The search is on for sustainable veg box containers

August 14, 2010

Ever since we began our weekly veg box scheme at Camel Community Supported Agriculture, we’ve taken a very relaxed attitude to the actual containers.

What we’ve done is to recycle assorted cardboard boxes and plastic crates that come our way – usually from farmers, wholesalers, market gardens, dairies… but often from the backs of shops, pubs and restaurants.

They’re nearly always the wrong size or shape and have a habit of getting squashed, broken or going walkabout. We’re constantly having to scrounge around for more.

So now we’ve decided to do something positive – but it will mean a bit more co-operation from our members.

We’re trialling some CarbonZero biodegradable jute containers from Cornish company GoJute, based at St Austell. We’re particularly interested in their jute hampers, which have bamboo handles.

If they turn out to be suitable for use as sustainable veg boxes the next step will be to work out how to allocate these to members, how to keep track of them, whether to charge a deposit and what to do if we don’t get them back.

We’re aware this approach could be fraught with difficulties. So suggestions welcome!

I should say that this knotty green problem is not unique.

Veg box giant Riverford Organic uses recyclable cardboard boxes which are always going AWOL. Earlier this year it offered a box amnesty to its customers. At the same time it failed to persuade them to overcome their resistance to reusable plastic crates, even though this would have led to a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions.

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