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Consumers are increasingly demanding ‘eco-friendly’ products (quite right too!) and in response more and more companies are focusing on product sustainability.
What does this really mean?
Sustainability means using resources wisely today to meet our needs, without borrowing from future generations.
So to be sustainable we need to be attentive to the impact we have on our planet and its inhabitants.
But almost no action is completely free from impact. Even my homegrown tomatoes have an impact – they are organically grown and don’t require transport to market (it’s a short trip from the garden to my dinner plate!), however they do require some inputs that impact the environment (the seeds that arrived in a packet and some water).
So for most eco-conscious product designers, sustainability is about striving to minimise negative impacts. What makes a product sustainable? When looking for a sustainable product, consider the following:
Shroot's commitment to sustainability
At Shroot we aim to make sure our products have as little impact on our planet as possible by taking a whole life approach during product design. This means considering the raw materials that will be used, how it is manufactured/packed and what happens to the product at the end of its usable life. Each decision is carefully considered and we aim to make the lowest impact choice, but sometimes we have to make compromises on what we consider to be the best environmentally sustainable option because of factors, such as availability of suitable alternatives and cost.
We researched and tested numerous materials for our Greens & Greetings pouches. We're pleased to be using a using a mono-plastic film that can be recycled. Although we'd prefer a biodegradable or compostable material, we have yet to find one that is watertight (a necessary attribute for growing greens). So we've chosen the best option available (avoiding metalised or multi-plastic films that are not recyclable), and in-line with our commitment to sustainability we'll continue to review the market and swap to a better option when available.
We have also sourced sustainable contents for our Greens & Greetings. Our seeds are from a UK supplier and are non-GMO and untreated. The expanding soil blocks are an eco-friendly alternative to peat pellets, made from coconut husks (which would otherwise be agricultural waste). They readily absorb and hold water so are ideal for growing in our pouches. In recognition of our targets for continual improvement we have been awarded an SME Standards: Sustainability certificate.
Of course sustainability in business is about more than just focusing on products. A business’s day to day practices should also be carried out in a sustainable way. At Shroot it means a number of things such as a paperless office, minimising travel, buying recycled and recycling where possible. For us this is simply extending the eco-conscious way we live our home lives into our work place. For bigger businesses it can be a more significant challenge.
Finally, beware of ‘green-washing’ (giving a false impression about how environmentally sound a product is). Sometimes it is unintentional, resulting from a lack of understanding, but often it is intentionally carried out. So our advice is be a savvy consumer. Do some research and ask questions. Companies that are genuinely committed to sustainability will be pleased to answer.
Got a question for us? We aim to be transparent about our eco-credentials and welcome your comments.
If you'd like more information about our Greens & Greetings, check out our shop.
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