When it comes to sustainable packaging, you’ll see a lot of different terms being thrown around. “eco-friendly”, “recyclable”, and “compostable” are just a few of the ways that packaging can be labeled in order to be considered sustainable. But what do all of these terms mean, and in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?
The impact of packaging
Let’s tackle the big question the elephant in the room: is sustainable packaging really a path towards a healthier planet or is a marketing trend employed by companies looking to attract eco-conscious consumers?
There’s no easy answer to this one and we can only speak to our own motivations as an eco-aware brand. Here’s what we know:
In the U.S. alone, packaging waste accounts for nearly one-third of all waste that ends up in landfills, which equates to roughly 34.5 million tons. That’s just in the U.S. and that’s only accounting for what ends up in landfills.
Plenty of packaging ends up in areas that it is not meant to.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for example is made up of more than 80,000 tons of plastic that has made its way to the ocean. That doesn’t sound like much in comparison the U.S. landfill numbers, but it equates to about 1.8 trillion pieces of garbage, or 250 pieces for each human on Earth.
This waste has a massive negative impact on our planet, contributing to everything from global warming to mass species extinction and coral reef bleaching. When you think about it from a global perspective, the type of bottle that your shampoo comes in matters a whole lot.
What can we do?
We are a global beauty company that sells millions of products every year. Since sustainability is a core value of our brand, we have to hold ourselves accountable for the impact that can have on our planet. This is why we opt for eco-friendly packaging, wherever possible. Most of our bottles and tubes are made from recycled materials, which helps keep plastic out of landfills (and oceans!).
We are also experimenting with new, innovative packaging methods. Like our reusable K-respect bottles. Taking a cue from the world of “bring-your-own-container” bulk shopping, we developed this packaging solution to use 35% less plastic than our typical bottles.
While one little shampoo bottle may not seem like enough to make a difference, multiply that by a few million and suddenly we are having a global impact on reducing pollution.
Different types of sustainable packaging
The world of eco-conscious packaging is surprisingly complicated. While the shelf life of the packaging material–meaning where it will ultimately end up once it’s been disposed of and how long it will be there—is definitely the first place to start, there are other considerations that are just as important.
For example, what went into making the packaging? Some packing requires materials and processes to create that rely heavily on fossil fuels. Consumption of fossil fuels has been linked to higher greenhouse gas emissions and rising global temperatures. Not to mention increased water and air pollution.
Using mostly recyclable materials can help keep packaging waste out of landfills and cut down on fossil fuel usage, by remaking the raw materials into a new product. While this approach and process isn’t perfect, it is an important step in the fight against pollution.
The global fight against pollution and climate change isn’t going to be won through shampoo alone. However, as an eco-aware brand we are committed to doing our part to effect change and spread awareness. Together with you, our family of eco-conscious beauty professionals and your clients, we are a formidable force in developing and encouraging sustainable practices.