TrashLess Cocoa Powder

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Mmmm chocolate. For a while now, we’ve been buying Hershey’s Cocoa Extra Dark. It tastes great and the color of the powder is almost black. However, Hershey’s Cocoa powders come in a plastic container– is there a better option?

I don’t use cocoa too often, but we will use it in smoothies, and I occasionally bake up brownies like these, so I like to have cocoa on hand.

When looking at brands, I considered both cocoa and cacao powder. Cocoa is a more processed version of raw cacao, but both cocoa and cacao contain high levels of nutrients. Most people have consumed more cocoa than cacao as it is more readily available and also a bit cheaper.

There is also a difference between Dutch processed cocoa and regular cocoa powder. Dutched cocoa powder has been washed in an alkalized solution to strip some of the acidity from the powder. This creates a darker powder. Regular cocoa is not processed in this way and thus retains its natural acids. Due to the difference in acid content, Dutch cocoa pairs better with recipes that call for baking powder, while regular cocoa pairs better with recipes which call for baking soda. I wrongly assumed that my Hershey’s Cocoa Extra Dark powder was better for me because it was darker. Turns out the opposite is true. Since Dutch cocoa is more processed, it retains fewer nutrients than regular cocoa powder.

TLDR; there are three types of chocolate powders you can purchase: cacao, cocoa, and dutch-processed cocoa. But do any of these use trashLess packaging?

I have not been able to find cacao or cocoa in bulk. If this was an option, it would clearly be the best!

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Cacao is not processed, and thus retains more nutrients than cocoa powder. You will thus see several “healthy” brands selling cacao powder.

  • Navitas – Sold in a multi-film bag which is not recyclable
  • Sunfood – Sold in a multi-film bag which is not recyclable
  • Trader Joes – Sold in a multi-film bag which is not recyclable (probably the cheapest though)
  • Dagoba (which I found out is owned by Hershey)- Sold in an aluminum canister, which is at least reusable. However, at the store, the canisters are sealed with plastic which is not recyclable.**

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  • Divine Cocoa Powder – Sold in an aluminum canister with an aluminum liner and a #4 plastic lid.**
  • Ghiradelli Cocoa Powder – Sold in a multi-film bag, which is not recyclable. I think you can also purchase this in an aluminum canister.
  •  Hershey’s Cocoa Powder – Sold in a #5 plastic container with a paper liner. Some curbside programs accept #5 while others do not. However, you can usually recycle #5 plastics at a special bin at Whole Foods.**
  •  Lake Champlain – Sold in an aluminum canister with an aluminum liner and a #4 plastic lid. In an email, a Sales Rep told me the liner and lid were recyclable. However, they said that the canister should be placed in the trash.**
  • Nestle Toll House Cocoa Powder – The lid is #5 plastic, the body did not have a resin code. The liner is plastic and not recyclable.
  • Trader Joes Cocoa Powder – Sold in a #2 plastic container with an aluminum liner. Both of these should be easily recycled. However, the container is wrapped with a non-recyclable plastic label.
  • Whole Foods 365 Cocoa – Sold in an aluminum canister with an aluminum liner and a #4 plastic lid.**

 

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  • Droste Cocoa – Sold in a cardboard box. I am not sure if there is a plastic liner when opened. I will update if I find out!
  • Guittard Cocoa Rouge Cocoa Powder- Sold in an aluminum canister which is sealed with a non-recyclable sticker. This stuff smells amazing and has a slight red hue. I found this stuff at my local Wegmans. I did get a response from Guittard regarding their packaging, and they said all parts of the canister were fully recyclable.**
  • Hershey’s Cocoa Extra Dark – Sold in #5 plastic container with a paper liner. Some curbside programs accept #5 while others do not. However, you can usually recycle #5 plastics at a special bin at Whole Foods.

 

**I received mixed messages on the recyclability of aluminum canisters from the different cocoa manufacturers. However, in my area, these canisters are not recyclable. You will notice that these canisters have a metal bottom, but the center is made out of a paper tube. Since the canister is made of different materials, it is hard to recycle.