Straus Family Creamery, Petaluma, Calif., announced several ongoing sustainability initiatives, ranging from resilient packaging and water conservation to carbon-free energy and electric vehicle usage.
Sustainable organic farming practices are at the core of Straus’ operations.
Resilient packaging was part of founder and CEO Albert Straus’ plan in 1994 when he decided to market his family farm’s certified-organic, cream-top milk in reusable glass bottles made from 30% recycled glass. Today, this commitment keeps an annual 500,000 pounds of milk cartons and plastic out of landfills.
The West Marin creamery, which produces premium organic milk, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream and butter, runs on 100% renewable electricity from Green-e Energy-certified wind and solar power sources in California. The renewable energy is purchased through Straus’ partnership with Marin Clean Energy’s Deep Green Renewable Program. The transition to renewable energy decreased the company’s operational greenhouse gas footprint by 20% annually.
Straus’ zero waste focus includes the recycling, repurposing and reusing of about 90% of all materials used at the creamery. The wastewater from the creamery is reused at the Straus Dairy Farm to flush barns and irrigate pastures, resulting in a 30% increased water efficiency over the last seven years.
“As an organic dairy farmer and business owner, I am fully committed to practical solutions, like our reusable glass bottle program and water conservation initiatives that make an immediate impact. We continue to innovate with new and longer-term solutions such as carbon farming, which removes carbon from the atmosphere and puts it back into the soil. This is recognized globally as a solution to fight climate change,” says Straus.
A pioneer in using cow manure to generate power, Straus also operates a methane digester on the dairy farm, which captures methane gas from the cows’ waste and uses it to produce electricity that powers on-farm and off-farm vehicles and machinery. Today, the methane digester reduces more than 1,600 metric tons of CO2e emissions annually, which is the equivalent of taking 350 cars off the road.
In 2017, Albert Straus launched what is dubbed as the country’s first full-scale electric truck that hauls feed to his 300 cows. This 330,000-pound international harvester electric truck joins electric vehicle programs already in place for Straus employees, who can charge their vehicles in the company’s parking lots.
Straus Family Creamery discussed its organic farming practices in the Plants of the Future article, which published in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ December 2017 issue.