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Plastic Free Process Update

Plastic Free Process Update

Plastic Free Process Update

While we have successfully made some changes in moving away from single use plastics at Legacy Greens, we are finding it more challenging than expected in certain areas. 

We started by eliminating our plastic grocery bags and produce bags. We already had paper bags on hand, so this switch was an easy one. 

Another smooth transition has occurred with our veggies. We began housing some of the produce in containers, which was also a pretty easy adjustment, with a bit of a learning curve as we figured out which veggies enjoy lots of water, and which like to hide under a lid. With this switch, customers have the option to leave veggies loose in their bag, use their own personal produce bag, pay 5 or 10 cents for a paper bag, or purchase our new, reusable produce bag that features the store's logo.  

greens in bins

Where we are struggling is with our greens and herbs. Due to their frail nature and potential damage from tongs, we don’t feel comfortable leaving the greens loose, available in bulk. We also take extra safety measures when handling our greens JUST IN CASE people don’t wash them before eating them. We want to keep them bagged, but after hours and hours of research, I’ve realized how limited we are with options. 

When bringing in products, our priority is to either source local or Canada-made. While there are Canadian-made options for plastic bag alternatives, we in the Waterloo Region do not have the proper facilities to dispose of these products. Cellulose bags are the option we found. They are made from wood pulp and claim to be compostable. I have been informed that these bags are not suited for backyard compost bins; instead, they should be put in the green bin if accepted. There are compost facilities that will accept these bags, however when searching the “Waste Wiz” on the Region of Waterloo website, I was instructed to dispose of these bags in the garbage. When these bags go in the landfill, they do not break down as quickly as they would in a proper compost facility, which is a major setback in our search for a plastic alternative.

By the end of 2021, Canada will be banning many single use plastics. This is great news, but we are realizing that switching to alternatives is quite a challenge. I have contacted the local Waste Management team to see if they plan to have a compost facility available to accommodate these plastic alternative products, and they unfortunately have no information on this for the foreseeable future. 

I also want to note that we do often receive products (mostly greens) in plastic bags from farmers and suppliers. In this situation, we don’t want to throw the plastic bags out to put into a plastic alternative, as this would just be superfluous. I have opened up the discussion to what our alternative options are, so we may see some changes in how we are receiving our products. 

Here are the changes that we’ve made so far:

  • Containers with water to hydrate: celery, kale, green onions, lettuce heads
  • Containers with lids to keep crunchy: radishes
  • Containers open during the day, and closed overnight: carrots and beets
  • Naked: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, green onions
  • Reusable tote bags for sale designed by our staff member Heather (bright + true)
  • Reusable cotton produce bags with Legacy Greens’ logo for sale - two sizes to choose from

We spritz the veggies throughout the day to make sure they stay hydrated and in the best condition possible. We don’t want to compromise the quality of our products in this journey to a greener world. 

Here’s where we are struggling: 

  • Plastic bag alternative that can be properly disposed of in our region
  • Plastic that comes in from our distributors 

If you haven’t read our blog post from the beginning of the year and our plastic-free journey, please refer to the link below to read more about the changes and your options for shopping plastic-free.

If you have any suggestions or information on the areas where we're struggling, please feel free to share! 

Thanks for your patience and enthusiasm while we continue on this journey!


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