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How do reduce plastic usage

Small businesses and the challenges of replacing plastic packaging.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Reducing Plastic Packaging, One Step at a Time

 

It goes without saying these days that everyone wants to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic.  We've all made adjustments to our daily habits and lives that incorporate a more sustainable lifestyle.  From shopping bags to straws and cling film, we all asked the questions, "Is this really necessary? Is there a more environmentally friendly way this can be done?"

Well, here at On The Table, we think about it daily.  We are striving to become a zero plastic delivery meal kit.  But it's not as simple a task to solve as you might think, especially as a small business.  There are several reasons for this. 

Firstly, being a small start-up, our funds are limited and we have to allocate funds carefully and we don't have the means to test and develop new packaging that can have substantial cost.  Thus we are limited to off-the-shelf products that may or may not suit our needs.  Size, durability and appearance as well as cost obviously all play a part in what we source for packaging.

Another consideration is that the food industry standards have been developed for years without giving much thought to environmental factors, and so to suddenly shift to a sustainable model requires a monumental shift in all processes.  For example, we can stretch, shape and mould plastic into pretty much anything we want.  But for products made from sustainable sources, there are always limitations depending on the product.  

And finally the obvious challenge is cost.  A consumer might want to replace the plastic packaging on their products with something more sustainable, but how much more are they willing to pay for it.  Sustainable packaging can cost upwards of 10 times the equivalent in plastic.  There comes a point where products can be 'over-priced' because of it's packaging.  Vendors risk losing customers that aren't willing to pay that bit extra for sustainable packaging.  And this matters when you're a small business with a relatively small amount of customers.

So we try to navigate the fine line and sometimes push the boat out a little and make choices in our packaging that makes sense. We try to keep up with the latest technology and make sure that we are making the best decisions for our customers as well as the environment.

Here are some of the packaging vendors that we are proudly using:

1. Grounded Packaging (groundedpackaging.com)

Founded in Australia, but now available globally, Grounded provide eCommerce retailers with sustainable packaging products and solutions.

2.  Aylesbury Box Company (abcbox.co.uk)

A wonderful UK based company since 1987, they use sustainable Canadian wood pulp to manufacture recyclable eCommerce boxes.

3.  TempGuard™ by SEALED AIR® (sealedair.co.uk)

Made from 100% recycled newspapers, these insulation pads are 100% household waste recyclable.

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