As I write this, Tru-Nut has been in business for nearly 7 years. I don’t mean to gloss over all of the hard work and big steps it had taken for us to get here, but I feel like we are now in a very stable position for the long-term. I don’t think I could have said that 1 or 2 years ago. We may not be the biggest company in the Powdered Peanut Butter world, but we have carved out a space for ourselves and I think our brand is seen as one that does not sacrifice on quality while delivering great-tasting products. Now that the company is in a strong position for the future, I feel like what we do as a brand and a company matters more now. This is exciting for me because I want to be able to use the strength of our company to further initiatives and causes that are very important for me. Environmentalism and finding ways to improve our planet’s health are extremely important to me, and the challenge of finding the best way to accomplish those goals is a challenge that excites me in the same way that entrepreneurialism does. They are both challenges, and I love figuring out how to make things work.
These are the environmental projects I am currently working on:
- Removing as much plastic and non-recyclable material from our supply chain as possible. This is a challenge that we have to tackle on several fronts. On one side, there is our product packaging. We have already transitioned some of our packaging to be made out of compostable material. In 9-12 months, your Tru-Nut packaging will biodegrade in the dirt! The majority of our packaging is still using plastic jars, which can be recycled, but to me, that’s not enough. The dirty secret about plastic recycling is that there’s no way to really recycle plastic, it just gets re-purposed and then finds its way into the ocean or a landfill for 500 years. So while we don’t have the answer for this yet, we are working on it. But there’s so much more waste and packaging that the average consumer does not see that goes into making products and transporting them. For example, plastic stretch wrap. Every product that you buy in a store or on Amazon was transported on a truck to a distribution warehouse on a pallet, and that pallet was wrapped in plastic stretch wrap. And then on the truck from the distribution warehouse to the store, it’s put onto another pallet on another pallet that is wrapped in stretch wrap. All of this plastic is then thrown away. It technically can be recycled, although most, if not all, warehouses do not recycle it. Why? Because consumers don’t see this, they don’t know about it. Only with a proper amount of pressure applied will companies change their ways on this. Most corporations don’t really care about the environment, they will only act if they think it is in their benefit to act as if they care. So if consumers don’t say anything about this, why would they change their ways? With that said, I don’t see recycling stretch wrap as the best solution to this problem. Innovative companies are now producing plant-based stretch wrap, which is made from materials that can biodegrade in MUCH less time than it takes for plastic to biodegrade (500 years). We are testing this product now and will be implementing it into our warehouse very soon. A small company like ours uses tons of plastic stretch wrap every year, which is all being thrown away. TONS. It hurts me to think about all of that waste that we are generating. Can you imagine how much plastic stretch wrap a large company like Procter & Gamble or Hershey’s will use in a year? Our ultimate goal is to get to a place where all of the packaging materials that we use are biodegradable or at least recyclable, and I mean truly recyclable, such as cardboard, and not plastic. Once we complete this process, or at least get pretty far along, I plan to publish a guide for other companies to follow to achieve these same goals and rid their supply chain of so much waste. And you know I’ve learned through all of this? It’s not really that expensive to move away from plastic. For example, using compostable packaging for our Stickpacks adds an extra $.02 to the cost of the product. That’s it! I will gladly make $.02 less on this product to keep all of that packaging out of a landfill or the ocean. And it’s the same with the plastic stretch wrap. In fact, the plant-based stretch wrap costs the same as the plastic wrap. So why aren’t more companies using this? For one, the average consumer doesn’t see all of the plastic wrap being used, so they don’t know to ask for something different. Also I don’t think enough companies know that these products exist. So this is something we can both help with. You can let your favorite companies know to switch to more sustainable packaging, and I will do the same. If you have a company that produces products and feel the same way as I do about these issues, contact me, let’s work together, I would love to be able to help you in your own sustainability journey.
- Are you still reading this? Sorry for being long-winded, I’m just very passionate about this and there’s a lot to say. So, the second thing I want to do is what I call the Tru-Nut Forest. Before you laugh, allow me to explain. I want to figure out the most effective and efficient method of sequestering carbon dioxide from the air using only natural methods. To be clear, there are companies doing far bigger and far more effective projects than this. But I want to come up with a plan that just about anyone can implement on a large or small scale. For this plan, I am developing a set of guidelines for the most effective method of removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it so that its harmful effects on the ozone layer are removed. The plan will only use natural things such as trees, grass and lakes. These natural things do a great job of sequestering carbon all on their own. But with a bit of work, land can be optimized to sequester as much carbon as possible. Three steps are involved in this plan: first, I have to come up with the guidelines and determine what is the best sequestration tool for each square foot of land. Most people assume trees sequester the most carbon, but that’s not always the case. Second, I will purchase barren or derelict land and put my plan into place to renew it. I will create this efficient sequestration haven and document how much carbon is being stored underground. Third, I will publish the plan and the guidelines so that others who feel as strongly as I do can do this on their own. For those that don’t feel satisfied just giving money to a cause, they want to do more but don’t necessarily know what to do or how to do it, this will be their guide. Imagine if we could create a model for thousands and thousands of acres of land in the US alone to be brought back to life all the while sequestering as much carbon as possible. And this is something that just about anyone can do. Even if you don’t have the funds to purchase vacant land, if you have a yard, sequestering more carbon is as easy as changing the type of grass that you have in your yard. I see this plan as a small piece of the puzzle to fighting climate change, but a lot of small pieces can add up to a lot. And sometimes, all we are able to do is make a small change. But it does actually help, you may inspire others, and you will feel good that you made an effort to help improve our Earth.
So those are my ideas. Again, contact me if you feel moved, want to help out, want to collaborate, or want some help in making your company more carbon neutral. And please read below for more information on my company and what we make 🙂