'Practicing Sustainability' is in reference to the fact that this little business is a constantly-evolving project. We (in typical Melbourne Millennial style) practice sustainable living in our everyday lives, so we've been gradually morphing these practices into the fibres of TFZ, too. We haven't reached eco-perfection yet, but here are some of the ways in which we're making an effort:
Though the ease of cardboard boxes is addictive (and so many of you were SO good at remembering to return them!), they typically only lasted 1-3 deliveries before they started looking rank (and yes, that is the official and highly professional term for it).
It's tricky (read: near impossible) to find a zero- or low-waste fresh produce delivery service in Melbourne. Never ones to shy from a challenge, we began phasing in reusable produce crates in the middle of 2022.
The system is simple: start a subscription with a reusable crate, pay a $10 deposit (built into the initial price already), receive your crate of fresh produce, and then leave the empty crate at your door the following Wednesday for our team to collect as they deliver your next batch of fresh produce. And so the cycle continues! When you're ready to wrap up your subscription, just give us a heads up prior to your final delivery so that we can bring your last box of produce in a cardboard box and refund the deposit.
At the time of writing this, shifting to reusable crates is set to keep almost 8,000 cardboard boxes from moving through our warehouse each year.
According to Packsize, that equates to over 50 trees!
That ain't half bad.
We've partnered with Makeshift Coffee Roasters to implement the same circular economy system with their delicious coffee. The boys roast your coffee each Monday, grind it fresh for you on Wednesday morning, and then we deliver it to your door in reusable tins for you to enjoy. Return the tin to us with your next delivery, and you'll score $4 off your next coffee purchase!
We're on a mission to minimise food waste as much as possible. Here's the hierarchy of how we tackle that:
- Notice how there's no 'Next Day Delivery' option at TFZ? These systems typically rely on a backlog of fresh stock, which is all scrapped when the fruit and veg is no longer suitable for distribution. By closing orders at midnight on Monday, Vic & Caity can walk into the wholesale markets on a Wednesday morning with an exact idea of how much produce we need for the deliveries that day. Our fresh produce comes into the warehouse at 7am, and hits the road to your doorstep by 1pm!
- At the end of their shift, our hardworking team grab a box of leftover produce for themselves.
- All produce that is still fit for consumption but ain't pretty enough to make it to your doorstep is sent to our mates at Open Table, where it gets turned into free community lunches for our surrounding area.
- Any remaining crunchy bits are added to the boxes of our customers who have bunnies, guinea pigs, chickens etc. for a tasty treat. Reach out if you'd like some bunny bits too!
- When we've exhausted all other options, Waste Ninja composts the remainder for us! There's no fresh produce reaching landfill on our watch.
ALL OTHER WASTE
The agricultural industry is rife with single-use products. Styrofoam, soft plastics and waxed boxes are considered to be a necessary evil, no matter how much wheeling and dealing we do.
- Soft plastics and styrofoam boxes are returned to Melbourne Market, where they are recycled in their specialised facilities. Fun fact: this styrofoam gets recycled into picture frames!
- Waxed boxes are utilised for our large produce boxes as a first priority, returned to our suppliers as a second priority, or thrown in the trash as a last resort. These are a big thorn in our side, so if you have any suggestions, let us know!
KEEPIN' IT LOCAL
Though supporting Aussie farmers will always be our main incentive for supplying local produce, there's actually a profound environmental impact to it, too. Not only are we avoiding the emissions and food waste linked to fresh produce imports, but we're also ensuring that a premium product makes it to your doorstep. Our farmers are held to an exceptionally high standard when it comes to food production, so you won't find any unregulated toxins in your produce (and your garlic is bleach-free!).
We're always on the search for new and improved business practices. Got an idea in mind? Get in touch!