If you don’t know me by now… Well, I guess you can see a common theme from Grace Homemade. Eco-friendly, healthy and natural eating, equitable wages, waste reduction and community economic development are all authentic ideas associated with me personally and with Grace Homemade. Yet, one of the biggest challenges for me to date has been the selection of a sustainable packaging vessel for my mother’s chicken salad. I knew I wanted to ensure that the packaging would be safe, non-toxic and avoid waste after use…
A woman on a mission
However, as I cruised the aisles of supermarkets and local stores (conducting my own due diligence) I noticed a common, yet disturbing, trend. Most of the packaging I saw was plastic. Plastic, plastic, plastic. It seemed that finding sustainable packaging was going to be a challenge. And I’m always up for one of those.
Was plastic really the only option for my chicken salad? Of course, I grew up using plastic everything: straws, plates, milk jugs… and almost every fresh food product was wrapped or preserved using plastic. I won’t even discuss the styrofoam that was historically used (thank goodness much of that is obsolete now). But today, we are much more eco-friendly and responsible. Heck, cities such as Seattle are banning the use of plastic straws, which some people apparently find troubling. But is using plastic the only way to be competitive? Or is the food industry just being lazy? I mean, everyone knows the problems that plastic presents. So in my quest to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, I set out on another mission: Find sustainable packaging.
But first, some facts about the environmental hazards of using plastic. According to the Global Citizen website:
- The average time people spend using a single plastic container or bag is about 12 minutes, yet plastics take hundreds (if not thousands) of years to decompose.
- Plastics kill over a million animals and seabirds every year.
- Almost 75% of beach litter is comprised of plastic.
I wanted a better way… Come hell or high water, I would have sustainable packaging. I never wanted to imagine people enjoying my chicken salad and then tossing a container in the garbage only to have it float into oblivion for years to come. Yet, as I looked down the aisle at all the plastics, I could only think of one quote:
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
The right partners in fighting the good fight
I would not be deterred. Then, I was fortunate enough to find TricorBraun.
TricorBraun is a packaging solutions company focused on providing innovative, custom solutions for its many customers. An industry leader in glass and plastic containers, closures, dispensers and tubes, TricorBraun operates from more than 40 locations throughout North America and internationally from London, England; Guangzhou, China; Hong Kong; and Mumbai, India. Their award-winning Design & Engineering Center provides forward-thinking service driven by consumer insight, market understanding and creative solutions. TricorBraun’s advisory services range from preliminary planning and manufacturing oversight to warehousing and logistics programs.
After consulting with TricorBraun, I was on course to find sustainable packaging for my chicken salad. I followed the path set before me with a renewed spirit, knowing that this too—sustainable packaging—could be accomplished. Next, I was introduced to ENSO Restore.
ENSO Restore is technology that converts plastic into natural gas after discard. This technology is available for most traditional materials, including PET, PE, PS, PVC, Nitrile, Rubber, Latex, Phenol, PP, adhesives and more. ENSO Restore provides a way for plastic packaging, that would otherwise become waste in a landfill, to increase the availability of clean energy for our communities. ENSO Restore is validated by independent certified laboratories using ASTM International test methods. And it is FDA compliant and safe for food contact.
While I have not finalized packaging for Grace Homemade, thanks to these companies I am one step closer to fulfilling my goal of 100% sustainable packaging for my chicken salad.
To me, eco-friendly, sustainability, going green, community development and equitable income distribution are not just phrases to be tossed around at Sunday brunch over a mimosa. This is my personal lifestyle. There are no shortcuts, and I will leave no stone unturned in my mission to make Grace Homemade a socially responsible brand that is part of the global and local community.