Here at Lettuce Networks, the reusable containers our meal kits are delivered in are one of the main features of our service. They provide sturdy packaging that keeps the produce nice and fresh. They offer a container for you, the subscriber, to pack your compost into. It reduces the waste generated by our company. It keeps the cost of production down for us and thus, makes our delicious meal kits more affordable. While this may seem like a simple method for both Lettuce and our subscribers to be more eco-friendly, it goes much further than that.
Let’s start with a little history
Post WWII, American manufacturing and production, and also, consumption, were in full bloom. The standard practice up until that time had been for companies to use refillable containers that consumers could return and companies would clean, sanitize, and reuse. As production ramped up, this practice became less and less profitable for big companies. So, many businesses began shifting to non-reusable packaging. Consequently, litter began piling up. People began to blame the producers. It went even so far that in the State of Vermont, a ban was made on throw away bottles.
A hand full of large producers, from a variety of industries, recognized this and responded with anti-littering campaigns that culminated in the formation of Keep America Beautiful. That’s right, K.A.B. was founded by large corporations. Good for them, right? The anti-litter campaigns were widely successful. However, there was much more behind this tactic. The real objective was meant to curb legislation on packaging and shift the responsibility of waste from the producers to the consumers.
Many may remember the famous, ‘Crying Indian’ PSA by Keep America Beautiful that first aired in 1971. Hallmarked as one of the ’50 greatest commercials of all time’ this ad was decisive in blaming YOU, the consumer, for the litter that exist. The term “litterbug” was coined to demonize individual behavior and divert attention from wasteful and excessive production.
What’s happening now?
To this day, not a single regulation exists on packaging. But every year, federal, state, and local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars on anti-littering campaigns. Now, obviously littering is bad. This much we can all agree on. However, there is a much greater leverage point that has been largely ignored for nearly half a century now. We all know the old adage, “Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle,” but so few of us really reduce and reuse.
So, this is where Lettuce Networks steps up to the plate through our Reclaim and Restore packaging. We strongly support the notion that we, the producers, hold a responsibility for the waste we produce. That is why we make great efforts to Reduce our waste, Reclaim and Reuse our packaging, and collect compostable waste from our subscribers to add Restorable benefits to our practices.
It is important to note, that this only works with help from our wonderful subscribers. Instead of the responsibility being on the shoulders of one or the other, Reclaim and Restore is a means by which we can work together to reduce the impact our food system has on the environment.
-Blog Post by Alex Mace, a member of our Farm Team and Director of City Projects