Sustainability Initiatives & Goals

At Pete Pappas & Sons, we have always seen sustainability as an opportunity for innovation within our operations to increase efficiencies and lessen environmental impacts. In 2018 we began initiatives in recycling, conserving energy, and using less water throughout our operations. We also sought to reduce our landfill usage and strived to be good stewards of our community. 


In 2020 we partnered with the Howard County Work Green Program, the Maryland Green Registry, and the Maryland Environmental Service – which are important organizations focused on sustainability and the environment in the state of Maryland. In addition to these programs, we are also certified USDA Organic by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. 


In 2022, we became members of the Food Waste 2030 Champions programs of the USDA and EPA. We joined 40 nationwide food companies with a commitment to reporting on and reducing food waste by 50% nationally by the year 2030. 


Now, in 2022, we are working towards these Green Goals:


1.    Sustainable Packaging Initiative

2.    Remaining a Minimal-Waste Facility

3.    Emphasizing Organic Agriculture

4.    Furthering our Green Business

5.    Thinking Globally and Acting Locally

Sustainable Packaging Initiative

Our 2022 Sustainable Packaging Initiative includes the goal of offering our products in exclusively compostable or recyclable packaging by the end of this year and combatting the packaging waste known in our industry. 


This initiative will remove millions of pieces of Styrofoam from the lifecycle of our products each year and prevents them from spending a lifetime in a landfill. Our Pete's Garden brand (right) showcases "Compostable Tray” directly on the label, which assures consumers of a healthy and sustainable purchase option for themselves and for the environment. 


We have incorporated these packaging options into both of our premium in-house labels, Patricia Brand, and Pete's Garden Organics.

Minimal Waste Goal

We strive to keep Pete Pappas & Sons a "Minimal-Waste Facility". This means we minimize the amount of waste we contribute to landfills from our day-to-day operations. To accomplish this, we have honed our skills and created an extensive food-waste diversion program. We have also successfully applied the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) within our daily operations. 


Our measures of success:

  • Since 2018, our unique combination of recycling and composting programs has diverted over 90% of our facility waste away from landfills.
  • We combat food waste by composting more than 2.8million pounds in 2021
  • Our trash pickups have now turned into daily food-waste dropoffs for animal feed and composting
  • We have composted and recycled more than 2,000,000lbs per year since implementation, and close to 3,000,000lbs in 2021
  • In 2022 we were accepted into the Food Waste 2030 Champions program and hope to spark change in the management of food-waste within the food production industry

With a "Zero Food-Waste Goal" we have a 3 part process to:

  • Donate all unsold healthy and edible fruits and vegetables to local nonprofits. Our vast local network distributes our donations through fresh boxed food programs, cooked meals and healthy cooking programs to teach our community how to incorporate more fresh food into their diet. This is part of how we combat food loss in our community. 
  • Feed animals by sending inedible (by humans) product to local animal farms in Maryland. 
  • Compost all additional food waste including employee meal leftovers, compostable kitchen and facility products, and any other fruit or vegetable products not eligible to donate or feed animals.  


With a "Minimal-Waste Goal", we:

  1. Utilize a 6-Step Recycling and Composting System and train our employees on how to either reuse, recycle, or compost all waste materials.
  2. Have a composting protocol that diverts all our food waste to local composting and farming partners.
  3. Make compostable products accessible throughout our buildings and warehouses. This includes paper towels, napkins, plates, bowls, stirrers, and hot cups/lids/sleeves. 
  4. Created a Sustainable Packaging Initiative for both our in-house brands and private labels, removing waste associated with Styrofoam.
  5. Continue to utilize sustainable materials including paper, cardboard, and 100% recyclable plastics.

Emphasizing Organics

We put an emphasis on organic produce in our business in many ways, because we believe organics are good for us to eat and better for the environment. 


Emphasizing organics means that we:

  • Are USDA Organic certified at our headquarters in Jessup.
  • Are USDA Organic certified on our farms in Tennessee and are leaders of sustainable agriculture in the region.
  • Sell organic products to reduce the overall environmental impacts of the farming and growing stages of our produce.
  • Created and trademarked our own in-house USDA Certified Organic brand: Pete’s Garden Organics.
  • Are always making fresh organic produce more available to consumers by expanding our organic offerings across different commodities and packaging options.

Our Sustainable Business

In 2020, we partnered with 3 organizations including Work Green Howard County, the Maryland Green Registry, and the Maryland Environmental Service. Our work with these organizations exemplifies our efforts as leaders in green business practices in both Howard County and the great state of Maryland and recognizes our extensive waste diversion measures.


In 2022, we were accepted onto the USDA and EPA Food Waste 2030 Champions List. This shows our commitment to combatting food loss and waste through working with our extensive local nonprofit food donation network, local animal farms and composting companies. 


This means:

  • We are a certified Maryland Green Business.
  • We are a Food Waste 2030 Champion
  • We are recognized for our substantial recycling efforts.
  • We utilize the Maryland Environmental Service to compost millions of pounds of food waste.
  • We take pride in the difference that our green programs makes.
  • We always strive to innovate and implement cutting-edge programs.

Thinking Globally & Acting Locally

Thinking globally means lessening the environmental footprint of our operations for the good of the planet. Our previous green goals focus on macro environmental impacts such as developing compostable packaging, eliminating Styrofoam from landfills, minimizing waste from our facilities, and emphasizing organic produce. 


Acting locally means considering ways that our business can make a positive impact within our community, county, and state.


Our local focus means that we:

  • Boost the local economy by creating jobs and bringing business opportunities to the area.
  • Partner with regional farms and growers to promote seasonal agriculture.
  • Maintain fair-farming practices on our farms in Tennessee.
  • Support local farmers by forwarding our organic food waste to use as animal feed and fertilizer.
  • Employ local businesses within our day-to-day operations to help them grow with us.
  • Partnered with 4MyCity, FoodRescueUSA and other local food banks and regularly donate fresh food to help feed local communities and combat food waste.
  • Support local charities like The Children’s Home, The Howard County Autism Society, Casey Cares and more through fundraising and contributions.