How can I reuse or recycle (and reduce my use of) Graze boxes?

Ok, this is a bit of a rant dressed up as a Recycle This style question – it’s a genuine question but I feel the need to rant too! ;)

So many people in my (geeky) world are going nuts for these at the moment and it makes me want to cry — all the packaging, all the waste.

Graze boxes are designed to lure people away from vending machines and sugary snacks at work and get them eating more natural, healthier alternative instead. For £3.29 a pop, you get a box of snacks delivered to your desk instead – four different snacks (such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, olives or crackers) inside little film-covered plastic tubs and encased in a cardboard box. The idea is to have them delivered regularly – several times a week – so you’re never tempted by that Mars bar or long-life vacuum-sealed muffin.

Graze’s claim to have thought carefully about the packaging – the cardboard is from a sustainable forest, is designed to be use as little material as possible & can easily be recycled again, and Mrs G from My Zero Waste asked about the plastic of the pots and it’s apparently PETE (resin code 1) which is widely recyclable where plastics are recycled.

Yes, it’s good news that the plastic is widely recyclable plastic – but getting a pack of it delivered to your door is hardly reducing waste (the first and most important of the 3Rs) and it’s not obviously reusable either. Where plastics aren’t kerbside recyclable, that PETE is likely to end up in the bin – and even the cardboard might too since offices don’t always have full recycling facilities.

(I’ll try to remain on topic with my rant here and not get into: i. how much energy is wasted transporting these light but bulky items around the country; ii. how much more expensive they are than buying the items directly; iii. how it’s easier to buy something than make a genuine lifestyle change.)

Anyway, I think you probably get the gist of my annoyance so let’s get constructive instead: the packaging can be recycled where facilities are available, any reuse suggestions though?

And what about reducing people’s use of them? Do you have any tips or suggestions how people could have the same healthy snacking experience without so much packaging?

(PS. sorry for the ranting ;) )

(CCA Photo by philcampbell)

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20 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle (and reduce my use of) Graze boxes?”

  1. Clare says:

    I stopped getting Graze because of the amount of packaging. It’s a shame you can’t send some it back for re-use. The snacks were soooo tasty and I really miss them. Some of them are really hard to get elsewhere, too. I keep meaning to try my own recipes — but I know I’d just scoff the lot, rather than nibbling on a little portion.

    I used to bring myself a week’s supply of healthy snacks packed in single portions in tiny plastic boxes and stash them in my desk drawer. It kept me away from the snack machine, anyway.

    Would it be worth starting a snack club at work? Each member buys (or makes) a healthy snack in bulk and then divvies it up between the other members. Members could

    And would it be worth asking whoever controls the snack machine for less muffins and more (good quality) dried fruit, nuts and seeds? We asked for more healthy stuff in ours, though, and they said: “But you’ve got shortbreads and chocolate flapjacks!”

  2. Bellen says:

    Never having heard of Graze before I was dumbfounded. Pay for snacks to be delivered to your desk and worry about the waste?! Pack your own snacks in reusable containers – either a week’s worth or on a daily basis depending on what you’re in the mood for. Usually it was daily with my from home lunch, but sometimes a few containers so I’d have more choices.

    I did it for myself and the kids – sometimes dried or fresh fruit, cookies, even homemade candy, trail mix, granola, and sometimes just repackaged purchased snacks like Goldfish crackers.

  3. Alice says:

    That sounds extremely annoying.

    Invent some plausible-sounding reuse for them and ask everyone at work to save the boxes for you. Leave them somewhere everyone can see them for a long time so they really pile up.

    See if the sheer volume puts people off – it can really make you get sick of eating something if you’re confronted with the actual volume you’ve consumed over time!

    Obviously people could just bring a few normal packets of fruit and nuts into work instead, they’re just being lured by the packaging, branding and the “concept”.

    Work on destroying the feelings they have about the brand – leaving knackered packaging lying around helps with this, also try storing tampons in the empty boxes, keeping them in the toilet area if at all possible (maybe just regularly leave a box visible in the bin in the loos), bringing your own sandwiches in a reused Graze box and then letting it go mouldy in the fridge, etc.

    Keep some handy at all times so that if anyone spills anything on the floor you can use the Graze packaging to scoop it up and bin it.

    You get to be creative, you get your revenge, and you eventually undermine the effects of all that advertising on your annoying coworkers as they start to associate those boxes with some really unappetising stuff!

  4. anna says:

    Bring your own snacks. Fresh fruit, or dried fruit or nuts or whatever you fancy.
    It’s much cheaper than buying snacks from the vending machines or having htem delivered to your desk. And less packaging – a small plastic or other container will last years of use.

  5. Sarah says:

    I had my first graze box this week and loved it. The cardboard box has gone ito the pile to send book swaps out in as it’s the perfect size for a book with an envelope reuse label. The inner has gone into the compost heap, and the plastic containers have gone into my recycling bag. Woohoo!

    Plus I didn’t have to drive to town and park to go to the health food shop. Even better :)

    • Katie says:

      I’m really pleased to see somebody speaking of Graze positively and actually doing their bit. A ‘lifestyle change’ is exactly what is required and Graze are just a small example of things that people need to do to create a sustainable way of life.
      it is easy to say go and buy the snacks from a health food shop or just package your own dried fruit and nuts, but are you forgetting that many of Graze snacks are actually unique? £3.79 delivered is competitive when you consider that all the health food shops and supermarkets have to get their stock delivered too? Graze simply delivers is straight to the consumer since they operate online.
      We must remember that the items are fresh, the brand has personality and consumers are well informed with such things as the info cards inside boxes and the menu system online.
      Inevitably the boxes and inner plastics aren’t ideal, and do need a re-think, but praise for a company attempting to aid this ‘lifestyle change’.

      • Alice says:

        “The brand has personality”? Sorry but no one says things like that in real life. Katie if you work for Graze then it is unethical to leave comments on sites like these without saying so.

        The world needs more real change and less brand “personality”.

  6. Louba says:

    I´m mostly with the pack your own lunches camp but there is something very attractive about being able to get healthy food delivered to your office too if you are stuck for time and still want to eat well. If the company are delivering to a location on a regular basis anyway I wonder if they would be open to a couple of suggestions – one being to make the packaging totally reusable so that they deliver and then pick up the used packaging on their next drop off. The option might add too much to the cost though and be unattractive to the producer. The other being to continue with the current packaging but to pick it up and arrange for it to be recycled for the customer. The recycling facilities in my office are very poor and even at home recycling any pastic other that plastic bottles requires a trip to the council recycling plant. The cost involved in the second option shouldn´t be too high and might have a chance of flying if enough people ask? Maybe I´m being a bit naive, but if they want to show socially responsible aims they might just go for it!

  7. Sarah says:

    Mine comes by royal mail so it is delivere to my home with my letters :)

  8. peter r says:

    I think the problem here is that people are eating at their desks and not going out for lunch any more. Have a good breakfast at home in the morning, for lunch go out and go to a nice cafe for lunch and take your time eating it and then have a good evening meal. The need to graze is not good for the body as you do not move away from the computer. Also going out for lunch helps the local economy and keeps towns vibrant with a good cafe culture. I live in France and the thought of eating over your computer of lunch would be frowned upon, having a good lunch out is so much better for you and the food will be cooked well and not be packed in plastic and cardboard, but on a nice plate. Well there is my rant to add to this one. Change the way you eat and you will not have this problem of recycling snack food packaging and Grazers are just that, snack food.

    • Katie says:

      Although your comments can be appreciated, many people do not have time in their workplace to take a lot of time over eating lunch and may not work within an area open to lots of eateries. It is not unhealthy to snack, it is unhealthy to eat the wrong foods in big portions. Graze snacks include four options and are from a variety of types, many I haven’t seen or tasted before. The main thing to look at is the packaging, not the concept.

  9. cmdweb says:

    I haven’t seen Graze snacks anywhere but between producer to wholesaler, wholesaler to packager, packager to distributer, distributer to consumer, I’ll bet the food miles on these things is crazy – let alone the amount of packaging.

  10. I buy dried fruit, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, unsalted nuts, and cereal in the largest size and most sustainable packaging available and store them in airtight jars [even steel powdered milk cans and large glass jars (Reuse #1) work — throw in a silicone dehumidifier packet or two from your vitamin bottles (Reuse #2)]. Then I use clean laundry scoops (Reuse #3) to scoop them and put them in my compartmentalised food saver and bring the snacks to work or on trips with me! Saves me a hang of a lot of money!

  11. Cipollina says:

    Here we have an excellent occasion to pull in a fourth R among the usual 3 (reduce/reuse/recycle) – namely *REFUSE*.

  12. I am organising a series of workshops and one of the artists involved is going to use old Graze boxes to make books so anyone in Wirral can drop them off at The Green Community shop and Centre in Oxton (NW of England).

  13. Leah says:

    Hi there. I do agree with all that’s said but I just love Graze and find that it’s such a nice thing to get post that’s tasty :) But what I do with my boxes (only had six so far so I don’t know exactly how long I can carry it on for) is to actually re-use them! I bought a few tester paints from B&Q that are like £1.10 a pot in the colour scheme of my room and I painted the boxes all nice and I use them as jewelery and make-up boxes, even some medicines can fit in them. The plastic containers the food comes in can be cleaned and either painted or left and used to separate compartments. I know it sounds a bit crappy but they actually do look quite nice and because they’re all the same size and shape they look really neat and are pretty good for storage…

  14. Sarah says:

    I have just renovated my kitchen and have bought the latest energy efficient electrical appliances :-) However the amount of bits of paper that come with these items (receipt, warranty, installation guide, user manual, etc.) just seemed to create a paper mountain on the shelf. I was trying to find some A5 box files but in the slim version, so that I could organise these neatly on the shelf… Then an idea popped in my head… Graze Boxes! Just the right size!

  15. GEDEE says:

    Don’t apologise for the rant. Thanks for expressing the view. These sorts of things drive me nuts (!). Why can’t folk just buy a few tupperware and large bags of the snacks, then re-fill themselves. Surely that is a more eco way to munch?

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