Soylent's Environmental Impact

And cutting down forests have severe environmental effects too. Infact multiplier effects. When i said ‘that’ i said as compared to cutting down forests.

Well if you just cut them down, yeah. Disclaimer: I know very little about it, but if you’re managing forests for paper production, you’re not reducing the number of trees on earth, or leaving bare ground, right? Like there are sustainable ways to make paper from trees, whereas there aren’t sustainable ways to obtain oil.

Again…is that paper used for packaging?

I have no idea. But aren’t we talking about the environmental impact of paper vs. plastic bags from the perspective of which one a company might choose to package its products in?

Couldn’t a company demand sustainably-produced paper for its packaging, and get it?

(Also: sorry I missed your initial query about the cost of sustainable paper.)


I dont know.

No problem.

+1 for the packaging commentary. Part of the reason I like the Soylent company is not because it tastes great. I mostly subscribe to the convenience, the alternative to making bad food choices, but also largely on the mindset and vision of the founder and the larger mission. I think part of that is optimizing the delivery.

This was the response I got about the powder bags:
“Thanks for contacting us, we appreciate your feedback. We understand that you are concerned about our current packaging, and would prefer we move to more eco-friendly options. Currently our bags are recyclable through certain centers that accept film-plastics, but we understand that these are not as common in some areas. We are always searching for a better way to package Soylent, and will take your suggestion for the biobag into consideration.”

I haven’t sent in a complaint/feedback about the bottles yet since I basically just won’t use them since I think the footprint is too big, shipping water around, so much packaging, plus I like being able to add in some chocolate flavor to the 64 oz pitcher. But at the very least just use non-toxic paint directly onto the recyclable bottle and eliminate that cellophane wrapping. I don’t see great examples of that in the store however, so at least they can reduce the surface area of that plastic coating like a water/soda bottle (strip covering 1/3-1/2 of the height).

I really wish more customers would voice their value for this component of the “engineered food” solution, or that the company would make this a value of theirs - raising their game all around, not 2 steps forward 1 step back. It’s feels to me like a sustainable clothing material company using child labor.

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Maybe it’s not as important to most customers as it is to you.


Oh it’s clearly not, but I wish it would be. Humans are notably short term focused. Long term thinking is a luxury mindset, but most of us end up having children. Soylent seems to fit a niche, maybe 5% of all people, mostly engineers and fitness minded people from what I can discern. I would expect more support at least from the engineering audience.

The mission statement of the company is at least loosely tied to the environmental footprint, so I just feel like it’s a pretty attainable goal to be a leader on this front as well. At least recruit a summer intern and throw together research into some options.

I applaud your mission and share it. However, RF is low on cash and therefore is limited in which copackers they can use. The Powder copacker has very limited packaging capabilities. I think we have to accept that at least it’s better than the SAD for now, then raise hell once they’ve grown the company on the backs of their hipster froo froo drinks.

I want a bumper sticker that says I DRINK HIPSTER FROO FROO


You drive a car? …

From my experience, fitness minded people hate Soylent. The fitness crowd that I have talked to regard Soylent as dangerous. I am sure there are some people who use Soylent as an easy way to track calories. It also saves time and energy in the kitchen.

However, the most vocal fitness enthusiasts seem to view that only whole foods can sustain optimal nutrition. Eating processed foods, or food alternatives, are considered “fake” foods and can’t provide the nutrition of “real” whole foods.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people on these forums that regard themselves as fitness enthusiasts, but if they are anything like me they have experienced the pushback from the very vocal portion of the fitness community - the fitness community can be very harsh.


Yes, folks use the shorthand of “don’t eat processed foods” instead of “don’t eat bad processed foods”. Simpler minds start to think the former is the full truth. As if “processing” itself was bad.

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There are some interesting options for paper bottles these days.

This packaging also preserves the shelf life of the bottles, which Tetra is saying is 12 months. I don’t like the gritty texture of the powder, so I order the bottles. But the plastic does hurt my soul. I’m a vegan, so Soylent is a nice easy meal for those lazy moments. And I try to be conscientious about plastic recycling as well. Having a paper carton would be awesome.

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Great post mara. A few years back I too recommended tetrapacks. I wonder why they are not doing it. It will also be less expensive for them in terms of packaging costs if they switch to tetrapacks.