Chick-fil-A's Eco Contribution

Chick-fil-A is America’s favorite fast-food chain.

In the United States, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Chick-fil-A is the most popular fast-food establishment. As the apex predator for the third consecutive year, Chick-fil-A rose to the top of the food chain by delivering quality service, good sandwiches, and living their Judeo-Christian values.

Whether some may disagree with the values they preach or are just upset that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, Chick-fil-A has a rapport for garnering national attention to promote target messages that relate to their core principles. This led Waverly — an enthusiast for all things Chick-fil-A —to speculate more about another more subdued message.

“Is Chick-fil-A suggesting that eating chicken, as opposed to cows, is better for the environment?” —Waverly

Not only does the iconic Chick-fil-A mascot (read: cow) suggest that consumers “Eat more chikin”, but there is a lesser well-known environmental truth attached to those words. In 2014, the National Academy of Sciences answered this particular question by stating “beef” was worse than “chicken” when considering the carbon emissions of greenhouse gases for the environment.

Further, the study focused on the environmental impact of chickens and cows on land, air, and sea. Specifically, the survey focused on greenhouse conditions — the same conditions oft-cited when discussing our planet — and the nitrogen burdens required in the United States. The study concluded that beef is 10x more damaging to the environment than any other types of meat, including chicken. However, the verdict is more difficult to uniformly apply since the mitigating factors are harder to calculate. Especially, when considering the agricultural industries carrying capacity to switch from beef to chicken or vice versa.

In addition to former Truett Cathy’s claims that he applied God’s principals to Chick-fil-A operations, Chick-fil-A still is working on improving their current environmental standards to diminish its environmental impact. So what’s the issue?

Questionable Chicken Ethics and Dicey Involvements with Factory Farmed Chickens Plague Chick-fil-A

In 2014, Chick-fil-A announced they would no longer use chickens that were raised with antibiotics. Their ambitious plan had a five year time frame. Historically, to place this plan into perspective, the firm created an annual 282 million sandwiches — equating to 141 million birds — in 2010. So the 2014 transition, truly, is a paradigm shift.

When considering the role of factory farming, however, these birds are kept in poor conditions even if antibiotic use was excluded. Dirty, cramped, and with little space are commonplace for these birds. As many of our readers may know, antibiotics are added to livestock to simultaneously prevent disease and increase growth. In the National Public Radio’s most recent broadcast, “Finite”, their was discussion that this practice of liberally injecting antibiotics into livestock is detrimental to bio-security for humans as pathogens become more resistant with each use. Lastly, in 2016, they announced their mission to source 100% of cage-free eggs in the next 10 years — another ambitious plan we will be sure to verify in 2026.

So How Successful Was Chick-fil-A?

After the five year mark for Chick-fil-A’s “No Antibiotics Ever” commitment, the firm proudly reported that upwards of 80% of their chicken supply is raised without antibiotics. A remarkable step in the right direction. By December of this year, Chick-fil-A will attempt to convert that figure to 100%.

While Truett Cathy has made bold claims in the past, maybe his words were not too far fetched? The firm has made changes to become more environmentally sustainable while still maintaining its ability to compete and succeed with near-peer competitors. When considering all the factors, it is impressive. After all, Chick-fil-A is a fast-food chain reliant on chicken.

Mor Than Chikin’

Chick-fil-A has a few other goals on the topic of environmental sustainability. Specifically, they primarily focus on the four areas listed below.

  1. Sustainable new restaurant development

  2. Reducing energy and water consumption in existing restaurants

  3. Sustainable supply chain

  4. Cup recycling

Right now, the firm is working towards the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) gold standard. This is an internationally recognized green building certification system and, notably, gold is the highest attainable certification. Presumably, the gold standard indicates that a building is actively consuming a fourth less energy and generates 34% less of greenhouse gas emissions than previously.

For Chick-fil-A, they are planning to launch their firm’s first test kitchen in Fort Worth, Texas! For other existing restaurants, the goal is to reduce energy usage and water consumption by reinstalling more efficient utilities — including lighting, refrigeration, and water faucet restrictors. Further, when considering the supply chain, the firm is working with suppliers to establish more green-friendly changes. Lastly, Chick-fil-A claims that its use of foam cups are recyclable, whereas some plastics are not. While one maybe the lesser of two evils, neither can be wholly acknowledged as “great”. Notably, foam has many documented challenges with recycling.

Chick-fil-A is not a perfect model for environmental sustainability. However, the changes that it and other fast food chains or companies are committing to making (and actually following through) are and will make a significant substantial impact. Kudos to the firm for working towards a better future.

Kier Mellour: Eco Bikini Girl

Be Glam and Give a Damn.

Kier Mellour is the hottest environmental fashion, beauty, and travel blogger to hit the L.A. scene. Her wildly successful “classy, sassy, over-the-top style” fashionista blog is emblematic of the true Kier Couture image. However, at first glance, many wouldn’t know that Kier Mellour lives a not-so-secret, double life. Just like Christian Bale was the best Batman of our generation, Kier Mellour is unequivocally the best “Eco Bikini Girl” of our generation. She demonstrates on a daily basis that it is possible to both take care of our planet and remain ever-so fashionable. Or, in her words, you can “be glam and give a damn'.

Boy Scouts, Water Taste Test, and An Instagram Friend

Kier’s life — like all great stories — starts in the outskirts of a small town. Growing up as a regular kid in the Pacific Northwest, she learned to foster a great love and respect for nature, animals, and the earth. She credits her father and his former experience as a Boy Scout for nurturing her love for the wild. Whether she was camping in the summer, growing their own food, or reading books inside when it rained, Kier learned what it meant to incorporate sustainable practices into daily life. For example, she would mend clothes and fix toys instead of tossing them or buying new. This lifestyle made her that friend who would talk about how to live an eco-friendly life in a consumer-based society. That’s a good thing. You want to be that friend because environmental causes are not fringe issues, they are universal common goods that impact the lives of everyone.

Q: “After your first photo and beach clean-up, what happened?” —Ryan

A: “I began to talk more about plastic and easy swaps people could make in my stories and I realize that my audience was really interested in hearing more… They started to ask questions and I started to get messages about how much I had inspired them to make changes in their life which just encouraged me further.” —Kier

In 2017, Kier wanted to create more videos for her Youtube channel. The idea was to conduct a blind taste test of water bottles in California. Oddly enough, California was also experiencing a severe drought, even though Kier was buying most of her water bottles from the state. How was the private sector able to sell water that originated from a state that, supposedly, was lacking water sources? After extensive research, she discovered how terrible bottle water was for the environment. She thought about what she learned until one fateful day at the beach. Kier could absolutely not just relax in the sun or lie in the sand, as plastics had washed ashore and were scattered around the formerly, pristine beach. Therefore, she took action. She spent the day cleaning up the beach and at the end, she had her picture taken. Nearly immediately, the photo spread like wildfire and her flame for the environment was ignited even more.

Eco Bikini Girl represents that “women can be intelligent, conscious, and compassionate as well as stylish, sexy, and beautiful.”

Following the first beach clean-up, Kier started to participate in clean-ups once or twice a month. She also began following an Instagram account @CleanOurSeas and quickly became friends with the account manager, Natalie. After several Direct Messages (DM) and with the goal to spread as much awareness as possible, Kier began to write “#CleanOurSeas” on Instagram posts to encourage others to cleanup the environment. Naturally, Natalie loved Kier’s work and featured the post on the @CleanOurSeas account. Unfortunately, a male — unnamed for this article — derisively degraded the purpose of Kier’s actions. He insinuated that she had only participated in these clean-ups for Instagram “likes” and not because she cared for the environment. At that moment, the “Eco Bikini Girl” was born and she hasn’t looked back.

Thoughts on Consumer Behavior and Environmental Stewardship

With respect to consumer behavior, there are two great options that Kier recommends. The first is re-homing products and the second is to buy secondhand. As a consumer-based society, the value of our dollar is important. In fact, we have the ability to vote for the society we want based upon the products we sell. Therefore, it is necessary to practice a certain level of mindfulness when browsing Amazon or shopping in L.A.

“Literally, I’ve posted “free clothes hangers” and had a friend come and pick them up within an hour. There is so much stuff already out there, but you could use this tactic in reverse, as well…”Does anybody have a blow up mattress I could borrow for a week” will not only save you money, but it might reconnect you with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. [Facebook] prohibits you from buying something that you might not need forever.” —Kier on Consumerism

Further, Facebook and other social media platforms are great tools when connecting with others. It’s more than possible and should be encouraged to reach out to friends and family when it comes to products you may need for only a short amount of time. Whether it is borrowing a blow-up mattress or giving away hangers, there is not a need to constantly “buy”. However, thoughtful exchange could revolutionize the way we interact with others by furthering friendships and protecting our planet at the same time.

Thoughts on Defining Success and Environmental Stewardship

Success occurs on an individual level for Kier. Whenever there is a shift in thinking from someone who did not recycle and now they recycle, refuse, reuse, and practice conscious green consumerism — that is a win. She definitely feels successful in proactively reaching out to others, but her greater goal is to curb cigarette waste. Cigarette brands ought to switch to compost-able, natural filters. As many readers may know, cigarette butts are the number one most littered item, so if there was a shift from cigarette firms (either through legislation or profitability metrics) that would be a huge success. The implementation is the difficult part.

Thoughts on Politics and Environmental Stewardship

As a libertarian, Kier often finds herself arguing with both sides and, generally, thinks government should stay out of a person’s life. However, as an environmentalist and as a libertarian that possesses a strong belief in limited government, she is very torn on the best method to decrease nonessential plastics. Taxes on nonessential plastics or incentives in the form of tax credits or subsidies often come to mind — however, she is conflicted.

In Oregon, the cash redemption value machines have had astonishing success — it would be excellent if programs like these could be implemented nationwide. Witnessing the “success of common sense laws” that allow for cashback or discounts help any person on a budget. Further, it keeps plastic, glass, and metal containers in a circular economy for longer without needing to be placed in a landfill or dumped into an ocean. Anecdotally, California could be massively improved by implementing machines that are more visible, in higher frequency, and socially encouraged. However, often times these machines are swarmed with homeless people which typically makes it less than appealing to most people — this is another social problem that ought to be addressed.

“We can’t trust the government to protect us — we need to be the change we see.”

On the flip side, our government is incredibly wasteful — “I don’t think they know anything about how to be sustainable!” If sustainability was a greater focus, recycling and redemption facilities would be more frequent and self-education on the topic would be less necessary. Similar to the idea of including the true environmental cost when taxing a company for using plastic, it is not that rough of a thought to consider plastic as hazardous waste. This term would require companies who produce it to be responsible for disposal and cleanup. This is a realignment of our consumer-based economy, again, to reflect the true environmental costs.

Clearly, any policy change would need bipartisan support. The easiest way to make a change now is to convince others to “vote with their dollar” and not buy plastic. Companies want to be profitable. Companies will realign their strategic vision and operations to what the consumer wants and that’s why the “consumer truly holds the most power”. Changing our actions on a personal level are a lot easier than changing laws that have undercurrent agendas.

Counter Current Parting Thoughts

This article is dedicated to Vivian. Vivian is Kier’s chihuahua who was laid to rest on January 30th. For the last 13 years, Vivian is the one who showed the world that “you can be small and make a huge difference.” Nothing will replace you Vivian and you are forever treasured in the hearts of so many. We love you.

If you liked what you read, be sure to subscribe to Kier’s YouTube channel, follow her Instagram, and pray for Vivian. All links are in the article.

Guilt-Free Ice Cream!

Hate Mondays?

Imagine getting ice cream after a long, dreadful Monday. Imagine it being vegan Haagen Dazs ice cream. You know the kind that tastes even better than the rich, melt-in-your mouth, yummy tasting normal ice cream we all crave and love? Better yet, imagine the Haagen Dazs ice cream in a reusable stainless-steel container delivered straight to your house! With that kind of service, who would ever dare to leave the house?

Well, folks, this dream can become a reality in New York City or Paris. By this spring, Loop has teamed up with major consumer product companies such as Tide, Crest, Nestle (producers of Haagen Dazs), The Body Shop, and others to begin one of the largest zero-waste initiatives ever. While recycling is great, it is impossible to keep up with how many times people throw away single-use items.

Loop’s zero-waste solution is to deliver a large range of products that are less harmful to the environment. From toothpaste to cleaning supplies to laundry detergent to ice cream, the Loop will have it covered. Just like Amazon, the items you purchased will be delivered to your doorstep by UPS. However, instead of cardboard boxes, engineers are designing reusable tote bags that are designed for durability. Once you have used up the products, just send it back and Loop will automatically replenish whatever you used. Loop also uses stainless steel containers in the process that are cleaned, sterilized, and then reused for the next customer.

This innovative packaging will have a 50-75% better impact than other conventional alternatives.

"We need foundational changes. Our version of the foundational change is: How do we solve for disposability at the root cause…”

Tom Szaky, CEO and co-founder of TerraCycle

This analysis is conducted by TerraCycle, a major recycling company that works with Loop’s supply chain to find sustainable and cost effective ways of reducing costs and pollution. This first step will create monumental change away from a disposable consumer society to a more eco-conscientious one. Simply put, by Tom Szaky, Loop and other corporate partners are changing the world from “disposable to durable”.

By 2050, plastic will outweigh the fish in our oceans.

Between TerraCycle and Loop’s zero-waste initiative, the top 10 largest plastic polluters are working to transition towards a zero-waste environment by 2025. This is reminiscent of the 1900s when milk bottles were deliver to the doorsteps. Why not go back to a similarly effective model? With Loop, they have designed it in an effective way for the modern world. Profitability and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive.

Not only are the 21st century environmental stewardship practices for corporations more targeted and have the ability to be better than ever, but your delicious Haagen Dazs ice cream will stay colder for longer. Be sure to thank that stainless steel double layered container and enjoy! 

Go ahead and reserve a spot to be apart of this growing, guilt-free trend! Get your spoons ready because I know I am! Mmm.

RecyProcity: Get Paid to Recycle

RecyProcity, a New York based firm, will pay you to recycle.

Yes, you read that right. RecyProcity is one-of-a-kind and absolutely revolutionary. Founded by Chris and Gennine Hauser in Walden, New York, this husband and wife duo are passionate about recycling. As avid bottle and can redeemers, they witnessed how difficult it was to recycle. Whether it was the long lines, broken machines or some other trite issue, it was an overall frustrating experience. However, they were still amazed at the money they had saved by recycling.

To them, recycling was common sense. However, they couldn’t understand why only a small percentage of people recycle. Well, in addition to the issues above, they uncovered that an inaccurate social stigma existed around redeeming recyclable materials like bottles and cans. Essentially, they found many believed it “isn’t worth the time and effort”. However, with the extra money in their wallets, they knew this wasn’t true and felt an obligation to get every individual imaginable to participate in the redemption process.

Over the next two years, they did loads of research. Ultimately, they concluded that motivation to separate recyclables stemmed from a reward. The Hauser family decided to take matters into their own hands by aligning the financial incentives with the work. This effort was mean to streamline and improve an inefficient process. This inspired them to create RecyProcity.

“Every school in bottle redemption states can raise THOUSANDS of dollars a year by using RecyProcity. Money for books, field trips, supplies and so much more can be raised, all while teaching our children the importance of caring for the environment.”

While the RecyProcity app will be completed later this spring, functionally, the app does two main things. Firstly, it has a “Drop & Go” function that allows users to drop pre-tallied and labeled bags of recyclable materials at redemption facilities. After the redemption facilities verify and itemize each drop-off, the customers are then paid via direct deposit to a linked account. No machines. No lines. No Waiting. Secondly, an “Exchange” is set-up to allow users to bid on recyclable material or waste with an asking price or a request for a donation. Think about it as the eBay of recyclables. Others on the “Exchange” can then view and negotiate times to pickup the materials and collect the cash from the “Drop & Go” system. Simply put, before anything is thrown away, there is a better chance that recyclables or waste will be re-purposed for a greater social benefit. This saves users of the app both time and money.

In terms of funding, the Hauser family has invested over $250,000 into RecyProcity. They truly believe in the functionality of the app and, honestly, it is hard to not be totally in love with the idea. The duo hired a team of 8 programmers from AppyPie LLC to build the app. With a long list of over 200 redemption and recycling facilities, to include various private sector companies, the will be ready to be front-runners in this emerging market. Within 2 years, RecyProcity will be a household name for those in the multi-billion dollar redemption business. However, their greatest obstacle, they believe, will be the democratization of the industry from the redemption facilities to the hands of the private citizens. They have the “drive and desire to make this happen,” but it is not an easy process — but, it is a worthwhile one.

“We hope to change that and get the households that have never even thought of participating in this… and monetary gain is likely going to do it.”

In conclusion, the demographic that the Hauser family is trying to target are not the “hardcore recyclers” and the “environmental activists” because they will always be proactive when considering environmental implications. Rather, they want to target the average household and show them that their time and efforts are valued.

To learn more, please visit their website by clicking here. Their Twitter account is @apprecyprocity, and their Facebook page is here, and their Instagram is here. We hope you check them out because they will revolutionize this space!