eco-friendly change is coming to the shelves of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RGBE) as the popular attraction will be the first in Scotland to embrace new compostable packaging for sweeties – a first in the confectionery industry.
RBGE will start to ditch single-use plastic packaging and phase in sweets which are wrapped in compostable and transparent packaging – an innovation yet to be used with confectionery.
Regular biodegradable bags can take decades to degrade and can leave a residue in the soil.
But sweetmakers Calico Cottage, based near Ely in Cambridgeshire, were spurred on to take action by the appalling plastic mountains shown on the BBC’s Blue Planet.
The “plastic” bags break down and disappear in soil in just six to 12 weeks and RBGE is the first location in Scotland to stock the product.
Managing director of Calico Cottage, Nigel Baker, said the Botanics had moved heaven and earth to get the product in, showing a true example of putting the environment ahead of profit.
He said: “We’ve all absorbed some of the costs – the packaging is three times what we used to pay and some of that has to be passed on to the consumer. But it is critical that we start to move away from single use plastic.”
He added: “It is an issue that we started to address internally at Calico Cottage in 2017.
“We are hugely passionate about this and have been working long hours to come up with a solution using a range of technologies, and I am proud that we have brought it to market so quickly.
“The BBC footage about how much plastic ends up in the oceans really affected us all here and spurred us to do something about our packaging immediately. We are pleased to be leading the way in our industry and hope other retailers, like RBGE, join us in this revolution.
“Along with our packaging supplier and some key customers, we are launching a home compostable bag with compostable labels and adhesives, which will also be biodegrade in sea water.
“Having RBGE on board with us at the launch is a massive boost and demonstrates our joint commitment towards moving away from single use packaging. This launch could really be a game-changer, so we are delighted to have them on board with us at the launch.”
Commercial manager at RBGE, Helena Lawrence said: “At its most simplistic, RBGE exists because of the need to protect our environment. As a centre of scientific excellence, we work in research and conservation partnerships around the world. At the same time, we are a leading visitor attraction and products from our shops must echo our broader commitments.
“We have made many moves to ensure our shop products are sourced responsibly and packaging has long been a consideration. However, there is no doubt the recent screening of Blue Planet has provided many individuals and commercial concerns to rethink the products on shop shelves around the country.”