An important aspect for our decision was the topic of security. Our body scrub is primarily a shower product and is also used in the shower. Especially when we are wet, a glass quickly slipped out of your hand and if it breaks in the shower it can have bad consequences. Especially in households with small children, something likes to fly down in the shower and our products should not pose a safety risk.
Lately we have received a lot of inquiries regarding our choice of packaging. Our body scrubs are packed in plastic jars. Many of you see this rather critically and we often hear: "You produce natural cosmetics, how can you pack them in plastic?". Therefore, I would like to explain to you in this post why we use plastic
Isn't glass the better solution?
Glass is impermeable to air, very easy to recycle and as a natural material can be disposed of without any problems. It is a suitable packaging material for some PureBee products, for example our cream honeys, and where possible we also use glass packaging (with a deposit system).
Many of us are now trained to do this: plastic must be avoided consistently! And I think that's (on the whole) something very positive - because saving plastic is, considering that Mountains of garbage that we as human beings already made and which we keep growing, a good idea.
However, it is not clear to many that there could possibly also be a different perspective: that of the producers, especially the small ones like us. Because even though it may seem at first glance that we don't seem to give any thought to resource conservation, CO2 footprints and future generations with plastic packaging, that's sometimes only half the story. Namely those that you can see from the outside - or would like to see. But sometimes plastic is not only the more economical, but also the more ecological solution.
A few reasons for plastic and against glass
- The production: An enormous amount of energy is required to manufacture glass. This must then be recovered in consumption through long use. From an ecological point of view, the production of glass is always a minus business at the beginning. It should also not be forgotten that glass is also made from raw materials (sand) and this is not infinitely available.
- The cleaning: "But then why don't you introduce a deposit system?" we are often asked. However, this is not that simple. The cleaning effort to make used glass containers fit for new cosmetics is very high and would have to be included in the environmental balance. It uses a lot of energy and above all water.
- The acceptance: We offer our customers deposit system on. However, this requires the cooperation of the customers. Our main sales channel is online and the least customers are unfortunately ready to send back used glasses and jars so that they can be refilled. We have made the experience that even with the honey jars, for which we have a deposit system in markets, only very few find their way back to us, even though we have regular customers who buy from us again and again. We therefore already offer our honey in refill on, but the environment in the shower is too moist and the bag is not suitable for it.
- Der Transport: Glass is much heavier than plastic. Transport therefore requires more energy and the CO2 footprint of glass per gram is lower than that of plastic. Specifically, this means that we could, for example, fill our Body Scrub product in a 300 gram glass packaging - or in a 20 gram plastic packaging.
- The recycling: Since the body scrubs sold online would probably be disposable glasses due to the lack of return acceptance by customers, the glass would have to be melted down again after use - and that usually works at temperatures around 1000ºC, which is also not particularly environmentally friendly is and causes a lot of CO2. Of course we hope that more and more customers will join our Return + Recycle Program and we can use reusable glass packaging for new products.
3. Why not aluminum?
Aluminum has long been a very good material for protecting products with particularly sensitive natural ingredients. Aluminum tubes are traditionally used for pharmaceuticals, cosmetic products and food. However, recycled aluminum cannot be used for tubes because it is too brittle. The extraction of new aluminum causes great environmental damage, for which there is still no good solution.
That is why we would like to avoid using aluminum as much as possible.
4. And what about bioplastics?
The silver bullet against littering the world's oceans! Or not? The green image also comes with bioplastic because customers' desire for eco-plastic is very great. However, these plastics are not yet fully developed and certainly not the yellow of the egg. Bioplastics are a new development that we are really excited about. We have high demands on bioplastics: they must be proven not to have a negative effect on food production and must not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In addition, they must be easy to recycle and there must be no deforestation for their production. Good solutions that meet all of these criteria have so far not been available on the market.
Three major disadvantages of bioplastics:
- It is usually obtained from corn or corn starch. And there is a big problem here: So that we can calm our consciences, we use basic foodstuffs for the production of plastics. The area used to cultivate maize plants for bioplastic production could feed many people. It also encourages food speculation and monoculture cultivation.
- Bioplastics don't decompose quickly enough. A film made of bioplastic takes up to 12 weeks to completely decompose. A jar or a bottle would therefore take longer. Those who are not blessed with a garden with a composter and a lot of time will also dispose of the organic waste in the household waste. In the waste sorting plants, however, a maximum time span of 10 weeks is estimated for the decomposition of biological waste. Therefore, the bioplastic is sorted out and sent to the “energetic recovery”. In plain language, this means that the bioplastic is also burned in the end.
- For small businesses, bioplastics are not yet economical. I would also like to address the economic viability of bioplastics on this point. Not only is the material more expensive than conventional plastic, it is virtually unaffordable for small companies like us, with minimum purchase of 50.000 containers and more.
Now what is the solution?
Unfortunately, there is no really satisfactory solution for this topic. The egg-laying wool milk sow of the packaging has not yet been invented and it will probably not be there anytime soon. We always encourage our customers to "recycle" our jars and bottles. They are easy to clean and the crucibles in particular are ideal for storing small parts or refilling them with other things. Or take part in our program RETURN + RECYLE and send us your used containers back and get a voucher for your next purchase as a thank you.