Plastic Free July

Last month we came across a cool movement underfoot called Plastic Free July.

A little late to the party maybe, but for the last week of July, we participated by making sure our Wanigans were free of plastic containers and bags.

With our operation already designed to output zero food waste, reducing the amount of one-way plastic packaging was a natural motivation for us.

So this past week was a fun challenge for us, we used paper if we needed to box items and we steered away from items that the supplier or farmer could only deliver packaged in plastic. Honestly, it wasn't that difficult, just a slight shift in how we made our purchases and how we packed for the week.

Participating in Plastic Free July, even if it was just for one week, opened our eyes a bit more and helped us become aware of future challenges around plastic. We noticed things like elastic bands holding bunches together, for the kale and carrots. Small things for sure, but good to become more aware.

Btw, for the elastic bands, I keep a mountaineering carabiner (from MEC) in my kitchen drawer. I put the elastics I receive on the "biner", keeps them organized and in one place for reuse around the house later.

Reuse elastic bands

Beyond July, we'll continue to look for ways to reduce plastic in our daily operations. 

We always deliver in paper grocery bags, with minimal packaging and if the paper bags you receive are in good shape after you unpack your deliveries, we'll gladly take them back to use again, just leave them out on the next delivery day for our drivers.

In our veg shop in Brampton, we have lots of cardboard boxes from our incoming deliveries. We always make these available for our customers to pack their purchases instead of plastic bags. Of course, many of our customers simply bring in their own reusable bags.

If you're not already a Wanigan delivery customer and would like to get really fresh assortments of organic fruits and veggies delivered conveniently to your door, simply click here:  SIGN-UP NOW!

Comments (2):

Caroline Gubert on

Hello,

I just wanted to make a suggestion in regard to your paper receipts. Any time I request a receipt it is always printed on a large sheet of paper. If there was a way for receipts to be sent via email instead, that would be great :)

Carolyn Vallejo on

Wanigan I applaud you for your efforts to further reduce plastic use in your operation! Hoping more retailers will see what you’re doing and try to make similar changes. We the consumers can do our part by remembering to bring and use our reusable bags wherever we go and by avoiding buying products sold in plastic packaging. Thank you Wanigan! Great job!

Leave a comment:

Other articles:

Our Journey to Zero Produce Waste IV

Step 4.

The grocery store model is: buy, sell what you can, and throw out the rest.

Average fresh produce waste is greater than 30%. It's not just the produce itself, either. It's the box it came in. It's the truck that brought it to the store. In most cases, it's all the chemicals used to grow it. It's the wasted refrigeration, the staff time. It's just a ton of waste.

To stay the course through our journey to zero produce waste, we made a point to stay connected to the environment, local farmers, and all the wonderful members of our community who shared our vision.

What we found was that like-minded people were as happy to reach across the divide as we were. Local farmers, allied businesses, customers. We started to work together to create an alternative, regenerating business model.

We lowered food miles, reduced plastic packaging, starting composting, and basked in all the mutual moral support.

At the same time as our food waste was going down, we saw our Wanigan organic basket deliveries going up.

Thanks, everybody. We couldn't have done it alone :)

If you are interested in starting deliveries with Wanigan, it's easy to sign up now and get your second basket free.

Delivery Sign-up

Wanigan is a plant-powered organic & local food company that conveniently delivers really fresh assortments of organic veggies, fruits, juices, smoothies and snacks right to your door.

Our Journey to Zero Produce Waste III

Step 3.

Not long after we decided to go zero produce waste, we realized that our ideal business model was a circle.

To complete the circle the produce we could not use needed to go back to the beginning, to enrich the soil at a local organic farm. We needed a composting partner. 

For us, composting would reduce methane emissions from landfill and lowers our carbon footprint. For our partner farmer, composting would reinvigorate the soil, help grow beneficial bacteria, retain moisture, and suppress plant disease and pests. For our customers, it would mean a feeling of satisfaction in being a part of a sustainable, waste-free business model.

After asking around, we started bringing our veg trimmings and any spoiled fruit we might end up with to Hugh Phillips at Food Forest Organic Farm in Brampton.

Food Forest Organics is a family-owned, family-run farm. 

On his farm, Hugh uses simple, time-tested techniques to nurture and enrich the soil so it can do what it does best - grow nutrient-rich vegetables. His methods are simple but yield amazing results.

The partnership works great. We are both committed to the same values. We are all proud to be building a local, nourishing circular economy.

  

Delivery Sign-up

Wanigan, a plant-powered organic & local food company, conveniently delivers really fresh assortments of organic veggies, fruits, juices and smoothies right to your door.

Our Journey to Zero Produce Waste II

Step 2.

A few years ago, we put on our creative originator hats to reshape our organic home delivery business. We knew the average grocery store had more than 30% produce waste.

We wanted zero waste.

How could we redesign our business model to achieve zero waste? At the same time, how could we continue to improve quality and raise our customer experience even higher?

We knew we had more leeway with oddly shaped vegetables. Bent carrots are often unacceptable for mass grocery store shelves but at Wanigan our customers appreciate and enjoy the randomness that a typical organic farm can offer. This gave us a head start, as what was considered waste elsewhere, was useful and desirable at Wanigan.

To go further though, we needed to get creative.

So, at our Vegquarters in Brampton we built a certified kitchen and juice bar, and bought 2 dehydrators, a slow juicing machine and 2 smoothie blenders. We developed recipes that, alongside our new equipment, would use gentle preparation methods to maximize nutritional benefits and minimize food waste. Fruits or veggies deemed unsuitable for our deliveries, like items that were too small, too large or too ripe could be transformed into 100% plant-based nutritious foods.

Wanigan Organic Juice

Order juices and smoothies for home delivery

We launched a line of cold-pressed juices, real food smoothies, salads, wraps and spreads. With the dehydrators, we introduced nutrient-packed greens powders and fruit snacks with ingredients that were 100% pure.

Wanigan Raw Orchard Mix

Wanigan made Raw Orchard Mix is available for home delivery

 

Elsewhere, we started treating our greens like cut flowers so we could extend their life and keep them vibrant. We handled each plant with extra care, and stood them stem down in water, so they would stay properly hydrated. Now customers tell us time and time again that our produce lasts way longer than what they buy from a typical grocery store.

The next step was to figure out what to do with any spoiled fruit or trimmings from our kitchen...

 

Delivery Sign-up

Wanigan, a plant-powered organic & local food company, conveniently delivers really fresh assortments of organic veggies, fruits, juices and smoothies right to your door.

Our Journey to Zero Produce Waste I

Step 1.

When we decided to go zero produce waste a few years back, there was no roadmap. We weren't even sure exactly how to do it. But we did know we wanted to get rid of the waste, pollution and packaging that comes with the food business. It was driving us crazy!

In its place we wanted to become an organic home delivery company backed up by a nourishing, regenerating business model in harmony with nature.

So, what to do? In a word, 'Simplify.'

We got rid of everything that didn't fit our vision. We stopped selling 100's of heavily packaged grocery products. We started delivering our baskets in paper bags. We delved headlong into the nitty-gritty of buying, storing, and delivering organic produce. Our standard of consistency and quality needed to go up.  Our waste along the way needed to go down, way down - to zero.

So the journey began.

Delivery Sign-up

Wanigan, a plant-powered organic & local food company, conveniently delivers really fresh assortments of organic veggies, fruits, juices and smoothies right to your door.

Canteloupe Super Smoothie

 

This healthy smoothie is inspired by fresh in-season ingredients, namely delicious organic cantaloupes.

 

We created this vibrantly flavoured smoothie because any way you slice it, fresh cantaloupes are awesome!

Summer is in full swing and sipping on this smoothie is a nice way to relax and keep cool. We hope you enjoy it! Order some produce and make it at home with this recipe!

Cantaloupe Super Smoothie:

  • 1 cup of cantaloupe, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ice


Simply blend till smooth and enjoy!

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

This salad is bursting at the seams with superfoods. Kale, quinoa, tahini, hemp, almonds, garlic, olive oil, lemon -- all great tasting ingredients that are amazing for your health.

Though this salad is vegan and gluten-free it offers a whack of protein thanks to the kale, quinoa, nuts and seeds. It makes a great post-workout meal or just a health-conscious meal for any day of the week. Its also totally delicious!

Try making this salad at home with our easy recipe and organic ingredients from Wanigan! 

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

  • 1 bunch of green or black kale, stems removed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, raw or roasted
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • ½ cup chopped almonds

 

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


Tear kale into bite-sized pieces, or shred into ribbons. Place in large mixing bowl and set aside. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of the dressing over kale and massage to soften it. Transfer the kale to a serving bowl and add all other ingredients. Refrigerate to allow kale to continue to soften. Drizzle with more of the dressing before serving.

If you're not already a Wanigan delivery customer and would like to get really fresh assortments of organic fruits and veggies delivered conveniently to your door, simply click here:  SIGN-UP NOW!