We thought it was time to drop you guys another update on our eco journey, we wanted to share our wins (and not-so-wins) as we continue navigating this ever complex and critical landscape. Tahnee wrote about it here, at the end of last year :)
While our priority is the health of the community, and empowering you guys to find your best self (through a whole host of lifestyle practices, including our gorgeous herbs), behind the scenes, we are also very aware that our Mother Earth, our home, has frankly seen better days. There are plenty of naysayers out there (like my dad! He tells me how we are simply moving through another 'natural' cycle and that climate change is not a thing. I love you dad, that's why I can't talk to you about this stuff, because my disbelief and anger is real hah!) who don't believe we have a thing to worry about. And while I am certainly no expert, I (along with the rest of SuperFeast HQ) know intuitively that the warming of the waters, the melting of the ices, the culling of our trees, the frequency of wild weather occurrences, the incessant amount of plastic and resources being used, the death of our corals... I'll stop there... is really *really* damn dire.
And yet, while we are a small business, we've got a big, environmentally-minded heart, and we know business (big or small) must play a role in being more aware, and taking responsibility for all our ecological footprints as individuals and groups. Our biggest and most significant way we do this, is infact at the very core of SuperFeast - by lowering degenerative disease, we are lowering the reliance individuals have on our finite resources; we empower individuals to be healthier and more vibrant, enabling them to tread a lighter and more joyful path (this is how we see it, anyway.) The foundations of SuperFeast are born from the ancient Taoists, who knew that we mirror nature, nature mirrors us; the intrinsic connection we humans have to the earth is critical to our health and longevity. They knew that intuitively. And we know it, here at SuperFeast HQ.
There are plenty of ways we want to improve. And so, along this journey, we've made some wonderful inroads, we are learning a hell of a lot and we are excited about where the eco-technologies and developments are going. We’re working bloody hard behind the scenes and these bits and pieces might seem small, but as a biz, we know it’s our responsibility. And we’ve been getting the most epic feedback from other businesses and individuals who are now looking into their practices and making some tweaks here and there. That’s the magic, this ripple effect and we want to continue hearing and sharing with like-minded eco peeps (please, give me a shoutout at email@example.com with feedback or ideas…)
(Credit: House Frau, of the beautiful Byron Bay)
So please have a read of the below so you can continue joining us on this journey to becoming more mindful and stepping up where we can.
The Journey So Far
1. Replacing Our Kraft Bags
Bringing you quickly up to speed - our 50g/100g jars are in our beautiful, sexy repurposeable Miron jars (see our article here on how to re-use them #mironmagic). But our 250g/500g/1kg products are packaged in Kraft bags. While they may look sustainable from the outside, unfortunately they are not. You are able to reuse them if you so please, but we are trying to find either:
(a) a biodegradable/home compostable solution OR if that fails
(b) a recyclable option.
Option (a) is not going so well.
We are currently trialling our 4th option and all have failed. You guys all know how tricky our extracts are with any moisture - hello clumps. I am yet to speak to anyone who works in this eco-tech industry who thinks there is a solution out there at this time (with a package that can provide a *2 year* shelf life).
Option (b) is not our ideal, but we are now starting to move away from option (a) - perhaps we just need to give the industry more time and a solution will be available in the future. We are investigating some cool options that involve sugar cane and also cassava - these sound like they are only 'industrial' compostable (versus being able to be popped into our backyard compost) but a step in the right direction... I am also investigating the 'milo-tin' route... so far, the production runs are too huge for our humble biz, but we'll continue chatting to different suppliers and see. Keep you posted as I continue the dialogue with different businesses in this exciting space.
2. Samples (And Why We Don't Do Them Anymore)
This has been a tough, yet easy (!) decision to make. We want to get our potent, life-changing herbs into the hands of as many people as we can. You guys might remember we did use to have 50g sample Kraft bags of Mason's Mushrooms? But we have made the decision to not have samples now. You can only begin to imagine how many exciting and wonderful people get in touch, wanting to try samples and how easy it would be for us to reach so many more people with small samples.
BUT we have been unable (yet) to find responsible packaging for sample sizes. Many would say it's a poor 'business' decision to not have samples, but for us, it's been a no-brainer, we simply don't want to add to the single-use landscape, that goes straight to landfill. We'd love to have samples in Miron jars, but honestly guys, it's too much of an expense for us to wear at this stage. So, for now, no samples! (Channeling the Seinfeld Soup Nazi, no samples for you).
3. Soft Plastics
Ok a few updates here:
PALLETS: We have started getting some larger orders coming in, which is such a blessing - the powerful word of medicinal mushies are getting out there! But with this blessing, means we need to be using pallets to get some orders out. The problem with pallets? Ahhhh... the soft plastic wrapping around the outside. At the moment, we are using thin plastic straps (see below) which is a significant less amount of plastic used than the normal industry-standard of wrapping the entire load in plastic. However we want a fully responsible solution and are busy looking for a plastic-free option... currently investigating velcro straps that are reusable, which essentially wrap around the boxes on the pallet. (Two issues here, stability and also getting the delivery drivers or business on the other end, to return the straps back!) Watch this space.
OFFICE PLASTICS: We continue to take turns and drop off any soft plastic utilised in the office to a REDcycle outlet. Check here to find your closest location. As part of this process, we are of course much more mindful of any soft plastic use (when you see it in a pile and need to physically take it, out of your way to dispose of it, it really drives home how much you use)!
WAREHOUSE PLASTICS: This area has been more tricky! REDcycle are not equipped to take industrial soft plastics. But, we have recently had a (hopefully) fruitful catch up with Terracycle and currently looking into a solution that would see them collect our industrial soft plastics and they would be able to repurpose the plastics. Excitingly, there is also another local business who I have just spoken to who might be in a position to collect plastics, they are just finalising their logistics. We will keep you posted on this one, our fingers are crossed...
STICKERS: Currently have two areas we’d like to step up in - the mailing out stickers (those stickers you see on your box, when you receive your herbs in the mail) and the actual product stickers (the labels on the actual jar / bar of herbs). These stickers all have plastics backings. We are currently waiting on three quotes to come our way which provide a more responsible option.
ORDERS: We have totally removed any plastics from sending our orders out to you (** if you ever receive plastic like bubble wrap, that is *old* plastic that we have received from an order incoming to us, it's never *new* plastic that we have bought). We stick to using paper, cardboard etc to keep your herbs packaged safe for transport.
STICKY TAPE: The one element still left regarding how we send your herbs out, is the sticky tape!! But we investigated options and found paper tape. We literally jjust had our first box of PAPER sticky tape arrive!
So glad we have ordered paper tape, wrapped individually in plastic!! Honestly... You know when sometimes you try and it just.... doesn't?! Ergh. Anyway, we are not sure how it will go with the wear and tear / being waterproof, so we may need to trial a few options... also, did you know paper tape costs literally 8 times the cost of normal tape?!
GENERAL: The key part here is looking at how we can all DECREASE the use of soft plastics in all areas of business (as well as at home guys!) Throughout our eco discussions, we have essentially learnt that (in Australia, anyway) infrastructure *is* set up to deal with rigid plastics. However as soon as we talk about soft plastics (the stuff you can scrunch) the platforms are simply not there. So the solution here is not about what to do / where to send the soft plastics, it's really about how we move away from soft plastic use entirely and think about other solutions.
We love using Ecosia. Give it a go - it will take only a minute to install and it's basically a search engine that uses each search to tally up enough to plant trees. Last SuperFeast HQ count, we have collectively helped plant 93 trees. You beauty.
5. Our New Headquarters
Our new home will be fully solar panelled. Once we settle in to our brand spanking new home, purpose built for the team, we are going to determine our CO2 output (e.g. looking at all our bills, our crew and how they travel to work, our product shipments etc) and how we can offset this output with the planting of trees. This will be a huge project, but we are excited!
What You Can Do
We get it, this world is a minefield. But we know that every.little.bit.counts! So have a peruse of a few tips below: maybe some resonate, maybe some are available to you to try out. We know there are HEAPS of ideas, but keeping it pretty tight, here are a few:
1. Consider what you are buying, every purchase you vote with your dollar! Are your cucumbers wrapped in plastic? Could you buy 'naked' veggies instead?
2. Could you start taking your soft plastics to a REDcycle outlet?
3. Are you wiping your bum with Who Gives A Crap?
4. Could you try changing your internet browser to Ecosia? Maybe tell your office about it, turn it into a competition for who can plant the most trees, like we do!
5. Have you looked into your power providers (e.g. Enova?)
6. When you consider purchasing (anything) are you asking some questions like, where was this sourced from, ethically? Does this business have transparency around their processes? Who made my clothes? Is this jumper made from polyester? Could I consider cotton or hemp etc?
7. Do you buy bulk at the bulk stores?
Onwards and upwards guys. Keep doing your best :) We have a cool write up with 1300 Rubbish, check it out here.
I am the resident eco warrior here at SuperFeast HQ, so if you have any businesses or ideas for us related to becoming a more responsibly-minded biz, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to hear from you xx
List of the eco friends we have made so far:Grounded Packaging
Better Packaging Co
NSW Bin Trim Assessment
The Packaging People
PA Packaging Solutions