A word about plastic…

The tide is hopefully turning on plastic use as increased public awareness, the ‘Attenborough’ effect, has swept Britain and the globe.

Here at JustIngredients, we want our environmental footprint to be as small as possible and we know that this is important to our customers too – we’ve seen a significant increase in emails relating to our packaging as well as questions relating to our ethical trading and organic product range.

The elephant in the room

Our stand-up pouches are made from mixed plastics and fall under recycle code 7. Unfortunately, the majority of curb-side council recycling programs do not currently recycle code 7 products, however, you might be able to take them to your local recycling centre. Search your postcode at the following link to see whether your local centre can accept plastic pouches: www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling

We’re looking in to the possibility of offering customers the option of returning their used packaging to us, for us to recycle. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll see large enough quantities returned to us just yet, but it’s an avenue we’re exploring.

Don’t be fooled by ‘eco look’ packaging. Many paper-like food pouches are foil or plastic lined and are as, if not more, difficult to dispose of or recycle.

Where does this leave us?

We’d obviously love to sell our products in plastic free packaging, or failing that, recyclable, biodegradable or even better, compostable plastic. However, the sad reality at the moment is that there are very few options out there for environmentally conscious food companies in terms of ‘better’ packaging. Unfortunately, current ‘eco’ plastic packaging does not last as long as our ingredients! There are also concerns that new degradable plastics could be even worse for the environment. The majority of plastics can be recycled in some way – they can be made into an infinite number of ‘new’ products. However, degradable plastics break down into smaller particles – and often, they’re still plastic. These particles are then too small to track and therefore could create even more of an issue as they get released into the environment.

Freshness & Quality– we want to offer the freshest herbs possible with the longest shelf life. Our resealable plastic pouches are perfect in this regard. If we were to move to paper packaging, product shelf life would be affected dramatically.

Size & weight – Glass is heavy and requires more packaging to ensure that goods arrive with you safely. Bulky packaging also requires more packaging per order and takes up more space in our couriers’ vans, meaning more vans on the road. Did you know many of our orders are shipped with DPD who are carbon neutral?

Price – It’s a difficult one. We know that price is also important to our customers. Whilst many will be more than happy to pay a premium for sustainable packaging, it’s still definitely a barrier for many of our customers. As technologies improve, we’ll do our best to improve our packaging along with it, without affecting the price our customers pay.

What are our options?

  • Do you have a friend who loves our ingredients as much as you? Sharing a bigger bag between friends or family also means you can save money! You’ll find that the cost per kilogram of our ingredients generally decreases as you buy more.
  • Can you find a use for our plastic pouches? They are resealable, so great to use around the home. Just rinse out and use to store… just about anything! Send us a photo of how you’ve reused our packaging, so we can help inspire others!
  • As a company we’re always on the lookout for more sustainable packaging. As soon as a better option is available to us, which meets our requirements, we’ll be switching! Have an idea what we can use? Get in touch!

Further reading

Plastics and the circular economy – www.raconteur.net/sustainability/plastics-pact-circular-economy

The future of packaging – www.raconteur.net/future-packaging-2018

Ocean plastic is just the beginning – www.raconteur.net/sustainability/ocean-plastic-beginning

Recycling plastics – www.recyclenow.com/recycling-knowledge/how-is-it-recycled/plastics

Learn more about recycling – www.wrap.org.uk/collections-and-reprocessing

About the Author


As an animal lover and baking enthusiast, Georgia can often be found experimenting with plant-based recipes in her kitchen.

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