Every Prodigy chocolate bar is wrapped in plastic-free, compostable packaging — and it always will be. Read on to see why being plastic-free is so important to us, and the eco-friendly alternative we use.
It’s time for a new dawn in sweet snacking. That means delicious, real chocolate crafted from real ingredients and made for real chocolate-lovers. But that’s not all. With so many chocolate bars wrapped in ocean-destroying, carbon-footprint stomping plastic wrapping, we believe that our future snacking needs to be truly delicious AND better for our planet.
That’s why we said no to plastic and embraced a natural alternative...
Give your local supermarket shelves a scan and you’re likely to see more plastic than actual food. Fruit, vegetables, coffee, sweets — it’s hard to buy one thing that’s not bundled up in a layer or two of plastic. In fact, it’s estimated that 900,000 tonnes of plastic packaging sit on supermarket shelves every year.
When we look at the impact plastic has on not only our planet but our health, this number starts to feel a whole lot larger.
Plastic’s lifecycle begins with its core ingredients. For synthetic plastic that’s coal, natural gas or crude oil. Getting these fossil fuels out the ground involves different processes — none of them good. Whether it’s mining, fracking or drilling, each one causes serious damage to our environment, wildlife and health.
While processes evolve and governments have their own laws on how materials are gathered, these are the basic steps on how mining, fracking and drilling takes place.
Coal mining has had some changes over the last few decades. There’s more machinery, fewer miners and, since 1986, no canaries. However, in terms of its impact on the environment, many things have either stayed the same or gotten worse. With more powerful tools to rip up earth and rock, modern-day mining can strip our landscape of its trees and vegetation and leave it permanently scarred. And this is just what we can see. Once the coal is pulled from the earth, the ore waste, called toxic mine tailing, are left. These are teeming with dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, radium and mercury.
While it’s become less common, some mining companies still dump this toxic tailing into oceans and rivers, causing catastrophic damage to aquatic life. Tailings that aren’t dumped are usually kept on the mining site and held back by dams. Because tailing doesn’t become less polluted as time goes on, these dams need to be permanent structures. However, since the 1990s there’s been more than 78 major dam breaks worldwide — leading to poisoned water supplies, deaths and destroyed homes.
Then there’s fracking. Formally called hydraulic fracturing, fracking is a drilling method that involves shooting a mix of water and chemicals into rock formations, releasing natural gas hidden in air pockets. This is a heavy-duty process that requires heavy-duty equipment. And the result is industrial-sized drills overwhelming landscapes alongside spikes in earthquakes caused by the strength of the fractures.
And fracking doesn’t just affect the landscape. Emissions from the drilling can include methane and hydrogen sulphide, which when released into the air can cause respiratory problems. Along with this, fracking produces huge amounts of toxic ‘wastewater’ or ‘flowback’, which if not properly stored or refused can infect water supplies, remaining there for decades.
Imagine a production method that drastically increases greenhouse emissions, disrupts environmental habits, drains valuable water supplies and releases seismic signals that can last up to a month — all while working at its safest. That’s oil drilling.
Taking place on and offshore, oil rigs will drill around 5,964 feet into the ground to collect crude oil. The heavy-weight oil rigs cause drastic disturbance to wildlife habitats while increasing land erosions which can lead to landslides and flooding.
However, it’s the accidents that cause the most damage. Oil spills cause devastating impacts on the environment, humans and wildlife. The mix of oil and water creates a substance called mousse, which clings to wildlife and natural habitats, destroying delicate ecosystems and causing animals to become sick and die. It also pollutes water supplies, crippling communities and increasing the risk of debilitating health issues.
Gathering the materials to make plastic causes catastrophic impacts, but the damage doesn’t end once it’s made.
When the packaged foods’ been unwrapped and the bins have been emptied, the majority of our everyday plastic ends up in landfills. There are over 500 landfills in the UK alone, with more and more popping up every year. When a landfill is close to overflowing, its contents are buried under a mix of clay and soil. The collection of rubbish oozes toxic wastewater called leachate, which needs to be collected and chemically treated before being released.
And this is just the plastic that gets to landfills. Litter, plastic-based materials put down drains and plastic falling off rubbish trucks can all end up in our oceans. And once it’s there, it’s there for years. Along with polluting our water supplies and destroying habitats, microplastics can harm and even kill aquatic life, causing massive disruption to the food chain.
But, what about recyclable plastics? While recycling is a positive step towards eco-friendly change, it’s always not the saviour it’s portrayed as. With not enough sure-fire methods to make sure plastic is recycled, around 90% of plastic that could be recycled still ends up in landfills and in our oceans.
That’s a staggering number that we want to help change, and with dedication and plastic-free alternatives and the promotion of industry change, we can.
What are the alternatives?
Plastic causes an incredible amount of damage to the planet, but alternatives are being developed — and they’re getting better over the years.
An incredible plastic-free material that we use for all our Prodigy wrappers is something called NatureFlex. Made of cellulose from sustainably sourced wood pulp, NatureFlex looks like plastic, acts like plastic, but is 100% biodegradable and compostable. When you’ve finished a Prodigy chocolate bar all you need to do is pop the wrapper in your food waste bin, where it will naturally break down.
But what if you don’t have a food waste bin?
The UK waste collection service varies from council to council, with conflicting rules on what can and can’t be collected. There has been a push for change though, and in 2023, all councils will need to provide food waste bins and accept compostable and biodegradable waste and packaging. Until then, if one of our wrappers skips the recycling bin, falls off a rubbish truck, or ends up as litter on the street, it and the compostable inks and glues it’s made with, will fully break down in just 12-18 months.
Imagine that replacing every single plastic wrapper!
A plastic-free planet
We don’t believe that a shiny wrapper is worth the damage and devastation plastic causes - especially when there are so many eco-friendly alternatives to use.
We believe that producing great tasting chocolate should go hand in hand with looking after our planet. Using sustainably sourced ingredients, natural unrefined sugars, and clever materials like NatureFlex, we can create rich, smooth and totally indulgent chocolate that makes a positive impact on our planet — and encourages other brands to join the natural revolution.
Explore our range of Chocolate bars… all wrapped up in plastic free, 100% biodegradable and compostable packets.