Our 2019 resolution was to rid waste from our cafe (insert biodegradable balloons and streamers here).
Oh, what a rabbit hole this has become! Before we stated our intent we asked ourselves ‘What defines waste free?’ We thought it was as easy as eliminating stir sticks, plastic straws, sleeves, cups, and lids. But the more we dug (and believe us, we’re still digging) we were presented with more questions than answers.
- Are there suppliers out there that share the same values as ourselves?
- How can we package our chocolate without foil, paper and stickers?
- How do we serve a coffee ‘to go’ without a disposable cup?
- What is a disposable cup even made of?
- Where does waste, recyclables and compostables go?
Before we even began, we had already felt defeated. Thankfully, by announcing our goals on social media, we were flooded with support from those who share common goals, and newfound connections began to emerge. One of our wholesale partners, Alyssa from easy. (Thank you!) introduced us to Terus. In a nutshell, Terus is a Toronto based social enterprise committed to reducing waste in restaurants.
We invited Lucy, their co-founder and CEO to join us at to our roastery and cafe to run a waste audit. She helped by highlighting the problem areas that exist at Soul Chocolate - it turns out there were many.
So what’s next? Where do we go from here? It’s not quite the resolution to our first blog post we had hoped for, but we know the answers are just around the corner.
We’re really curious about where our trash goes and what happens to it. Our team happens to be all about reconnecting ourselves with the process, and the waste stream is one most of us tend to not think about.
Next, we plan to dig a little deeper as we explore our current status of trash in Ontario. We need to understand where things go and what is/isn’t accepted before we can change our products and packaging for the best.
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