Tag Archives: carbon footprint

the plastic crates debate

A few weeks back we asked you what you would think if we moved to a returnable plastic box. Thanks to everyone who responded – we had over 200 comments. The original blog post is here and to remind you:

  1. We get about four trips out of a box.
  2. Around half of the boxes are used for other things and the other half get too damaged or dirty.
  3. Although they’re made from 98% recycled materials, being reused four times and being recycled at the end of their lives, the boxes still make up 10% of our carbon footprint.
  4. Our research suggests that a re-usable plastic box would result in a reduction in emissions of about 70%.


  • 33% say it sounds like to right thing to do.
  • 28% would leave it up to us to do what is best.
  • 24% really don’t like the idea but would accept it.
  • 13% were not convinced by the CO2 argument and are against the idea of plastic boxes.

A lot of you mentioned that the boxes need to fold down to save on space, which would be a bit more expensive but would be worth it. Some of you worried about what would happen to the plastic crates at the end of their lives. We could get them made from most if not all recycled material and if they were returned to us at the end of their lives they would be 100% recycled.

One more question

We would need to charge a deposit of between £5 and £10 which would be added to your account when we deliver and removed when you return a box. How would you feel about this?

leaves vs. plastic – no contest when it comes to packaging

Did any of you see Guy Watson on last week’s Money Programme Special: How Green is Your High Street?

Less eye catching than presenter Fiona Bruce’s eyebrows, we admit, but Guy had a good chunk in the programme and talked about Riverford’s approach to reducing packaging. We liked the bit about the outer leaves of a lettuce being “nature’s packaging”.

Packaging is at the heart of the carbon footprinting study we are conducting at the moment and we will be publishing the preliminary results in the next couple of weeks.

Government launches CO2 counter

Credit where credit’s due to the Government for launching its CO2 calculator*. It’s too early to judge how good it is, but we hope it helps people understand how the way they live impacts the environment.

Here at Riverford Organic Vegetables we are 7 months into our own carbon footprinting exercise where we have secured the help of Exeter University to look at every aspect of our veg boxes and it is already resulting in good changes.

Follow this blog from time to time to hear how we are getting on. Guy Watson has already written a great piece explaining what the project is about and what we hope to achieve here.*

We can’t promise not to rant occasionally – particularly when our greenwash-ometer goes mad. So watch out some of you supermarkets, smokescreen if you will – you won’t fool us.

*please note: as this is an older blog post, some of the original links in this article have been changed or removed