What does sustainable mean?
We believe a fitting description of sustainability comes from United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, point 9:
A world in which consumption and production patterns and use of all natural resources – from air to land, from rivers, lakes and aquifers to oceans and seas - are sustainable
It has become clear to us that the growing of oysters is an activity that promotes and protects the environment in which it is carried out. Not only do the oysters clean the water and provide and restore habitat, there is now evidence that they also act as a carbon sink.
Added to that, shellfish aquaculture is also one of the few environmentally sustainable ways of producing protein for people to eat.
We have learned that the future of our company and our community lies in following the principles of sustainability, and that the way to do this is by following the model of the Circular Economy.
This change in perspective has also led us to start thinking about the other parts of our business and how we work. A key area of focus has been packaging, and we, as a company, have took the decision that we were NOT going to use polystyrene packing. It was, and is our view that this packaging is not environmentally sustainable.
This created a challenge, which finding a solution for was tough. Oysters require a durable and water resistant box that is also lightweight and well-insulated. Any leaks need to be contained and they require to be kept cool.
As such, we are very proud of the fact that we, with our partner Smurfit Kappa, have been able to develop a box delivery system that is made of 100% recyclable cardboard. As far as we are aware, this is a first for the seafood industry, and permits us to avoid using polystyrene.
This decision means that our packaging is now more expensive, but we believe, and we would hope others would agree, this is a price worth paying.
Our Sustainable Packaging Solution
When you receive a package from use it shall contain the following parts:
This is a standard cardboard box that contains all the 'goodies'.
As this is cardboard it can be recycled. The packaging tape sealing the box is also biodegradable.
This is where the magic happens! These are specially designed cardboard inserts that have insulation properties that keep the oysters cool.
As this is cardboard it can be recycled. But why not try and reuse it with the outer box, and the cool gels. If you have something coming up where you need to keep things cool this would be the ideal solution.
This is a standard cardboard box that shall contain the oysters. This has been designed so that it can be placed directly into the fridge.
Some orders only contain one inner box, some contain two. If you have an order with a single inner then the void shall be filled with simple packaging paper.
As this is cardboard it can be recycled, as can any packaging paper.
Each inner box shall contain several cool gels, which are required to keep the oysters cool during shipping.
This is the only item over with which there might be issues. The fluid is biodegradable and can be poured down the sink. The plastic skin is recyclable but it shall depend upon what level of recycling your local government offers.
We are working hard to find a replacement for the cool gels we currently use and are hopeful we shall find something that is a bitter fit shortly. However, and as mentioned above, we would encourage you to keep these items. They can be reused, just give them a good clean and then refreeze them.
Each inner box shall contain two card separators. These are there to prevent any ice on the coolant touching the oysters, as this would kill the animals.
As this is cardboard it can be recycled.
The oysters are placed within a biodegradable bag to keep them contained and to retain any fluid that might leak during shipping.
The bag is biodegradable plastic and can go in the rubbish as is.
The oysters shall be packed in seaweed for their journey to you. Doing this provides them with added packaging support and also, and more importantly, gives them a moist atmosphere so helping not to become stressed.
This is biodegradable! It can go in with food waste if you have it. However, seaweed makes fantastic fertiliser so why not use it for compost or make a water solution to feed your plants?
Finally, there are the oysters themselves!
These are also biodegradable! After you have eaten the oysters the shells can go in with food waste if you have it. However, the shells are a very rich source of calcium carbonate and make a fantastic fertiliser if crushed, so why not get a hammer (please exercise caution), and break them up and add them to your compost mix?
Please Recycle or Reuse me!
So that is our solution, and we hope you can all see why we have taken this path.
If you decide to buy from us, we thank you, but we would ask you kindly to please recycle or reuse the packaging.