Sustainable Practices at Bloomingfoods

ImageAt least once a year, the Bloomingfoods board of directors asks the general manager to provide us with a sampling of the co-op’s environmentally responsible business practices. Our policy prioritizes Reduce, Reuse and Recycle practices, with an eventual goal of zero waste. Some of our current practices include the following.
All Bloomingfoods locations make every effort to reduce food waste through accurate ordering, sampling and promotional pricing of overstocked items, donating short-dated food daily to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank and saving compostable material for local growers. The co-op seeks out distributors and producers who use the least amount of packaging possible. We try to develop local sources that support the local economy, reducing the miles to market and saving fuel as well as reducing carbon emissions. We make a practice of baling our cardboard and sell the bales rather than having disposal be an expense. A local artist, Julie Harries, collects empty bags from our bulk coffee and transforms them into wallets and change purses that we are able to sell in the store.
We are promoting reusable bags of canvas, hemp and recycled-soda-bottle polypropylene; thus far, 19,000 reusable bags have gone into the community. This saves resources and money as well as reduces the amount of trash going into local landfills. Co-op information materials are printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper from one of the only family-owned paper companies in the nation. The co-op also encourages paperless forms of communication including email, wikis and electronic ordering systems. All of our computer systems are set to “sleep” when they are not being used.
We included many reused and recycled elements in the remodel of our administrative offices. The carpet is 80% post-consumer recycled carpet tiles produced by InterfaceFLOR (an extremely progressive company with regard to sustainability) which can be recycled and made into new carpet tiles when worn out or damaged. When building our Near West Side grocery, many green technologies were implemented, some as simple as windows to let more light into the building naturally, and others as elaborate as heating water with a heat recapture system that collects BTUs from our refrigeration compressors.
We participate in various community clean-up initiatives, including the adoption of 3.8 miles of forested trail in Griffy Woods and the future adoption of a section of the B-Line trail. We worked with the Bloomington Commission on Sustainability and the Unitarian Universalist Church to distribute nearly 40,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to the Bloomington community.
ImageWe have installed rain barrels at our locations, collecting water to water the plants in front of our stores. We use the services of Chad Rhoder of Bloomington Pedal Power for food deliveries. We promote the Eat Local Challenge, inviting participants to set a goal for themselves of making more of their meals from food grown or produced locally. Our efforts to promote healthy family farms have a significant effect on the health of our local and global environment.
Through our monthly newsletter and enewsletter, we raise awareness in the community about the efforts we make and increase the commitment of our shoppers to making environmentally sound choices that positively affect not only Bloomingfoods, but our entire community. The list goes on, but I think this is enough to let you know that we try hard to make decisions in the interest of preserving our planetary home while providing the goods and services our member-owners want. Thanks for being the kind of people who support this direction.

Carol Bridges, Secretary
Bloomingfoods/BCS Board of Directors