Welcome to The Hut – Irwell Food Company’s Blog.

We will be discussing all kinds of news, promotions, events relating to our business. As well as speaking openly about our beloved Rossendale Community and raising environmental issues relatable to our business.

Blog 1 : Q: Why is eco-friendly packaging important to us?

Climate change…the thing Greta Thunberg and the hundreds of thousands of people marching at Parliament Square are protesting. It’s never been more prominent in our society as it has been this year.

One of the biggest (of many) culprits is the production and use of Polystyrene/Styrofoam packaging. Like some plastics – it can’t be recycled and takes thousands of years to break down.

So when we had the opportunity to open The Hut we decided we would be a takeaway in Rawtenstall that not only delivers great locally sourced food, but we would do everything we could to be environmentally friendly. We had the vision to be as renewable as possible and one of the biggest parts of that was to look at how we would package our food.

Our current Eco-Friendly packaging. We looked into all kinds of packaging from companies like Bid Food, Nisbets, Bookers and more.

Opening at a time when McDonald’s were still using plastic straws and Starbucks hadn’t started their reusable cup campaign; lots of restaurants local to us, across the UK and worldwide didn’t feel the need to use eco-friendly packaging. Yet we knew it was possible to create exceptional food that was packaged safely in renewable materials. We were so confident we wrote it into our business plan.

The assumption was made that incorporating this into our business would be at a huge cost, but we found a supplier who could provide us with exactly what we wanted at an amazingly reasonable price. Before we had even started out; when we had no idea how our takeaway would do, using this eco-friendly packaging was still well within our budget. What’s even better is that most of these suppliers have the ability to scale to restaurants that are exponentially bigger operations than ours. There’s no reason other businesses shouldn’t follow our direction.

So why is our first blog post about packaging and not food?

Easy. We want to influence others to take the step too. If just one other business like ours takes the step towards eco-friendly packaging it’s been worth it.

Polystyrene or Styrofoam (Brand-Name) packaging doesn’t just make food sweat, like many of us will have experienced, it can’t be recycled and research has also proven that harmful toxic chemicals can leak out from the material into our food and drink. Whilst also mentioning the possibly even worse effects for other species who could eat the packaging directly or become trapped by it floating in our oceans. All in all, it’s just a horrible material.

Not a great catch in the ocean today for this seagull. This could be it’s last meal.
Our wildlife roams the world freely. They can’t tell if something they encounter is natural to our earth or not. We know, yet we choose to use materials and chemicals un-natural to our way of living.

In December 2018, Manchester University completed a study into takeaway packaging relating to sustainability.

“A new study estimates there are 2025 million takeaway containers per year being used in the European Union (EU) alone. It also says finding a way to recycle disposable takeaway containers could help reduce equivalent greenhouse gas emissions generated annually by 55,000 cars.”
“Styrofoam containers are currently not recycled and cannot be considered a sustainable packaging option. The study estimates that recycling half of the containers currently in use, as envisaged by the EU recycling policy for the year 2025, would reduce their carbon footprint by a third. This would save 61,700ft CO2 eq. per year at the EU level, equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions generated annually by 55,000 cars. Most other impacts would be reduced by more than 20%.”

Yet this article in 2018 was also saying that Polystyrene/Styrofoam packaging is the best of the bunch of non-recyclables having 50% lower carbon footprint than aluminium and three times lower than the plastic. This is because of the lower amount of materials and energy used in the production of styrofoam compared to the other two types of containers. This does not look into other research completed and it has been said that Polystyrene/Styrofoam packaging can actually also have harmful chemicals that can leech into food and drink.

Recently, it has been brought up that the UK Government will be bringing in a ban on Polystyrene/Styrofoam packaging 2021

Even worse, a previously mentioned article goes onto say “styrene” (the chemical used to make Poly/Styrofoam packaging) is classified as a carcinogen to humans according to the National Research Council. Back in 1986, a study by the EPA detected Styrene in 100% of human tissue and breast milk samples.”

It all looks bleak for the earth and for our health if we keep using Poly/Styrofoam packaging.

Generation Z are doing a far better job at bringing awareness to the effects we’re having on the environment. Not everyone accepts climate change, but at The Hut we are doing everything we can to make a difference, and if we all work together in our communities we could witness the change that could go further than the Rossendale valley.

If you have any questions about what changes we are making, come in and see us.

Next Steps…

Our advice would be to research more, become aware of products that you might be encountering on a daily basis and set yourself challenges to stay clear of them, or make an effort to minimize the usage of them.

You can count on our food, ethos, and service to always follow the path for a greener earth and valley. We want to be the best takeaway in Rossendale, not just for food but for taking the steps in the early days when we are only just realizing the damage our species is causing to the planet.