I am writing this at the end of a two-week blissful – if wet! – holiday in Cornwall. Family, friends, the dogs, Cornish Pasties and Rodda clotted cream: what could possibly be better?!
The house we stay in has numerous recycling bins which are done kerbside, but Cornwall Council doesn’t cover everything, so we will be coming home with some of our rubbish.
This is because recycling is one of my obsessions.
In the office we have many, many bins thanks to our former Office Manager Jane and my PA Heather. So, in addition to our industrial recycling of tins, paper, card, plastic, etc. we can also recycle:
Clear plastic wrapping
Plastic bottle lids
We also have three compost bins in our car park where all our food waste goes; a clothes bin where unwanted clothes go to support a women’s refuge in Bristol; and a Soda Stream which provides us with unlimited fizzy water (makes me hum ‘Get busy with a fizzy soda stream – that’s fizzy!’ every time I use it!)
Any member of our team can bring in their recycling so we act as a hub for the 50+ Childs Farm and Farmologie employees who work in the office (subject to COVID), to make sure that we are collectively cultivating a culture of reuse, recycle, and reduce as part of our everyday CF values.
We’re also about to launch a single use plastic offensive for our return to work, to encourage our teams not to purchase products in wrapping which can’t be recycled, and instead, make buying choices which recognise the shocking impact unsuitable packaging has on our planet.
Am I ‘forcing’ my passion for waste recycling on the Childs Farm and Farmologie teams? Well yes, I suppose I am. But this is so important to me and my family – this about the future of our planet and the sustainability of our children’s futures. Sadly I spend too many evenings pulling recyclable waste out of the non-recyclable bin both at home and in the office, as well as from the paths around the beautiful countryside where I live, to be even vaguely convinced we are a natural nation of recyclers and understand the long-term implications of our actions.
On this holiday we have spent quite a lot of time pulling waste from nearby hedge rows, cleared up after someone’s party on the dunes, (which, if I ever find the parents of these kids I will give them short shrift!), and picked up anything that shouldn’t be flying around anywhere in the British Isles, least of all on this wonderful coastline.
Bella – pending 12 – set out with a bag to collect rubbish when lockdown started, and in the first month spent her walks collecting hedgerow rubbish, which included most of a small car which crashed 5 years ago, and innumerable sandwich cartons, bottles, glass bottles, and crisp packets. If we were all actively conscious of disposing of this rubbish, then we wouldn’t have the problems we do with pollution and even cleanliness.
With the help of PlanetShine.com who are experts in all matters relating to planet-care, we are going to present some compelling evidence to our teams about why they need to think more about recycling, and how they can manifest change within their communities and within the business.
Excitingly, if our team can be encouraged to be fully passionate about the packaging we use and packaging waste, how many can they in turn encourage to think more about recycling?
When I look to Continental Europe and the efficient schemes they have for recycling, and the conscious culture they have curated, I’m truly jealous. And I want the Childs Farm team, and my family, to be jealous too. We can then influence our Government and local councils to do more. This isn’t someone else making this problem – it’s you and I not thinking about our waste and where it goes, and it’s our Government making our waste someone else’s problem. It’s a collective lack of taking responsibility. And I want to encourage this to change.
How to recycle difficult-to-recycle packaging
At Childs Farm we do have to pay for some of our recycling, but organisations like TerraCycle run schemes so you can deposit your difficult to recycle waste in town locations easily, and the companies who pay TerraCycle to collect their waste then give back, for example, by investing in schemes to build recycled plastic playgrounds in primary schools. Clearly it’s not ideal using packaging which is difficult to recycle, and I hope they are working hard to come up with some alternatives.
I’m not saying that I or Childs Farm are perfect by the way. What I am saying is that we are conscious of the issues and are doing something about it, and we want to encourage others to do the same. We are pulling together a plan to do better – to think more about the products that we use, the energy used to create our plastics, the use of fossil fuel transport to deliver our goods.
I know that some of you are tub-thumpingly passionate about our planet too, and we want you to be able to enjoy our products knowing that we’re striving to do our best, and that already we are so much better than the alternatives on the market.
And by working to apply to become a B Corp in 2021, we are committing to put our plans for the planet on paper, as well as putting our staff on an equal footing of importance as our shareholders when it comes to making decisions about the business. This will also give us a rolling 3 year plan to do better, giving our teams KPIs to hit ambitious but achievable targets of packaging change. This is our Eco Manifesto if you like – to get us to a place where we can see really ambitious progress achieved.
So what does that look like when it comes to the products that you buy?
The challenges of creating sustainable packaging
Packaging is any cosmetic supplier’s bug-bear: we’ve looked at everything from Bamboo to glass, sugar cane to mineral packaging. We have weighed up the carbon footprint, energy used to manufacture, availability, and the cost to you.
This research led us to launch Farmologie using what we believe to be the best packaging today for us to use, and certainly the most outstanding in the current marketplace. This includes:
100% prevented ocean plastic bottles – plastic that has been gathered by communities in Developing Nations around the world from riverbanks and tributaries – waste which is bound for the ocean.
We also have upgraded our tubes so they are made of up to 50% PCR – which is post-consumer recycled plastic – so plastic which is recycled then mixed with newly made plastic. The whole tube is then recyclable. We hope to increase the PCR content as soon as we can, but supply is short at present as not enough is being put into the recycling chain.
Our new Farmologie Pumps contain no metal – which means they are 100% recyclable.
All our card and paper is recycled or from FSC approved sources, and is recyclable – from the packaging on our Try Me Box, to the case packaging in which products are delivered into stores.
And from Q4 of this year, we will be moving all of our Childs Farm packaging to the same standard as Farmologie, which is simply wonderful and will make us a sustainability leader in the baby and child category too. Plus we are reducing the use of plastic in Childs Farm lids by 67% – smaller but better for us all – so whilst they may not look so cool, they are better for the environment, and also won’t leak in your swimming bag due to some significant design engineering!
Sourcing ingredients from sustainable sources
As to our ingredients … Dr. Lou with her team of scientists and our procurement manager are equally as passionate about the planet and know the provenance of every single ingredient that we use. These include the community stories behind our Organic Coconut oil which comes from The Philippines, to the Oat oil Dr. Lou sourced from the harsh climate of Scandinavia. And they are constantly looking for better sources of our ingredients, packaging and goods so we know who we are working with and the difference we are making to them.
Our logistics team care about our carbon footprint, and we off-set all of our delivery miles – both to you through our website and deliveries to our retailers – by planting trees and, for this last year, supporting a water filtration opportunity in Cambodia.
Our marketing team want to tell you about all of what we do – but not to ‘green wash’ you, which is saying what we’re going to do and gaining massive headlines without actually doing anything. We promise to keep you posted only once we have done something.
Our registration with Cruelty Free International and the Vegan Society are also important, and we take them very seriously. But bees are also important – without them we will fail as a planet – so we are delighted that one of our neighbours keeps his bees in our office garden. This also helps with our hay fever sufferers who can eat the local honey and hopefully prevent dripping eyes and itchy throats in the summer of 2021.
So why am I telling you all of this? I set up Childs Farm to help precipitate change in a category which was lacking products to help everyone, and I want to encourage others to make change in those areas for which they are passionate. This matters dearly to me, and if any of this resonates you to make a change in your life, well hurrah! I want to encourage change within our community, and not criticise (I shall be doing that in my meeting with my MP on this matter next week!).
If you want to know more about our Eco policy, it will be planted on our website come October so we can be utterly transparent with you all. In the meantime, our Consumer services will answer any of your individual questions at any time – just drop them a line at email@example.com.
Enjoy the rest of your holidays, and stay safe.
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