Maggie Jones Patton is the co-founder of Bitsy’s, a company that makes organic snacks for families, all of which are all baked with vegetables. Maggie co-founded Bitsy’s out of a simple belief that healthy bodies and healthy minds are connected and learning to eat smart should be fun. Maggie consults and presents nationally and has been featured on Reading Rainbow, The Today Show, MSNBC, CBS, and others.
What is Bitsy’s doing when it comes to sustainable packaging?
We explored alternative packaging sources and materials, but they were cost prohibitive. As a small company whose focus is on adding organic vegetables to our products, margins are tight. Furthermore, when it comes to food for kids, price is a huge factor.
Because of that, we haven’t had the space in our margins to buy more expensive packaging, even though we’d like to. Plus, it’s hard to find the right technology around packaging, and we can’t afford to buy our own packaging equipment.
That being said, our boxes are recyclable, but we had to make choices about other special materials.
So, how did you deal with this?
Given our situation, we are somewhat restricted — for the time being — in terms of what we can do with our packaging.
However, my co-founder, Alex Buckley Voris, and I are very committed to the environment, and we did not want to give up. Fortunately, we came across a company called GreenPrint, which has given us an answer and a solution.
What is GreenPrint and what do they do for you?
GreenPrint is an environmental technology company, and it works with brands, such as ours, who are wanting to reduce the negative effects of their environmental footprint. In short, they help us offset the carbon cost of our product.
GreenPrint does this by calculating the emissions of each product unit and then we pay to reinvest that same amount into sustainable energy projects, like tree plantings or collecting plastic bottles from the ocean.
Why did you choose GreenPrint?
It doesn’t make sense mathematically to do a lot of other things. We felt it was our responsibility to do the best job possible, and our customers also have an expectation for sustainability. GreenPrint has the expertise and knowledge, and they give us guidance around measuring our environmental impact so we can neutralize our carbon footprint. It’s a turnkey solution — there’s no downside to it.
Even though we haven’t solved the problem with our packaging, this helps create part of the solution. Using GreenPrint is the most viable option for us, something realistic that helps us hit some goals around being more green and sustainable, so we don’t have to wait until we have the margins or hit some sales number. It allows us to start making a positive impact now.
What’s next for Bitsy’s packaging?
When we are at a place to do recyclable and compostable packaging, we will do it. That is our goal. In the interim, however, working with GreenPrint is a great solution for our size. And we could easily continue the offsetting there while adding on other improvements as we grow.
Early in 2020, we will be launching a new product with a major national retailer and on that product’s packaging, we will have messaging that communicates our work with GreenPrint’s Reduced Carbon Impact seal. We are very excited to share this and also to let other smaller brands know that this option exists.
Even if Bitsy’s packaging is not compostable at the moment, what sets it apart?
Inside the boxes of Bitsy’s are activities, so the packaging is multi-use and has a creative next life for kids to draw and learn.
Environmental awareness is growing — it matters to kids. As a brand and as moms, we have a responsibility to be a part of the movement and talking about being carbon neutral is an important step for us.