We care deeply about the way in which our existence impacts our environment, to the extent that it has informed every decision we have made so far. Without question our packaging choices are the most important as far as our footprint on our planet goes.
We're pretty happy about our packaging in this regard, but there is one thing that bothers us: our use of plastic bottles. It's caused many a sleepless night but in the end, we have gotten comfortable with it. Our thought process is detailed below.
Must contain liquid. Easy to store and to transport without breakage or leakage. Completely stable - does not interact with the product. Allows shelf stability for 12 months. Convenient to open, to use and to store. Minimal packaging. 100% recyclable in local government-run recycling systems. Crucially our requirement was minimal end-to-end carbon footprint.
Here is what we ended up with:
That leaves us with sachets or plastic bottles. Not other technologies currently exist that would meet our requirements.
The plastic that we use is fully recyclable: bottle, cap, and label can be recycled as easily and in the same way as milk/juice bottles. We are working with our manufacturer to transition to using recycled plastic and they have committed to doing so, but we do not have a firm ETA. Beyond that, we are keeping a close eye on ever-changing manufacturing and bottling processes, with a view to moving away from plastic entirely. We do not have a timeframe for this at this point but we will keep you updated.
Outer packaging: in the the short term, we're going to develop a cardboard box to replace the large brown bags that we use for multi-buy purchases. This will remove the requirement to the use brown plastic tape (not recyclable) to secure the packaging. This will be rolled out in Summer 2021.
Our inner packaging: we will be moving away from the hand-written cards at some point this year, and switching to a lighter, recycled paper.
Our bottle: we plan to move to biodegradable plant-polymer bottles made from natural oils derived from seeds including palm, canola and soy in future but that is realistically 2 years away once the technology matures, and we have a better understanding of the end-to-end impact.