Did you know, a staggering amount of plastic – around 8 million pieces every day – are ending up in our oceans. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the water than fish, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The biggest culprit is plastic food packaging. So, what can be done?

Riverford is one of our sponsors for this year’s food festival. They are a big believer in all things organic and environmentally friendly. By growing, packing and delivering food themselves puts Riverford in a unique position to use as little packaging as possible, and to collect what they do use from your doorstep for reuse or recycling.

1) Nature Provides Its Own Packaging

Riverford only use packaging when it’s strictly necessary to protect fresh produce and prevent food waste; if it doesn’t need it, they won’t wrap it. Since 2017, unwrapping some popular items (such as cucumbers) has saved them an extra 1.5 tonnes of plastic (the equivalent of 30,000 2 litre bottles) per year!

2) Plastic Alternatives

Where packaging is absolutely necessary, Riverford chooses the most sustainable solutions that fit the product’s needs. They’re always looking for new ways to use less plastic. Their compostable pulp punnets took years to develop, but they do a great job of keeping their tomatoes and soft fruits safe.

3) Beech Netting

In 2017, Riverford were the first company to discover compostable beech nets. A by-product from PEFC-certified sustainable forestry, the wood would otherwise go to waste, but the nets provide an alternative use – and can be easily disposed of in your home compost heap or council compost bin. So far, they’ve saved 182km of plastic net!

4) Reusable Boxes

Instead of plastic bags, Riverford’s vegetables are delivered in recycled cardboard boxes that they collect from customers’ doorsteps to use again. If you leave your box out for them, they can reuse it up to 10 times.

5) These Small Changes Add Up

Riverford ran a comparable packaging study with the leading UK supermarkets. As they are most well- known for their veg boxes, they decided to compare their 3 most popular boxes to comparable
packaged supermarket products over four weeks. They didn’t select items from the supermarket that were excessively packaged; they simply compared organic where possible, in the same weights.

The results? Riverford’s veg boxes use 82% less plastic packaging than major supermarkets!* Plus, they know that they can do even better. So, they have pledged that by the end of 2020, their veg will be 100% plastic free (they will be converting all their punnets and bags to home compostable materials).

Visit http://www.riverford.co.uk/lessplastic for the results of the test, the full list of products and how they determine the major UK supermarkets.

Don’t forget to come and say hello to Riverford at their stall at this year’s festival in May. They will be outside the Town Hall; find out how you can live life on the veg with Riverford. Find out more about them at www.riverford.co.uk or call Chris & Mary on 0114 274 9938

*Less plastic collectively by weight when they compared the contents of their 3 most popular boxes to the comparable, like for like, packaged produce when purchased from 7 major UK supermarkets: Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Aldi, Morrisons and Waitrose. Please note box contents change every week and can vary in packaging weight. The box testing was carried out from 15th October through to the 5th November 2018.

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