We’re getting rid of the plastic film in the four-pack for our Biosüdtirol apples and protecting them with grass paper.
Sustainability is such a loaded word. Evaluation of the life cycle of a product is done through studies, but also, and above all, it is a question of conviction. We organic farmers are aware that our efforts to reduce the impact on the environment do not completely offset the damage done. Packaging is just one of the causes - and this goes against our beliefs. Obviously, packaging offers several advantages: it protects the apples during transport, prevents them from getting dirty and helps avoid confusion at the sales counter. In some countries, businesses that sell organic foods along with conventional ones are required by law to package organic goods. But what is the most functional way to package apples in a four-pack, our most common format?
Last year, we took our first step in the right direction when we introduced the biodegradable grass paper packaging tray. The tray is not closed at the top, so it must be completely wrapped in transparent film. The consumer can see the apples, and at the same time, the apples are protected from external influences. Instead of the standard films there are those without PVC, but this was the only alternative we had. Unfortunately, the films for biodegradable foods did not pass the mechanical tests, and the traction exerted by the packing machines was too much for it. Initially, we limited ourselves to wrapping the grass paper trays in transparent film. But we were so strongly convinced that we wanted packaging without plastic, as were our customers, that we didn't give up.
Some time ago, we began working with a packaging manufacturer, with the spirit of experimentation, to develop a variant made entirely of cardboard. The idea is clear: a cardboard wrapper is applied to the cardboard tray, the wrapper cut to make the apples inside visible, and at the same time protect them. After many attempts, we were rewarded with this result: the packaging we use most often is completely plastic-free and made of 100% paper. Grass paper to be precise.