If we look to our local food growers, they are doing their best to provide their high quality produce in sustainable packaging, and not use single-use plastic – not always an easy ask as John Davenport explains.
At Flights Orchard Farm and through The Little Marcle Farm Shop, John tries to minimise the use of single-use plastic for his organic produce.
John says “If we don’t need to pack anything, we don’t! At the shop customers choose their organic fruit and vegetables, pay for it, and take it home in their own bags.
When preparing our fruit and veg boxes for home delivery, the majority of the products go straight into the Green Cardboard boxes, which come from a sustainable source.
We do use plastic bags for our salads, some greens and soft fruits because they keep the product fresh and help to maintain our high quality standards. Naturally the shorter the gap between the produce being picked and it reaching the customer, the less reliant we are on such packaging.
As well as environmental considerations, cost is a factor too. Produce is hand-picked and the bags sit on a wicket making them easy to fill and seal, immediately ready for market. We have looked at using different bags made from starch, which are more expensive to buy, don’t fit our wicket system and therefore make packing more time consuming, so increasing our costs. I talk to my suppliers on a regular basis to see what research and trialing they are doing, but currently there is a low level of activity.
To support my strong environmental friendly philosophy, I have recently acquired an electric van for delivering to my veg box customers, retailers and other deliveries. It does mean that I can cover my delivery area with zero environmental impact.”