One of the very first things I worried about when starting this business was packaging. Coming from software development, all my product has been virtual in the form of code and documents that were stored on disks or online, so I’ve never been faced with the responsibility of adding physical garbage to the world via my work. The thought of my products adding to the world’s mountain of garbage, of packaging carrying my brand ending up in landfill, is a big concern.
Of course, I realize that once my stuff is out of my hands and in my customers’, what happens to it is beyond my control but I have faith that the kind of person who would buy my products has a similar sense of responsibility and will take a longer-term view. With that in mind, I’ve been deliberate about ensuring as much of my packaging as possible is reusable and recyclable.
My challenge was to find a sweet spot of reusability, availability and price.
I started the business with an investment in glass bottles. These are infinitely reusable, however they are not cheap and I had to drive to Montreal to get them, so not especially available. Glass is heavier and less robust than plastic and when I moved my main operation to freezing juice, this became problematic. Liquids expand on freezing and though you can actually freeze juice in glass bottles, it would require extremely careful handling - the last thing you want in a freezer is shards of broken glass.
I didn’t want to use plastic, but the need to increase the lifespan of my product made that decision for me. Moving to freezing my products meant a shift to plastic bottles and the challenge became to identify a bottle that was robust enough to be frozen, washed in a sanitizing dishwasher and reused. I settled on #2 plastic, HDPE (high-density polyethylene) which is known for its durability and strength and ability to withstand both cold (-79C) and heat (75C). It does not leach chemicals and is BPA-free. I can get those delivered easily and fairly cheaply from various suppliers. Best of all, by reusing the bottles I can limit the numbers going back to landfill and reduce costs.
I am happy to take back used bottles which I soak in a sanitizing solution and scrub with a bottle brush and then process through a sanitizing dishwasher. The bottles are re-used as long as they look clean and unscratched. Any bottles that are too scratched or bashed are recycled.
I’ll continue to look for ways to limit my environmental impact. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know in the comments or send me a note.