Door to Door Organics just started delivering milk but we’ve actually been discussing dairy delivery for two years. While some of the team searched for local farms offering a variety of all-natural or organic milk, cream, and butter, I researched packaging materials that would both keep these items cold and have the most minimal impact on the environment. As the director of operations and resident sustainability expert, I consider how everything we do at Door to Door Organics affects the planet, from partnering with local producers and sourcing recycled packing materials to composting as much waste as possible and strategizing delivery routes to reduce our carbon footprint.
In my quest for the most eco and efficient packing solution that would offer you the same quality and convenience you expect from your Door to Door Organics delivery, I spent the better part of this past year evaluating 15 different options. Nonrecyclable Styrofoam didn’t remain in the running for long since it releases ozone into the air and then sits in a landfill for 500 years before it starts biodegrading. Dry ice kept the milk cold but I was concerned that your child or dog might grab some out of the box and freeze their skin. A plastic picnic cooler worked well but was most effective at keeping dairy foods cool when chilled with ice packs first. And I didn’t want to ask you to remember to toss a few ice packs in your cooler the busy morning of your delivery day, so the search continued. I was excited to find a compostable material made from mushrooms but disappointed when it didn’t keep the milk cold through a gauntlet of tests, like blasting a packed box of milk with multiple space heaters for hours and leaving boxes on porches and in trucks on hot summer days.
So what withstood all the rigorous testing and still kept the milk cold for more than 4 hours, according to my minute-by-minute readings from calibrated thermometers? What would best help us fulfill our mission to reduce, reuse, recycle? It’s the 100% recycled, 100% reusable black insulating foam material that’s created from post-industrial scrap you now find in your box. It beat out the competition because it’s not made from new raw materials, it’s custom-fit for our delivery boxes so we never waste any scraps, and it uses the smallest amount of materials compared to the other options. Another huge bonus: We can keep reusing it – with your help. We need you to return the foam packaging on your next delivery day so we can use it again and again. The same goes for all other materials, so please remember to put out insulation sleeves, packing paper, boxes, and especially the glass milk bottles (Morning Fresh Dairy says that reusing one milk bottle 100 times keeps 50 plastic milk jugs out of the landfill). When the black foam packing material is finally ready for recycling, we can do that locally and keep our carbon footprint low, unlike some eco-packaging that needs to be shipped far away for proper recycling.
I checked the milk’s temperature constantly like a concerned parent with a feverish child so you can now be confident that the dairy delivered in your eco-insulated box will remain cool, safe, and delicious on your porch for at least your 4-hour delivery window (we send you an email the night before so you’ll have an idea when your milk will arrive). We also recommend you move your milk from the box to your fridge within a couple hours of delivery to ensure the highest quality. And remember that Door to Door Organics stands by everything we do, so please let us know if you are less than delighted with anything, for any reason. I’ll keep striving to improve our quality, efficiency, and environmental impact, so be sure to let me know how I’m doing.