Sustainability is a founding principle and core value of Straus Family Creamery. According to the mission-driven company, Straus was the first 100% certified organic creamery in the United States, and has been a leader in sustainable organic farming and sustainable business for 25 years. From the beginning, Straus sold its organic milk in reusable glass bottles to reduce waste and pollution. Today, the glass bottles keep an estimated 500,000 pounds of milk containers and plastic out of landfills each year.
At its Petaluma warehouse, Straus diverts 95% of the waste stream from landfills, resulting in more than 153,000 pounds of diversion. This is achieved by separating “hard-to-recycle” materials, including shrink wrap and plastic milk bottle caps. In addition to recycling materials generated within the facility walls, waste reduction strategies are implemented across the supply chain:
- Choosing reusable pallet wraps to replace single-use shrink wrap: Straus Family Creamery uses 75 reusable pallet wraps to transport products between facilities and in local distribution. These pallet wraps avoid about 15,000 pounds of waste annually.
- Shipping products to market in durable milk crates: Straus Family Creamery charges distributors a deposit on all crates to incentivize their return—the return rate was 99% in 2018.
- Working with suppliers to reduce waste from inbound packaging: In 2018, Straus partnered with a vendor to switch to reusable shipping containers to replace disposable cardboard boxes.
In the company's second TRUE Gold location, Marshall Creamery, all dairy waste is captured and put to use on the Straus Dairy Farm, just six miles away. Most of this material is used as a fuel for the farm’s methane (anaerobic) digester. The digester transforms milk waste and cow manure into biogas to generate electricity for the farm, and the byproduct (called “digestate”) is returned to the pastures to build nutrient-rich soil—a circular process that will help the 500-acre Straus Dairy Farm achieve its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral dairy farming system by 2023.