Response from Tropical Wholefoods

Filed in Blog, packaging by on May 27, 2010 5 Comments
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Tropical Wholefoods packaging

Tropical Wholefoods packaging

This is part of a new section on the site. At the top menu, you should now see a menu called ‘packaging’. Inspired by Maisie, this will be the section where I’m going to record any responses I have from manufacturers about their packaging.

Little miss Green is partial to her dried fruit – mango and banana in particular. As you know I have dried our own fruit in the past, using a dehydrator.

Once you’re made your own you get to appreciate just how much fruit it takes to make one tiny bag!

We favour the Tropical Wholefoods brand because theirs is fair trade, but unfortunately the packaging is unmarked. They also sell rather nice cereal bars which are sweetened with dates and honey rather than sugar; again in unmarked plastic packaging.I contacted Tropical Wholefoods a couple of years ago and was told they were trying to improve the recyclability of their packaging. So I contacted them again to see what they had been up to.

Here is their response:

Dear Mrs Green,

Tropical Wholefoods newly rebranded packs are using less packaging by moving from gussetted packaging to slimmer quad packs. But they still use a polypropylene laminate as this provides the barrier quality needed to keep fruits and bars tasting great for customers.

The bad news is that although polypropolene is recyclable where facilities exist, these facilities are not provided by local councils so unfortunately householders cannot recycle our packets.

Ttropical Wholefoods is working closely with packaging and machine suppliers to asses a wide variety of laminates including biodegradable, recyclable and compostable film and ink options, trying to find a film which provides top barrier qualitites, but is more recyclable than our current film.

On the cardboard we use for boxes, there is a 15% weight saving per pack in the new boxes Tropical Wholefoods are using to transport their bags and the boxes are made from a part recycled and part sustainable source.

You might also be interested in the following: –

As an ethical company, Tropical Wholefoods does its best to ensure its environmental impact – and that of its trading partners – is reduced wherever possible. Fuel use is minimised by drying the fruit in the villages where it is grown. In Uganda and Pakistan, the fruit is solar dried and in some cases our producers also generate solar electricity. We’re also actively researching the conversion of fruit peel to bio-gas which would be used to heat drying ovens in Burkina Faso. All our fruits are sea freighted and at our Sunderland factory, we’re working with Ecofys UK on developing systems to determine, and where possible reduce, our manufacturing carbon footprint.”

I hope the above is useful. Please do get back to me if there are any other questions I can answer.

With best wishes Kate

What about you – what brands of dried fruit do you buy? Have you found anything in easily recyclable packaging?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (5)

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  1. Karin says:

    I believe Traidcraft do dried mango, not sure about banana. You could ask them what their bags are made of. If you don’t want to buy a whole box, or pay the postage, you should have a local Traidcraft rep who can sell you a bag or order you a box postage free.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    @Karin: Hi Karin, thanks for the headsup on Traidcraft; I’ll check them out. We have now found an answer – we can buy mango naked from an organic farm shop – they have glass jars of it and will weigh out as much or little as you want to buy!

  3. FB says:

    @Mrs Green and Karin

    I’ve just stumbled across this page while looking for some information on Tropical Wholefoods and whilst I completely understand the ecological reasons behind reducing the use of plastic and the challenges we are facing in terms of climate change, I was shocked and in complete disbelief to find that you are taking time to write to some of the most ethical companies in the UK, (those that are working for farmers who are actually the ones facing the full brunt and impact of our high-carbon reliant lives in the West) and to quiestion them on their packaging policies. Surely there are better ways to save the planet than picking on small fair trade organisations.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @FB: Hello FB; welcome to the site. We write to all organisations and manufacturers, regardless of size, ethics etc to see what their packaging is if we are unsure. We’re trying to raise awareness of some of the other environmental issues that we all face and many manufacturers, I’m pleased to say, are grateful for suggestions on how they can improve their packaging. Tropical Wholefoods are improving their packaging and looking for ways they can get their products to tick all the boxes in terms of ethics. We’re not ‘picking’ on them, simply informing our readers about how they can dispose of the packaging after they have eaten the product.

  5. Jane says:

    These are difficult financial times for many. That doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about it.

    I realised that Kate from Tropical Wholefoods has a VERY misleading statement in her letter:

    “The bad news is that although polypropolene is recyclable where facilities exist, these facilities are not provided by local councils so unfortunately householders cannot recycle our packets.”

    Recycling facilities ARE NOT ALL provided by local councils. There are other providers and you do have to look out for them (but not always hard): the most easily accessible probably being the supermarkets. And there are other ways to deal with packaging – as is shown on this website.

    Whose waste is it?

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