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Why Planters Went Nuts About Green

When sustainability runs in your veins, or at your roots, as is the case with Planters, being green comes as naturally as sustainability comes to its core product the peanut, which releases nitrogen into the soil, refueling it for other crops. To spread the message about its sustainability heritage to consumers and sample its product, Planters has been on its Naturally Remarkable Tour since Feb. 23, traveling the country in a brand-new mobile vehicle called the Nutmobile with Mr. Peanut at the wheel (not literally, but he makes appearances at events).

The vehicle is a 25-foot-long 2011 Isuzu Series NPR biodiesel truck transformed by Lancaster, MA-based Turtle Transit to look like a peanut on wheels. It’s visiting 16 cities through August where the brand samples its products and spreads its eco-friendly message, which includes getting down and dirty (that’s what peanut farmers do, ain’t it?) by revitalizing vacant land into peanut-shaped Planters Grove parks in four cities—New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—and using reclaimed materials and native trees and plants. Renowned landscape designer Ken Smith in collaboration with the service and conservation group Corps Network, designed the parks that have as their centerpiece a Mr. Peanut statue.

When the tour comes to town, the visitor experience includes a photo op with Mr. Peanut against an oversized backdrop. Attendees can download their photo on iPad kiosks and share on Facebook. They can also partake in a “Tree Point” basketball game with a slightly larger than usual hoop made out of a natural-looking backboard and façade. There is also a cart where honey roasted peanuts are warmed for an organic sampling experience (Momentum Worldwide, New York City, handles).

“Sustainability is very important to Planters and the Nutmobile and the tour are parts of that ongoing sustainable journey that we’re on as a brand,” says Lauryn McDonough, brand manager-scale at Planters. “We built a vehicle to run off a blend of different types of reused oils, such as soy and vegetable cooking oils. We kept sustainability top of mind when building the vehicle.”

Biodiesel is not the only green feature that Planters can boast about when it comes to its Nutmobile. The vehicle is also powered by five solar panels on the roof of the vehicle. But the beauty of these panels is that they’re flexible and roll out and conform to the shape of the body. Planters avoided the hard, square frames that are customary, because they would disrupt the organic peanut look and feel of the vehicle. The energy captured charges deep cycle batteries in the vehicle, which help run the 12V, energy-saving, low voltage lights and stereo system inside the unit. To capture additional energy there is also a wind turbine built into the ribbed texture of the vehicle’s body with a scoop up on the roof that functions like a paddle wheel on a boat catching the air that then generates electricity. The windshield is made of recycled glass and the frame from steel repurposed from other vehicles. The flooring is made from reclaimed wood from a 1840s-era barn in Lancaster County, PA. The vehicle shell is made of fiberglass but the epoxy and the paint used on it are non-toxic.

Not as sustainable as the tasty legume it’s modeled after, but pretty impressive for a peanut on wheels.  EM

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