Meet Kailey Donewald, founder and CEO of Sacred Serve, she has done what big ice cream brands have not. Sacred Serve’s new packaging is the first of its kind with zero plastics or polymers, making it 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.
Sacred Serve produces cold-crafted gelato made from organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade ingredients — and packaged in a unique recyclable and compostable container.
In this episode of NothingWasted!,we chat with Donewald about the process of sourcing a sustainable carton, the power of consumers in driving packaging innovations and more.
Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:
Waste360: Please tell me about Sacred Serve’s story and how you got where you are.
Donewald: It came about because I was doing some traveling and was feeling unhealthy, and I decided to do a two-week cleanse; basically just raw fruits and vegetables. And in that short amount of time, my body healed itself of allergies that I’d had since early childhood. Doctors had told me I’d need medicine the rest of my life. But I saw in just two short weeks such a profound impact on my health overall, which really made me question the food being offered to consumers and if I could do something.
Waste360: So it’s been a very personal journey.
Donewald: Yes, I was very disillusioned by what I saw in the marketplace at that time. I grew up eating the standard American diet—lots of processed foods and refined oils that are in so many of the products we’re buying these days. But it was powerful to see that, by eliminating a lot of those things, my body had the chance to heal itself. I went back to school for nutrition to really see what food can do for us; to learn about the sensitivities we’re seeing people have more and more these days; and how the food system was playing hand-in-hand with the medical system. The preventative medicine angle was something I really started to explore in my travels to places like India.
Waste360: I would love to hear about how you’re launching the first recyclable and compostable carton.
Donewald: When I looked to launch our first product, there really were no options available to me that were recyclable. Traditional ice-cream containers aren’t able to be recycled because of the plastic lining on the inside of the container that keep it from leaking. So I wanted to figure out how to bring something to market that wouldn’t end up in landfills. We originally came to market with a post-consumer recycled paperboard, which was the best we could do at the time. It took about four years of searching to find a better, plastic-free solution (which comes from a UK-based company) that relies on a water-based moisture barrier applied to the paperboard.
Waste360: How was the testing end of that process, making sure that the new container was in fact recyclable and compostable?
Donewald: I’m glad you brought that up, because we’re starting to see some greenwashing going on in the industry right now with people claiming they have recyclable cartons and whatnot, but they don’t have the credentials and testing behind it. All of this testing costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. So we’re very fortunate that our vendor has done and completed all of this testing and certification. We can share that and prove that these really are compostable right at home, which is something new and unique.
Waste360: Why aren’t more companies making the switch to packaging like this? Is it strictly cost?
Donewald: Yes, it’s cost, and there is probably a time element, too—the time involved in switching out all these units. I can only imagine the logistics for a big brand. It’s easy for us to move on this because we are so small. But for the larger brands, they could be buying packaging for a year or two out, and so to trash their inventory and switch to something new…or, it’s just going to take them a longer time to make these sorts of changes.