Welcome to OneSharedEarth, where you can have questions answered about any environmental issue, supported with facts and research
0 votes
Most organic produce comes heavily packaged. What are the options to buy organic produce unpackaged? Please note that this question is not just about avoiding plastic but any kind of packaging as much as feasible.
in Food by (610 points)
recategorized by | 203 views

1 Answer

+2 votes

There are many organic veg box delivery companies in the UK. If and to what extent the veg box contents can be customised, varies from one company to another. The produce is mostly unpackaged and delivered in one or more boxes (often cardboard) which are expected to be picked up by the driver on the next delivery and reused by the company.

Items can usually be bought in addition or instead of the veg box, but these may come in different type of packaging.

I've been trialling two of the bigger companies, Riverford and Abel & Cole, and have created the table below for the product packaging for each item I had delivered in 2019, both as part of a veg box or separately. I'll continue to update this table with more products.

Riverford boxes come open while Abel & Cole boxes come closed and tied with a string.

Boxes of both contain paper marketing material, like recipes & news. There is no option to disable these on either website. Abel & Cole boxes sometimes contain (possibly unwanted) promotional gifts.

When ordering outside of a box, each Riverford product comes individually packaged in paper bags and then put in a box. Abel & Cole puts the items unpackaged in a box if there are enough items to make a box, otherwise puts them in a paper bag.

For more info, see:

FAQs” (Abel & Cole, 2019)

Recycling Guide” (Riverford.co.uk, 2019)

ItemAbel & Cole (as part of box)Abel & Cole (not part of box)Riverford (as part of box)Riverford (not part of box)
Butternut squashUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackaged
White onionUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackaged
BeetrootUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackagedPaper bag
ClementineUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackagedBeech netting
CourgetteUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackagedPaper bag
PearUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackagedPaper bag
PepperUnpackagedUnpackagedUnpackagedPaper bag
CarrotUnpackaged or biodegradable plastic bagUnpackaged or biodegradable plastic bagUnpackagedPaper bag
Sweet potatoUnpackagedUnpackaged
CeleryUnpackagedUnpackagedPlastic bag
LemonUnpackagedUnpackagedBeech netting
Red onionUnpackagedUnpackagedBeech netting
PotatoUnpackagedUnpackagedPaper bag
BeansUnpackagedPaper bag
Sharon fruitUnpackagedPaper punnet
AvocadoUnpackagedPaper bag
MangoUnpackagedPaper bag
LettucePlastic bagUnpackaged
Spring greenPlastic bagUnpackaged
DillPlastic bag
PlumPaper punnet
ShallotsPaper bag
ThymePlastic bag
ApricotPaper punnet
MangetoutPaper bag
Mini cucumberPlastic punnet
NectarinePaper bag
ParsleyPlastic bagPlastic bag
Sweet pepperPlastic bagPlastic bag
WatercressPlastic bagPlastic bag
KalePlastic bagPlastic bag
MushroomPlastic punnetPaper punnet
Purple sprouting broccoliPlastic bagPlastic bag
Pak choiPlastic bagPlastic bag
PeachPaper punnetPaper punnet
RosemaryPlastic bagPlastic bag
Spring onionRubber bandRubber band
StrawberryPaper punnetPlastic punnet
GrapePaper punnetPaper punnetPaper punnet
SpinachPlastic bagPlastic bagPlastic bag
GingerPaper bagPaper bagBeech netting
TomatoPaper punnetPaper punnetPaper punnetPlastic punnet

by (880 points)
edited by
136 questions
154 answers
2,178 users