Sustainability Initiatives & Goals

At Pete Pappas & Sons, we have always seen sustainability as an opportunity for innovation within our building, operations, and their 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. 


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 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 be a Minimal-Waste Facility, meaning we minimize the amount of waste we contribute to landfills from our day-to-day operations. To accomplish this, we applied the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) and created an extensive waste diversion program through composting. 


Our measures of success:

  • Since 2018, our unique combination of recycling and composting programs diverted 95% of our facility waste away from landfills.
  • We have gone from 12 trash pickups per month prior to 2018, to now weekly composting drop-offs and just 1 trash pickup per month!
  • We have composted or recycled more than 2,000,000lbs per year since implementation.


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 Green 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.


This means:

  • We are a certified Maryland Green Business.
  • We are recognized for our substantial recycling efforts.
  • We utilize the Maryland Environmental Service to compost significant amounts of food waste.
  • We take pride in the difference that implementing these 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.