About us and the Environment
Who is at the head of OnlineOrganics?
Dalia, Jordanian immigrant of Palestinian descent and entrepreneurial mom of two boys in an English borough on the south shore of Montreal, QC.
How did it start?
When I immigrated to Canada in 2010 I was appalled by the general low quality of food found in large scale grocery stores. I decided that I had enough of buying overpriced GMO foods that did not taste fresh. I switched all our food purchases to organic and started buying from co-operatives. As time went by I started selling to friends, family and neighbors bulk products I had. This grew over the years have acquired a skill set of finding good prices. I made multiple good business agreements with importers as Montreal is a big entry port for goods from across the world. My objective is to give you access to those good prices and help as much people we can switch over to an organic diet.
Where are you now?
What started in my kitchen is now a business that I run full time with the help of my dedicated employees. We are a Canadian Incorporated Business that now serves all of Canada. I have not forgotten where we started and still serve individual customers. We have facilities to handle orders anywhere from a single 1 kg bag to multiple 1000 kg pallets.
What makes OnlineOrganics special?
Our company is more than about the food, it's about respecting the 4 General Principles of Organic Production (Principle of health, ecology, fairness and care). Everything we do from the farmers and importers we choose to do business with to the packaging of our products strive to respect these 4 principles.
Why package your retail products in plastic pouches?
Our 1 kg retail products are vacuum packed in a 4 mil BPA-free vacuum pouch. This simple packaging weighing in at around 10 grams is the best solution we have found to offer the freshest products possible with as little packaging as possible. While the use of plastic in this packaging method is less eco-friendly, it is the only long shelf life option for our products. The benefits of vacuum packing are numerous having no oxygen or moisture touching the food.
Compostable vacuum pouches do exist but they are designed for a short shelf life (Under 6 months), this makes it incompatible with our products. Compared to common retail use of multiple bags and boxes, this is already much better. Switching to a brown paper Stand-Up Barrier Pouch would increase environmental friendliness of product packaging but would also mean loosing vacuum sealing which would increase food waste. In the end its a balance of advantages and inconveniences and the vacuum bags still win for now.
Why don't you have colorful glossy labels?
Our product labels are in color only for the display pictures on the website. Actual products shipped out have the exact same label but are simply printed on a eco-friendly thermal label. Thermal labels shine over standard ink printed labels as they use no ink which is very damaging to the environment from its production process to the waste it creates. We go through thousands and thousands of labels, imagine all the ink cartridges we would use.
Most of our competitors use stand up plastic pouches printed with glossy colorful pictures. While this may be visually appealing our combination of a 10 gram vacuum pouch and single black & white thermal label is much more environmentally friendly.
What about your bulk products?
Our bulk products are packaged in their respective country of origin, we do not repackage them as this would create unnecessary waste. Most flours, grains, cereals, rice and pulses are packaged in multilayer recycled paper bags. This is a very good and durable packaging method that is fully recyclable. The empty bags can also be used to pick up leaves, grass trimmings, for kitchen compost and much more. We always have a pile lying around to use instead of plastic garbage bags.
What about shipping?
We ship more than 95% of our orders in recycled boxes. We have made a good business agreement with a Montreal clothing importer that provides us with thousands of very good quality boxes that used to end up in the recycling. By giving a second life to these boxes we are eliminating a lot of waste. Boxes used to be our number one source of pollution by weight. We can easily go though a couple of pallets of boxes per month. The only disadvantage of recycled boxes is that for food safety reasons we need to add a plastic box liner for cleanliness.
For cushioning we use recycled single-face corrugated rolls and eco-friendly peanuts.
"Single-Face Corrugated Rolls" are composed of a recycled paper sheet with a corrugated sheet. Its like a cardboard box but with only one side. This supports less weight than traditional bubble wrap but is much better for the environment and fully recyclable.
"Eco-Friendly Peanuts" are nothing like those messy and very polluting styrofoam peanuts of the past. These 100% biodegradable peanuts are made from corn, wheat or potato starch. They dissolve in water like magic! You can dispose of them with your compost or put them in the sink and dissolve them in water. This is a revolutionary packaging material to fill voids in our boxes for fragile items like vacuum packed products.
How about delivery?
Our delivery vehicle is a Tesla Model Y. This fully electric vehicle harnesses the power of the green hydro-electricity in Quebec. With a 3500 lb (1590 kg) towing capacity we can comfortably tow our all-aluminum cargo trailer for orders up to two pallets. For smaller orders, this Tesla has been modified to carry extra weight inside the cargo area with a reinforced floor. This covers most of our customer orders and while having a cargo van or cube truck might be more practical, we choose the environment first.
What about your location?
Our 25,500 ft2 property is located at the base of Mont-Saint-Hilaire in Otterburn Park, QC and features hundreds of mature trees (Mainly maple & oak) with over 10,000 ft2 of virgin forest we are protecting from all development. There is still another 10,000 ft2 we are planning to buy in the next two years to also protect. We are not located in an industrial park where asphalt has taken over nature and are proud to be!
If you come by to pick up your order you can come and enjoy Mont-Saint-Hilaire and its McGill Natural Gault Reserve. This reserve features over 1000 hectars (107 million ft2) of protected land. There is also a plethora of wineries, apple orchards and artesanal shops.