At Thistle, we are always working to improve the quality of our products to ensure that our customers get the best experience from start to finish. One of our biggest focuses (and promises to you) is to revamp our packaging to make it more sustainable. Keep reading to learn more about how we are doing with our initiative to use more eco-friendly products to bring you the Thistle meals you love.

What We Are Doing Now

Currently, our meal containers are made from DPET™, which is the plastic with the lowest carbon footprint available. Not only is DPET produced with 65% less energy and 5% less plastic than other plastics, it is also created with 15% solar energy. All of our meal containers are 100% recyclable and all of our ramekins (the small dressing/topping containers) can be composted. Our jar salad containers are also 100% recyclable or can easily be reused in your home (just make sure you hand wash!). 

New Green and Eco-Friendly Products on the Horizon

We are in the process of testing more eco-friendly packaging types, including biodegradable options made from bamboo, compostable packaging options made from plant fibers, and reusable packaging options made of stainless steel and other materials. As we collect more results from our test runs, we will use the feedback from our customers to inform our final decisions. 

Biodegradable Vs. Compostable Containers

Biodegradable containers break down naturally over time whereas compostable containers must be exposed to specific conditions in order to break down. The compostable containers we are considering must be processed at an industrial composting facility, but with the right conditions, they can actually break down faster than biodegradable products. Unfortunately, commercial composting is not available everywhere, which is one of the largest challenges faced by anyone looking to move to compostable materials. 

Projects-in-Progress at Thistle

Working with Compostable Packaging by World Centric

After months of researching and internally testing various compostable packaging lines, we conducted a small pilot test with customers using World Centric’s compostable containers and were very happy with the results! We want to expand tests within the next few months to ensure this packaging line meets all of our and our customers’ needs before we fully make the switch. World Centric uses unbleached plant fiber to create these compostable containers. They also have a net-zero footprint, track their carbon footprint down to the smallest detail, and donate 25% of their profits to organizations focused on saving the environment. 

The Hunt for Biodegradable Containers

Although we would love to move entirely to biodegradable containers for our customers, we have tested quite a few options and have not yet found one that is sturdy enough to keep your delicious Thistle meals safe during transport. That said, we haven’t given up! We are continuing to explore biodegradable options that might work for us and are working with a few manufacturers to create and test customized packaging solutions. 

Exploring Reusable Packaging Options

Though more logistically complex, we are testing a range of different reusable packaging types. Since our drivers already pick up Thistle bags, it will be easy to have them pick up reusable containers as well. This means that customers who already leave bags and ice packs for reuse can easily add containers into the mix to join us on our sustainability journey. We are testing these options thoroughly to be completely sure that these containers meet our strict Quality Assurance (QA) standards prior to incorporating them into regular deliveries. We’re also looking into ways to further increase our bag and ice pack return rates, including sending reminder text messages and adding language to our packaging to encourage reuse.

Reducing our Use of Virgin Plastic Everywhere Else

Thistle is thrilled to make the switch to 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles for all of our cold-pressed juices. These bottles will not only be made fully from recycled plastic, but will also be 100% recyclable. These bottles will be available within the next few months. Please note that due to the high pressures our juices undergo to ensure freshness, nutrient preservation, and extended shelf life, we are unable to use glass bottles or other non-plastic materials. 

How You Can Help

While we work on improving our packaging to make it more sustainable, there are several ways you can help us achieve our sustainability goals. 

  • Wash & Recycle Our Current Packaging: The plastic containers we currently use are produced with less energy and less virgin plastic than other containers and they are 100% recyclable. Just make sure you’re rinsing and drying your container out before putting it in your at-home recycling. 
  • Re-Use Our Soup & Jar Salad Containers: Two of our current containers are, in fact, reusable! Not only do we love reusing them to store leftover meals and to pack up snacks on the go, but they are also great storage containers for pantry goods and other household items!
  • Explore Local Composting Options: Contact your waste management service to see if they offer commercial composting. If they do not have it, you can petition the local government and the waste management company to get it in your area. Use this site to find a composting facility near you. Commercial composting is by far the most effective method because they can create the perfect conditions with which to compost organic waste products like meat and bioplastics. 

We are excited about our progress toward more sustainable packaging and are eager to keep the journey going. Thank you for your support in promoting a plant-forward future by opting for our healthy, sustainable meal delivery service.

Feb 27, 2020
Thistle News