Our packaging is designed to have minimal impact on the environment. It is made from sustainable, plant-derived materials but what does this actually mean?
Below, we discuss the types of materials we use, how these are grown, landfill and one possible alternative for food packaging waste. You will also find some useful links to other sections of the website.
Bowse plant-based packaging in our shop.
Download our Environmental Statement flyer.
What is your packaging made of?
Our food and drink packaging is made from plant-based materials. These can be divided into two camps: wood pulp and PLA products.
PLA – PLA (or polylactic acid to give it its full name) is a material derived from corn starch. Our PLA products are either made from PLA and PLA only (this includes our lids and our clear sandwich bags) or, alternatively, we use PLA to line our otherwise paper-based coffee cups and pots to make them waterproof.
Wood Pulp - Our deli papers, take out boxes and handled bags are made from paper (wood pulp) while our windowed products - such as our windowed sandwich bags, salad boxes, and sandwich packs - introduce a third material, a bio laminate film which lines the products and forms the windows. Now here’s the clever part: our bio laminate film is also made from wood pulp. It’s a cellulose-based material, cellulose is found in the walls of plant cells (in this case trees) and it is what gives the plant its rigidity and strength.
What makes your food packaging more sustainable?
Our products have been developed to offer alternatives to polystyrene clamshells and other oil-based plastic packaging such as clear salad boxes.
We work with mills that source their raw materials - wood and corn starch - from renewable growth forests or plantations so, once the trees or corn we use to make our cups and containers has been harvested, it is replaced with new crops.
A crop like corn may be harvested each year, forests however need to be more carefully managed to ensure that trees are not cut down prematurely maintaining a constant balance between young and mature trees. For example, trees used to make paper are typically between 10 and 20 years old and they are harvested during thinning whereby certain trees are cut down to make room for the growth of others.
We do not use dioxins in the production of our papers and cards, dioxins are commonly used to bleach paper (you can read more about this here). We also operate an ethical sourcing policy so all of our product suppliers are commissioned for their own pro-active environmental best practice. We make regular visits to our suppliers to check for ourselves how things are being done.
Recycling and landfill
Food packaging is often unsuitable for recycling (see ‘Why is food packaging un-recyclable’ below) and frequently ends up in landfill. As members of the BBIA we are actively lobbying the government to better support (research, fund more environmentally sound solutions that help to redirect waste from landfill.
Why is food packaging un-recyclable?
From a smear of mayonnaise or a spot of icing soaked into a paper bag to an entire sandwich left unopened in the pack, packaging tainted with food cannot be recycled as oils from the food residue contaminate the paper stock making it unusable. Meanwhile, packaging that combines different materials (for example a card salad pack with a plastic window or a paper coffee cup with a liner) can be very difficult to separate.
Does plant-based packaging break down quicker in landfill?
Sadly not, 50 year-old newspapers have been recovered from landfill that are still readable. This is why we believe alternatives, solutions that harness food and packaging post-use as a resource rather than end-of-life waste products, must be supported.
Our closed loop waste solution
We have teamed up with PRM Waste Systems to offer a simple and cost-effective closed-loop solution for disposing of food and plant-based packaging waste onsite.
Further information about PRM's onsite bio processors.
And finally, what types of plant-based food container do you offer?
We produce packaging for grab and go food offerings - so things like sandwich boxes, bags, containers for salads or deli items, coffee cups (with lids) and bakery packaging. We also offer packaging for hot takeaway foods too.