Save Tons of Plastic

Food retailer Rewe and ECF Farmsystems are testing new ways of product packaging: The “capital city basil” produced in Berlin is now being packaged plastic-free. The innovation has a pilot function and may soon be rolled out more widely.

ECF Farmsystems’ “Capital City Basil”, which is available in 280 Rewe stores in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, will now be packaged more sustainably, namely in recycled paper instead of plastic. This means that there is no longer a plastic pot: if the customer cuts the paper bag along printed lines, the paper bag serves as a pot replacement. According to Rewe, up to 7.2 tons of plastic can be saved annually – around 2.1 tons due to the elimination of the plastic bags that used to wrap the basil. And about 5.1 tons due to the elimination of the plastic pot.

Innovation has a pilot function

If the new packaging method proves itself in practice and is successful with the customer, its use can also be expected for other herb pots and nationwide, says Rewe. Rewe and ECF Farmsystems have already broken new ground in transport packaging in 2017. They dispensed with plastic irrigation trays for the “capital basil”, saving six tons of plastic waste per year, according to their own statements. After the test, Rewe also dispensed with transport irrigation trays for other products available nationwide, which reduced plastic consumption by 90 tons per year for potted herbs alone.

Food from the big city

The “Capital Basil” grows in Berlin-Schöneberg, on the site of an old malt factory. „Urban Farming”, in which, for example, old industrial areas in cities are used for the cultivation of food, is in vogue. ECF Farmsystems focuses on “Aquaponics”, a mixture of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (vegetable growing). The breeding of cichlids is combined with the cultivation of herbs. The herbs are fertilized with the water from the fish farm. Local cultivation shortens transport routes and cold chains for more sustainability and freshness.

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