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Slope Side offers sweet solution

Local supply company introduces eco-friendly alternative packaging



Do you cringe whenever you order take out and are handed a plastic or Styrofoam container?

One local business is aiming to change the way Whistlerites enjoy their to-go treats by offering biodegradable and compostable packaging options.

Slope Side Supply has kept local eateries’ supply cabinets stocked for almost 13 years now.

Tony Horn, one of the owners of Slope Side, said their latest initiative is to cut down on waste from the local food service industry by introducing a new line of products. They began offering sugarcane “clamshell” containers and plates, biodegradable plastic products, and corn-based cutlery to their clients about three months ago.

The sugarcane products are actually made from bagasse, which is the fibre leftover from sugar production.

Horn also points out that these products can not only be put directly into a compost bin, but since bagasse is normally burnt as waste product, using it in the containers actually prevents air pollution.

The only downside to the sugarcane containers is that they are shipped all the way from China. But Horn hopes that some day they will be made closer to home, cutting down on pollution produced through transporting the product.

Horn said they have been trying to find a reasonable alternative to Styrofoam and plastic packaging for a few years.

“To be honest, it’s been a bit of a battle to find stuff.”

Up until about six months ago, all of the available products had design flaws.

“We saw stuff like two years ago that didn’t have the spill guard or a really proper way to close,” said Horn, “… at the end of the day, the container’s got to work. You can’t have people spilling their pasta on the way home in their car.”

Finally, Slope Side found a company that had what they were looking for: Vancouver-based Biodegradable Solutions.

So far, Horn said he is impressed with the number of clients who have opted to use the new products, with about 15 to 20 local companies making the switch.

“Some people instantly say ‘Yup, that’s what I want. Even if it’s not perfect, I want to switch to this.’”

Dups Burritos was one of the first companies to get onboard with the eco-friendly products. Dan Mullen, co-owner of Dups, said they decided to go with the sugarcane plates immediately because they knew customers would like them.

“All we’ve heard for the past year is, ‘oh, I don’t want Styrofoam, I don’t want Styrofoam.’ We actually had some people bringing in their own plates.”