Would You Buy a MyHouse Pie Without the Plastic Packaging?

Karen Melton, Weavers Way Plastic Reduction Task Force

While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a slowdown in efforts by the Plastics Reduction Task Force to decrease plastic packaging used at Weavers Way, we were delighted when Swarthmore’s My House Cookies, who supply the Co-op’s pies and quiches along with other baked goods, agreed to test a plastic-free alternative.

According to MyHouse co-owner Tom Connell, the company would love to switch to a more sustainable package than the plastic clamshells used for pies and quiches, but their experience is that people are more likely to buy products they can see. Plastic containers are sturdy and easier to handle, but their footprint is devastating to our planet.

We are counting on the Co-op’s eco-friendly shoppers to show their support for plastic-free packaging and consider buying My House pies in their new compostable Kraft Boxes, which are set to debut in our stores in December. At this point, we’re unsure if the change will take place before or after Hanukkah and Christmas.

Pies regularly available at the Co-op include apple, apple crumb walnut and pecan, with additional varieties available in the spring, summer and fall. The refrigerated prepared foods section always features a variety of quiche options such as broccoli or ham and cheddar.

The food business makes heavy use of plastic containers and wrappers, and these practices are what the PRTF is seeking to change. According to Environmental Health News, more than 360 million tons of plastics were produced in 2018, with almost all of it disposed of after a single-use. Plastics are made from fossil fuels and can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, whether in landfills or the oceans, leeching chemicals and breaking down into smaller and smaller particles. Microplastics can be found in the air we breathe, in fish and other marine life, and even in fruits and vegetables, according to an article published in August on the website Science Direct.

As part of our efforts to promote the packaging switch, the PRTF will be hosting an outdoor pie tasting at all of the Co-op locations later this month. We will adhere to all safety protocols, and ask that if you attend this event you practice social distancing and avoid attending the event if you or anyone close to you has tested positive for COVID within the last 14 days.

We’ve recently put together a survey on shopper use of My House products and their feelings about the packaging change. You can take the survey here: weaversway.coop/cookie-survey

We encourage customers to make purchasing decisions that minimize single-use plastic packaging. And we look forward to post-pandemic days when we can once again resume a deeper level of plastic reduction.