Tiffins ‘N Things promotes feasting for the environment

St. Peters Harbour resident launches company that offers list of eco-friendly food products and accessories

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on July 28, 2014

St. Peters Harbour resident Dena Reid has launched a company called Tiffins ‘N Things that offers a complete line of eco-friendly food storage and food transportation containers, as well as accessories, such as bamboo utensils for lunches, snacks, meals on the go, hot or cold.

©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

Dena Reid is trying to save the planet one bite at a time.

The St. Peters Harbour resident was looking for non-plastic alternatives for storing food and some fun ways to display and serve food at parties, get-togethers and picnics.

So, she launched Tiffins ‘N Things almost two years ago.

Her line of products includes stainless steel (and bendable) straws, tiffins and bamboo utensils that can be used over and over and over again. No more chucking things in the garbage where they’ll take years or decades to decompose in the Wellington landfill.

It may not seem like much to some but Reid says it’s the little things people do daily that make a difference to the planet’s environmental health.

“I was in pharmaceutical sales for a long time and two years ago I decided after retiring to do something else,’’ Reid said in an interview.

“I wanted to keep busy. I wanted to keep current. I really think we have to be careful what we do about the environment so I came up with a product called Tiffins ‘N Things.’’

She developed a website and jumped into social marketing and social media.

“I really wanted to develop a product line that people can use with confidence every day.’’

She says a lunch packed with reusable items is typically 45 per cent less expensive and contains 89 per cent less waste than a lunch packed with single-use items.

Reid also points out that nearly 60 per cent of plastic bottles, including water bottles, make it to landfill sites, rather than being recycled. And it takes years, a lot of years, for that plastic bottle to decompose.

So she’s offering people stainless steel alternatives to plastic straws and bottles; products that can be used again and again. She even has little cleaning brushes for some of her products.

To keep those drinks nice and cool on these hot summer days, Reid sells stainless steel ice cubes, too.

Her bamboo forks and spoons replace plastic forks and spoons. And there’s no excuse to misplace that bamboo fork or spoon since Reid sells cases to carry those utensils in, cases that are made from recycled plastic bottles.

A package of five bamboo forks, for example, runs $12.

“P.E.I. has a really good recycling program but you’ll still see water bottles on the side of the road or on the beach.’’

But she’s battling convenience. Those plastic forks, spoons and bottles are an inexpensive option and are readily available in stores. Convincing people to switch over, to pay a bit more for something that will last a lot longer, isn’t easy.

“It primarily comes down to education. That’s where social marketing comes in. That plastic fork that you will use for 10 minutes is made from petroleum-based products and can take somewhere between 10 and 100 years to decompose and as it’s decomposing it’s releasing toxic substances into the soil and groundwater.’’

Reid is selling the merchandise out of a store in Moncton and welcomes partnering with a business in Charlottetown “because people love to touch, see and feel it’’.

For now, she sells off her website and at the Morell market on Saturday mornings.

“There really is no one else doing this kind of thing in person. You can go online and see some different websites . . . but for me to educate and get the word out I’m pretty much the only one in Atlantic Canada.’’

Reid’s website is www.tiffinsandthings.com