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Herbs', spices' & seasonings' packaging

Spices, herbs, salts, seasonings

Core range

Product

Made from

Recycled content

Bio-degradable

Recyclable

Sustainable resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jars

Glass and sand & soda ash

50+%

x

x

Caps

Stainless steel, ink and plastic gasket

25+%

x

x

Labels

Paper (trees & pulp) and adhesive

30%


By far, the majority of Steenbergs’ ingredients are packed in our core range.  We feel that this is the best way to maintain the quality of the spices, herbs etc, because it protects the volatile oils through the inert barrier created by the glass jar and steel caps, with a great seal via the rubberised gasket in the roof of the lids.  Other producers argue for different solutions, but we believe that glass and tinplate steel (see our premium range) are still, in our opinion, the best methods for packaging aromatic ingredients.

At the core of our packaging is glass, which is reusable, recyclable and is really, truly and genuinely recycled through the local authority schemes across the UK rather than plastics where recycling is less complete as a way of life in the UK.  We also like it as it is inert and so does not result in any migration of chemicals into the foods we package, so preventing any tainting or potential health issues, as far as we are aware.  Furthermore, a good proportion of the raw materials for the glass is from cullett (recycled glass) rather than newly made glass from sand and soda ash.  Because glass is inert, it is not biodegradable, while the sand used for its initial production cannot be recreated.  However, the jars recycle really well (100% recyclable over the piece, but usually a mix of new and recycled glass for strength) and so can be reused to make more glass, while you can wash them out and reuse them by combining with Steenbergs’ refill range or ringing us if you cannot find the replacement on our list of standard products.  The principal supplier of our glass jars is Wm Croxson & Son, which purchases from various suppliers – Noelle +von Campe (Germany) and Primal Glass (India).  For more on glass and glass recycling, go to http://www.britglass.org.uk/about-glass and http://www.recyclenow.com/how_is_it_recycled/glass_bottles.html.

Next comes the lid.  This is made from electrolytic tinplate, which is stainless steel with a thin layer of tinplate, which is then printed on the outside with white (virtually all our products) or gold inks.  Within the lid, there is a gasket which is made of plastic that sits on the top edges where the rim of the glass jar presses against it.  The plastics used vary, with some being polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”) based and others PVC free, but in each case the migration of chemicals from the plastics have been tested and fall significantly below the permissible limits for food packaging.  The centre of the inside lid is coated with food grade varnish.  Similar to glass, stainless steel is 100% recyclable and reusable.  Both stainless steel and tin are inert, so do not impact flavour or have any migration issues, but are not biodegradable and, as it uses as its primary resources, iron (approximately 90%) and chromium (approximately 10%) are not sustainable, because they are mined as ores and then smelted; similarly, the tin is not biodegradable or sustainable, but is recyclable and reusable.  They are recyclable, so put the lids in your kerbside recycling and the metals can be reused, or just clean them well and reuse in conjunction with Steenbergs’ refill range.  The inks and plastics are removed during the recycling process by being burned off at the high temperatures used to melt down the caps.  The primary supplier of our metal caps is through Wm Croxson & Son, which purchases from various suppliers – Capco (Italy), Elmoris (Lithuania) and Grup Vemsa (Spain).  For more on metal recycling, try http://www.recyclenow.com/how_is_it_recycled/cans.html.

We then use two labels – one for the product itself and one as the tamper evident seal.  They are paper based labels, which have been overprinted with water-based inks and varnishes, and use [water-based] adhesives.  The colours used within the inks are chemical pigments and not plant-based, which (as far as we aware) is the same as for everyone else; you do read of some inks that are vegetable-oil based, but no-one ever seems to talk about the pigments themselves, tending to focus on the good and keeping schtum about the bad (or sticking our collective heads in the sand about the colours used).  However, the labels can be soaked off and recycled with other paper or will biodegrade in your compost heap.  The paper itself is sustainable, coming from wood in the first place and secondly with some being recycled; this is good as paper is not 100% recyclable, because as each time it is recycled, the fibres become shorter and shorter, so they do need to be replenished with virgin raw materials.  On the other hand, the inks are not sustainable, being industrial chemicals.  We have used recycled paper for the labels in the past when available, but always using a run-on of someone else’s label paper as we are way too small to be able to buy enough labels to enable us to purchase recycled paper for our own labels; would that we were bigger and could do commission recycled paper labels, but we remain a tiny, little microbusiness, trying our best to do good, but often we just hit dead ends that only big corporate beasties can overcome – the result is they can often look better than us, because of their buying power, and much better marketing and public relations resources.  On the plus side, the backing paper for our labels is glassine paper and we recycle it, plus it is sustainable and biodegradable; label backing paper is a hidden environmental issue as for each 0.9g there is 0.35g of backing paper associated with it that is surplus to requirements!    Many just chuck it rather than recycling it.  The primary supplier for our labels is Norpak, which purchases its label paper mainly from UPM Raflatac, which is the world’s largest processor and user of recycled fibre in the graphics industry and whose environmental policies can be accessed at http://www.upm.com/EN/RESPONSIBILITY/Principles-and-Performance/Pages/default.aspx.  The inks are supplied by Paragon Inks, whose environmental policy is at http://www.paragoninks.co.uk/about-us/environmental-policy.  For more on recycling paper, visit Recycle Now: http://www.recyclenow.com/how_is_it_recycled/paper.html

You do not need to remove the labels from the jars or lids that you are recycling, but the paper itself can be recycled.  We give some more information about recycling at Recycling.

Premium range

Product

Made from

Recycled content

Bio-degradable

Recyclable

Sustainable resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tins

Tin – stainless steel

0%

x

x

 

Window - plastic

0%

x

x

Labels

Paper and adhesive

30%


The premium tins are made from tin with a plastic window.  We hope you reuse them in conjunction with Steenbergs’ refills, but they can be recycled should you so choose.  Steenbergs’ premium tins are manufactured from electrolytic tinplate, which is stainless steel with a thin layer of tinplate, which is then varnished with water-based lacquers.  Within the lid, there is a clear window, which is made from amorphous polyethylene just like Coca-Cola bottles, so these can be recycled through the standard recycling routes; just press the plastic out and recycle as plastic and put the tins in the metal recycling chains.  Both stainless steel and tin are inert, so do not impact the flavour of Steenbergs’ spices or have chemical migration issues, but they are not biodegradable and, as they use iron (approximately 90%) and chromium (approximately 10%) as the primary raw materials are not sustainable, because the primary raw materials are mined as ores and then smelted; similarly, the tin is not biodegradable or sustainable, but is recyclable and reusable.  However, a large proportion of the raw materials for manufacturing the tins does come from recycled product, comprising around 85%.  Steenbergs premium tins are recyclable, so put them in your kerbside recycling and the metals can be reused, or just clean them well and reuse in conjunction with Steenbergs’ refill range, remembering to remove the plastic window carefully beforehand.  The lacquers are removed during the recycling process.  The primary supplier of our metal caps is through Tinware Direct, which purchases from various suppliers in China.  For more on metal recycling, try http://www.recyclenow.com/how_is_it_recycled/cans.html.  

For labels, please refer to the section on Steenbergs’ Core range above.

Refill range

Product

Made from

Recycled content

Bio-degradable

Recyclable

Sustainable resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refill pouches

Plastics

0%

x

x

Labels

Paper and adhesive

30%


Steenbergs refill range is packed into plastic pouches.  These are made from metallised PET and PE.  These materials are not biodegradable or from sustainable sources.  They are recyclable through the plastics recycling schemes, but please make sure you place them into the correct recycling streams.  While the raw materials for this packaging is arguably less green compared glass, but it does allow our customers to refill their spice jars or spice tins, as well as being lighter for transportation, so perhaps saving a little bit of the atmosphere.  We leave it to our customers to make their own personal judgments on the environmental credentials of these containers.  For more on recycling plastics films, please refer to http://www.bpf.co.uk/sustainability/plastics_recycling.aspx#films.

For labels, please refer to the section on Steenbergs’ Core range above.



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