More and more consumers see zero waste shopping not just as a trend that will soon disappear, but as a conscious decision that we can make anew every day.
More than 450 kg of waste are produced per person in Germany – every year! Around half of it is packaging. Especially during the corona pandemic, more packaging ends up in landfills. We want to change that! We wrap our chocolate in compostable Natureflex-foil, to minimize the use of plastic and aluminium-foil. From July 2019 on, we went one step further with our zero waste concept: Besides wrapped chocolate we also offer zero waste chocolate in order to reduce any type of packaging waste. In the following article we will be discussing why we want to forego packaging and how we produce our zero waste chocolate in Ghana.
Why zero waste?
The zero waste mission: We are searching for sustainable alternatives to the daily packaging-mania. But why zero waste – isn’t every kind of packaging recycled and reused? That question still has to be denied: According to the German Federal Environment Agency only 69% of the packaging waste is recycled at the moment, for plastic it’s even less. Partly the waste is burned or exported, especially to countries of the Global South like Malaysia and also Ghana. Here, the waste is burned illegally and the resulting smoke may constitute a health risk for employees and residents on-site.
According to studies, there’ll be a triplication of the produced waste on the african continent until 2050. That’s why people like Antony Peddy, who lives in Bremen and was born in Ghana, try to stop the huge waste problem. With his pilot project he wants to build a modern waste- and recycling facility in Accra, Ghana. After living in England and studying Business in London he visited Ghana in 2015 for the first time. Antony Peddy says the country has a waste problem and he wants to change that. In 2015, he started a company with his Berlin business partner in order to raise funds for his project. For now, Antony Peddy tries to educate people about waste separation and recycling to solve the existing waste problem.
Unfortunately, packaging is mostly needed during food transport and storage. What can we do to conserve natural resources and protect our food at the same time? We can use renewable raw materials which are produced sustainably and environmentally friendly. For instance, the fresh fiber, which is used for the fairafric carton-packaging, whose new design is the outcome of a real German-Ghanaian co-production, and the inner Natureflex-foil from Futamara come from 100% sustainable forestry. In addition, it is compostable, even if the disposal as organic waste is still forbidden by German law. Therefore, we need to avoid packaging wherever possible – ideally before it is produced.
Zero Waste fairafric chocolate
That’s why we started to offer our chocolate without packaging two years ago. First of all: our zero waste chocolate is produced the same way as our wrapped bars in Ghana. The same organic-certified ingredients are used, it is the same high-quality production process and the same partners and employees are involved. Therefore, the final zero waste product has the same high quality as the packaged bars – only the packaging process differs.
Harvested by the farmers of our partner initiative Yayra Glover Ltd., the cocoa beans are removed from the cocoa pods and covered in banana leaves; they are fermented and afterwards they are left in the sun to dry. Subsequently, our partner Chocomac is cleaning and roasting the organic cocoa beans. After the crushing and the milling process the cocoa liquid is produced and the cocoa butter is extracted. Now, all the components are delivered to our new solar-powered factory in the rural region of Ghana, mixed with the remaining organic ingredients and grounded. After the conching and tempering process, the cocoa mass is poured into the moulds and the bars are cooled. Here, every bar gets its unique Made in Ghana imprint. Only during the last step the production route differs: The wrapped bars are packed in Natureflex-foil and cartons; this step is skipped for the zero waste chocolate. 20kg of the finished zero waste bars are packed into bundles without extra packaging. Finally, the delicious and superfair organic chocolate goes on its journey on a container ship to Munich. If you would like to learn more about how our fantastic team in Ghana exactly produces the unique flavor and what exactly conching is, check out our blogpost fairafric Chocolate Time.
Where can you find the fairafric zero waste chocolate?
In 2014, the first German zero waste shops opened in Berlin and Kiel. Ever since, the number of new openings and the interest in zero waste has risen steadily. Today, you can find our zero waste chocolate in about 96 zero waste shops. Until now, we have sold 4800 kg of zero waste chocolate. That’s a share of turnover of around 10 %. In total, we saved carton packaging and foil of more than 60.000 bars with our zero waste chocolate. One challenge of zero waste shipment is the high fat content of chocolate. That means the chocolate could absorb packaging substances. Therefore, we decided to use food-safe coated paper bags, and we are currently working on a refund system with 10 litre buckets. Besides the environmental protection, there is a further advantage of our zero waste concept: You can fill as much fairafric chocolate in your personal container as you like, regardless of the size of the bars.
Almost ¾ of Germans are delighted by the concept of zero waste shops. Still, only one out of ten has already visited one of them. Let’s change that and revolutionize the packaging world! One big disadvantage most consumers mention is the high prices offered in zero waste shops. We have good news for you: The price of our zero waste chocolate is even lower than the price of our wrapped bars. To give every single zero waste shop the chance to include our chocolate in their portfolio, we don’t request any minimum order amount. As our direct customers, our 4 kg zero waste mix is waiting for you in our online-shop.
We are convinced that in particular the economy and also we as food producers are responsible for the minimization of packaging waste and environmental protection. That’s why we want to provide our customers the possibility to enjoy our delicious organic chocolate without producing extra garbage. We think, not everybody has to live 100% sustainable, but when we start taking small steps, we can stop the packaging madness. Are you with us? Then have a look at our store locator and find our zero waste chocolate in a store near you. We are always searching for new zero waste shops: if you haven’t found us in your favorite shop, we are excited to hear from you.