shopping basket
I spent an immense amount of time researching every available option before choosing my packaging in a bid to avoid using any unnecessary plastic or unrecyclable material. Even in our current anti-plastic world I really struggled to find a container that met my requirements: heat-sealable, freezable, microwavable, ovenable and easily disposed of. Eventually I sourced a UK company which produce a food container made from bagasse which met my specifications. Bagasse is the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane, so essentially a by-product. Amazingly these containers are accepted by Colchester Borough Council for food waste recycling so you can just pop them in your green food caddy after use. The next hurdle was to find a suitable plant-based film with which to seal these containers that could also be added to food waste after removal. Unfortunately this is a work in progress as this type of film is not yet able to withstand the heat-sealing process that is required to ensure the lidding is air tight and tamper proof. So until this has been developed I have had to opt for a recyclable plastic film. The one positive outcome of the combination of the bagasse tray, the film and my heat sealing equipment is the simplicity at which the film just peels off. It comes away so easily without the need to use a knife like many of the supermarket equivalents (purchased only for investigative purposes!). I have also extensively researched the compostable/biodegradable labelling claims which many businesses are keen to display on their packaging. The public are becoming increasingly more aware of the real meaning of this: compostable means that a material can biodegrade in under 12 weeks but only in an industrial composting facility, of which there are very few in the UK. Inevitably this means the majority of these items end up in landfill, however, as a society we are making progress and I will continue to work closely with my suppliers to ensure I use the most environmentally friendly materials available.