Let’s Walk the Talk: Better Earth & the #PlasticFreeJuly Challenge

by Jul 30, 2019Sustainability

Let’s face it – plastic is everywhere: our hospitals, homes and grocery aisles, as well as our rivers, streams and — thanks to the proliferation of microplastics — our stomachs too. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

My name is Savannah Miller and I am Better Earth’s Sustainability Director. As a compostable foodservice packaging company, we are proud to provide safe and sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics and support plastic reduction initiatives like #PlasticFreeJuly that share our vision for a better earth. This month, we participated in the global movement to better understand the problem, look inward, and help catalyze plastic reduction initiatives across the greater Atlanta area. We’re excited to share the impact of our efforts with you.   

We spoke up and Fulton County Commissioners listened.

Better Earth Sustainability Director Savannah Miller elaborates on how single-use plastic bans support small businesses to Fulton County, GA Commissioners

On July 10th, I joined a diverse group of stakeholders representing local non-profits, concerned citizens and businesses to express our support for Fulton County’s Single-Use Plastics Reductions Ordinance. This resolution sought to instate internal policies that will minimize the use of single-use plastics in Fulton County owned, operated and leased facilities starting January 2020. Soon after our remarks, the Commissioners took a historic step by voting unanimously in favor of the resolution, becoming the first county in Georgia to do so.

We helped businesses brainstorm alternatives to plastics in their operations.

Better Earth & Fresh Harvest Sustainability Jam Session

We were later approached by our friends at Fresh Harvest to explore how they might nix single-use plastics from their operations. Fresh Harvest is a food delivery service that creates a direct partnership between Atlantans and local, organic farmers. Inside any given bin, you can expect to find the best fruits and veggies of the season and artisan items. During our brainstorm, the Fresh Harvest team discussed how they’re actively transitioning away from plastics, and put their remaining plastic packaging on the table – including plastic bags, plastic berry containers, and plastic wrap for breads. Together, we brainstormed sustainable alternatives and strategies for how to best engage all Fresh Harvest stakeholders, from farmers to customers, in the process. We may not have found all the answers that afternoon, but we opened the door for long-term impact.

A single-use plastics audit is a low-lift way for any organization to join the movement against plastic pollution. If this is an exercise you or your organization is interested in, send me an email!

We made a commitment to walk the talk.

Compost Now workshop for Better Earth.

For us, the most fulfilling part of #PlasticFreeJuly was looking inward and committing ourselves to reducing single-use plastics still present in our operations. To this end, the entire Clarkston team participated in a waste audit to get a clear picture of what we were throwing away and what could be diverted. We collected all trash disposed that week into a big pile that we hand-sorted into recycling, compost and landfill waste. The result? Over 30% of our waste that week could be diverted from the landfill.  

We took immediate action by subscribing to the commercial composting service Compost Now and revisiting our standard operating procedures for waste management. We also took inventory of the items that cannot currently be diverted from the landfill and have initiated research into ways we can refuse, reduce or recycle them. We have a goal of eliminating single-use plastics from the Clarkston office’s operations by 2021 and look forward to keeping our community updated on our progress and lessons learned along the way. 

 If you’re interested in leading a waste audit with your team or want to learn more, feel free to e-mail me or visit www.plasticfreejuly.org for additional resources.  

Sustainability isn’t a destination. It’s a journey.

Better Earth team at AgLanta Eats.

At Better Earth, we continue to deepen our understanding of how we can lessen our environmental footprint and better serve our community. This month served as a humble reminder of how important small acts of courage can be, whether its participating in your local government’s public comment period or simply sharing a new way of doing things. We invite you to join us on this journey because lots of small changes will collectively make a massive difference.  

You can check out www.plasticfreejuly.com to make your own commitment to refuse single-use plastics and learn more about safe and sustainable alternatives like Better Earth compostable products. We also encourage you to sign up for our mailing list to stay up-to-date on the latest sustainability news, current events and new products.

Savannah Miller

Savannah Miller

Director of Sustainability

I am excited to spend my time thinking about how Better Earth can reduce our environmental impact and serve as a catalyst for change within our community and industry.

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