To achieve Zero Waste we look closely at everything that we buy in for re-sale – either from our wholesalers and directly from manufacturers – and determine whether practically, ethically and sustainably;
A vast amount of our products fall in to A and B where there is net zero packaging. Where A and B are not possible or practical than over 99.5% of any remaining packaging falls into group C – and is widely recycled. The remainder (less than 0.5% of C) which cannot be recycled is re-purposed.
Please see below details of the types of packaging we process and how we make sure that waste and landfill is totally avoided. This is essentially what we are encouraging our customers to do at home were both possible and practical. We must practice what we preach!
LOOP SUPPLY SYSTEM
For a huge amount of our products – we buy in bulk containers which we send back to the manufacturer in a loop system to be refilled, in the same way that you would refill your smaller containers in store. Where possible the delivery driver dropping off new goods in full containers will take back to the depot the empty containers that we have already used. They will be washed (if necessary) and reused over and over as many times as possible until eventually wear and tear means they will need to be recycled.
Where it is practical to do so we try to use this system for as many products as we can. Milk, Eggs, Fruit & Veg, coffee beans, oils and household liquids like shampoo, laundry detergent and hand soap are all examples of products you can buy in store that use this Net Zero Packaging system.
PAPER AND CARD PACKAGING
Where a loop system is not always practical – we then try to source as many remaining products from manufacturers and suppliers who only use recyclable packaging. For the most part, this is paper and card. Every shred of paper and card that is used to protect and package the goods we buy in for re-sale is either re-used or recycled. Many dried food products (rice for example) we buy in bulk paper sacks. Once empty these are recycled and then collected in our paper and card recycling.
Also some of our product that need to be packaged for sale (reusable razors for example) these are packaged in cardboard and we expect and encourage our like-minded customers to recycle their cardboard packaging in the same way.
GLASS & METAL
Where Cardboard and Paper are still not practical packaging for individual items (which is the case for many food items) we try to use glass or metal. Glass and metal are both easily recyclable and fortunately both are widely recycled by our borough council via our home refuse collections. An example of this is our tins of Organic Soup. Again, we rely on our like-minded customers to recycle glass and metal in their domestic mixed recycling collection by our local council.
Glass is regarded as a super material in the recycling industry – since it is 100% recyclable and can be endlessly recycled with no loss of quality or purity – something few food and beverage packaging options can claim.
Where all of the above are not practical – we do receive some of our goods in recyclable plastic packaging. Some examples are our vegan sweets, nuts, products containing allergens. Some manufacturers do not use card to package their goods in transit to us but use plastic which can be recycled. In these cases the product itself we have chosen to sell due to its responsible and ethical or low carbon manufacture. These plastics are kept by us and are taken to a recycling facility where we know they will be correctly recycled.
NOTE THAT UP TO THIS POINT THERE IS NO WASTE – EVERYTHING IS RECYCLED AND RECYCLING ITSELF IS MINIMISED WHERE A LOOP SYSTEM OR REUSE CAN BE ACHIEVED.
HOME COMPOSTABLE (NON-POLLUTING) PLASTIC ALTERNATICES
Some of our products now come in home compostable packaging. Up until recently, this was only really some paper packaging but we now stock some products with packaging made from these materials. This is an emerging industry that we support and follow and some of our food and non-food products are packaged in these materials. We continue to research these products, maintain a dialogue with our suppliers and look out for emerging products that use non-polluting compostable alternatives to plastic.
NON–RECYCLABLE SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
As an absolute last resort some of the goods we buy in bulk are wholesale packaged in a non-recyclable plastic. Examples of this could be some exotic nuts. There would always be good reason why we choose to sell these few products which represent a very small minority of our range. Some foods contain allergens and there is no practical or ethical recyclable plastic packaging alternative available through our supply chain. Also note that because we buy in large bulk quantities the amount of plastic, per retail unit, is far less than the amount of plastic, per retail unit, when bought elsewhere like a supermarket for example. The very small amount of non-recyclable plastic we receive is all kept and is made into ECO-BRICKS.
Eco-bricking is something we have done at home now for over a year. By cutting up and compacting non-recyclable plastics into a plastic bottle we reduce the space it takes up by a staggering amount. These bricks (which have to be compacted enough meet strict weight criteria) are then registered with ECOBRICK and are used for a number of practical purposes – all of which avoid landfill and avoid harming our planet in the near and the distant future.
COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC ALTERNATIVES (NON-POLLUTING)
Alternative plastic technology is a growing industry and there are products now being researched and produced that claim to be compostable, biodegradable and non-polluting. This is an emerging industry that we support and follow and some of our non-food products are packaged in these materials. We continue to research these products, maintain a dialogue with our suppliers and look out for emerging products which use non-polluting compostable alternatives to plastic.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any specific questions about our waste policy – or rather our Zero Waste policy.