Your Definitive Guide to Plastic Free Month and Sustainable Snacking
Making Better Choices As A Business During Plastic Free Month and Beyond
What Is Plastic Free July?
The Plastic Free Foundation is a non-profit charity established in 2017. What started as a small plastic free month initiative within the Western Australian Government in 2011, has evolved into a global campaign embraced by millions of businesses and communities, striving for a world free from plastic waste, guided by core values that prioritise honesty, inclusivity, solutions, authenticity, collaboration, and the power of small changes. These values highlight the significance of collective action and encourage businesses to improve their practices to create a ripple effect of positive change. After 11 years Plastic Free July has reduced global demand by 2.3% of all bottled water, 3.1% of all fruit and vegetable packaging, 4.0% of all plastic straws
The Harsh Reality of Plastic Waste
- Due to microplastic contamination in water sources and food, a study commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealed that individuals globally (even in Britain) could be ingesting an average of 5 grams of plastic per week – equivalent to consuming the weight of a credit card every week. Microplastics are defined as tiny plastic particles smaller than 5ml, and may be released into the environment as microbeads, or by the breakdown of larger materials such as bags or tyres.
- Up to 34 billion plastic bottles enter the ocean and planets waterways each year with the two “Big” soft drink companies listed as no.1 and no.2 on the list of global polluters
- According to a study from PNAS 90% of marine birds and 52% of sea turtles have plastic within their stomachs. Ocean plastics kill over 1 million birds and 100,000 marine animals/fish through entanglement and ingestion per year
The Role of Food Packaging
Snacking has become an integral part of our daily lives, both at home and in the workplace. Most snacks come wrapped in single-use packaging, while beverages are commonly sold in plastic bottles. The widespread availability and convenience of these options have contributed to an unprecedented level of waste that will persist for centuries unless we take action. As consumers become increasingly health-conscious, they are seeking products that are not only better for themselves and their families but also for the environment. It is our responsibility as providers to align our values with theirs, support their choices, and guide them towards more sustainable options.
The Challenge of Availability
Less sustainably packaged options tend to be more readily available to the modern consumer due to the low cost of production and versatility, whether it's at the store checkout or stocked in office vending machines, environmentally damaging products take precedence. Retailers often worry that prioritising sustainability will impact their profits. However, a study conducted by First Insight and the Baker Retailing Centre at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2022 reveals that two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. This finding is further supported by a study conducted at Tilburg University, which found that consumers are willing to pay 16% more for items packaged in paper-based materials, especially among those who perceive plastic as harmful to the environment.
A World of Alternatives
Thankfully, there is a wealth of alternative brands offering superior choices compared to traditional options found on store shelves . For example, if your consumers are looking to satisfy their indulgent chocolate cravings, they could switch out the classic plastic and foil based packaged bar for one packaged in card, who’s inner film is made using compressed wood pulp. Alternatively, a consumer could be looking for gum, did you know that Brits are among the world's largest consumers of chewing gum? According to nuudgum.com, Britain consumes 100,000 tons of gum per year. However, it is concerning to note that several major gum brands include plastic in their ingredients, resulting in a significant amount of plastic waste ending up on the streets. This waste is not only from the gum wrappers but also from the gum itself. Considering this alarming fact, consumers should actively explore plastic-free alternatives that utilise natural ingredients like tree sap.
The Plastic Free Foundation suggests starting with small steps that create ripples, leading to significant outcomes that benefit both businesses and communities. By highlighting better options and making simple changes, businesses can participate in Plastic Free Month and guide their customers towards more sustainable choices that are beneficial for them and the planet. By embracing sustainable practices, supporting alternative brands, and fostering consumer awareness, businesses can drive positive change and create a better future for both their bottom line and the planet. Together, we can ditch the wrap and fill the gap with accessible, sustainable stock, ensuring a cleaner and healthier world for generations to come.
Key Brands Pioneering a Plastic-Free Sustainable Future
For forward-thinking businesses looking to improve, here is a short, select list of brands and their products that benefit both your business and the environment during plastic free month and beyond:
Tony's Chocolonely: Tony's Chocolonely is on a serious mission to end slavery in the chocolate industry. They lead by example, showing that chocolate can be made differently, not only in taste but also in packaging and ethical business practices. Their vision is to achieve 100% slave-free chocolate.
H!P Chocolate: H!P Chocolate offers a sustainable, plant-based indulgent chocolate bar using oat milk instead of cow's milk. On average, their oat milk-based bars use 200 litres less water and emit one-third of the CO2 compared to most chocolate made with cow's milk. Moreover, all their products are packaged entirely without plastic.
Caroboo: Caroboo is the first caffeine-free chocolate brand in the UK, offering a carob-based alternative to typical cocoa. Their wrappers are biodegradable and plastic-free.
LoBros: LoBros is a feel-good, 100% plastic-free kombucha brand in partnership with Seven Clean Seas. They are dedicated to turning the tide on ocean health, actively recovering plastic and helping to preserve marine environments.
Dash Water: DASH Water produces sparkling water made with just three simple ingredients, including wonky fruits that are often rejected by others. They prioritise sustainability by using cans made from recycled aluminium instead of plastic bottles, significantly reducing their energy footprint.
Ordering Plastic Free Snacks with Epicurium
As experts in sustainable snacking, the team at Epicurium have curated a range of best in class plastic free snacks for your business - to shop our plastic free range click here to request an account