Running a More Environmentally Sustainable Business and Country

I recently opened the Chestnut Hill Brewing Company with my husband and we serve 12” Neapolitan, wood-fired pizzas in the farmers market behind the Chestnut Hill Hotel in Philadelphia. Initially, we purchased 12” aluminum pizza pans, thinking that most of our customers would eat the pizza directly off of the aluminum pan. However, we decided to buy paper plates because a few customers started asking for them in the first week and, buying paper, was the easiest thing to do. Although less common, we also received a few requests for silverware, especially from parents looking to cut the pizza for their children for lunch or dinner. Our solution was to go and purchase some disposable silverware. After all, our drying space is limited and, to be honest, we weren’t crazy about doing the dishes.

After receiving a few complaints about our flimsy, disposable, silverware, my husband and I did some research on stronger silverware and looked into silverware made from recyclable material. There were some viable options, but, around the same time, we found out that France recently became the first country to ban plastic cups and plates. The French minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal, has a goal of cutting landfill waste in half by 2025 and reducing greenhouse emissions by 40% as compared to 1990 levels. In July, France banned plastic bags. Weavers Way Coop currently does not offer plastic bags. Instead, customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags and they also offer their leftover cardboard boxes (from the products they are selling) to their customers to use as a carrier for their groceries. 

That got us thinking. Was getting silverware made from recyclable material the most environmentally responsible thing we could do?  No. So, after further discussion, we decided the best solution for the environment would be to purchase stainless steel silverware and that’s what we did. Sure, we will use more water and the space on our drying rack will become tighter, but we think this is the right thing to do in the long run.  Next, we have to tackle the paper plates, but we aren’t quite ready to do that.  Small steps. Thanks for leading the way and being a great example France!

Feel free to comment on what you are doing to help the environment!