Plastic-free July #choosetorefuse

This month sees the roll out of ‘plastic-free July’ so it’s only  natural that our thoughts look at how we can arrive at a fully plastic-free packaging solution. 

This year we’ve made great steps in reducing our use of plastic packaging. In March 2018 we moved our veg bags to 100% reusable bags. From the supply side we continue to work with Ripple Farm and Sarah Green Organics as well as other farms to make the transition to plastic-free packaging. Both farms address the issues surrounding a plastic-free transition and comment on the challenges they face. To access their views, polices and information on plastic packaging click on the links below.

Sarah Green Organics

Ripple Farm

Here at the Arch our focus is twofold, we want to maintain and preserve the quality and freshness of any veg which requires non-permeable packaging e.g. mixed salad, kale, spinach, chard and other leafy greens. Secondly, we aim to reduce our environmental impact by minimising our use and being selective in the choice of packaging material we use. 

As such our famers use polythene bags to stop the salads and leafy greens dehydrating especially as all produce starts losing moisture as soon as it is harvested with leaves particularly susceptible without protection to wilt by the time you got them home – resulting in wasted food, wasted energy, unhappy customers and unhappy farmers.

Therefore, this month in support of plastic-free July and as part of longer- term strategy we are using pulp-packaging. We’ve also set up a working group with Growing Communities and other London veg box schemes to find a completely compostable and Petro-free chemical packaging solution which supports and reduces environmental impact at every step of way.

This collaboration also allows us to find a way to maximise our buying power around plastic-free packaging in turn reducing the increase in costs on the veg  bags we supply. This approach supports the basic principles of the circular economy which we hope will contribute towards regenerating natural systems.

For a local scheme like ours change can take time, logistically and financially we feel change more than larger box schemes -that said we are 100% committed to making this change.

The short-term consequences of plastic-free on your veg bag

This week you will notice that we are not including a variety of salad leaf’s within your veg bag. Whilst salad is in abundance at this time of year we are unable to provide you with these leafy wonders as they require a non-permeable storage solution to stay fresh and last longer. 

Essentially whilst we source a plastic-free packaging solution the variety of verdant greens may be slightly restricted.  Again, with the fruit  bags this week we’ve gone for Jostaberries instead of Strawberries and Raspberries. They are slightly more robust and will respond better to being packaged in Pulp-packaging. By contrast Strawberries and Raspberries cannot be stored securely and they also tend to spoil all too quickly in pulp-packaging

#choosetorefuse

You can start today at home and ‘choose to refuse’ single-use plastic which extends far beyond July. From storing food, cleaning, cooking, gardening, travel and how to prepare and store meals on www.plasticfreejuly.org has a wealth of resources, case studies and practical tips to make your live easier and most importantly plastic-free!