Plastic Use: Down And Going Down

Good news. We're just in the middle of a packaging transition that will see us using dramatically less plastic.

As you will probably know, our courier's standard way of working has always been that small boxes get put into plastic 'packs'. Now, I hated the idea of a single-use plastic bag going out with every order and it rankled more and more, so earlier this year I started talking to APC about this issue. And as it turned out, they were quite amenable to our going 'bagless', which was great to hear, and surprisingly painless - It almost seemed like pushing at an open door.

We then decided to re-think the boxes, moving over to brown ones - in new sizes - with a new look and a new form of construction which is more robust. We've started using them this week - though for a while some of the old white ones will be going out (we have to use them up) and there will even be a few in plastic packs (sorry - there are some box types that we're not quite happy to send 'naked'). The direction, though, is firmly towards 'no plastic bags' and before long we'll be there.

Overall, we've now got rid of a lot of plastic. We have:

- Replaced bubble wrap with corrugated cardboard*
- Replaced plastic tape with paper tape;
- Replaced the plastic bags for the icepacks with home-compostable corn starch bags, and now ...
... we're stopping using the courier company's 'packs'.

In addition:

- 'Voidfill' in our boxes is done via woodwool;
- Wine bottles are protected using protectors made from pulped paper.

This week we are also signing a contract to have solar panels fitted - we already use power from renewable energy, and soon we will be generating our own. It all feels like progress.

*You may occasionally find some plastic bubble wrap being used in one of our boxes, but when you do it'll be something we've recycled, i.e it came in to us and we're re-using it. We're not buying any plastic packaging.

Is There More To Do?

Yes, I'm sure. There are two particular things which spring to mind that we don't have immediate solutions for: one is the 'ice packs' we use. I'm not quite sure what they're made of, but I would be pretty confident they're non-recyclable. The other is clingfilm. We don't seem to be able to solve those yet, but will keep thinking.