Organic farm and veg box delivery business, Purton House Organics has always kept waste to a minimum. Potatoes, carrots and other veg doesn’t need separate packaging when it comes straight from the fields into a cardboard box! But there’s always room for improvement and, listening to customer requests, the Farm Shop has now set up a Refill Station to reduce single use plastic bottles.
Shop Manager, Kate Robinson, says “we’ve had a huge response – people are really ready for this!” In the last few months and weeks she has noticed an escalation in plastic waste awareness, with customers asking more and more questions.
“A team of us went to see the film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ screened by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and it was shocking and heart-breaking to see marine animals suffering from ingested plastic. I was inspired to take on the February Waste Challenge and tried to get all my landfill waste into a jam jar for a week. I thought I was good at this but it was a real struggle to cram everything into the jar! However, I’m encouraged by the number of suppliers who are switching to compostable packaging – there’s a revolution going on out there!”
The farm is home to the popular Festival on the Farm and this year they will be sourcing re-useable beer glasses and ensuring that food vans use recyclable packaging. Says organic farmer and event organiser Rowie Meers “we can’t use glass on the field because of the animals so we’ve used plastic tumblers in the past. Now we have sourced a cool pint sized reusable cup which will be available to buy and makes a great souvenir too!”
The farm also has a 5 tier system for minimising food waste. Kate again “At the top is high quality fresh produce for sale, then short life produce at a reduced price. Anything not saleable goes into the staff kitchen for our lunches; veg waste that’s not fit for humans goes to our pigs and finally any that’s too far gone for them goes to our composting system and eventually back on the land”
One thing she stresses “the drive to reduce waste is helped by sourcing food as locally as possible. People are asking us to go back to returnable glass bottles. We already do this for our local preserves, juices and honey because it’s easy to put a small amount of glass into the car for a journey you’re making anyway. But transporting glass bottles long distances uses a lot of fuel. I’m noticing a real buzz about this issue and I’m confident that things are going to change quickly – for the better!”