Sustainable Philosophy 101: Why We Use Glass

Earth Day has come and gone and reminds us once again to continue to do our part in maintaining a proactive and sustainable approach to the way we eat food. The food industry contributes significantly to global plastic pollution. In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments (grocery bags, plastic straws, soda bottles) are carried out into the Pacific Ocean every single day.

Return and Reuse

These days, when you purchase something, it more often than not comes in plastic packaging. Once the purchase is made, the business that sold it lets go of any responsibility of the waste created from what they sold you. We disagree with that system.

The return and reuse model offers an alternative in which the responsibility is shared. It offers the solution of composting (reducing your waste) and reusable packaging (reducing our waste), all wrapped up into one.

As some of you may have noticed, we are making efforts to transition away from plastic packaging as much as possible. Initially, we used small plastic containers for our spices. We have since moved away from using those containers to using small glass jars.

On average, each subscriber receives around six jars a week. With our return and reuse system, each subscriber has around 12 jars in circulation that can be used and reused over and over, maintaining sustainability. Six jars at your house and six jars with us, cleaned and ready for your next delivery.

Imagine for a moment that we didn’t use this system and each of those glass jars was a single-use plastic bag or package. A single household, in a single month, would be tossing 24 pieces of plastic waste. In a year that would amount to 288 pieces of trash. Now multiply that by just a hundred households and you have over 28,000 pieces of plastic waste!! And this is just imagining things at the most basic level. We could also individually wrap each piece of produce but picturing that is almost too much to bear, recyclable or not.

Reusability: Plastic vs. Glass

So, why the shift from plastic to glass? Both are reusable right? Well, not exactly. Glass is infinitely reusable and less damaging to the environment. Glass can either be reused in its current shape or form, or broken down and molded into an entirely different shape. For example, old bottles can be broken down and recycled to make home insulation or materials for road construction.

Most types of plastic can be recycled, but after each time it is melted down, it slowly loses its value of being reused. Eventually, it becomes totally unusable and ends up buried in a landfill, littering our streets or filling up the ocean. Melting plastic also releases toxins that are harmful to plant and animal life. We are quite fond of our flora and fauna. We are continually transitioning to better, more eco-friendly packaging and delivery material.

Still have some old, small plastic containers? Send them to us with your next delivery and we will do our part to have them recycled in the most responsible way.

Shared Responsibility

The sustainability of the return and reuse method only works if everyone contributes. So, how can you help maintain our sustainability efforts? As a subscriber, we ask that you continue to send back your jars each week (along with all the other delivery materials). We understand that sometimes you have a little extra spice and sauce leftover that you want to keep; sometimes we have leftovers in our fridges too! All that we ask is that once you have added that extra flavor to a future dish, that you please return the jars with your next delivery.

If a jar breaks or cracks, no problem! Toss it in your recycling bin. On that note, we would also like to ask our subscribers to not place jars in your containers with food scraps, but rather leave them loose in your produce bag or in a smaller bag.

We are always looking to improve on what we do so if you have any comments or suggestions on ways to improve our packaging, please feel free to reach out to us at help@lettuce.fm.

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