How Eco-friendly is Bird & Blend?
Although there has been a lot of noise about plastic and other eco related matters in the news recently, we have had doing our bit for the world as one of our founding principles since Day 1! Driven heavily by Mike & Krisi themselves, leading positive change in the world around us is very important to us at BB.
We get asked about the sustainability of our products all the time so we wanted to share them all with you so all your questions are answered in one place!
Bird & Blend has done it from the start!
From the very first day Bird & Blend was born, we wanted to make sure that our products were as eco-friendly as possible and we have always kept this in mind!
So, what are things made from and what can you do with them after use?
What are we doing well?
Tea bags!: The big one - our tea bags are 100% plastic free, 100% natural and 100% compostable*. They are derived from a cornstarch based material called SOILON.
Did you know? Although compostable (see *note on compostable v's biodegradable below) your tea bags are better off in your food waste collection bin rather than in your garden compost heap. In an industrial composter, with all the right microbes and conditions they will be gone within a matter of months but at home this would take nearer to a year. If you are really green fingered and want to get the right climate in your compost then we recommend you speak to your local gardening center / expert who will be able to help you get your paws on the right soils needed to assist the breakdown in your box!
Take away cups, lids and straws (both hot and cold versions): All fully compostable and made from a plant based pla material, derived from cornstarch.
Did you know? Cornstarch is a fully sustainable source, saving almost 80% of the amount of greenhouse gas and using less than half fossil fuel compared to plastic.
Instore sample cups: *Updated October 2018* These are now cardboard & compostable! *
Previously they were plastic but recyclable. We have been trying to find a material that will hold hot samples (most of the compostable options melt!) that are also a suitable small size (as the smallest card options are still three times as much material than we need). We plan to find a solution to this by the end of 2018 < this is a promise!
WE'VE DONE IT! Our instore sample cups are now made from paper, making them fully recyclable AND compostable!
Cellophane inners found inside our loose leaf gift tins + 50g gift cartons: These are not plastic! in fact, they are made from renewable wood pulp. Manufactured entirely in the UK also, so saving on harmful Co2 emissions to transport them to us! We're looking to go one step further by moving these wood pulp inners into a compostable version, which is currently in testing!
Gift cartons, hot cup sleeves, paper bags and gift boxes: Fully compostable card/paper.
Till/ receipt rolls: Made from recycled paper and fully compostable.
20g and 50g pouches: These are our current challenge and the only item of our packaging that are not either made from recyclable materials or recyclable themselves. This is because they have a food safe inner coating - more about this in our 'what will we do better' section below.
We use wood as much as possible to fit our stores:
We use wood for as much of our shop fits as possible and always have done. As far as practical this is recycled (i.e. most of our staff shelves are recycled). Even where new, the eco-impact of using wood as a material is way, way lower than any comparable material. In terms of CO2, wood obviously absorbs the stuff as it grows, then by cutting down the tree and building with it, you effectively store the CO2 in the wood and then plant a new tree to absorb more.
we’ve been making efforts recently to reduce this as far as possible as it is so much worse for the environment than the sea. As well as doing it ourselves, we’re working with suppliers to get them to reduce theirs.
In terms of us sending customers orders, we’ve looked into it and sea isn’t practical, BUT we use RM predominantly who send mail by purchasing spare capacity, i.e. anything we ship goes on a flight that was already flying and had space on it rather than dedicated flights. So it’s not adding to flights, and are making those happening more efficient.
*Although often used interchangeably there is actually a difference between compostable and biodegradable. In very simple terms biodegradable means that the material will break down within a reasonable time to a particle size small enough to not be harmful to the envrionment (e.g. animals can consume it, soil/sea isn't damaged by it). The time period isn't defined but usually refers to a number of years. Compostable means that the material will breakdown naturally when placed in a 'compost' environment e.g. microbes, heat, oxygen etc. which is often considered the ultimate goal for planet-friendly packaging as it breaks down within 90 or so days and leaves no trace at all.