The Skinny on Plastics – Why plastic Free might not be the answer

July 2, 2018 (5 months ago)

It’s no secret the war on plastic is a very real one plastic free products are on the rise. Choosing Plastic free is something we are all required to make personal choices on every day.

This has prompted the team at Natural Things to consider each and every one of the products we supply and work together with our suppliers to reduce our contribution to the mountains of plastic waste we are seeing in the news daily.  This has prompted us to ask,  is 100% plastic free at the answer? What about when plastic is necessary, hear me out.

Animal behaviourist Sarah Roberts writes “The truth is, we can’t go plastic free!

Before you spit that cup of tea out onto your laptop or begin typing that angry tweet, let me elaborate…

Firstly, just think about the way plastic is used. In cars and planes, it’s lightweight, structure and strength make it perfect to get airborne and consume less fuel. In the medicinal world, it’s ability to be sterilised or disposed of immediately, prevent mass infections and disease spread daily. You may be ok with foregoing your plastic bag for shopping, but are you really ok to refuse that blood bag or an IV drip if it came down to it?”

So how do we continue to work with our suppliers to provide better solutions, what does it mean when products can only be kept fresh or shelf stable in the correct packaging what questions do we need to ask and what can we take responsibility for ourselves. Where do you personally draw the line?

One thing we are seeing is a lot of people believing that plastic free is automatically a better solution.

While we do strongly believe it needs to be addressed compromising ingredients, process and supply chain to supply in plastic-free packaging is not the answer. Not all plastic is created equal.

Our Hurraw balms are a case in point we asked them how they deal with this in their current packaging process.

Here’s the skinny on plastics:

Up to 50% of the plastic in our oval tubes is PCR: post-consumer recycled material. Our hope is that PCR material becomes easily attainable for all manufacturers that rely on on plastics and that alternative plastic material and technology continues to be developed!

Unfortunately, the recycled market hasn’t improved with petrol being so cheap recently and the FDA is influenced heavily by the Petrol Lobby, so they make it extra difficult to find FDA approved PCR 🙁

We’ve done soooo many test batches with compostable packaging, but unfortunately, our product is less stable and essentially doesn’t hold up. Our formulas are much softer than lip balm that uses beeswax or petroleum. We basically need the rigidity of our oval tubes to keep the balm intact…

Hurraw Balm do our best in all the areas that we can and it’s an ongoing process that will always be at the forefront of our development.  We ship in recycled and recyclable corrugated packaging. Our wholesale packs are made from 100% post-consumer paperboard using 100% wind power.

… fingers crossed that the industry improves in the future. In the meantime, we’ll keep working on perfecting our balms 😉

As a company, Natural Things will always aim to bring you products to lead a healthier happier life. We are committed to working through this in every aspect of our business. We always aim to find eco friendly products that contain only natural ingredients and we plan to keep it that way.   As a team we will focus on addressing the areas on waste, consumption and innovation we can immediately influence and continue working through those that are going to take more time.

Sarah also encourages us to focus on where we can make a difference in the war on waste, “Ultimately we all know that plastic is bad for the environment. We all want to do something to help. But right now let’s focus on what we CAN do and not what we can’t.

No matter which way you look at it, we really are left with limited options at this point to eliminate plastic completely. The best of which, as championed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is ‘the circular economy’. Put very simply, we need to stop plastic from escaping into the environment and get to a point where we don’t need to create more. We have to close the system using the good old ‘reduce, reuse, recycle”

  1. Reduce our use of unnecessary/single-use items and replace those that must be thrown away with biodegradable polymers or natural alternatives (there are a few that have been proven to exist – but these must still be disposed of specifically to prevent them from becoming an environmental hazard)
  2. Reuse items as many times as possible before replacing them
  3. Recycle everything we can

We will work through this change for the better with our suppliers and do our best to ask the right questions and understand that this process is a long and evolving one, but one we are very much committed to.

Read the full article here “Why I don’t believe going ‘Plastic free’ is the answer…”

To find out more about the full Hurraw range check them out here – HURRAW

 

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