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.