WE HATE OUR TAPE!

At All Good, we believe in the power of being Good Together, and Being Good to the Planet is at the heart of everything we do. Which is why we hate our tape so much! We’ve been working hard since 2015 to find a sustainable solution to the tape on our bananas. We want to share with you more about what we’re doing to replace our tape with an eco-friendlier option.

by Faye MacGregor on March 21, 2022
 Why do we need the tape? 

For Supermarkets to stock our delicious, Fairtrade bananas, they require a barcode on each of our bunches. Only the non-Fairtrade suppliers can sell their bananas loose! You can find our bananas loose in places like Moore Wilson’s (who are long-term supporters of All Good) as we are their main banana supplier.

What are the biggest challenges in finding an alternative? 

When looking for an alternative tape that differentiates our Fairtrade bananas from conventional bananas, we need to ensure the following:

Strength: Our Fairtrade bananas are a different price to conventional bananas because we pay fair prices to our growers, enabling them to farm sustainably, and create a better future for the communities who grow our bananas. Sometimes, people will try to pull our tape off and put it through the checkouts at a lower price - so our tape needs to be strong.

Waterproof: Our bananas are washed in Ecuador, so they remain wet for their three-week journey to NZ and hit supermarket shelves at peak freshness. Any alternative we find must be waterproof, so the barcode doesn’t tear or disintegrate.

Volume: We bring in a large quantity of bunches every week, and every bunch of All Good bananas is wrapped by hand! Any alternative must be quick and efficient to handle the more than 80,000 bunches we bring in each week.

What options have you explored? 

We’ve spent five years testing other options. Due to the warm temperatures and moisture present in the banana boxes, it continues to be a challenge, but one we are actively trying to solve.

So far, we’ve tried:

  1. Dipping in wax: wax is made of petroleum so did not meet our criteria for being environmentally friendly, and is tricky to administer in large quantities.

  2. Cardboard with gloss: the constant hydration of the bananas meant the paper material disintegrates during its journey.

  3. Lasering: this involves putting a laser tattoo on the bananas once they’ve arrived in NZ, and just before they go on store shelves. All bananas need to be taken out of the box, put on a conveyor belt, receive a laser tattoo and repacked - the more they’re handled the faster they deteriorate. During our trials the banana skin began to rot quite rapidly, so lasered bananas need to be sold and eaten quickly - which isn’t always practical and doesn’t meet our commitment to provide quality, tasty bananas to Kiwis.

  4. Recycled sugarcane (bagasse): the samples of tape still contained plastic (!)

  5. Mixed recycled paper: this tape ripped and stuck onto the banana skin during the journey, potentially due to its lack of flexibility

  6. Paper based tape: this tape material ripped after the bananas had ripened, as it wasn’t strong enough

  7. Compostable tape: this tape partially decomposed on its journey over to New Zealand. At the moment no where in the world is there a home compostable tape for bananas, due to the conditions that are in during transit

  8. Cardboard based tape: there was no elasticity to this tape, meaning when the bananas swelled from hydration, it could tear.

 What are other banana brands doing? 

We’ve taken our search global. After exploring every major banana market, we couldn’t find any suppliers or banana brands offering a commercial, fully compostable, or biodegradable alternative. Lidl Ireland released their biodegradable banding for their Fairtrade bananas from the Dominican Republic in July 2018. However, after two months, they pulled it off the market due to quality issues.

What’s next for All Good? 

We will continue to investigate a sustainable alternative tape with our suppliers and update you with the different materials we have tried and tested.

Our tape is now soft plastic recyclable, this is by no means a long term solution for us but it’s a step in the right direction. If there are no soft plastic recycling bins close to you, please get in contact with us and we will happily recycle it for you.

We want to keep you all in the loop and ensure we are doing all we can to be good for the growers, good for the land and good for you.

We appreciate it takes effort to make positive change and that we’re in this together.

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