All the ingredients I use are plastic free (clue is in the name) but I also aim to be as sustainable as possible.
Flour: The flour used in all my products has come from a local Mill. This is to help keep the carbon footprint as low as possible. The milling industry already has a very low environmental impact with the largest percent being on the transport of the flour itself. If we can help to reduce that then its a step worth taking.
Butter: Plastic free butter is hard to come by. I have for a long time been making my own butter from cream, but this will be harder to do as the business grows. When making butter from cream you get a bi product called buttermilk, this makes cakes beautifully moist, but will sadly only keep for a few days in the fridge. Its important to me that I don’t create waste and so making my own butter will not be sustainable. Lurpack have brought out butter in cardboard packaging which I use.
Vegan Butter: The Vegan butters I have spotted on the shelves come in “biodegradable” packing. Sadly unless plant based it often contains microplastics, as well as this, unless stated it is often only biodegradable by landfill and not compost. Knowing the my local council do not send any rubbish to landfill and instead burn it (causing huge release of Co2) its not an option I’m willing to consider. So instead I make my own vegan butter, it is something I was initially reluctant to do, as it can be time consuming, however I now think it is so close to the real thing at home I now use vegan butter for my own food, and will possibly be looking at making this swap across my whole range.
Sugar: The sugar used in my bakes is organic as well as fairtrade. It is important to me to know that products I use haven’t been sprayed in pesticides damaging the environment and wildlife that would otherwise thrive. On top of that it is paramount to me that the producers and workers in developing countries are paid a fair wage and given fair living conditions.
Chocolate: If you have already taken a sneak peak at our product here at plastic free baker, you might notice there is a lot of chocolate (suggestions for non chocolate based cookies are welcomed). Like the sugar, all chocolate used is fairtrade, but also free from palm oil; Palm oil is and has been a major driver of deforestation of some of the worlds most biodiverse forests where the palm oil tree is grown. It’s native to Africa, but Malaysia and Indonesia now produce 85 percent of the world’s supply. Clearing land for plantations involves burning rainforest—in the process, endangering rare species and, on peatland, releasing 100 times the greenhouse gas of conventional forest fires. Some companies promise to use sustainable palm oil (using areas where deforestation has already occurred, not chopping down more trees), however a growing amount of companies produce chocolate palm oil and plastic free – so clear winners in my book.
Eggs: I will only buy free range eggs that have an RSPCA logo. The RSPCA ‘assured logo’ means that the hens producing the eggs have been reared on farms with a higher welfare standard than ‘free range’ hens. I also buy eggs that are mixed in size, not just ‘medium’ or ‘large’. 3-5% of smaller eggs (under 45g) go to waste each year because they are too small. I instead just ensure I weigh my eggs to get the perfect mix every time!
Peanut butter: I make my own peanut butter drops to go in the cookies as well as an extra dollop in the mixture for an even better peanut butter taste. The peanut butter I buy comes in a glass jar, does not have added palm oil (see Chocolate) but also comes to the UK via boat instead of air. Transporting food by air emits around 50 times more greenhouse gases as transporting the same amount by sea.
Essences: I mostly use two food essences in my cooking, vanilla and orange. The orange essence I make at home from the peel of an orange mixed with olive oil and stored for over 4 months in a dark space with regular mixing. The vanilla essence, however, I have not yet found find a way to make at home, Vanilla pods need to be kept air tight to keep their freshness and so I am unable to get my hands on them plastic free. I buy pre-prepared vanilla extract that has been approved by the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI) who liaise with the exporters, producers, sector organisations and public authorities ensuring traceability, rights, and fair pay for workers.
Ginger: The production of Ginger is relatively sustainable. There is no significant damage to air, land, and it uses little water to grow. The ginger I purchase and use is organic (see Sugar). The ginger is then turned into stem ginger at home and stored in large jars.
Salt: I use Maldon Rock Salt which I put through a grinder. Maldon Salt is collected using the traditional methods which have continued to cause no harm to the sea since they first started collecting in 1882. As well as that Maldon is close to where I was born and grew up, so its nice to have a bit of home in my baking.
Packaging: The cardboard box that you will receive your purchase in is made 100% from recycled cardboard and can be disposed of with your cardboard waste. (although I recommend you reuse it)
Inside that box is some parchment paper from the brand ‘If You Care’. They ensure that nothing remains of a product once used and disposed of properly. Their products are 100% compostable at home in 180 days, or torn up and put in your council food waste bin where it will decompose in 90 days. It is the same parchment I use for baking all your delicious goodies. (this parchment paper can be reused by yourself a couple of times as well before disposing of it correctly)
The @plasticfreebaker stamp itself is made from 65% post consumed plastic, with a soy based inkpad. Soy based inks are a renewable resource and leave no petroleum behind, meaning it can be using on compostable materials and will still biodegrade.
There is an option to leave a note with your box, although they feel soo luxurious I could hardly believe it myself but these are made form 100% recycled card also, they have a matte finish but is still full recyclable in the normal cardboard recycling. (Although I recommend you keep this little token)
More recently I have moved to printing the Royal mail postage labels at home. This is because I learnt that the Large Royal Mail postage stamp cannot be Recycled (Please remove this from the cardboard and bin separately) however the labels I print at home can be recycled with cardboard or again are completely home compostable. made from cane fibre, and do not contain silicone.
Allergies: EGGS, WHEAT, SOYA and Nuts are used in the baking. Whilst every effort is made to avoid cross contamination, there products are made in a facility that has every allergen present.
If you have any questions about the products I use here at @plasticfreebaker or have any suggestions, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org I will get back to you as soon as possible.