You CAN make a difference!

Filed in Blog by on May 11, 2010 0 Comments
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Little Miss Green; the picture of health thanks to manuka honey!

Little Miss Green; the picture of health thanks to manuka honey!

Little Miss Green asked me this week whether or not one family putting nothing into landfill would make a difference.

Great question! A few years ago I would have said no. My opinion has changed however, and now I say a resounding YES!

It’s all about collective impact. It’s about us working together to make changes rather than working as individuals.

That’s why we run this site. By sharing what we do, admitting our mistakes, asking for suggestions and giving support we hope we inspire other people to make changes.

Then we all come together to be more than the sum of the parts; as I wrote about in my recent post about political vs personal action.

You can also make a difference with manufacturers. Some of you write letters or speak to your local retailers and we know this can make a difference. Recently Poppy suggested to Yellow Moon that they mark things in their catalogue that have no or minimal waste. They have forwarded the idea to the people responsible for the catalogue, so this could be great news which will help consumers make a more empowered choice.

One company we have been working with recently are Green bay Harvest. Green Bay market some of the most fabulous organic and natural foods I have come across. We love their manuka honey. I gave Little Miss Green a teaspoon of the honey every day from September to March last year and she didn’t get sick once. Everyone else had swine flu or some gastric upset, but she sailed through the season without so much as a sniff… It’s top of the range products and every one is carefully selected with strict criteria.

We use their honeysucker throat sweets, freeze dried blackcurrants and their sea salt with kelp. The only thing that stops me completely raving on about them is their packaging.

It’s 90% there, but not quite, so I’ve been working with James and Jo from Green bay to see what we can do.

Take their manuka honey for example. It comes in a glass jar with a metal lid but has a tiny sliver of ‘sellotape’ from the jar to the lid. I was told this was called tamper tape and is used on products which cannot be jarred when hot, such as unfiltered, raw honey. I learned that if you don’t jar something when hot then you can’t make use of the anti-tamper lids which rely on the little bit of air inside cooling and sucking the popper down. Manufacturers are obliged to demonstrate that their products  are unopened by providing a non-repairable seal between jar and lid.

The tamper tape Green Bay Harvest are currently using is  not degradable, so we’re looking at the option of a paper tail on the lid sticker which trails over the lid’s edge and the onto the jar.

Their salt and blackcurrants (as well as other products such as wheatgrass and kelp) come in a drum made from composite materials. We’ve suggested  an unlined cardboard container with a sealed polythene bag of salt inside. Jo’s currently looking at a cardboard tube, paper base, plastic bag inner, possible metal crimp top and a PE lid which, with a little pulling apart, could all be recycled. The other option being discussed is a re-usable shaker with refill sachets for some products such as kelp.

So here’s a great example of a company who are looking to improve their packaging from low-waste to zero waste. They’re being honest and upfront about the improvements they are trying to make, not making any false promises and above all are open minded and willing to listen to their customers.

I think the point of this is to encourage you to contact manufacturers are retailers. Some of them will take no notice, but other companies, such as Yellow Moon and Green Bay Harvest are ready and willing to listen to your suggestions.

Tell me – have you ever contacted a retailer or manufacturer and bought about some change in their policy? Come and share your inspiring stories!

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.

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