In the past couple of months at Abundance Wholesome Foods, we have received several enquiries from potential customers about our packaging. I gladly respond: we are plastic-free!
Our veggies are not wrapped. Our herbs are wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine, and the produce is delivered in brown paper bags. Only later it dawned on me that we were ready for Plastic Free July. Our friend Sasha sent us an article about “People who are marketing themselves as zero waste”, pointing out that we should celebrate ourselves too. I did a little happy dance – we’ve been at it since day one of our operations. For our business, nude veggies are fundamental since our values are based on organic practises – a sustainable approach to all life on the planet.
“More plastics have been produced in the first 18 years of the 21st century than in the whole of the 20th century.” – WWF
Almost all of us use plastic in our daily lives – just check your cupboard at home. From the kitchen to the bathroom this reliance has become endemic. Single-use plastic bags from shopping or plastic containers and packaging may seem convenient in our lives, however, long term they are destroying the planet. It is reported that a typical lifespan of a plastic bag is 12 minutes, and packaging contributes to half of the world’s plastic waste. According to the World Wide Fund, “In South Africa, the majority of litter on beaches is plastics (94%) with 77% of that being single-use. The reason single-use plastics are particularly problematic is that many can’t be recycled. They are highly prone to littering and easily blown around by the wind”. Instead plastic breaks down into smaller pieces which end up in our oceans.
It is estimated that South Africans use between 30kg to 50kg of plastic per person per year. We must do better for our planet. Join the plastic-free movement – here’s how.
- Knowledge is power. Know what you’re consuming. For example, silicone-made products are hyped as plastic-free yet, in truth, they’re just another type of plastic. That said, it is a more durable plastic than single-use and therefore much preferable. Don’t always trust the hype – research and learn.
- Repurpose your containers. When you have used up contents in plastic containers, ask yourself if you can further use the container in any other way. For example, instead of wrapping food in cling-wrap, use a container to store.
- Make the switch. Finding alternatives for everyday plastic products has become easy as more people make the decision to rid their lives of waste. We’ve had many people share their tips, which helps the movement spread.
- Vote with your wallet. The more we put pressure on retailers to find alternatives to plastic, the better the chances that it will be eradicated. We often get potential customers requesting information about the farms we source from and the packaging we use, and we are more than happy to share as it means more people are becoming conscious of the food they eat and how it affects the planet. This is awesome!
- Support local producers. Most producers or makers are becoming more and more aware of the challenges of single-use plastic and making an effort in using sustainable packaging products. This is not always cheap or easy, which is why they need your support.
- Buy from local farms. Most local farms don’t even have packaging materials, so whether you visit the farm yourself or you join your local weekly veggie box scheme – preferably organic (click here to join ours!) – you’re helping avoid waste and toxins from cheaply made single-use plastic bags. PS. Beeswax wraps are a good alternative to cling wrap.
From our experience, making a switch to plastic-free living takes a lot of planning and intentional decisions. As a consumer, make it your responsibility to know the environmental footprint of your product choices and how they degrade or where they end up. And remember, it is not a race but a mindful journey with amazing benefits to yourself, your health and that of your community. Let us take plastic-free beyond one month in July.