I recently watched a documentary that portrayed in a graphic way how plastic travels around the globe through the air and waterways, ending up inside birds, turtles and, yes, humans. The birds were mistaking small bottle caps and other plastic floating in the water for food, and giving it to their chicks, essentially condemning them to death. The documentary highlighted how dangerous plastic is and how over the past few decades it has managed to permeate every part of the planet.
We can’t escape it, plastic is all around us and it’s not going away. If you tried to shop ‘plastic-free’ recently, you probably realised that it is all but impossible, at least when visiting the big supermarkets. It is also in most of the products delivered to us by mail and, in particular, forms a big part of the wrapping companies use for shipping. Plastic packaging is not our only concern - our clothing, furniture, and children's toys increasingly contain plastics and are seen as disposable items.
We believe that businesses have a big role to play in reducing the use of non-degradable materials such as plastic. This includes small businesses like CUP O FLORA. Hence, over the past eight years, we have taken steps to become environmentally responsible. Below are some examples of how we take action to reduce our product’s footprint.
1. Using glass for our pots instead of plastic
At CUP O FLORA, we only sell high quality and durable pots, made of strong, long-lasting glass. Spare parts are also available to our customers online, to avoid entire pots being thrown away.
2. Stopping the use of bubble wrap
Since 2018, we have been asking our manufacturers to cease using bubble wrap when wrapping each pot. Our pots are tough enough to travel without them! By the end of 2020 we had all our vessels free of bubble wrap. For our unneeded wrapping we use Reverse Garbage, a magical place in Marrickville (Sydney) where one person’s garbage becomes another's treasure.
3. Continuously researching environmentally-friendly alternatives
We have been testing different alternatives to protect our pots without using plastic of Styrofoam. We look at recycled and recyclable materials like paper and cardboard. In 2023 we will be rolling out new cardboard 'cushions' to further reduce the chance of breakage. The cushions will lift the inner cup out of the outer pot, removing pressure on the cup's lip. You will find them in the Large pots from February, and Medium pots later in the year.
We still use silicon rings to separate the inner cup from the outer pot. While effective, these rings cannot be recycled and are thrown away once the pots arrive safely at their destination. We hope that the new cushions will allow us to cease the use of the rings, but this will only be done after rigorous testing.
4. Using recyclable materials
All of our shipping and packaging boxes are made of cardboard that can be placed in the recycling bin. The same goes for our tags and welcome card that have no plastic lining!
We further decrease our shipping footprint using a fit-to-order boxes that reduces the unused space inside each box.
Finally, we use compostable bags for our soil. Unlike biodegradable plastic, these bags, along with the labels, can be thrown into your compost bin or worm farm, or even into the green bin in some areas.
Businesses play an important part in reducing the use of plastic, but so are individuals. Here are three simple things that you can do to help the environment:
- Reduce your use of plastic. Say NO next time you are offered a non-essential bag or coffee cup.
- Pick up rubbish to stop it from entering our waterways (try it, it feels great)
- Use reusable or compostable alternatives
We try to be better corporate and individual citizens of this planet, and feel confident that together, we can make a difference.
Front/featured image source: Education Images/Getty Images