Our Environmental Impact: A Year in Review
We’re proud to share the important environmental benefits of our work to eliminate food waste while providing nutrient dense foods to our community.
See those delicious grain-free granolas we have here at Pulp Pantry? Although you may not be able to tell, those are made using pulp byproduct from local juicers (How is Pulp Pantry Granola Made?). This pulp is our secret superpower, our favorite ingredient; rich in nutritional value including fiber, vitamins, and minerals, pulp also enables us to act on our mission to reduce food waste while helping everyone eat more servings of fruits, veggies, and fiber.
FOOD WASTE AND WATER
For those of us in California, we know how much we need water and how little of it there often is in this state.
Pulp Pantry's grain-free Cacao Crunch granola isn't just delicious - it's made from upcycled almond and beet pulp.
With agriculture being one of the main culprits of water use and waste in the state, throwing out fruits and vegetables is like pouring water down the drain. With pulp comprising 3.5 out of every 4.5 pounds of veggies, throwing out pulp results in throwing out the bulk of the vegetable and the bulk of the water used to grow it.
At Pulp Pantry, we are waste and water warriors. By keeping pulp out of the landfill, we’ll refusing to let those precious water resources used to grow our food supply go to waste.
We even put some numbers to our work; by using pulp and repurposing it into our products, we saved nearly 115,800 gallons of water last year.
How did we calculate that, you ask? Well, according to a report by the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, it takes about 38.584 gallons of water to grow one pound of vegetables. Using the ratio of pulp to vegetables mentioned above (3.5/4.5) and multiplying 3.5 by 38.584, we found the water saved for 4.5 pounds of veggies. Using the pulp-to-vegetable ratio, the total pounds of vegetables used, and the water needed to grow one pound of vegetables, we got to that pretty astonishing number of 115,800 gallons of water saved.
FOOD WASTE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
We’ve all heard of climate change, but how does pulp fit into that equation? At juice shops, pulp is separated from fruits and vegetables and later thrown away, wasting this healthy product and sending it to a landfill. Depending on the type of decomposition the pulp undergoes (anaerobic or aerobic) in the landfill, it will emit methane or carbon dioxide. As we know, these two are powerful greenhouse gasses that have contributed to increasing temperatures on earth and overall climate change.
How are we making a difference? We save thousands of pounds of this pulp from its undeserved demise in a landfill, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
PC: Congresswoman Chellie Pingree
We even found a handy-dandy calculator to quantify our efforts. Devised by Watch my Waste in Australia, this calculator finds emissions of carbon dioxide released based on the weight of the food waste. This enables us to find how much carbon dioxide we are preventing from being released by repurposing juicers’ pulp. (The Staggering Environmental Footprint of All the Food We Just Throw in the Trash - the Washington Post)
Based on last year’s data, we saved around 2,585 kg CO2 equivalent.
Now if you don’t think food waste is really a problem when greenhouse gases are concerned, consider this:
“Imagine that all the world’s food waste came together to form a country. It wouldn’t be a very popular country to live in, but it would have an outsize impact on everyone else: the nation of, Food Waste would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the U.S.” –University of California
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON (Besides our granola)
So, our number for carbon dioxide equivalency looks pretty great, but what exactly does it mean? As you may know, carbon dioxide is also released through driving when gas is burned, and it is released when coal is burned for energy. We thought it would be neat to see how our numbers translated.
Using the EPA’s greenhouse equivalency calculator, we were able to see how our CO2 equivalent stacked up. For instance, this calculator shows that emitting 1 kg of CO2 equates to driving 2.5 miles in a car or burning 1.1 pounds of coal. Using our CO2 equivalent that we prevented from being emitted last year, our pulp-saving amounted to preventing around 2,840 pounds of coal from being burned. It also equates to preventing almost 6,500 miles from being driven, a number about 1000 miles greater than a ROUND TRIP drive from California to New York! That’s the power of the magic pulp wand.
GIVE ME MORE!
PC: My Vegan Journal
So this all sounds pretty great, right? But if you still aren’t convinced, here are some other reasons to support Pulp Pantry and other sustainable businesses.
For one, according to Harvard Business Review, efforts to improve sustainability have fostered innovation. Nike, for instance, developed a specialized yarn system that has reduced waste by 3.5 million pounds since 2012. This innovation was not only beneficial to the environment but also to Nike’s bottom line, requiring minimal labor and less material, which increased profits.
Beyond this, consumers are starting to take an interest in where their products come from. As Harvard Business Review notes, nearly 2/3 of consumers believe that they have a responsibility to buy products that are beneficial for both society and the environment. After all, why should companies be allowed to pollute the air, causing health problems like asthma, without paying a penny for their harmful actions? Why should they be allowed to extract clean groundwater for profits while many local residents live with polluted, undrinkable water? It’s time for companies to internalize the costs they impose on societies and start thinking about the effects of their actions.
It’s time to go green, and we are thrilled to be part of the ride!