NGF packaging and plastics policy

July 12, 2018 2:07 pm Published by 13 Comments

Our primary aim is to deliver our products to our customers intact and in the best condition. We use a variety of boxes, bags, packaging fillers and wraps to ensure this happens. We’re continually looking into the best, most environmentally friendly options for our packaging.

Here’s what we use.

Polypropylene bags: some NGF own-label produce is packed in transparent polypropylene bags. These bags are recyclable.

Paper bags: other NGF own-label produce is packed into paper bags. These are recyclable, biodegradable and compostable.

Plastic pots: a small amount of NGF own-label produce is packed into recyclable pots.

Labels: NGF own-label produce is labelled with paper labels.

Tape: we use a limited amount of sticky tape to seal the bags. The brown tape is made from paper; the clear tape is made from cellophane. We also use masking tape to seal our larger boxes: this is currently made from plastic, but we are researching alternatives.

Boxes: most orders are packed into new, strong cardboard boxes. We sometimes recycle cardboard boxes we’ve received from our suppliers – but only if the customer has no allergies or objections to this.

Loosefill: the goods inside the boxes are often protected by ‘loosefill’, which provides cushioning. Our loosefill may look like polystyrene, but in fact it’s made solely from non-genetically modified corn. The ‘noodles’ simply dissolve in water – or can be composted.

Bubble-wrap: we are delighted to now be using ‘oxo-degradable bubble wrap’, which is 100% recyclable and doesn’t contain any heavy metals. When this bubble wrap is exposed to the combined effects of sunlight, stress, microbes and heat, it disintegrates into a product that can be digested harmlessly by micro-organisms, back to the basic elements of carbon dioxide, water and biomass. (And, importantly, it’s just as much fun to pop as the standard kind!)

Cling-film: so far, we have not managed to source a biodegradable clingfilm that works for our purposes: we continue to search for one. We only use clingfilm for especially large (pallet) orders, so most of our customers are unlikely to be affected.

External sacks: we use woven polypropylene sacks to provide a final layer of protection for bulk bags of produce. These are, currently, not biodegradable, but we are continuing to search for alternatives.

A note on recycling

We recycle everything we can at Naturally Good Food and encourage our customers to do the same. We’ve got environmental awareness built into our DNA!

A final note on our suppliers

We always remind our customers that we’re just one part of the process. Stock arrives in our building from wholesalers in a variety of forms (in boxes, paper sacks and polypropylene woven bags). The boxes and paper sacks are sometimes lined with plastic, to keep the contents fresh, dry and free from pests. We know that our wholesalers are working with their suppliers to find the most environmentally friendly options for storage and transport. We’re proud to be part of that journey!

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This post was written by Yzanne


  • Mrs Yuki Hill says:

    I am very pleased to read about what Naturally Good food company are trying to do about plastics and recycling.

    Hope everyone in the world cares about what human beings are doing in our environment. I am aware that many people are
    very concerned about plastics. My husband and I are trying not to use plastic any more. It’s often very difficult to buy food in
    the supermarket because lots of food are in the plastic containers. Hope supermarket starts doing something about it.

    • Yzanne says:

      Thanks very much for your comment! We’re continually trying to work out how to be a better company, and to make the world a better place, in our use of plastics and in everything else we do. Our packaging policy still has a way to go before we’re completely happy with it, but we feel that we’re on the right lines. We too hope that the major supermarkets will quickly alter their ways – their purchasing power really drives innovation in this respect.

      Best wishes,

      Yzanne Mackay
      Writer and Editor
      Naturally Good Food

  • Deb Burn says:

    I’m so pleased to learn the Loosefill is now corn based rather than polystyrene – well done, that must have taken some work to achieve. I can now compost this on my allotment. Thank you 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    Could we return packaging like the white sacks? I’ve saved mine if we can!

    • Yzanne says:

      Hi Andrea,

      We’ve certainly received returned packaging in the past – mostly from our very local customers, who pop in with it. Are you local to us? If not, then bear with me while I check with the operations manager as to what is possible.

      Best wishes,

      Yzanne Mackay
      Writer and Editor
      Naturally Good Food

    • Sue says:

      Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for your enquiry. At present we only accept packaging back from our customers that are local to us,as my colleague Yzanne mentioned.
      Many thanks & kind regards,

      Operations Manager

  • Shona says:

    I work for a Zero Waste organisation and we are discovering that biodegradable and compostable items may not be the answer, unless we can all guarantee that these are being disposed of in the right environment – which most of us can’t do. Compostable items ending up in your general waste bin aren’t a good thing. Yes, we have a huge plastic problem, but not all of it is bad if it can be easily recycled. At the moment, our advise is to meticulously research the reality of what your packaging requires to be broken down, and if you can’t guarantee that, go with a reusable or recyclable item until infrastructure is in place to deal with these newer alternatives.
    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we may just be creating a new problem for ourselves which we don’t yet have a solution for. Less reliance on single-use-anything is ideal, next is something that can be reused (can you wash your plastic bags and reuse them?) and last is something that can be broken down or recycled.

    • Yzanne says:

      Hi Shona,

      We absolutely agree that there is no easy solution to the problem – and like you, we’re also aware that some of the solutions that look good ‘on paper’ or simply tick a box, actually create further problems down the line. So thank you for your comments – I’m going to forward them to the person who’s dealing with the whole issue of our packaging. It’s good to know that our customers also recognise that this is not an easy issue to solve.

      Best wishes,

      Yzanne Mackay
      Writer and Editor
      Naturally Good Food

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