In the year 2022, that means taking our responsibility to the environment every bit as seriously as our responsibility to our customers and employees. We recently made it official by getting Green Business certified—and celebrating with a green ribbon cutting ceremony. Here’s how we got to where we are today and what we’re doing next.
Our history of sustainability
In some ways, getting an official Green Business certification is long overdue. California has some of the strongest environmental protection regulations in the U.S. and as a result, Californian businesses like Crystal Creamery often lead the way in sustainability efforts. To us, environmental sustainability means using land, water, and energy as responsibly as possible to reduce our greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions—all while providing wholesome, nutritious dairy to our communities.
Some of our sustainability efforts are wide-ranging and some are on the smaller side—but even the small steps add up, like switching to LED lights, improving the efficiency of our heating and cooling systems, and recycling nearly all of our waste (around 97%). We’ve started transitioning to renewable electricity sources, too: Solar panels currently account for about 1% of our energy consumption, and we’re excited to grow that number in the coming years. In addition, we’re always exploring new ways to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions, like installing methane digesters and switching to more efficient manure management practices. And, since transportation is a huge driver of greenhouse gas emissions, we work with farms within a 50 mile radius of our Modesto dairy. Shorter trips for our drivers mean fewer emissions in the air and fresher milk for you.
Recycle the jug
Did you know that milk jugs are made of the best plastic for recycling? It’s true. High-density polyethylene—HDPE for short—is versatile and easy to recycle. With more and more manufacturers choosing recycled materials, the demand for HDPE has never been higher. But according to the EPA, less than a third (29%) of HDPE bottles and jugs were recycled in 2018. The rest went straight to the incinerator, or worse, the landfill.
Obviously, we can do a lot better than a measly 29%. That’s why we celebrated the unveiling of our new “Recycle the Jug” label at the green ribbon ceremony. Raising awareness about HDPE recycling is a simple and important step towards reducing the amount of plastic waste polluting our land, water, and air.
Looking to the future
As much progress as we’ve made towards sustainability, the fight against climate change has only just begun. As we write this, we’re participating in the California Dairy Sustainability Summit which brings together dairy manufacturers, farmers, legislatures and scientific researchers to increase progress and accelerate adoption of sustainable practices. Together, we'll work to improve operational efficiency across the industry, reduce emissions and our overall footprint, set stricter standards for animal welfare and more.
Another vital part of our efforts is working to solve challenges around food inequality and inaccessibility. Our continued participation in California School Milk programs have played a big part in meeting these goals, but we're committed to increase our impact to address these critical issues.
“As Californians, we love our beautiful state and take pride in doing our part to protect it,” says Dennis Roberts, the CEO and president of Crystal Creamery. “Here’s to the next 120 years!”