Michael was terribly excited last week to tell me that a new shop had opened in our neighborhood combining two of our biggest passions: ice cream and zero waste. “You have to come see and bring your camera so you can write about it!” He’s not often so emphatic about what I post on my blog, so I figured this must be serious!
We joined up with a couple of other ice cream-lovin’ friends on Sunday and headed up the street to Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, which just opened a week ago on College Avenue (near where Safeway wants to build its mega monstropolis.) And sure enough, the boy was right! The ice cream is awesome, certified organic, but even better, the shop offers only durable or compostable containers and utensils.
The spoons are metal (for eating in the shop) or made from potato starch (for taking to go.)
Even the little tasting spoons are made from metal.
The bowls and containers are either durable dishes, like this one that held my awesome ice cream sundae,
or they are made from bagasse (sugar cane fiber.)
I was happy to see that the only compostable item made from corn (a problematic crop) were the straws.
I chuckled yesterday when I read Lisa Sharp’s comment on this blog about reusable glass straws from Green Home because in fact, that’s exactly where Tara bought her compostable straws. Green Home sells both types. I’m all for reusable over compostable in general, but glass straws don’t seem practical for a tiny ice cream shop that’s mainly take-out. For my home, I may end up purchasing a set of glass straws just so I can throw an ice cream soda party, especially since they come with a handy cleaning brush. And they’re guaranteed against breakage.
Anyway, back at Tara’s, the waste station does include a trash can, but really, what would go in it?
And let’s not forget the ice cream itself. Awesome and interesting flavors. Ever tried tarragon chocolate?
Okay, so for those of us who are truly into zero waste, none of these compostable or durable containers are necessary. Ice cream cone’s the way to go! And I do wonder what happens to the compostable containers that leave the shop. Do folks know to put them in their composting bin or will they end up in the trash?
But we’ve got to start somewhere, right? And I think Tara’s making and awesome effort and showing other small businesses that even if the compostable option is a bit more expensive, offering these kinds of containers to customers and making a point of educating them about the difference can be done! I’m hoping Tara’s Organic Ice Cream sticks around here for a while!