It's Plastic-Free July - discover how much at Chococo is actually plastic-free
With plastic-free plastic July receiving ever more coverage, we wanted to share with you our approach towards plastics, packaging and sustainability in general.
Ever since 2002, we have cared about the environment. Starting the business a few years after sailing around the world & then becoming a mum, co-founder Claire has alway felt very strongly that we have a duty to look after our planet as much as we can & leave as light a footprint as possible. As both Claire & Andy are sailors, we are very aware of what is happening to our oceans as they become increasingly polluted by plastic. Claire was very upset to hear that microplastics were found deep in the Southern Ocean in the latest Volvo Ocean race, a part of the world that was pristine when she was so privileged to sail there over 20 years ago.
As you may already know, ever since we launched the business back in 2002, all our Selection Boxes are made of cardboard with cardboard grids inside to hold each chocolate in place - we have NEVER used plastic inserts to hold our chocolates (& never will), unlike most other chocolate companies. We are always quite flattered to see other newer chocolate businesses launching with the same cardboard grids inside their boxes - if we have helped reduce other people's usage of plastic, then happy days.
We also offer a 10% discount for any of our customers who brings a selection box back into one of our shops for refilling and have done that since we launched back 2002 too!
We will tidy up the box by replacing the internal paper if it needs it, refill it with the chocolates of your choice & put a new use by date stamp on the bottom of the box. We have seen many much loved & quite elderly boxes being brought back in by regular customers, especially in Swanage!
When buying our loose chocolates & truffles from our display cabinets in our chocolate houses, you are more than welcome to bring your own container for us to put your chocolates into, if you dont want them in a compostable woodpulp bag.
In the world of chocolate though, there is a traditional expectation amongst consumers & retail buyers alike that they should be able to see many chocolate item(s) in its packaging & this has meant plastic, which is a big challenge!
So we are working on 2 fronts - one is to switch away from using packaging that requires any plastic wherever we can & we will be testing this principle with some of our new gifts for this coming Christmas! This will mean that visibility of contents will disappear, but we hope that our customers will be happy to see a display item instore & trust us that the item inside will match the display.
The other is to find more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional plastic and here it is changing fast with more options becoming available for smaller companies like us. So far we have a number of changes - we now use biodegradable & compostable bags made of woodpulp for most of the bagged items in our shops and rigid plastic boxes are made of 70% post consumer recycled plastic & are recyclable again. We also now also use cornstarch cello for wrapping our edible chocolate boxes or cocoa pods - whilst this wrap may look like plastic, it is actually biodegradable & compostable cornstarch. It has quite a different texture to normal cello as you would get with a bunch of flowers for example - it's very crinkly & noisy!
We also have only ever had paper carrier bags in our shops and, in our cafes we offer discounts on takeaway hot drinks if you bring in a reusable cup, paper bags for takeaway cakes, paper straws, wooden spoons & fully compostable tubs for our gelato.
We would also be delighted to give you used coffee grounds for your compost if you would like too. Apparently slugs hate it, so its good to keep them at bay, or even to use as an exfoliator in the shower - it is a wonder product with many uses!
All our chocolate houses are water refill stations, so you are more than welcome to refill your resuable water bottle from our free water dispensers in all our cafes.
We fully appreciate that there is lots more to do to reduce our impact on the environment but we are on the case and care about doing the right thing for us all.