This past Saturday, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (VLAIC), a Brooklyn-based ice cream company committed to minimizing its carbon footprint, opened its first storefront at 632 Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint. VLAIC had previously operated out of ice cream trucks stationed around the city.
The business began two years ago by brothers Ben and Peter Van Leeuwen and Laura O'Neill, Ben's wife, from testing recipes in their Greenpoint home. O'Neill told the Eagle last year, "We always wanted to have a smaller impact on the environment," explaining that they keep the trucks stationary, use fresh, local and organic ingredients whenever possible, and make the ice cream from hormone-free fresh milk and cream from farms in upstate New York.
Also minimizing VLAIC's environmental impact are the disposable goods used, which are made from 100 percent renewable resources. The cups and napkins are Bagasse, a fiber made from sugar cane husk; and the drink cups, spoons and straws are made from corn husks.
The freezers in the ice cream trucks are plate freezers and charge overnight, meaning they don't need to be plugged in every day. "We just have a very small generator to run the lights and cash register," said O'Neill. "This means our trucks are nice and quiet and not burning unnecessary fuel all day."