Tag Archives: recycle

the plastic crates debate

A few weeks back we asked you what you would think if we moved to a returnable plastic box. Thanks to everyone who responded – we had over 200 comments. The original blog post is here and to remind you:

  1. We get about four trips out of a box.
  2. Around half of the boxes are used for other things and the other half get too damaged or dirty.
  3. Although they’re made from 98% recycled materials, being reused four times and being recycled at the end of their lives, the boxes still make up 10% of our carbon footprint.
  4. Our research suggests that a re-usable plastic box would result in a reduction in emissions of about 70%.

responses

  • 33% say it sounds like to right thing to do.
  • 28% would leave it up to us to do what is best.
  • 24% really don’t like the idea but would accept it.
  • 13% were not convinced by the CO2 argument and are against the idea of plastic boxes.

A lot of you mentioned that the boxes need to fold down to save on space, which would be a bit more expensive but would be worth it. Some of you worried about what would happen to the plastic crates at the end of their lives. We could get them made from most if not all recycled material and if they were returned to us at the end of their lives they would be 100% recycled.

one more question

We would need to charge a deposit of between £5 and £10 which would be added to your account when we deliver and removed when you return a box. How would you feel about this?

box amnesty

Riverford VegboxesOur boxes are reused on average four times, are made from 95% recycled materials and are recycled at the end of their lives but, surprisingly, still account for 10% of our carbon footprint (similar to the lorries delivering the boxes). In the long run we may move to plastic boxes as a more durable and lower impact solution. Preliminary calculations suggest this would give a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions, but it would be a huge capital investment and many of you have expressed a strong resistance to plastic in the past. I sense a rise in pragmatism over dogmatism in environmental issues generally and wonder how you would feel about your veg being delivered in a deposit-carrying plastic crate; email your thoughts to plasticvegbox@www.riverford.co.uk/blog.

In the meantime we really need as many boxes back as possible, even if they are damaged (there is a much better chance of them being effectively recycled through us than through most municipal recycling schemes). The boxes cost between 54p and 81p but just as importantly this is the biggest thing you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your veg delivery. Please fold your box flat by pushing the ends in so the bottom goes down (not up into the box) and leave it out for your vegman or lady to collect. We are also happy to take back plastic bags but would rather you added paper punnets to your compostable or paper waste.

help us make your box even better

We really like to know what you think about your vegbox and every week we give you the chance to tell us about your most recent delivery in our box quality survey. Your comments help us keep on top of anything that isn’t up to scratch, let us know about anything that is particularly good and give us new ideas to make the boxes even better. It only takes a minute each week; please follow the link from your weekly box contents email or scroll down to the beetroot on the ‘this week’s box’ page of the website.

Guy Watson


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