Compostable Deli Containers and Straws
Our coffee cups, coffee lids, soup cups, straws and to-go containers are made from 100% renewable resources, are BPI certified*, meet ASTM standards for compostability, and are compostable in commercial compost facilities.
Our coffee sleeves are CFSC-Certified and made with recyclable and compostable Kraft paper.
*The BPI certification tests that a material will compost in a municipal or commercial facility and leave no toxic or lingering plastic residues in the soil.
Compost & Waste Diversion
Around the Co-op, both for customer and department use, there are orange compost buckets. We participate in a commercial compost program operated by Green RU. Once a week they pick up a dumpster of compostable materials and bring it to their compost site. Most everything is compostable at their facility – including paper products, dairy waste, animal bones and our deli containers!
Additionally we provide recycling bins around the Co-op for both customer and staff use. Behind the Co-op we have a glass dumpster provided by the City of Ames that customers are welcome to use. We will also exchange redeemables that were purchased at the Co-op.
Food Waste Minimization
Believe it or not, we really do not have that much food waste at the Co-op! Here’s how our food waste is minimized:
- Vegetable trimmings go into a compost bucket that is either composted or picked up by farmers for chicken feed.
- Dented, bruised or close to expiration vegetables and fruit are put in a bin for staff to pick through.
- Larger quantities of produce that is no longer sellable in the Produce Department can be absorbed by our Deli to quickly utilize.
Deli & Bakery:
- Leftover hot bar dishes are put in the breakroom for staff to enjoy.
- Dishes that have passed their sell by date are put in a staff fridge for staff to pick through.
- Next day Bakery Artisan Bread is put in the breakroom for staff, what is not chosen that day is frozen for Food at First. They pick up the bread once it’s reached a larger quantity.
- Pictured above: Deli staff use day old pastries to make french toast casserole that is then sold on our Breakfast hot bar.
- Items pass their sell by date are put in the breakroom for staff to pick through.
Boxes and Paper Bags
No plastic bags at our registers! Instead we offer boxes and paper bags. We also offer a 5c bag refund if you bring in your own reusable bag.
Alternative Transportation Reward Card
Every time you walk, bike, bus (or skateboard, rollerblade, skip, cartwheel, etc) to the Co-op ask for a stamp for your Bike, Walk, Bus card! 15 stamps turns the card into a $2 off coupon!
Smart Business Challenge: Platinum Level
The Smart Business Challenge is a free program offered by Ames Electric Services that helps businesses explore energy and water conservation, transportation, waste reduction, indoor and outdoor environmental quality, carbon footprint and community engagement. There are five levels in the Smart Business Challenge with Platinum being the hardest to achieve!
Platinum – This level is obtained by completing the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels and implementing unique and innovative (above and beyond) processes, practices and/or initiatives that have not already been addressed and recognized.
Oak Tables & Barstools
The tables in our Deli Seating Area were created from an oak tree that stood in what is now our parking lot. Iowa Homecrafters milled, dried and constructed the tables. It was important to the Co-op that this valuable tree was repurposed.
The bar and counter stools in our Deli Seating Area are also made from reclaimed wood.
During our 2016-2017 expansion project we uncovered some beautiful wooden boards that made up the subfloor- under what is now our Cheese and Beer & Wine Departments. Due to structural issues, we needed to replace the entire floor.
These boards now line the front of the Deli Counter, Teaching Kitchen Counter and the Wellness/Customer Service Desk. We’ve also used the boards for some aisle signs and a movable large barn door in our Deli Seating Area.