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Christophe Roussel, making small strides towards zero waste

17 September 2020
Christophe Roussel settled down in La Baule sixteen years ago, and now has shops in Paris, Guérande, and Pornichet. He breaks with convention through a truly original gustative approach to the classics.

A proud member of Relais Desserts since 2006, the Croqueurs de Chocolat Club (aka "Chocolate Lovers Club") considers him to be one of the 20 chocolate makers everyone should know.

At Christophe and Julie Roussel's, generating as little waste as possible has become a state of mind; they understand that the world's resources are finite, and that everyone must do their part to preserve our planet. The two chocolatiers have invested time and energy to changing how their lab and boutiques operate, and know that small incremental acts can lead to major transformation over the long term.

Here are examples of the "small strides" they have taken to reduce waste:

  • Daily trips to the recycling center encourage everyone to separate waste so that it can be put to good use.
  • They set up a process to separate waste, placing enough bins in the lab and break rooms to reduce the volume of unrecyclable garbage. This has built greater awareness among staff about reusing certain types of waste.
  • They keep the cardboard packaging from every delivery as well as all packing materials (bubble wrap, space fillers, etc.), which are then reused to prepare orders from their e-commerce website. This reduces both waste and expenses.
  • They signed an agreement with a company to pickup up, recycle and/or repurpose their used pallets, which helps to avoid creating unnecessary waste.
  • A portion of their green waste - such as apple and pear peels - is saved to feed the horses in a nearby field (with the owner's consent of course).
  • They now use 10-liter tubs of cream instead of 1-liter cartons. The goal at the start was to reduce the number of containers they use, but this change has also proved effective in reducing the amount of wasted cream. The bottom of 1-liter carton always contains a small amount of cream that is simply impossible to pour out or scrape. Staff has found that much less cream is wasted by using the 10-liter tubs.
Marion, one of the pastry chefs on staff, taking the initiative to collect carrot, potato, apple, and pear peels to feed some of the horses in the area.

Beyond food and packaging waste, everyone on staff makes the effort to close the door behind them (specifically for air-conditioned rooms) and to turn off the lights every time they leave a room. Even such simple actions as these are not so easy to implement after developing so many "bad habits" over the years. As of now, Christophe Roussel's lab is equipped a switch that automatically turn off the lights when the lab closes. This ensures that no light stays on overnight.

Information in Roussels laboratories

In addition, staff now waits until the very last minute to turn on the ovens, thereby wasting as little energy as possible.

This effort to reduce waste also applies to packaging. The boutique now uses eco-friendly paper, recycled plastic, and even corn or sugarcane-based packaging materials.

They will continue to expand their effort to reduce waste. This includes encouraging customers to bring reusable bags and refrain from asking for a bag when making a purchase at the boutique.

Julie and Christophe would like to communicate more about their approach to reducing waste to build greater awareness among staff and customers about the importance of recycling and the impact that we all have on the environment.

Marie Loones for relais Desserts

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