Last week I wrote about the journey that brought us to using recyclable cardboard boxes in our delivery business. This week I want to share how we came to the place of using plastic bag liners for these boxes. We currently line our boxes with a FDA approved biodegradable plastic bag. Each bag has perforated holes to help with ventilation and transpiration. Ironically enough, we are using plastic to save on plastic.
Before we started doing home delivery as our primary source of distribution, I worked in retail produce and had my own produce store as well. During that time I watched many customers load up on healthy organic produce and leave with a plastic bag of Fuji apples, navel oranges, lemons, onions, potatoes, garlic, lettuce, radishes, and a paper bag for mushrooms. This was just how it was done in the 90s and before. It was just more convenient, since every item had to be weighed separately. So when we switched to home delivery from retail produce, we did what we had always done, we used lots of plastic bags to deliver the produce.
As we matured as a company and moved from paper bags to recyclable cardboard boxes, we were able to cut out 90% of our plastic bag use by using one plastic liner inside the box and packing everything inside it. We still used the small plastic bags to pack the “extras,” like bananas, lettuce or apples, which customers ordered in addition to their “box of good,” but we were still using too many plastic bags in our service.
About five years ago we noticed a trend: customers were not only buying a standard box of good, they were also ordering many additional produce and grocery items as well. Some customers had also started ordering “a la carte” and not even getting a regular box. That was different. We were suddenly using more plastic bags again. Customers were shopping with us like a grocery store, and we found ourselves packing produce orders like a grocery store – using separate plastic bags for each item.
We were happy to fulfill these “a la carte” orders, to make healthy eating as easy as possible for our customers, but we did not want to be using that much plastic. We decided to start packing these “a la carte” orders like our regular boxes, which again drastically cut our plastic use. We now call these orders “custom boxes” and are packing 170 custom boxes a week, easily eliminating over 1,200 bags a week, which makes 60,000 less plastic bags a year! Add in our regular boxes and we are using 10,000 less plastic bags each week, which makes 520,000 less plastic bags a year!
Imagine, just by purchasing your organically grown fruits and vegetables through us, you are helping eliminate the use of over half a million plastic bags a year – plastic bags that are not being manufactured and thus not going to our landfills. WOW!
We are focused on bringing your family the freshest fruits and vegetables in the safest and most sanitary way possible, and doing it with less plastic is a bonus.