How I fell for Greenwashing
Our Packaging Evolution
We have spent hours and hours of time and effort sourcing the best possible packaging for our meals so that they arrive to our customers in the best possible condition while staying mindful of our environment. And yet, over the last few months we’ve received messages from our clients asking us why our 100% compostable packaging was being rejected at curb side. So I did a deep dive on this to figure out why.
What I learned was that even though the packaging says “100% compostable” the reality is that we do not have the facilities necessary to actually compost these types of packages in Ontario. The main areas that we deliver, the GTHA, Waterloo Region, and Wellington County, do not accept any form of paper containers lined with bio-plastics or biodegradable plastics, even though they are labeled “recyclable”, “compostable”, or “biodegradable”.
Paper-based or cellulose fibre containers are poly-coated (coated with plastic), if they weren't the moisture in food would soak through and our meals would have a very short-shelf life. This would create unnecessary food waste. In order to make them water resistant, any pulp-base or paper-base container must be lined with a bioplastic thus making them unfit for composting. Also, pulp-based packaging must be made from new trees requiring new materials each time and are unable to be recycled or re-used in any way. Talk about defeating the purpose.
The only way to dispose of the packaging we have been using for months and months is in the garbage. The other option, plant-based plastics which have to be made from new materials each time and cannot easily be reheated, require a commercial composting facility, which do not exist in the areas that we deliver to. There were only 78 facilities in Ontario as of 2020 that take care of organic composting. After days of research, I am still unable to find any that are able to break down “compostable” bioplastics.
I will be the first to admit how incredibly frustrating and confusing this is. Your automatic thought is that if something is allowed to be labeled “100% compostable” that it should be so. Unfortunately that is not the case. The good news is that the deeper we delve into the world of packaging the more that we learn so that we can make the best possible decisions for our packaging.
Our new Evolve packaging is made in Denmark from 88% recycled water bottles, giving these materials a second life, and requires just 12% new material. They are heat sealed, which allows for safer transportation, keeping the meals fresher longer once delivered and refrigerated. After the meal has been enjoyed these containers are 100% fully recyclable made from #1 CPET plastic which is accepted by every municipality that we deliver to.
Alongside our packaging improvements, we continue to work hard to create a zero food waste system in our kitchen. Any food scraps that we make, such as the pulp left over from our juices or the citrus rinds, are donated to a local organic farmer who feeds them to their livestock - Fun fact, cows LOVE orange rinds.
We will always be as transparent as possible with our community. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the section below!