We’ve been hosting Charles, a Ugandan farmer at our farm in Devon for the past two weeks. Join Guy as he takes a look at his creative farming methods (3 min 50 sec).
Environmentally, there is no such thing as good packaging; only some that is less bad. Recycling can help but it is a poor substitute for reuse or, even better, not using the stuff in the first place. So why do we use any at all? Some leafy veg, like spinach and lettuce, dehydrates so quickly that not using bags results in pointless waste. Similarly, tomatoes and mushrooms need protection and potato bags retain the mud and exclude light to prevent greening. We have done a lot of work with Exeter University to find the ‘least worst’ option for what to use, with some surprising and counterintuitive results. You can read more at www.riverfordenvironment.co.uk.
The veg boxes themselves are designed to be reused many times. If they were all returned we would get around 10 trips per box, but we currently only achieve four because so many are not. If you can reuse them, we are happy. But if not, we want them back, even if they are damaged. If the boxes were all returned, we could more than halve their environmental impact. This is what we would like you to do:
- Veg boxes: fold flat by pushing the ends in so the bottom goes down (not up into the box) and leave out for collection. This is the single biggest thing you can do to help.
- Plastic bags: leave out in your veg box for us to recycle.
- Paper bags and punnets: reuse as seed trays, lunch bags, compost bin liners etc, then compost, or put out for recycling with your paper (if clean).
- Meat box packaging: we’d like the box, gel packs and insulated liner back for reuse. Anything that has touched the meat must go out with your rubbish.
- Plastic punnets: we use few of these so do not have a recycling route. Please put them out with the rest of your rubbish.
Thanks for your help.
Yesterday the Centre for Alternative Technology launched a very bold document putting forward a plan for Britain to become carbon free by 2027, which was reported on in the Guardian* and the Telegraph*.
CAT’s plan is definitely radical: less meat, and no flying; more local organic produce; and an “armada” of wind, tidal and solar generating facilities.
The main objections to the report’s proposals seem to be that such radical plans are politically unthinkable, and that the public – and more importantly businesses – will never go along with them willingly. But over at the BBC there’s a fascinating report about how businesses in the state of California are powering ahead with new green energy projects, and that the marketplace is the main driver of this change. California has led the way on a lot of recent revolutions – the internet being just one world-changing example – perhaps what’s happening there is showing us that the way to a greener future is possible without changing our capitalist ‘way of life’?
*please note: as this is an older blog post, some of the original links in this article have been changed or removed