An article regarding plastic packaging in the produce industry.
It does not seem to be relevant to FNQ as a few years ago, my wife wanted some polystyrene broccoli boxes to grow plants in but Coles and Woollies had stopped using them and were getting their broccoli in cardboard boxes and plastic crates.The only ones that Woollies still had were small ones for seafood.
Our local Supa IGA were still getting them and had the gall to want to sell them for $3 each but I have not seen any for quite some time.
A great article on plastics still being used as standard in grocer supply chains.
I used to manage a medium sized organic grocer. The majority of suppliers would ask the polystyrene or waxed boxes be kept aside for pick up in bulk when required. If they didn’t ask, we would just chuck it with the bulk return to other suppliers.
I can imagine a transition from polystyrene to plastic crates would be expensive for smaller farmers and suppliers.
The cost of packaging, transport to market and agents costs can be greater than the value of the product.
Interesting to note for larger producers (larger farm business/investors) who may be supplying contracts direct to Woolies and Coles etc.
One way to bring costs of handling product down. Not so good for the smaller producers going through the markets and agents who face higher add on costs and are subject to market fluctuations.
On the flip side many of the contracted producers face the problem of wastage of product (potential income loss) that does not conform to their contract specifications.
Perhaps a plastic tax might be the best way to encourage change at all levels. Something to pay for 100% collection and proper management of all plastics in our supply change and homes. For as long as it takes to transition to 100% sustainable solutions and that do not add micro plastics to the environment.
It is likely in the foreseeable that other businesses and producers will shift full away from expanded Styrofoam packaging. This will occur for a number of reasons…
cost - Most Styrofoam packaging is single use…there is also the difficulty of returning empty packaging to producers as they take up a lot of volume when empty. There are also a significant number of multi-use alternatives like those used at the Woolworths/Coles. In general packaging, moulded cardboard can replace Styrofoam in most cases.
impact on the environment - unfortunately Styrofoam becomes brittle in sunlight and also looses particles when handled. Thse particles when they enter the wider environment can take 100s of years to breakdown and disappear. Concern about fugitive Styrofoam has been the basis of many environmental campaigns persuading businesses to llok for alternatives.