Packaging their eggs in recycled plastic was a brave decision for egg farmers Jodie Viccars and Fabian Fabbro of Woodland Valley Farm.
Despite having done an enormous amount of research, and being certain it was the most environmentally friendly choice, they knew that taking any type of plastic to the farmers markets would raise eyebrows.
“There was many a look of horror,” says Jodie of her first few mornings selling eggs at her local farmers market.
A couple of months on, the plastic cartons still get the odd look of disapproval, but those that have taken the time to stop and chat have discovered the purpose and passion behind Woodland Valley’s packaging.
Made from 100 per cent recycled post-consumer PET (the type of plastic most plastic bottles are made of), the cartons make use of a valuable resource that often ends up in landfill or in our oceans.
“The amount of single use plastic being dumped into the ocean every day is incredible,” said Fabian.
“We’ve really got to find ways to repurpose all that.
“There’s enough plastic on the planet now to last the human population forever… there’s no need to produce any more…we’ve just got to recycle it and reuse it.”
The recycled cartons have a smaller carbon footprint than pulp egg packs, and because they are stronger, there is less breakage and food waste.
The plastic containers are also a more hygienic option for consumers who want to refill their cartons, Jodie says.
The recycled cartons are just one aspect of Woodland Valley’s holistic, sustainable and ethical approach to farming. Following the principles of influential farmer Joel Salatin, the couple are working toward regenerating the land on their old dairy farm at Fernvale (near Burringbar) by using a rotational grazing system. Their cattle are moved from paddock to paddock, followed by the chickens, which break up the cow manure and add nitrogen, improving the pasture.
The chickens are truly free range, roaming outdoors in the sunshine with access to fresh grass and the insects that make up their natural diet, which also helps create a superior egg, Fabian said.
“There are studies that show this method of egg production has a very significant increase in the health benefits available in eggs compared to free range and barn and cage production.”
– Find Woodland Valley Farm at the market every Tuesday.