Everyone is aware of the issues of plastic in the environment, and the food and drinks industry certainly plays a key role in these issues. At Greencity, we made the decision to stop buying water and soft drinks packaged in single-use plastic, in order to reduce the amount of plastic entering the sector; this came into effect on 31st May 2018, and you can read more about the decision on the Co-operatives UK website: www.uk.coop/newsroom/greencity-wholefoods-co-op-cans-plastic-bottles
Consumers and retailers are becoming increasingly aware of these environmental issues, especially the volume of plastic in rivers and the ocean. The introduction of the plastic bag tax was welcomed at Greencity and we offer our own organic Fairtrade tote bags at cost price to our customers.
We have always taken our environmental responsibility seriously; we aim to source as many of our products as possible from local suppliers and have supported many local producers in their early years. We want to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible; we often collect from producers on the return journey from our deliveries, ensuring there are even less food miles involved and maximising the efficiency of our delivery fleet.
Not only do we recycle our paper and cardboard but we reuse it as much as possible before it is recycled. If our suppliers deliver in boxes, we then use these for our deliveries, and we only purchase recycled cardboard boxes. It's not just about recycling; it is about getting as much out of an item as possible before we recycle it. We shrink wrap our pallets when delivering and pay to have this collected and recycled.
Our fruit and vegetable waste is collected and used for composting at Urban Roots in Glasgow. This is a community driven project working to develop food culture, growing food and educating people about healthy eating. You can find out more about them on their website, at www.urbanroots.org.uk/projects/great-grub-2/
One of the biggest difficulties has been to change the packaging on our own brand goods. At present we use Polypropylene which is recyclable, however only one in five councils in the UK have the facilities to recycle this. Having spoken to other businesses we know there is a real desire to change this but at present we have no workable solutions. We have recently been working with a group from Strathclyde University to look at our packaging and suggest ways to improve this.
Greencity is constantly looking for solutions and we hope that at some point in the near future we can resolve this issue. Our aim is to reduce packaging and provide healthy food, and we will keep you updated on our progress.