We care deeply about our footprint as a company. We want to be as environmentally conscious as possible and we know our customers care as much as we do about the issue of plastic.
Our journey to find the perfect packaging has been a long one. We are not alone on this hunt, all conscious businesses are on the same journey.
How it all began.
When we started up our company, we sat and looked at all the options. We tried and tested various paper products but they were too weak and split during delivery. We found that as paper is porous it didn’t keep the produce fresh which meant the food oxidised and became of poor quality quicker. After deeper research we found that paper has a bigger carbon footprint than plastic. We settled with recyclable plastic to get started while we continued researching.
Our other choices of material.
Bioplastics have been on the scene for some time and they sound like the perfect solution. The truth is that although these materials are made from plants they still need heat, microbes and moisture to break down (which are not usually present in landfill). These plant plastics have different claims on them depending on the manufacturer but nearly all of them only break down in industrial composting units. So although they look good on paper (and sound good on packets) unless you have access to an industrial composting centre, they won’t solve the problem and they do not have a recycling infrastructure. Initial research has found that these ‘compostable’ versions can be dug up after 3 years and still carry shopping!
This wasn’t good enough for us. We knew it would look good and sound good, but wasn’t the best answer for the planet.
Our Plan Moving Forward?
After lots of testing and searching, we want to move to a newer solution which is ‘home compostable’. These products are accredited and certified by OK Compost to break down in your compost heap in approximately 26 weeks. If they end up in landfill they are more likely to break down at a quicker rate into organic material leaving no toxic trace.
Our research and testing has shown that home compostable packaging is the best option available right now but the industry is still very new.
Until then we have removed polypropylene plastic from our range (these are the clear bags we used for our smaller weights.) This variety of plastic is recyclable but we have found it is not easily recycled in in the UK where most of our packets are delivered.
We now use polyethylene bags which can be recycled widely in the UK through kerbside collections or at local supermarkets. We have moved to peel-able labels so these can easily be removed from the bags before recycling.
We still use kraft and transparent pouches for some items and changing these is our next big step.
Ways We Help The Planet
- We have recently switched to recyclable paper tape and only ever use recycled kraft paper as packaging protection inside your parcels.
- We arrange weekly recycling collections from our warehouse. Most of the packaging that our bulk produce comes in is recycled.
- All of our energy comes from renewable sources including solar, tidal and wind.
We have always tried very hard to reduce our carbon foot print and will continue to do so. We are particularly excited about the home composting advancements and we hope to have a solution soon.
The Forest Whole Food’s Team