Posted: 08/07/2019

“Having invested in the trade’s foremost journos to write this piece on packaging, why should FFD arrive at your desk wrapped in plastic?”


View from HQ

WE HAVE OFFICIALLY joined the packaging debate. Last month’s excellent piece in FFD has stimulated complaints and conversation, in attempting to unravel the food industry’s confusion. Any retailer who is a packaging-denier is, quite frankly, talking rubbish. Literally. Or not? I can’t work out my own wordplay there.

Michael Lane, FFD’s editor, is certainly not a denier. One of the recycling-related emails that popped into his inbox asked an incredibly fair question. “Having invested in the trade’s foremost journos to write this intelligent, well-informed packaging piece for the mag, why should FFD then arrive on your desk wrapped in plastic?”  Even Sir David A himself would chuckle at the irony.  

Michael bashed his fist on my desk in that way that editors do – at least, they way they do in films. “Why do we wrap it in plastic?”, he boomed.

We’d done this research five or six years ago. The stock answer to the why-not-use-turtle-friendly-materials question is that it costs so bloody much. I’m Mr. Nature with the best of them, but some of the eco-materials cost 10 times as much and I reckon I’d get many more phone calls about the increased price of magazine subs and advertising to reflect that cost.

But I was prepared to look again, and put a call into our trusted mailing house. I asked the being-more-green question; he sighed. I could go for biodegradables or oxo-biodegradable. Both more expensive than our current solution.

But hold on, I’d opened another can of recyclable frizzle shaped like worms. Both these formats are single-use and there is some concern (not scientifically backed up yet) that they contain chemicals that may well leech into the soil and be naughty. 

And by its nature this material degrades, so you buy little and often (you can’t store it for any length of time) to wrap your beloved publication, which means more deliveries, which equals more trucks and therefore more diesel.  Bugger. 

And about our current polywrap material? I got a positive response: we use 30-micron polythene, which is fully recyclable and therefore not a single-use plastic. You can pop it in your recycling bin along with any unwanted newspapers or magazines. But hopefully not FFD.

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