The Circular Economy and Local Greens
There is a lot of discussion in the media about reducing single use plastic, our reliance on fossil fuels, our contribution to climate change our throw away economy, etc. but these issues are not usually linked and an overall solution is not suggested. The circular economy model tries to do this. But what is it? The circular economy is a system that aims to minimise waste and make the most of resources. It is achieved through products designed to last, be repaired, reused, refurbished and recycled, keeping resources in use for as long as possible.
Bags and packaging
The obvious change at Local Greens has been the introduction of the reusable/returnable bags, the most important part of which is that they are returned to us and only you can do that. Another initiative that you may have noticed is that we work with our farmers to reduce or reuse the amount of plastic they supply to us. Besides the bags the veg comes in, its also the crates and boxes used to transport the veg. The majority of this is returned to the farmer and what’s leftover is recycled via Quantum Waste rather than going to landfill. You can reuse the clear plastic bags for sandwiches, freezer bags etc.
Produce and suppliers
There are other ways we try to close the loop. We only order the quantity of veg we know we are going to need, plus a percentage on for quantity, quality and weighing issues, minimising waste. After packing any leftover veg is available for staff and volunteers to take, it is also given to Norwood Food Bank and Brixton Soup Kitchen. Veg uncollected by customers can be taken by staff at the collection points, if its still there the following week, its sorted and passed on to one of the above. The last resort is the compost bin of one of our staff and back into the environment, in a good way.
Being part of the Better Food Shed also closes the loop. Produce orders are pooled with 8 box schemes in London. All the veg is delivered to one depot and distributed in a single van to us, keeping the food miles and carbon footprint low; farmers can harvest more veg in one go; can benefit from economies of scale; more is consumed and less is left to rot in the fields; the Better Food shed can also feed information back to the farmers about what produce and quantities are likely to be in demand, helping the farmers maintain their markets and avoid waste.
Local Greens tries to apply these principles to our non veg suppliers too. For example, using 100% renewable power, recycled office supplies, buying from local shops rather than online, employing local people, reinvesting in our business, staff and farmers.
We are constantly aiming to minimise our impact on the environment and appreciate the support of all our customers that keeps it all going. For more information on The Circular Economy check out Ellen Macarthur Foundation and Wrap.