Finding Gold in the Waste Bin - Straus Family Creamery

Finding Gold in the Waste Bin

Edible Marin & Wine Country


What does a small trash bin tucked in the corner of a Straus Family Creamery executive office have to do with climate change? Everything, according to Stephanie Barger, director of market transformation and development for TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency), a zero-waste certification program established by Green Business Certification Inc. in 2017. The devil is always in the details, and when it comes to reducing what goes into landfill, everybody—every single employee—must be part of the change.

“A company may have too many trash cans, and that also means too many trash can liners,” Barger says. “People get very attached to trash cans in their offices, and to throwing things away. This is a simple fix: When you remove a trash can it’s not only a technical change but it is also a company-wide cultural change, moving toward zero waste.”

In 2019, Marin County’s Straus Family Creamery became the first creamery in the world to earn TRUE’s Gold zero-waste certification, and, according to Joseph Button, director of sustainability at Straus, it was this sort of “minutiae” that mattered as the company pursued a critical certification benchmark: Straus now diverts over 90% of its waste away from landfill.

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