At Ellwood Thompson’s, we practice what we preach.

We owe this not only to you, but to our planet as well.

Join us in our commitment to positively impact our environment. Our global future depends on sustainability. If we work together, we can truly make a difference.

Our Environmental Pledge:

We hereby pledge to create and maintain strict, sustainable environmental standards, both personally and professionally.

We promise to serve as an example of how practicing healthy living can positively impact both the community and our planet.

We will reduce, reuse, and recycle.

We will commit to and encourage the reduction of our community’s carbon footprint.

We will give back, in every way we can, to our people and to our planet.

Buying and Sourcing Local Products:

By selling local goods, we’re not only contributing to our individual health, but also the health of our local economy and our planet.

The farmers we work with uphold our environmental pledge by committing to organic growing practices, sustainable soil treatment, fair treatment of farm workers, and preserving animal welfare.

Our local integrity pin marks products that travelled no more than 100 miles to get to our store.

No Plastic Bags:

We said goodbye to plastic bags in 2008, becoming the first grocery store in Richmond to stop asking “paper or plastic?” By using our 100% post consumer recycled paper bags, Ellwood Thompson’s saves over 200,000 bags a year. Our bag credit program gives you 10 cents back for every recycled bag used during your visits — including plastic. As long as you’re reusing, we’re game.

No Plastic Straws:

Single-use plastic straws are one of the most pervasive forms of plastic waste, and incredibly destructive to our oceans and environment. Too many, completely unnecessary for beverage consumption, end up in our oceans. They are especially harmful to marine animals and fish due to their small size and lightweight.

Ellwood’s has replaced plastic straws with compostable straws made from non-toxic, agricultural by-products, and annually renewable plant-based materials. These options require less energy to produce than products made from petroleum and turn fully to dirt within 3 to 6 months in a commercial composting facility. Ellwood’s is partnering with N.O.P.E. (Natural Organic Process Enterprise) to make sure that our biodegradable products are handled correctly and end up in a compost facility for environmentally beneficial use.

Recycling Efforts:

We love to recycle, and it shows. While many businesses in Richmond use third party companies for recycling, we’ve kept our program in-house since 1989. An average of 60% of our grocery store waste is recycled, and we’re always pushing for more.

A BPA-Free Environment:

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in the production of certain plastics that can find its way into your system by creeping into food and drinks stored in BPA containers. We only source from companies that use BPA-free containers, and we’ve banned the use of petroleum-based plastic bags. We even use BPA-free thermal receipt tape at all of our registers. When it comes to BPAs, we run a tight ship.

Reusable and Compostable Food Containers:

At Ellwood Thompson’s, you’re encouraged and incentivized to purchase reusable BPA-free plastic containers and use dishes instead of throw-away containers. We even offer compostable containers for those on-the-go moments. These options are available in our market, hot bar, plant-based bar, and cafe.

Rain Barrels:

As we like to say: “When it rains, it stores.” When you visit Ellwood Thompson’s, you’ll see two 80-gallon rain barrels attached to our gutters outside. They help us water the plants and herbs we grow and sell without relying on the city’s supply. You can even qualify for the Storm Water Tax Credit offered by the City of Richmond using rain barrels at home. Why not save money and help the planet at the same time?

Solar Panels:

On our south-facing roof, you’ll notice a growing number of solar panels, the first of which were installed in 2012 when we teamed up with Richmond-based company Urban Grid Solar. Our goal is to eventually fill the entire roof with solar panels, and we’re well on our way. You can view a live feed of our energy usage and storage by clicking here.

Composting:

We compost our food scraps and leftover pulp from our juicers, along with our compostable to-go containers. Local farmers are always welcome to come take as much as they need. All the leftover compost is taken to a local company that turns it into the organic “compost tea” fertilizer we sell in the summer months.

We partnered with N.O.P.E. (Natural Organic Process Enterprise) in 2018 to make sure that our biodegradable products are handled correctly and end up in a compost facility for environmentally beneficial use.

Food Waste Reductions & Donations:

Our quarter bin program helps us reduce the amount of food we throw out by offering nearly expired items or food (like bruised apples) to Ellwood Thompson employees for 25 cents apiece. We also donate produce to the animals in Richmond’s Maymont Park - giving the animals a delicious free lunch and reducing waste at the same time.

We make regular food donations to RVA’s grassroots organization, Food Not Bombs. This local organization helps feed the needy every Sunday afternoon at Monroe park. Click here to visit their website and learn how you can help those in need.

Environmentally Friendly Building Materials:

Our architects and contractors helped us build our store using locally-sourced and reclaimed materials. We look for durable materials that don’t just boast a “green” image, but actually provide us with a more sustainable way of building.

We use LED and fluorescent bulbs and fixtures that require less energy to run, give us great lighting, and put out less heat. Not only do they save us energy, but these bulbs and fixtures tend to last way longer than an ordinary bulb. Why wouldn’t we use them?

Envirocredit:

Part of our mission is to play our part in making Richmond one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world, and we like to reward those who choose environmentally friendly travel. We’ll take 25-cents off your purchase when you get to our store by walking, biking, bussing, running, skipping, skating, or any other means of travel that helps reduce emissions. Just mention you mode of transportation to your cashier to get your discount.

Store Signage:

At first glance, signage may not seem like a big deal, but having eco-friendly signage can be a major step in giving back to our planet. The majority of our signs are made from reclaimed woods or chalkboards, helping us recycle signage by not having to throw signs away every time a deal is updated or a price is changed.

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