Starting this week some of you might notice your delivery looks a little different, as we trial a new supply of cardboard boxes.
As followers of circular economy principles, this wasn’t a light decision for us. We know (and love) that you’re also conscious of your food’s impact, so we wanted to fill you in on the why’s, what’s, and how you can help us make sure these boxes live long, happy, minimal-waste lives.
Why have we brought in new boxes?
The new boxes are built to last. Some of our farm-direct boxes - which aren’t necessarily designed to be reused - might only get one or two runs before they break, or a well-meaning customer pops them in the recycling bin. The new ones are expected to hold up for 10+ deliveries.
Having our own reliable supply of boxes means we can send more produce cartons back to our farmers where they can reuse them, limiting the flow of new boxes through our supply chain.
Uniform, one piece, lidless boxes mean more end-to-end efficiency for Food Connect - less storage space required, faster box curating, tighter truck packing - meaning lots of potential impact and waste reduction.
Australia’s conventional recycling systems can be murky - if we throw cardboard in council bins we can never be quite sure it won’t end up in landfill. When the new boxes have done their last dash, our supplier will take them back for processing into more recycled material.
Where have these boxes come from?
The new boxes have been manufactured here in Australia by Opal, a packaging company committed to pursuing circular economy principles. The corrugated inner layers are made of 100% recycled material from their paper mill in Sydney, while the outer layers are new paper made from responsibly sourced Australian timber product and wood chips. You can read more about Opal’s sustainability initiatives and credentials here.
What will happen to the old boxes?
Our current stock of reused produce boxes will stay in circulation until they’re on their last legs.
As well as being sent back to the farmers who brought them, future boxes that come in from our farmers will still be retained by our wholesale arm or donated to our network of buyers clubs for them to reuse and recycle. Where we can’t reuse, we’ll take them to the Carton Warehouse in Acacia Ridge, who specialise in keeping used cardboard in circulation.
How you can help minimise these boxes’ (and our, and your) footprint:
Please be mindful when opening the boxes to ensure they live as long and happy a life as possible! Pull the tabs apart carefully, don’t rip (watch box curator Rahira demonstrate in the video below)
Keep returning the boxes (even the ones that have seen better days) to your City Cousin or front step so that our drivers can bring them back to the Shed, where they’ll either be repacked with our ecological fruit and veg, or sent back to Opal for recycling.
Please don’t leave other waste in your Food Connect box for collection, as it can contaminate the cardboard (unless it’s one of our ice packs… we’re running low on those and would appreciate it if a few more found their way home!)