By Emily Jed - Dec 10, 2020
But as the need to avoid the spread of the coronavirus has taken top priority, operators have had to shift to single-serve and plastic-wrapped OCS supplies to promote safety in the break room. Several suppliers offer solutions that address safety concerns without compromising sustainability.
Ralph Bianculli, founder and CEO of Emerald Brand and Paradigm Group, based in Huntington, N.Y., said his company has increasingly seen “sustainability” translate beyond the impact of single-use disposables on the environment to encompass their impact on personal health and wellness. Its product line includes cutlery, hot and cold cups, take-out containers, plates, napkins, and packaging made from tree-free and petroleum-free renewable and compostable materials like sugarcane, wheat, clay, and corn.
Addressing burgeoning demand for single-use utensils, with both health and the environment in mind, Emerald Brand recently launched compostable, individually wrapped Plant to Plastic® cutlery made in the U.S. It’s made with polylactic acid (PLA), a natural plant-based bioplastic derived from renewable resources like cornstarch and sugar cane and is renewable and biodegradable.
Also new are Emerald's American-made, Tree-Free™ toilet paper, napkins and paper towels made from agricultural fiber and free of fluorocarbon, BPA, and elemental chlorine.
Made in the U.S.
Five years ago, Emerald Brand launched an aggressive campaign to make more of its products in the U.S. “Only 15% or so of our portfolio was made in the U.S.,” Bianculli noted. “We accelerated the push in 2018 and 2019. Now, close to 70% of our portfolio is made in the U.S. and we’re continuing to close the gap further.”
Emerald Brand can provide operators with quarterly environmental impact statements to quantify the results of their clients’ sustainable purchases and help them educate employees about their efforts. Detailed in the statements are the number of trees and virgin fiber saved, landfill waste diverted, and plastic materials avoided.
Alliant’s soft pod packaging film, for instance, is completely compostable, and combined with a nitrogen flushed packing process that keeps each pod free of oxygen, preserving the quality of the freshly ground coffee. The coffee pods have long been made from compostable material, creating a complete zero-waste product.
Alliant also offers individually wrapped coffee cups, lids and condiments in packaging that is produced with recycled, bio-enhanced resins that are degradable in active landfills.
“These innovative, individually wrapped products enable OCS operators to continue to grow their market footprint during these difficult times, while still building a safe coffee experience and exceeding employee expectations by showing your employees you care about the environment,” said Ryan Stoulil, general manager at Alliant Coffee Solutions/Wolfgang Puck Coffee. “We make a strong effort to partner with eco-conscious affiliates like Rainforest Alliance who are committed to preserving the rainforest by inspiring responsible business, supporting sustainable livelihoods, and restoring balance to our planet.”
Holiday House also offers antimicrobial films to apply to equipment to replace rubber gloves and finger covers that many locations initially supplied employees to sanitarily prepare their hot beverages.
Additionally, Holiday House recently added a retrofit Tomlinson faucet handle for water coolers to enable push-cup dispensing — this product is so popular that it’s backordered. It also launched its own push-paddle for tea dispensers and satellite coffee urns to eliminate the need to touch the equipment.
Bamboo condiment, cup and airpot racks and recyclable water filters are among Holiday House’s other popular sustainable offerings.
“We’re seeing more concern about sanitation than being green right now,” said Holiday House vice president of sales and marketing Barbara Russell. “There’s less waste with the cup and lid dispensers and with the antimicrobial film replacing rubber gloves which supports sustainability, but the focus we’re seeing is still really driven by safety.”