When you think about what defines the values of a company, packaging is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, the material you wrap, shrink, box or bag your product in says more about your values as a company than that fancy logo, pithy vision or amount spent on sustainability consultants. Just ask Walkers, who were forced last week to launch a scheme to recycle its crisp packets after months of #PacketInWalkers protests and a petition signed by over 300,000 people, found out.
If any one moment defines the shift in public opinion against packaging waste, it was the harrowing death of a baby sperm whale shown in Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II. This single scene sent the social media sphere abuzz, bringing many people to tears - and action. In the final episode, David Attenborough showed us the devastating impact our obsession with plastic is having on the oceans - literally choking fellow mammals to death.
Therefore, for any genuinely sustainable company, packaging now offers an opportunity to show that doing better is possible. As a cash-strapped start-up, Storimarket has more excuses than most to cut corners with packaging. Biodegradable packaging is both more expensive and has a shorter shelf-life than alternatives. However, after considering all the options, we realised there was really just one choice - the right choice. As Sir Attenborough reminds us, ‘the future of all life now depends on us’.
That’s why for our new range of products, across Cambridge, London, Bath and Bristol, we chose biodegradable packaging. We’re also proud to be working with some zero waste shops to reduce our impact even further. This means it will never be Storimarket packaging that is littering our rivers, suffocating our forests or clogging our oceans. And yes, we’re pretty proud about that. We hope you, our community, are too.
It might cost a few pennies more and some shops might not want to work with us because our products cannot sit on their shelves for an eternity, but it was the only choice that aligned with our values. So there. As a farm-to-fork platform for sustainably-sourced food from small African farmers - farmers who are being disproportionately affected by climate change - it would be hypocritical to do anything else.
However, we still have more to do. Whilst our packaging is biodegradable, our labels are only recyclable. We want to change that, and invite you, our community, to suggest some options. We also don’t just want to address consumer packaging, but waste all the way from farm to fork - including the parts of the food supply chain you never see. That’s why we’re talking to engineers at the University of Cambridge about innovative packaging made from waste materials available at African farms.
Change is a journey, often difficult and lonely, but one Storimarket is fully committed to. To create a more sustainable world, every choice matters. We invite you to join us in saying no to excess waste, no to plastic and no to anyone that tells you it’s not possible to do better. If we can do it, others can too.