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Brake Bread is a neighborhood bakery and coffee shop in Saint Paul’s West 7th neighborhood. They started in 2014 as a Community Supported Bakery, offering delivery of fresh bread via bicycle.

Challenge

When Brake Bread was planning their new store, they wanted to be as close to zero-waste as possible. They had some ideas of ways to achieve this goal, but wanted help to find all the ways they could possibly reduce waste and recycle better. They reached out to the Recycling Experts at BizRecycling for help.

How We Helped

Our Recycling Expert visited with Brake Bread and helped them do a waste assessment. Armed with knowledge of how the business operated, our Recycling Expert helped Brake Bread apply for a BizRecycling grant. The grant was used for a few waste-reduction initiatives. Reusable baking mats were purchased to avoid using parchment paper for baking. Color-coded recycling and organics recycling bins were purchased. An enclosure was built to house the recycling and organics dumpsters.

Brake Bread’s staff is committed to their zero-waste goals, so implementing the organics recycling program was not a problem. As one of Brake Bread’s members, Micah Taylor, told us, “the challenges are minimal – remembering what is sorted where – but it was easy and definitely worth the effort.”

Outcome

Thanks to their dedicated staff, Brake Bread is diverting more than seven tons of organic materials and over three tons of single-sort recycling every year. More importantly, Brake Bread is spreading the word about sustainable business practices and zero-waste goals to both their customers and other business owners.

“We do a coffee hour at other businesses and it has been nice being able to explain to them that we use reusable or compostable coffee cups as part of that and spread our message,” said Taylor.

They also deliver their bread to customers in compostable bags.

“The fact that we can start talking zero-waste to our customers… it’s a story we want to tell and be part of. It’s part of the ethos of our company,” said Taylor. “We have such minimal trash, smaller than most residential families, and as a business that is huge!”

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