PLASTIC FREE trial
Will you be part of our PLASTIC FREE week, will you take part in our compostable plant based bag experiment?
This week every one of our set vegetable boxes will be plastic free. We have decided to do a live trial with some new compostable material bags. We have looked at these bags last year on a small scale trial and our initial results suggested they work, next week we will extend this trial and are asking for your help and feedback.
These bags can be used in your compost bin at home when you are finished and/or can go in your brown bin for waste collection.
We are very excited and rightly or wrongly I am committed to making all of our set vegetable boxes and all the products that we pack directly on our farm plastic free within the next 6 months.
Broadly speaking there are three types of "plastic" packaging:
- Petroleum plastic without additives. The majority of supermarket packaging falls into this category as do most single use plastic bags and bottles. These items can take 20-1000 years to break down depending on the environment.
- Petroleum based plastic with additives. These additives accelerate the break down to smaller plastic pieces in 1-3 years, also called oxo-degradative plastics.
- Plant based compostable and fully biodegradable materials. These are plant based and are not petroleum based and will break down in you home composter in a matter of weeks. They are manufactured from food waste and corn based starches. These are the type of bags we are trialling this week.
The use of biodegradable certified compostable bio-material is to my mind the best solution to a complex problem. The issue of food waste and plastic use is inextricably linked and the solution is not as straight forward as the media might suggest.
We have become dependent on a food system that provides us a with a convenient and ready to eat food culture that simply did not exist 50 years ago. It is no coincidence that the advent of cheap plastic packaging towards the end of the 1950's was fundamental in development of this culture.
Towards the end of the 1950's we were producing 2 million tonnes of plastic based materials each year, now that figure has risen to a staggering 330 million tonnes per year, using 6% of all petroleum extracted in the world and the figure is growing yearly.
We will literally drown in our own waste and in the process we will have destroyed our oceans if we do not take action now. (I want to give a big shout out and thanks to "make oceans plastic free" who let us use their powerful image.
While the recent news that a returnable bottle scheme will be introduced in the UK and is long overdue much more needs to be done. As John Vidal a past editor of the Guardian environment section puts it, this bottle return scheme "... is no more use than a heavy smoker forgoing a single cigarette". His recent article in the Guardian is well worth a read and paints a picture that not many of us are aware of.
The more researchers look, the more they find tiny plastic particles in the human body. At a recent UK workshop convened by the marine group Common Seas, 30 scientists, doctors and others compared notes, and agreed unanimously that plastic is now in what we eat, drink and breathe, and constitutes a significant and growing threat to human health.
Recycling is admirable but fundamentally the first step must always be to reduce the amount of plastic used, and then reuse what we can, followed finally by recycling. But at 330 million tonnes per year there is much work to be done and recycling will not solve the problem. It seems the burden of responsibility of dealing with this excessive plastic waste has passed from producer to consumer, while retailers and big food producers continue with business as normal.
"We urgently need the government to form a comprehensive plastic action plan. Banning all plastic bags and single-use packaging would be a good start, but we need to go way beyond that. Plastic production has to be reduced, just as alternatives should be encouraged." John Vidal
Will you join us in our small effort to take action next week by eliminating all single use plastic bags from our own veg boxes?
For a plastic free planet.