Why We Chose Recycled-Ocean Bound Plastics vs Other Sustainable Packaging?

Since the launch of our products in Recycled-Ocean Bound Plastics, we have seen such a significant impact in our environmental efforts and that is thanks to you! When we first set out to reduce our carbon footprint and make our brand more sustainable, we quickly discovered that one type of packaging doesn’t fit all. From reading research articles to connecting with organizations that believe in be better for our planet, we came to learn that not all packaging like paper packaging would work for our formulas or with our goal of reducing our carbon footprint.

In this post, we are exploring three different packaging materials within sustainability their benefits, and the downfalls with all three.

Let’s get started!

What is Paper Packaging?

Paper Packaging is becoming a staple for many consumer goods industry, as well as other industries, but what do you as a consumer truly know about it besides the fact that it is made of paper? According to the American Forest and Paper Association, it is a versatile and cost-efficient method to transport, protect and preserve a wide array of items. It’s a no-brainer why many companies from various industries have adapted this packaging due to it being biodegradable and made from renewable resources. However, having packaging that is made from renewable materials, does not make it entirely beneficial to our environment. Especially if the materials that are being used to create paper packaging are contributing to our global deforestation problem.

Paper bag photo courtesy of Canva.

What is the downside?

While global deforestation is a big factor on the con side of paper packaging, producing this packaging uses about ten liters of water to produce a single piece and about 17,000 gallons of water to produce a ton of paper. 17,000 gallons?! Couple with the fact that we use ethically sourced ingredients that can separate due to temperature changes (but is still effective and usable), we knew that the packaging would fall apart and ultimately affect our formulas. Which would make us and you as our customers rightfully mad, right?

At that point in our quest for better packaging we were left with one question, what are our other options?... That’s when we discovered what would ultimately be our new packaging. Recycled Ocean-Bound Plastic.

Recycled Ocean-Bound Plastics Packaging

Discovering that paper packaging wasn’t the greatest option for our brand was a bit discouraging, but we are not ones to give up. Through some more research, we soon discovered recycled ocean-bound plastic. The Food Packaging Forum defines recycled ocean-bound plastics as plastic that exists as pollution in the environment and is bound to eventually end up in oceans. They are most often existing in and collected from rivers and other waterways. Only 10% of plastic is recycled and 90% ends up in our environment. Only 10%?! By rescuing these materials and transforming them into something else we are helping to reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans.

“But...it’s still plastic!”

Well...yes, it is still plastic, but we assure you that the benefits of using these materials was the best decision that we have ever made. By using recycled ocean-bound plastic:

  • We have reduced our CO2 emissions by 60%.
  • Use 85% less energy to produce the packaging.
  • It is 100% recyclable.
Photo of PiperWai's Natural Deodorant Cream in water. Photo Courtesy of Rachael Zimmerman Photography.

By partnering with our packaging suppliers, we have been able to help prevent plastic from polluting our oceans and from polluting our air and releasing greenhouse gases. Though the environmental factors are what push us to choose to recycle ocean-bound plastic, the fact that we also helped to create six times more jobs for local fishermen was the icing on the cake!

"But If you were going to stick with plastic, why not Bioplastics?"

Before we get into why we did not choose bioplastics, let’s first define what they are. Britannica defines bioplastics as a moldable plastic material made up of chemical compounds that are derived from or synthesized by microbes or genetically modified plants. They are sourced from renewable resources, are known for having a fast decomposition, and are few are biodegradable. Three different types of bioplastics can be used; starch-based, cellulose-based, and protein-based bioplastics. While bioplastics may have their benefits, the negative impacts on our environment do outweigh the positive impacts.  

A photo of a bioplastic container. Photo courtesy of Canva.

There are three major issues that we discovered when using bioplastics. 

  • One is that to grow the materials for bioplastics, fertilizers, and pesticides are needed.  
  • The amount of land that is required for bioplastics would compete with food production.
  • For bioplastics to decompose they need extremely high heat, then it has to be disposed of properly. 

There are several cities that are not fitted with the infrastructure to properly dispose of bioplastics, so, unfortunately, many end up in landfills which defeats their ultimate purpose. At that point, we would not be helping the environment the way that we want; rather we would be adding to the problem.

Final Decision…?

Ultimately, we found a good thing happy with our use of recycled ocean-bound plastic. With each order made we are well on our way to reducing the plastic that has polluted our oceans and to creating an equitable and just future. After all, saving our planet never smelled so good!

To learn more about our sustainability efforts, read more here.