What Is Better For The Environment.. Paper or Recycled Plastic Cartons?

August 26 2020

Over the past few weeks we have received numerous messages from you asking us why the change to our packing. ‘We love your eggs, but why are they now in plastic cartons? Isn’t this a massive step back in the fight on single use plastic’?

We have really appreciated your comments and we truly value all the feedback we have received. We also completely understand your reservations with the plastic cartons and really feel that we need to give you all the facts.

There’s no two ways about it – we all see plastic as bad! It’s made from a non-renewable source (oil), it doesn’t decompose, and a lot of it ends up in the sea; so it’s understandable that it has a really bad reputation!

On the balancing hand- the traditional pulp cartons and the polystyrene foam cartons we are more accustomed to in the UK; for many of the same reasons, are not environmental bargains either! So what is a well-meaning person and company to do?

At St Ewe we have worked tirelessly to find an alternative to single use plastic whilst the pulp shortage rubbles on. Supermarkets now also confirming the widespread shortage of the pulp, in tandem with untold demand for eggs due to the increased popularity of baking and medical supplies in urgent need globally since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Therefore we have extensively looked across raw material sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, transportation and end of life/recycling aspects for RPET (recycled water bottles), Recycled Molded Pulp (RMP) and Polystyrene to find the best alternative we can at the present time. We found our answer in egg carton specialists Ovotherm who have developed their cartons using 100% recycled consumer products (water bottles) and taking this notoriously wasteful product and turning it into a fit for purpose solution to help us and countless others, keep up with demand.

The RPET carton that we use is superior to both molded pulp and polystyrene as a whole and across all of the individual life stages, with the one exception that it has a slightly higher manufacturing impact than recycled pulp. Ovotherm takes recycled material from waste plastic water bottles to make our cartons, with the added benefit in that it provides protection for our eggs whilst allowing customers to see them without opening the carton in the store; making these a much more hygienic option, especially important in the current climate!

Once used, our cartons can then be put back into the recycling system and recycled time and time again. Please check with your local council for kerbside recycling.

Whilst we wish we could sell our eggs in wicker baskets that could be reused again and again, we truly feel as though we’ve arrived at the best possible solution we can for the time being. We all must take responsibility for our own individual impact on the environment and ask that you do your part and always recycle your St Ewe cartons after use, in order to continue to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible.

Thank you for your support and understanding during this very difficult time and please be assured that St Ewe Free Range Eggs are doing all we can to find a sustainable alternative that ticks all the boxes.