From the Founder, Emily

If you’ve been a Lil Bucks fan for some time, you know we’re always working to be a brand for the new generation of food–one that puts values like sustainability and nutrition at the forefront. These tenets are NEVER an afterthought, even if it’s more expensive and inconvenient, especially as a small business.

You’re probably wondering, “if you’re so into sustainability, why are your pouches plastic???” I’d be wondering that too as a consumer. I spent almost two years researching compostable pouches, and continue to do so. I detail that journey here, but long story short: we haven’t yet found pouch technology that is compostable but still protects our products shelf life for at least 8 months. We did however just come across pouches made from sugarcane and are excited to test them out! I believe in the next five years we’ll have pouches that could be composted. 

In any case, we also need to change our consumer behavior as a whole, to normalize composting and proper recycling so all this effort isn’t for nothing.

One step closer to sustainable packaging

In the meantime, we did find pouch technology that is store-recyclable. Many food wrappers and pouches are made from 2-3 types of plastics, with thin layers of different plastics melded together, making them more difficult to separate and properly recycle. About a year ago we came across a pouch made from mono-material plastic, meaning only one type of plastic, so it can be recycled! 

On our new Clusterbucks pouches and Lil Bucks single serve pouches, you’ll now notice a little “5 – PP” in the recyclable symbol:

The number in the recycle arrows triangle is called the “resin number” and this indicates to recycling facilities what type of plastic it is so it’s properly sorted. 5 / PP stands for polypropylene plastic. This is a pretty common plastic, often found in medicine bottles, straws, bottle caps, syrup bottles, and some yogurt containers. PP plastic can generally have “four lives” of being remade into new plastic products, before no longer being usable (source). 

Again, it’s still plastic, and the goal is to eliminate the use of plastic as much as possible. I list below some things we’re doing to continue plastic reduction, so in the meantime, I challenge everyone (and myself) as consumers to better educate ourselves on how to recycle and compost! Waste Management is a good resource to start, and then your local city will have rules on how they recycle things like food containers and pouches like ours! Some cities even have compost pickups where they bring you a new bucket on a cadence you decide – Chicago has Healthy Soil Compost – they’re amazing! 

The most important thing: THIS IS STORE DROP-OFF RECYCLING

I WISH you could just toss our bags in the recycling bin, and some cities have good sorting processes to find these recyclable materials, but most do not. Please resist the urge to throw these in your recycling bin. You need to recycle our PP bags, along with any other PP materials you get, at stores. 

If you do not have a drop off in your area, we can send you a free label you can print off and send them back to us, and we can recycle them for you. Just ask for one at hola@lovelilbucks.com  You can also ask your local grocery store manager if they would accept them — sometimes stores aren’t listed on the website but they do actually accept PP bags for recycling.

Continuing Plastic Reduction

We are working with RePurpose Global, our plastic-neutral partner, not only on offsetting our plastic carbon footprint by supporting a waste management project in Kenya, but also on our reduction strategies. Some things we are hoping to achieve this year:

  1. Having our new warehouse use biodegradable tape. Our old warehouse didn’t allow us to use custom tape but now we are able to do this!

    • Tip: Generally, if there is still tape on your boxes when you recycle, they will still be accepted at the recycling centers. Look at your local recycling info to confirm this, of course. But having biodegradable tape that can be recycle with the boxes as well, as it’s made from similar fibers, is even better! 
  2. We send out a lot of pallets of product at a time to grocery stores like Whole Foods, and previously the pallet wrap wasn’t counted in our plastic neutral donation, so we will be adding that moving forward. 
  3. Moving our Lil Bucks 6oz pouches to recyclable the next time we need to order… unless we find the sugarcane pouches are ready for us! 
  4. This doesn’t have to do with plastic, per-se, but we are doing some exciting work on the regenerative agriculture front that we’re excited to share. 
  5. What else? We want to hear from YOU any ideas you have for becoming a more sustainable company. It’s an imperfect road and we will always work to improve. You are on this journey with us! hola@lovelilbucks.com