Riverford Organic Farmers has found that its veg boxes can reduce plastic use by 77% when compared with supermarket equivalent, reflecting the company’s commitment to using home compostable materials by 2020.

The veg box supplier has spent months researching more sustainable packaging options for its products.

A survey completed by more than 10,000 customers has revealed that 82.5% compost at home, either on a compost heap or in a food waste bin. As a result, Riverford has committed to replace single-use plastic with home compostable packaging in the organic veg boxes by the end of 2020.

Alan and Vicki Mowat, who deliver to customers in and around Bath, explained “Because we have such a short supply chain whereby we grow, pack and deliver boxes ourselves, packaging use in our veg boxes is minimal. But it is a necessary evil for the likes of salad, spinach and herbs, which would otherwise dehydrate in paper. Packaging has been a hot topic at Riverford for the last couple of years and we’re feeling excited about the future of our packaging.”

A recent study against seven major supermarkets found that Riverford’s three most popular veg boxes contained 77% less plastic packaging than the comparable supermarket organic veg. The company predicts that this would be closer to 90% in winter, when produce is typically less perishable.

Farmer and entrepreneurial founder of Riverford, Guy Singh-Watson has spoken out about the issues around current recycling polices. “It is impossible for citizens or companies to instigate good packaging practices while every local authority has a different approach to kerbside collection. We desperately need an intelligent, long-term, national policy on what materials will be recycled, composted and incinerated or landfilled.”

Riverford’s closed loop delivery model means that customers who can’t compost at home will be able to return all packaging with their reusable veg box to Riverford, who will then compost it on the farm and use the compost to grow the next crops.

The packaging will be made from renewable, sustainable materials such as cellulose and starch and will break down within 12 weeks in a home compostable environment.

“Although not a perfect solution, it is a huge improvement; we are doing our best in the world as we find it” says Guy.

Find our more at: riverford.co.uk/packaging