Packaging at Naturally Good Food

June 16, 2015 2:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

At Naturally Good Food we follow some basic principles with regard to packaging and waste:

  1. Our customers need to receive their orders safely and in the best possible condition.
  2. We need to eliminate as many breakages as possible.
  3. We use as little new packaging as possible.
  4. We take into account the waste from the whole business: we don’t like to throw away stock.

Packing materials:

  1. We use new, double-wall cardboard boxes for most of our parcels, as these are strong and reliable – we do also use boxes recycled from our deliveries, but only if we feel that they are still able to protect the goods on their journey appropriately.
  2. The loosefill we use is made from corn (non-GM) and dissolves in water. Occasionally, we will reuse polystyrene loose-fill that has come to us as packaging, rather than throw it away.
  3. The bubble-wrap we have is undeniably plastic and not degradable (the one eco-brand we trialed was very tricky to tear and handle – but we keep looking).
  4. Airpillows: these are currently plastic too, but they are very useful cushioning space-fillers. Our inflater, sadly, does not fit the degradable rolls, and is still young itself – once the machine fails, or we need another, we will get one that can fit the degradable bags.
  5. Our prepacked wholefoods are packed either in paper bags, with thin blue plastic liners if needed (for example, for oily  nuts that may become stale if not airtight) or in cellophane bags for the sizes we pack, up to around 1kg.
  6. Many of the midbulk packs, around 2.5kg up to 5kg, will be in robust plastic bags, strong enough that the goods arrive in good condition – and stay fresh.
  7. Bulk bags are further wrapped in woven polypropylene sacks, which give good protection on the sometimes rough journey to you. We have found that two sacks are best, as often one is worn through. We make a handle with the fastener to make the sack easier to lift.

We consider packaging along with the rest of our environmental policy including:

  1. Our heating comes from a ground-source heat pump.
  2. This is powered by a large array of solar panels, which in summer, also power our air-conditioner units.
  3. We have biomass units to deal with our human waste.
  4. The building is very well insulated and benefits from solar gain.

In essence, we are at least a carbon-neutral company in terms of energy; indeed, some 75% of the electricity produced by the solar panels is fed back into the grid.

Naturally Good Food as a shop

When we were largely shop-based, packaging was rarely an issue:

  1. Customers would bring in their old shopping bags and we would re-use them (indeed, in 10 years, I can’t recall us ever buying a carrier bag)!
  2. We would pack shopping into reused boxes, where appropriate.
  3. We offered a refill service for household goods and toiletries – these were actually our best-selling lines in the shop.
  4. However….as a small shop, we found that we were always having to throw out fresh stock that was no longer fit to eat, or stock that was either past or close to its sell-by date.

So when we had a shop, we had almost no packing problems, but we had a significant stock wastage problem that was not environmentally sensible, and commercially, made the shop uneconomic. We were also far from carbon-neutral as a shop: our old barn premises leaked heat in winter and boiled in summer, which made keeping our stock at the correct temperatures very expensive.

Naturally Good Food as an on-line retailer

We need to ensure that our customers receive their purchases in the best possible condition. Out of necessity, we need to use packaging – but our intention is always to keep this to a minimum. Also it is important that our staff and couriers don’t strain their backs: we sometimes therefore need to send two packages, where before a customer might simply have put their purchases in their bike panniers!

In overall terms, we feel, from an environmental point of view, that as a on-line retailer working with very efficient energy units, our impact on the environment is as low as we can possibly make it.

If you ‘d like to know more about BPA liners in tins see Yzannes blog on tins and BPA here.

Packaing

 

 

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This post was written by Sue

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