Moving plastic out

Return your glass jars and bottles, bring along your reusable containers to be filled with olive oil, soft cheeses and coffee beans, swap the plastic punnet for a brown bag and take home your fresh produce in a reusable hessian bag from Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market.

This month, as part of Launceston’s Plastic Free July campaign the Harvest Launceston Community Farmer’s Market stallholders are at the forefront of providing alternatives where they can to single use plastic packaging.

It is not only stallholders that are getting behind the plastic free initiative, but Harvest volunteers are spearheading a campaign at the market to collect soft plastic. A bin has been provided at the Harvest stall for the collection of soft plastic, which is then taken away for recycling by one of our amazing regular volunteers.

The olive harvest is in its final stages and at Coronea Grove Olives their new season oil is being dispensed from their olive oil kettle giving shoppers an opportunity to bring along their own containers for filling.

Beverages come in bottles at Harvest and at Brady’s Lookout Cider they use glass for all their tastings that they wash each week. “Many of our tasters reflect that they are really appreciative to be tasting the cider with glass rather than plastic. We also always ask whether people wish to use their own bag rather than automatically providing a paper one,” says Caro. Seven Sheds is also plastic bag free. They provide paper bags and cardboard three-packs for Harvest customers to carry their purchases in. Their tasting cups are compostable and any rubbish generated is taken home and separated for recycling.

LT at Avocado Moon notes that minimising plastic is at the core of her business ethos. She does not offer straws or plastic bags and welcomes the return of bottles for reuse, refill and a refund of 50 cents to go towards your next bottle of kombucha.

Over at Elgaar the message is “plastic free forever” with their returnable glass jars and bottles. All their hard cheeses are packaged in paper bags and customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable containers for fetta and halloumi. Packaging at The Grain Family is also plastic free. The bags are made from recycled paper and the lining is a corn based bio film that is fully compostable.

Specialist vegie producers are committed to reducing the use of plastic punnets, which are used to transport pre-weighed and packaged delicacies such as mushrooms and tomatoes. But both Jaimee and Caleb at Wild Spore and Annette at Tasmanian Natural Garlic and Tomatoes encourage market goers to take their purchases home in paper bags. Annette hopes this will significantly reduce the number of punnets they use.

Wild Spore uses recycled coffee grounds from local coffee houses to grow their mushrooms in, which are being a bit slow at the moment due to the cold weather and they hope to be back in August. Single use plastic was something they had given a lot of thought to. Their solution was to have the mushrooms displayed in pre-packaged and pre-weighed in the plastic punnets, but with the option of customers being able to tip their mushrooms into a paper bag after purchase, allowing us to re-use the plastic punnets for display in future weeks. While this hasn’t eliminated the use of plastic altogether, it has been well received by our customers and enables us to minimise the use of plastic packaging.

Vegie producers Seven Springs Farm use only compostable plastics, their produce is not pre-weighed and is bagged in paper bags. You might also wonder why some producers do not provide half portions, for example cabbages and cauliflowers, this is to reduce the use of plastic, as anything that is cut must be wrapped in plastic for sale.

Many of our stallholders have, as part of their ongoing ethos, eliminated plastic wherever they can, preferring to use paper bags and trays, biodegradable bowls, knives and forks. For some of our producers, such as Real Beef regulations around food safety means there is no option to plastic packaging, however this week they will be offering to wrap your purchases in newspaper as an alternative to plastic carrying bags.

Recently coffee cups were in the news and Harvest coffee connoisseurs can enjoy their cup of coffee knowing that when you buy your beans at Provenance they come in a good looking reusable cardboard cylinder that can be refilled. Coffee at Ritual and Provenance comes in cups that are compostable and can be diverted from landfill. Jesse at Provenance explains their commitment to reducing waste from coffee, the coffee grounds and chaff from the roaster go to Harvest mushroom producer Wild Spore and bulbs producer Tas Daffodils. Coffee sacks and bag liners that the coffee beans are freighted in are reused as are other boxes, often sourced from local businesses.

And finally at the Harvest stall, there are reusable bags for sale, keep cups and a bin for soft plastic. Visit us to see how you can contribute to an amazing community effort to reduce single use plastic.