At Sweetree honey we are passionate about sustainability, we take good care of our bees, we are careful about wastage, we don't use plastic anywhere through the honey process and we pack our honey in the most sustainable form we know, glass.
We do our best to be sustainable in all areas of our business but unfortunately there’s no such thing as perfection. Product labels have been a tricky one. We initially chose our labels because we loved them, they were simple, clear and sophisticated. We have recently carried out a review of our labels and have been advised by many label companies that our current labels are the most environmentally friendly currently available in New Zealand. They are 100% plastic and therefore the label and the backing can be recycled in soft plastics recycling, where as other labels are usually multi material labels and difficult to recycle.
Paper labels would be more desirable and yes there are paper labels and we have investigated these but have been advised these aren't as eco-friendly as you may think. What dictates the eco friendliness of labels, the recyclability or compostability of the label, is both the adhesive (the layer that sticks it to the jar) and the coating (the layer over the top, like a varnish), which protects the paper from staining from product (eg honey dripping down the jar or deterioration from moisture). Also the backing paper of these labels is currently un-recyclable in NZ, due to the silicon in the backing paper which allows you to peel your label off the roll. No label is 100% green in NZ yet but we will continue to look for better options.
Sweeetree's current label supplier has a good system for managing waste, has reduced emissions, does not use solvents in plate making, supports many local causes and has a good chain of custody in place. Both our label and backing of the label can be recycled in soft plastic recycling and turned into something else. If you have trouble getting our label off the jar, just warm it up with a hairdryer or something similar and pop it in soft plastics recycling!