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Small Business and Green Initiatives

Cindy Kent | 20 September, 2019

Running a small business and maintaining a green initiative can be a big challenge. While large corporations can often absorb the costs of going green, businesses like ours often struggle to cope with the high-cost of reducing our carbon footprint. Our solution? Teamwork and community!

We bring in a lot of different goods from different places… that means A LOT OF BOXES! From chips and salsa to chocolate and cheese- just about everything is sent to us comes in a box (even BOXES are sent in a box)! A big chore here at A la Carte is breaking down, sorting, and designating boxes for new purposes. We reuse our boxes when sending out large orders, creating templates for new designs, and as inventory dividers. We often must work together to find new purposes for the large variety of boxes that result from the necessary rotation of our inventory.

Teamwork doesn’t just occur in the office; we’ve partnered with other businesses to help reduce our carbon footprint. A la Carte operates in a vertical retail space- that means we are in a large building with lots of other mom-and-pop shops. A benefit of this is getting to know lots of familiar faces and having the opportunity to share ideas and materials! We collect packing paper from our neighbor, MarxStyles. They are in the business of purses and handbags- that means lots of paper stuffing that has the potential to go to waste ends up as filler for our shipping boxes, and even as the base in small baskets! Our neighbors also are sure to save their packing peanuts for our reuse.

Speaking of packing peanuts… You might not think that a gift basket company would use an incredible amount of packing peanuts- but we do! Peanuts are our most popular choice when it comes to building a full, sturdy base for our baskets. We create a “pillow” of peanuts and then place this pillow tightly into our baskets for the contents to sit on. This means we go through about 8 cubic feet of peanuts in just one week! That sounds like a whole lot of Styrofoam that clogs up our landfills and pollutes our oceans… except it’s not! We always us biodegradable packing peanuts for every basket we make. These peanuts dissolve in water- right before your eyes! While they cost a bit more- and the squishy nature of the biodegradable peanuts means we need to use more than regular peanuts- it is worth it to know that the material we use the most is one that is not harming the environment.

Finding new purposes for old papers, peanuts, and boxes is a team sport- and we don’t mind playing!  We know that every little bit is meaningful when it comes to cutting costs and keeping our earth beautiful. Paying a bit more for environmental peanuts is only possible because of the support given to us from other businesses, and we (and the planet!) couldn’t be more grateful.

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