At TBOF, our farming methods are inspired by ancient wisdom and rooted in eco-friendly, sustainable practices – every time you buy from us, you create opportunities to sequester carbon, reduce its emissions, replenish groundwater levels and bolster rural economies.
We care about securing rural livelihoods, harvesting rainwater and staying climate positive just as much as we love growing native crops, preserving soil health and making food that is healthful, nourishing and traceable to its source.
Not just at a brand level, but as people who are always seriously looking for ways to eliminate plastic from everyday life, the amount of plastic that was a big part of our packaging is something that definitely concerned us.
Few days ago we wrote about the 100% biodegradable, eco-friendly cloth bags we are now using to ship our single order items like spice mixes and powders in. This takes care of only a fraction of our packaging. There still was remaining the huge amount of plastic bubble wrappers that we secured our glass containers in before shipping them.
This big bulk of plastic that we were contributing to the waste stream was deeply bothering and we were evaluating all available options to replace these with an eco-friendly solution. We were getting called out by many customers for not making the shift, but dressing up our products in pretentious covers that looked paper and brown on the outside but lined by plastic tightly on the inside was never an option for us. If we were using plastic, might as well be transparent about it.
We have by now been able to transition from plastic to fully biodegradable cardboard boxes for 80% of our products. Seen above in the picture are cardboard fitments. Most of our glass containers are being shipped in these boxes now. There have been cases of spillage, we are learning and promise to fix the gaps.
We had also shared small sneak peaks into the making of the cloth-bags on our Social Media channels. These are made by the same team in Kolhapur who make our Dhoop sticks.
This 'Ninja team' also does a quality check of the bags to see if any threads are out. This is because, we want to be using resources responsibly. While we are thinking about the sturdiness of the bags to carry our foods during transit, we also want these bags to be of use to you in many more ways. Reuse, re-purpose to store your green chillies, curry leaves, lime etc in the fridge or use it the way you want to store anything.
All this while, we would just fight the guilt reminding ourselves that as farmers, there was no doubting our crucial role in offsetting carbon footprint with our work - we were planting trees, water harvesting, recycling all resources available to us in our village, mulching mulching mulching. We kept telling ourselves - it was possible, and just by taking one step at a time instead of wanting to make the entire packaging eco-friendly overnight, we definitely were taking our tiny but sure and firm steps towards kinder approaches in our little corner of the world.
It is but sheer co-incidence that we were able to put out an announcement during the month of July and embrace the #plasticfreejuly campaign !
Most of the plastic that we have around us, especially the ones that get used in food packaging do not come with clear indication. Some plastics with grades that indicate recyclable on paper just get dumped into incinerators in the real world, in our country. With several million tons of plastic entering our oceans, our forests, our soil, harming and poisoning aquatic life and then making its entry back again into our food is no more a fact that we can sideline.
What an amazing movement this has turned out to be over the years. #PlasticFreeJuly is not about a month, but about people coming together, all over the world to celebrate their small wins and talk proactively about why it is critical to reevaluate our daily habits. It's okay to be confused. It's okay to be imperfect. What is important is that we start. Start now. Start just somewhere, anywhere without getting bogged down by the weight of doing it perfectly.
The fact of the matter is that no one can do #plasticfree perfectly. No one. There is no scarcity of really small, simple and easy to do things at our household levels before we move on to the outside. One step at a time. Slowly. Let's not allow what we cannot do get in the way of what we can. And CAN DO EASILY.
We are definitely wanting to keep the discussion going - July has gone but #PlasticFreeJuly is a philosophy we aspire to live by! In an earlier post on social media, we took you through few of the many challenges we faced while wanting to make the transition to eco-friendly packaging. We are still learning.
One thing we figured out for sure is that you don't need to be a pro to share your small wins - for instance you don't have to be a zero waste champ to to talk about and put out some pics of you trying to compost a small portion of your kitchen waste! You have started, in whatever way that was possible for you - that's important. You have long started thinking about how your actions make a difference - that is most important. You now know that you don't want to be buying something that could be used only once and then has to be discarded.
We are all on this journey together. If you are still reading this, we definitely are in this together. We want to focus on what we can do. There could be so many things we do that are not photographed or recorded or they don't look pretty and picture perfect for sharing on Instagram. That doesn't make it less valuable. Whatever you are at, even if that was just using a bamboo brush instead of a plastic one, is making a difference. It is inspiring your family and friends to push harder.
What we are trying to say is just keep doing. Please don't stop. :-)