Sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s minds like never before. In the public sphere, national media coverage has highlighted the need to recycle more, cut down on plastic use and essentially take care of our planet to preserve it for future generations.

In the business world, there has been an increased drive towards sustainability for a number of reasons. One factor has been the increased awareness among the public. Many people are placing greater importance on the sustainability practices of the businesses they use and are not afraid to change their consumer habits.

Prospective clients are paying more attention to sustainability when they look for a supplier by making it a more prominent part of the bidding process.

There is also a desire from the workforce for their employer to engage in environmentally friendly practices. Younger generations entering the workplace put a great deal of importance into the social aspect of their company, so having strong sustainable practices is key in attracting and retaining talent, as well as maintaining a happy and productive staff.

Of course, another major driver is the simple fact that it’s the right thing to do. We have a responsibility to our employees, to our clients and to ourselves to be as sustainable as possible.

What have we been up to?

In recent months the Radish team has been making great strides in sustainable packaging and reducing plastic use as we strive to set industry standards.

Biodegradable packaging

Since 1 May of this year, all Radish packaging for grab-and-go sandwiches and salad boxes has been fully biodegradable. The UK sandwich industry is a behemoth (some estimates say that as a nation we consume 11.5 billion sandwiches a year!), so to make our packaging biodegradable was a key goal for us.

The process of creating biodegradable packaging begins with using sustainably sourced timber. This means it has been harvested responsibility; when one tree is cut down another is planted, ensuring that no damage is done to the surrounding ecosystem.

A common barrier to recycling is mixing different materials, which can often result in none of them being recycled. Radish sandwich packages use the same timber for the board and the film so that the entire package can be recycled as one piece along with other paper and cardboard.

In addition, the vast majority of products we source are either fully recyclable or fully compostable, as well as being produced in the UK. The reduction in imported products has helped us to greatly reduce our carbon footprint. This also means less exporting of materials to be recycled abroad and reduced use of incinerators.

Both the board and the film are compostable to European standards, as is the board used for the salad boxes.

Saying no to plastic

We have also committed to a big reduction in plastic by discontinuing all plastic straws and cutlery, replacing them with paper straws and wooden cutlery.

All of our cups are now purchased from the UK, which again has reduced our carbon footprint as well as supporting the UK economy. The cups are 100 per cent recyclable, as is the printed packaging they come with. By the end of September, we had converted 63,000 cups, and we’re on track to have used around 84,000 of the new cups by the end of the year.

Biodegradable packaging and cutting down on plastic are just two of the things that we have been working on in a bid to achieve sustainability excellence. Ethical sourcing, environmental compliance and projects with local communities are all vital ingredients towards achieving and surpassing compliance. We’re thrilled with the progress we’ve made so far and look forward to rolling out further sustainability initiatives soon.