We have an active ‘Return Me’ Campaign for glass and a fledgling ‘Return Me’ Campaign for Plastic. In this blog we want to take you behind the scenes on the plastic, glass, return, reuse, recycle discussion. It’s fair to say that we, as well as the producers and consumers we connect, have good intentions – nobody likes to witness plastic pollution – but it’s hard to beat plastic. It’s cheap, versatile, very effective for food hygiene and readily available. So what can we do to support small businesses to reduce their plastic consumption whilst remaining price competitive and practically managing production standards?
The main action we take is our Return Me Campaign for glass. We have looked at the debates on plastic versus glass but in the context of Bali have come to the conclusion that glass is definitely better. Yes it’s more expensive to transport and agreed glass production also has environmental costs, but distances in Bali are short and we can reuse it indefinitely. We get over 2000 bottles returned a month, for which we pay 1K a bottle, then sell back to the producers for 2K after sorting and washing. It may seem a small effort at your end, but we can reassure you, it’s incredibly effective, if you do the mental gymnastics of seeing these bottles as single use plastic. So please keep the glass spinning.
We do work with producers who use plastic, especially if they are small ones, and discuss options for reducing plastic together. For example, KropNation who produces micro-greens have tried many non-plastic alternatives for transporting these tender leaves but it’s simply impossible. Our solution, we have a Return Me campaign for their plastic packaging to enable them to reuse their boxes for the next round of delivery. Several other producers have expressed interest in taking back plastic if they can and we will start to expand this campaign.
Finally, we do an in-house rule of thumb – we give smaller producers a bigger lee-way on plastic use than bigger ones and work on solutions together. We recognise that with some fresh items, like some cheeses and cold cuts, it’s almost impossible to avoid plastic. We don’t use plastic packaging ourselves for deliveries and are vigilant in-house to make sure we don’t get lazy. Last thing – we keep cynicism at bay. It can be overwhelming, but then we look at the glasses coming back and think it’s possible, let’s keep going.