Enviromental Plan

ecoleafSir David Attenborough has achieved a lot in his lifetime. A world renowned traveller, broadcaster, naturalist and environmentalist. But I wonder if he has ever before been considered a revolutionary? At Daily Bread, though, we think we can credit him (at least partly) with starting something that will change the way our co-operative works for many years to come, and we hope that, as with endeavours in the past like organic foods and fairly traded products, we will be counted among the first to bring to the business world a groundbreaking change that will better our whole industry.

For some time now we have been receiving comments from customers, wishing that we would use less plastic in our packaging, and that we would offer re-filling services to cut down on waste, but ever since the second Blue World series, with its harrowing demonstration of the true fate of even supposedly recycled plastic, we have been inundated with these comments. It’s been impossible to ignore the call for changes to be made. It’s true that the vast majority of the products we pack in store are packed in plastic, either in bags or in sealable pots. The overwhelming opinion, it seems clear now, is that this is no longer good enough.

And we agree. We do use a lot of plastic, and though we are embarrassed to admit it, some of it is not even recyclable. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t use something better for our environment if it was readily available, but perhaps we have been complacent for too long, satisfied that we were doing enough in our ‘green’ efforts and wary of the difficulties that changing things would bring. No longer, though. We aren’t going to put up with that anymore. That is why we have started on a process of examining and improving all our habits with regard to the environment.

Our first major step has been to introduce a refilling station for some of the cleaning and bodycare products we offer, and the feedback so far has been amazing, both from those using the service and those just happy to see it available and planning to use it in the future. We do plan to extend this, offering more products in this way over time.

More than that, though, we are looking at drastically overhauling our packaging, and are carefully investigating new, more biodegradable packaging options. It is our hope that one day the items we pack, as well as what we sell pre-packed from other companies, will have for more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging, and that the waste we as a company produce will be reduced to a fraction of what it is today.

Very recently we have made a big step in his area. We have discovered a material called Natureflex, which is similar to the plastic bags we use in that it is flexible and transparent, but which is actually made from wood pulp and is completely biodegradable. This seems like an excellent starting point for us: we just need to make sure we can get it in the right sizes and quantities, and that it is strong enough and can be sealed well enough for our purposes.

This will, of course, take a while. We have to consider practicality and cost, as well as ecological soundness, with all the changes that we make. It might take some considerable time for this particular revolution to reach its goals. But we at Daily Bread want you, our customers, to know: the revolution has begun.

It’s difficult to give a timeline for this process, as it very much depends on engaging with the right suppliers to provide the materials we may wish to use. We would also like to highlight the steps we have taken already, some of which were many years ago.

 

What we do now

What we plan to do

Plastic carrier bags for customers.

Not used for many years, instead we offer -

  • Boxes reused from goods delivered.

  • Cotton bags, Jute bags, paper bags.

More alternatives being investigated.

Customer orders we send out.

Boxes reused from goods delivered.

Reuse packaging.

To investigate and purchase greener packaging.

Goods packaging from suppliers

Boxes reused

To send excess to recycling companies.
Cardboard and paper we can not reuse we send to be recycled.

Encourage suppliers to use less plastic and packaging.

To send more excess to recycling companies.

Electricity

We use 100% renewable electricity energy.

To explore other utilities’ greener options, we use purchase via our Landlord.

Packaging of our own products - Bags

Use the minimum of packaging possible

To investigate and purchase fully bio-degradable food safe packaging.

Packaging of our own products - Jars and Pots

We use recyclable material and design so they can be re-used

To investigate and purchase fully bio-degradable food safe packaging for the pots.

Product refills

We have a refill station for household cleaning materials and body care products.

To increase the range as products in those sizes become available, to look at what is possible for food items.

Food waste

Reduce price to sell if close to end of dates, sell after best before dates at 10p.

Constant improvement in our buying to reduce waste.

Office & publications

Use sustainable paper, encourage double sided printing.
Send paper waste for recycling.

To investigate and purchase recycled office materials.

Products we sell

Sustainable ethical products, fairtrade, organic, environmentally friendly

Do more, including storage and processing options for customers.

 

The list above may be far form complete but highlights what we do now and plan to do.

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DBC

Growing
Co-operative of the year
award 2017