Nature is sacred
C’mon witches, this is Salem, you know what we mean 😉
For us it actually has two meanings. One's personal, one’s global.
First, the personal: We are mad nature lovers. We live in beautiful Massachusetts to be close to the ocean and forests that give us life. When we need to reconnect and be rejuvenated, nature is where we turn. We watch the sun rise and set over the harbor, attuning ourselves to the rhythms of the day, the tides, and the phases of the moon. We celebrate the seasons and the wheel of the year: that outer relationship between the earth and sun resonates with our inner ebbs and flows, and helps us understand ourselves and the people and world around us. We honor the rocks and rivers, trees and bees, the snails and whales, the fruit and veggies and meat we eat (it is possible that Eric fell in love with Angelica when she described what she imagined to be the joyful life of the zucchini they were cooking). We try to get our food in season, and from local farmers. Living harmoniously and in close relationship with the Earth is very much a part of who we are.
Second, the global: this isn’t only about how we live, it’s about life on this planet for all of us, and the choices we can make to live sustainably. Climate change is an existential, global crisis, and it is overwhelming. But we have to start somewhere. Our individual impact may be small, but we can start creating change right here with ourselves,
and we believe that example will amplify.
Coffee shops generate a ton of trash and as nature loving business owners we want to address that. Below, we get reeeeally specific, and it may be boring. Or it may be informative! We hope so. In either case, we didn’t want to just say, “we’re green!” we want to show you what we’re doing. Our goals are to:
Minimize our carbon footprint
Minimize our contribution to the waste stream
Eliminate any use of toxic chemicals
Zero out single use plastic.
We expect to get better at meeting these goals as we go and as the technology changes. We’d love your help, so feel free to ask us anything or offer any suggestions.
Carbon footprint: we source our equipment and ingredients as close as we can find. Our coffee is from Boston, our milk is from Hadley, our baked goodies and honey come from Beverly. Even our fridges and sinks are from Holyoke. This also helps us support our local and regional communities - yay, two values for the price of one! Full disclosure, we are ordering some supplies and equipment that are made in China. We find ourselves sometimes making compromises that aren’t ideal. We operate within limits of budget, availability, and technology. Just know, we have given each decision a lot of thought and pushed ourselves to make the best choices we can.
Minimize waste: when sourcing our equipment, we bought second-hand as much as possible to keep those items out of the landfill and prevent unnecessary manufacturing of more stuff, usually in China, which creates a huge carbon footprint to get here. If we couldn’t get it used, we did our best to get it made in the US to reduce that footprint and support domestic manufacturing.
Every takeaway item we use is recyclable, and takes less raw materials to produce in the first place. But that’s trickier than we thought. Most hot cups are coated with a layer of polyethylene plastic, which makes them hard to recycle as the plastic layer turns into tiny flakes clogging the recycling screen and leaving the paper unable to be repulped. We found cups that are coated with a mineral coating that makes them easier to recycle into high grade products (and thus profitable, and not trashed). Instead of plastic cups for iced drinks or bio-plastic, which is super problematic, BTW, (see below) we have similar paper cups, made for cold. We think they look kinda fun too, like fountain drinks. Even if they do end up in the landfill (but please recycle!!) they break down easier than the plastic, which doesn’t.
We also use recycled paper napkins, paper towels, and bamboo toilet paper!
Even better than recycling is composting, which actively regenerates and feeds the earth, rather than just lightening the trash load. We are composting all that we can (we make a lot of coffee grounds!).
Toxic chemicals: We don’t use toxic chemicals. Period. We prize cleanliness, and not just because of COVID, but we won’t poison our bodies or our waterways for a cheap solution. We wash our hands, dishes, and sanitize our surfaces with nature-derived, sustainable, and eco-friendly cleaners that are tested for efficacy, from companies like Seventh Generation and Clean-Republic.
Single use plastic. That’s just a no, but how do we replace it? Bioplastic is given as an alternative to single-use plastic, it says “bio,” right? It must be good. Well, it’s complicated. PLA (polylactic acid) and other bio-based plastic is only compostable in special facilities, and it is made of corn, which is really greedy to grow, requiring tons of water and fertilizer (and they’re not growing it organically), which poisons our water tables and waterways. Instead, we’ve chosen to use the mineral-resin coated cold cups and straws, paper lids, wood stir sticks (tough choice there, cuz, trees).
We buy our cleaners in bulk when they come that way and use reusable glass bottles for spraying.
Wow is this expensive, and we don’t have a trust fund or deep pocket investors. We’ve just made it a priority. We’ve done a ton of research and educated the heck out of ourselves, and as we mentioned, we had to make some choices we didn’t always love because there aren’t perfect answers, but we’re not letting that stop us either.
It’s a start, and we can look Mother Nature in the eye, and say, “yeah, mom, we are doing all we can in this moment, and we will get better.”