larry’s Beans coffee is Organic, Fair Trade, and Shade Grown.
  • Energy Efficient Facility: The facility utilizes composting, zone heating, natural daylight, solar panels, rainwater harvesting barrels, and more!
  • Biodiesel: The roaster is home to Raleigh’s only B100 fueling station
  • Worms: Larry’s Beans uses their compost, coffee grounds, and burlap coffee bags to house and feed their worm farm.

After our tour, we asked Daniel, “Do you want to be Lulu’s friend in sustainability and hold each other accountable?”

“YES!” he exclaimed to our delight.

We high fived then rumbled off into the sunset in the Larry’s Beans recycled veggie oil bus. Just kidding. Instead, we went to a conference room and began planning the next steps in our goal-setting partnership.

Veggie Oil Powered: Larry’s Beans Coffee Bus

Together, Lulu and Larry’s Beans will hold each other accountable in our efforts to achieve our sustainability goals. After all, what’s better than a good book and a cup of fine coffee – both from certified B Corps? Okay, maybe a cuddly cat on your lap, but not much else!

Take an online tour of the Larry’s Beans facilities.
Learn more about Larry’s Beans and their commitment to sustainability

 


About the Author

Sheridan is Lulu’s Coordinator of Sustainability and Outreach. She is also an author advocate, a friend to all cats everywhere, a clog aficionado, and an art maker.

 

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