has become one of the most defining environmental concerns of our generation.
From the birth of the modern plastic era, once seen as a miracle, has now become a race to protect the eco-system.
As a company and even more so as a sustainable business, we are often confronted with the urgency to replace plastic packaging with a more eco-friendly alternative, an urgency that is at the heart of us here at HerbanLeaf and our consumers.
But, do we really understand the intricacies of sustainable packaging and the challenges they bring?
There are many complexities a company faces when deciding what packaging works for their products and can be considered sustainable, both before and after it is used.
When choosing packaging we scrupulously reviewed all our options and being a small business on an island comes with additional challenges.
The main points we have to consider are;
Is the material food safe?
Does the material keep our product fresh for long to avoid food wastage?
How sustainable is the material from the time it is created to its end of use?
We are not ones to follow what the industry is doing, so we set out to find an alternative.
We started off looking at Compostables, which was the obvious choice to many.
With the excitement to use plastic-free packaging, we overlooked the main point when choosing packaging -'Does it keep our product fresh for days?'
With the realization that our greens wilt overnight when stored in compostable packaging, we contacted the supplier only to learn that their entire product range of compostable packaging was not designed for food storage or the fridge but in fact, was designed to transport food for catering purposes.
Compostables are promising but we have quickly learned two things, many of these containers don't keep the long shelflife of our products and most garden compost bins don't generate enough heat to properly break these containers down. Even if we had access to industrial compost facilities, some won’t accept them.
We then turned to Innovative Materials for a solution. While materials created from tomato plants and mushrooms are being used in furniture and food packaging, manufacturers have not yet been able to create a version that is food safe and stores wet food.
Which leads us back to plastics;
Plastic is the only material we have found that is food safe and maintains the lifespan of the greens. It is crucial for us to find a solution that keeps our greens fresh to avoid food wastage, which is said to be responsible for around 6% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
We wont accept plastics as a solution and will continue to research and test alternative options.
Thank you for supporting our small business while we continue to grow and develop our sustainability practices.
Have a look at what makes our farm a sustainable farm