Raising the BAR-U-EAT: Local company’s new packaging commits to environmental sustainability
Locally based energy bar manufacturer BAR-U-EAT unveiled new packaging last week that reflects the company’s commitment to sustainability and showcases features in Routt County, including Mount Werner, Sleeping Giant, Hahns Peak and Sand Mountain.
BAR-U-EAT has always featured compostable packaging, but the latest version took the next step by seeking certification from the Biodegradable Products Institute.
“(The BPI certification is) a pretty big deal because it’s basically a way to ensure that the compost is healthy and that we’re not polluting the environment,” said Jason Friday, who co-founded BAR-U-EAT with his friend Sam Nelson. “We are the first bar company to get the certification for the entire package.”
Peggy Whitney, administrative assistant with the BPI, confirmed that BAR-U-EAT has met the requirements and the wrappers have been certified, but Whitney said the organization could not comment on if BAR-U-EAT was the first because BPI doesn’t track that information.
The BPI is an association of key individuals and groups from government agencies, private industry and academia that promotes the use and recycling of biodegradable polymeric materials via composting.
The new BAR-U-EAT packaging is composed of plant-based materials from Forest Stewardship Council A.C. certified sustainably managed regions and is a United States Department of Agriculture certified bio-based product. It also complies with the specifications established by the American Society for Testing and Materials as a material that can aerobically composted in municipal or industrial facilities — a process by which plastic can be decomposed by naturally occurring microorganisms that require oxygen.
With the new packaging, Friday said BAR-U-EAT is setting a standard by offering packaging that carries the certification right down to the ink that they use and is far beyond the industry standard of single-use plastics.
Friday said that more than 2 billion prepackaged snack, protein and energy bars are consumed each year, most of which come in single-use plastics or multi-layered materials that are not recyclable. This creates millions of pounds of waste from a nonrenewable, nonbiodegradable resource.
He said BAR-U-EAT’s new packaging is made from renewable, sustainably sourced materials that can break down to become nutrient rich soil, putting this type of packaging at the forefront of where sustainable packaging technology is headed.
The BAR-U-EAT packaging can be taken to any commercial composter. In Steamboat, that includes Cowgirl Compost, which is a subscription composting service, and Twin Enviro Services, which offers composting with curbside pickup inside Steamboat Springs and a drop-off site for those who don’t live in the city.
The new packaging will also reflect the Yampa Valley by featuring the outlines of recognizable landmarks. Mount Werner is featured in the window of the original flavor, while Sleeping Giant (Elk Mountain) is represented on the Coffee Pecan, Sand Mountain is depicted on the Oatmeal Raisin and Hahns Peak is pictured on the front of the Peanuts N’ Cherries.
“It has a whole new look,” Friday said of the packaging. “The cool thing is that we really wanted to tie ourselves to the area and really show everyone that we’re committed by outlining various mountain ranges in Routt County on our packaging.”
The company started in Nelson’s kitchen a few years back, when he recreated a bar that he discovered while guiding in Iceland. When he settled in Steamboat, he started making the bars and sharing them with friends while chasing powder on Mount Werner.
The bars developed a following, and Nelson and Friday decided to take the next step by starting a business that would produce and sell the bars. The name came to Nelson one day as he made his way up the BAR-UE lift at Steamboat Resort and BAR-U-EAT was born.
Today, BAR-U-EAT can be found at more than two dozen locations across Steamboat.
“I wanted to make sure the original flavor was represented by Mount Werner,” Friday said. “Our name is based off of the chairlift, and the Werner family ranch and we wanted to honor that.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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