Not all single-use containers are made equally. Here’s why we use Good Natured Co.
One of the most commonly asked questions that we get pertains to our packaging; that is, “why do you use single-use containers?”
Single-use containers may appear like a strange choice considering that our goal is to ensure that we actively help make the world a more sustainable place, but not all single-use containers are made equally.
Our packaging, which is actually fully compostable, is what sets us apart from other meal prep companies. Many other meal prep companies use the traditional disposable plastic containers. And, after a series of trial-and-error, we decided that our packaging is what aligns most with our beliefs at Planted Meals. Here’s a little background on how we got here.
When Planted Meals first started in 2018, we tested our service with reusable containers. The idea was that we could essentially lend them out with each order, and reuse the containers over time.
We settled on glass containers over other reusable materials such as plastic or high quality silicone. Plastic is not ideal because we wanted to use materials that weren’t petroleum based. Additionally plastic stains easily and leaches into food over time. Silicone was far too expensive and as we learned, containers are difficult to track and get returned. Silicone is also not rigid enough to keep food from being squished and difficult to stack. Glass was the right mix of price, reusability, sustainability.
Finally, the math behind glass containers just didn’t make sense from a sustainability standpoint. For an item to be more sustainable, it needs to be used 150 times in order to offset the environmental impact of creating the item.
With all things considered, we knew it was time to seek out an alternative. And so, we introduced Good Natured Co.
Good Natured Packaging
We use Good Natured Co. compostable packaging for all of our meals, which is made of 99% plants and are annually renewable. More importantly, they don’t contain any harmful chemicals like BPAs or phthalates. Good Natured Co. also takes their post-manufactured waste scraps and puts them back into their supply stream, which means that Good Natured Co. containers have 35% pre-consumer recycled plant-based content.
Other packaging brands on the market are usually petroleum-based, and though they may be a good alternative for some food prep companies, one of our core values at Planted Meals is never to use petroleum-based packaging.
Petroleum-based packaging, though biodegradable in theory, are not the best option for the environment. Due to their lasting presence, they ultimately have a negative impact on landfills, as well as wildlife and food systems. Creation of petroleum-based packaging also relies on fossil fuels, not only depleting the natural resource, but releasing chemicals that harm the environment during the product’s manufacturing as well.
The Best for Metro Vancouver
Currently, most municipalities across Metro Vancouver do not take bioplastics in their compost. We know you’re probably thinking, “then why use bioplastics?” Bioplastics, you see, are still ultimately the best and most sustainable option for the city.
Though it takes a long time for bioplastics to degrade in landfill—it can take up to two years—traditional plastics comparatively take much longer. When comparing two years with thousands of years, choosing bioplastics was a no-brainer for us.
Good Natured Co.’s packaging does not leach any harmful chemicals as it degrades. So, even though it takes a little longer to degrade, bioplastics degrade in a far more sustainable and safe manner than traditional plastics and petroleum-based packaging.
For Metro Vancouver, the garbage is currently the best disposal stream since our Good Nature Co. packaging will still break down over time. Eventually, though, our plan is to explore a take-back program in order to help our customers properly compost the packaging.
But Why Not Just Recycle?
You might be wondering as to why we wouldn’t just use recyclable containers. Through our research, we’ve found that recycling is simply not as green as it appears to be.
Despite the fact that recycling is a centuries-old practice, the modern practice of it has contaminated much of the recyclable products, with things like food waste, liquids, and materials that aren’t recyclable. Over time, we’ve also acquired a lot of cheap plastics in our households—and recycling plastics is ultimately not as straight-forward as highly recyclable materials such as aluminium.
The process of recycling is an expensive one, requiring people-power (between shipping it around and cutting up plastic) as well as high energy use, leading to an environmental impact of its own. As well, now that other countries have ceased to accept plastics from North America, much of the plastics that we think we’re recycling ends up in landfills, gets incinerated, or as litter. In the end, it’s never a guarantee that what you’re recycling, actually gets recycled—especially when the plastic is contaminated by food.
We hope this clears some things up for those curious about our packaging choice! At Planted Meals, our goal is to help reduce our collective carbon footprint and to make the world a more liveable place through a commitment to sustainable and ethical practices. We know there is always room for improvement, but we promise to always strive to do our best when it comes to making choices that will ultimately help create a more beautiful planet.