Month: September 2010

Back from Nicaragua

This past August, Lloyd Kirwan, Deb Willett and Scott Allen went to visit 501c3 charity, Jubilee House in Nicaragua.  This was a return visit from when we were there last January.  They met with our sesame growers and a couple of processing plants to determine who would be hulling our seeds this year.  We are hoping to bring in Nicaraguan sesame seed to make our Tahini in the near future. The vision is get our Tahini fair trade certified by the year 2011.
 
We have been working with the Jubilee House and what has now become 11 co-ops for more than a decade.  We started out planting 4 acres of test plots, today this project has grown into the sustainability of 2,000 sesame farmers. In fact, this year we will be donating a portion of our Tahini sales to the Jubilee House for their hard work.

Building Expansion

Once Again has a couple of needed construction projects in progress.  We are building an addition onto our building to accommodate our maintenance which will also include a hot room to clean equipment.   The area will house all the tools for necessary repairs of equipment and ongoing equipment upkeep. We are also building a separate structure in our facility to house recyclable materials, such as boxes and plastics.   Our company celebrated the expansion with an employee picnic in the parking lot.  Bob and Randy manned the grills!

Glass Jars

A better package, made better for the environment, can only be the right way.

Once Again packages all nut butters in glass.  We utilize recycled glass to maintain a small environmental footprint.  Glass is the only packaging material that the US Food and Drug Administration deems “Generally Recognized as Safe.”  Glass is largely inert and therefore neither gives off chemicals to the packages contents nor absorbs chemicals from those contents.  Glass packaging’s excellent barrier properties not only keep external contaminants, including odors, away from the product but also prevent oxygen from entering and causing spoilage.  So our nut butters have a longer shelf life and require no preservatives, which is a good thing.

Our glass jars may be recycled. When recycled, a glass jar may be melted down and reformed into another glass container over and over again through recycling.  Recycled glass is not limited in the number of its useful life cycles; nor does it have to be “down-cycled” – that is, recycled only into lower-value products as some other packaging materials must, such as paper or plastics.  Glass, which uses much less energy than other packaging materials, retains a significant portion of the energy used to make it the first time and is easier and less energy-intensive to re-melt and reform: when you recycle one glass bottle you save enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for four hours (or, if you are truly active in conserving energy, a 11-watt compact fluorescent bulb for a day and a half).

More than 50% of each container we use is from glass that has been recycled.   Our containers meet the highest standards in the US for post-consumer recycled content as set by California, Florida and Oregon.  The materials in our glass jars are made of primarily sand, limestone and soda ash-are themselves earth-friendly and slag and other significant solid waste by-products are not produced when the jars were made.

Our glass supplier does not use brick containing chrome or heavy metals in the construction of the furnace block that holds the glass while it is being melted (2800 degrees Fahrenheit).  Even though those furnaces would last longer, chrome-bearing brick, when thrown away must be sent to and handled in special hazardous disposal facilities, and so therefore our supplier has chosen to be environmentally friendly.

Their furnaces do not use air as most glass furnaces around the world do.  Air is almost 80% nitrogen. Using air to burn fuels at the high temperatures in which glass furnaces operate, converts some of that nitrogen to nitrogen oxide, or NOx. Which, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is “one of the main ingredients involved in the formation of ground-level ozone, can trigger serious respiratory problems, contributes to the formation of acid rain and to nutrient overload that deteriorates water quality, contributes to atmospheric particles that cause visibility impairment most noticeably in national parks, reacts to form toxic chemicals and contributes to global warming.”  So, our supplier uses a mixture that is over 90% oxygen, inject with natural gas -which is much cleaner than oil- into the glass furnace and produce far less NOx, than if air was used.  Is this a more expensive way to produce our glass jars? Yes.  Could we get glass somewhere else where there are lower or no political or monetary consequences of pollution? Yes.  We could have, but have decided to take the higher road. A better package, made better for the environment, can only be the right way.

NYS Fair

This year Once Again participated in the New York State Fair.  Special thanks to both Ellen Halbert and Gael Orr who handed out samples of various butters in the Pride of NY Horticultural building.  There was very busy traffic all day long with lots of inquiries as to where our products may be purchased.  It was exciting for us this year as our products were available for purchase at the  Fair’s Marketplace Store.