We're so very excited to say that we've been able to source a 100% curbside recyclable insulated liner for our online shipments.
Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, our online store was kinda slow and sleepy... we shipped out a few boxes a week. During quarantine, however, our shipping volume increased by one million percent, an amazing turn of events that has helped keep us farming despite the decimation of the restaurant scene. (Thank you for ordering!)
This increased volume has given us greater buying power AND a greater incentive to clean up our packaging program. So our sales team began prioritizing the search for better packaging materials, and we're stoked to start rolling out these improved products in the fall of 2020.
Sourcing packaging is a challenge. Oysters require a durable and water resistant box that's also lightweight and well-insulated. They can leak during shipment, and require a refrigerant.
What's more: since every meal kit and food delivery company in the nation saw an increase in shipping volume during quarantine, actually buying the packaging has also been a challenge. Even with our increase in shipping volume we're still small fry, and many of our preferred products have been out of stock.
Historically, we've used a space blanket style liner to insulate our direct to consumer shipments. We chose these liners because they're lightweight, easy to transport and store, and reusable (for a Halloween robot costume, if not a makeshift insulated grocery shopping tote). We will continue to use these space blanket liners on some of the smaller shipments.
The main drawbacks of the space blanket liners are that they're not recyclable, and they don't provide sufficient insulation for us to use them in the summer. So we've had to switch to styro liners for summertime shipments, which stinks.
Starting now, we're transitioning to a 100% curbside recyclable paper liner. Depending on how paper recycling is handled in your city, you should be able to flatten the box and the liner and leave it in your paper recycling bin.
Our shipments will still contain a few hard to dispose of items, including a heavy-duty plastic liner (to prevent the oysters from leaking inside the box), a mesh plastic sack to prevent the edges of the oysters from cutting through this plastic liner, and gel ice.
The gel packs we're currently using are food grade and reusable. If you want to dispose of the gel packs, cut them open, discard the refrigerant in the trash, and recycle the liner anywhere #4 LDPE plastic is accepted.
Our quest for improved packaging lives on: We've sourced gel ice that you can safely dispose of in your sink (it's on back order) AND we're looking into potentially biodegradable mesh sacks for the shellfish... stay tuned!
And know that we see our packaging, just like the rest of our business, as a continual work in progress... if anybody out there has ideas or suggestions for improvement, please pass them along!