It’s pretty much impossible to completely avoid packaging these days, both as a consumer and as a brand. We need packaging to keep goods contained - imagine trying to buy your milk and eggs without it! It would be quite an ordeal.
Plus, packaging allows different brands to present themselves in a unique and eye-catching way, whilst also providing important information about the product inside.
But unfortunately, lots of this packaging isn’t very sustainable or friendly to the environment. Things like plastic can take years to decompose and can release toxic substances into our Earth. Not to mention the emissions that come from producing these materials! This is where sustainable packaging comes in…
Why is some packaging so bad for the environment?
Lots of waste packaging is non-recyclable. Either that or the consumers don’t know how to recycle things properly (or just can’t be bothered). All of this waste ends up in the landfill. Things like plastic, tin, and glass can take hundreds of years to decompose. Or, if waste is not disposed of properly, it can end up polluting our oceans and rivers which is possibly even worse.
After this waste is thrown away, more single-use packaging is then manufactured to meet the demand despite the fact that the old stuff is still sitting in landfills. The production of this packaging involves mining and quarrying the Earth, leading to the release of tons of harmful CO2 emissions. And so, the cycle continues.
Plastic in particular has a huge impact on our environment. It is one of the top polluters of our oceans, and lots of it still isn’t recyclable. But, there’s no denying that plastic is very useful. It’s a super functional packaging material that helps to preserve things for longer, which will then reduce food waste, etc.
So, we need a plastic alternative. However, switching to paper, metal, or glass isn’t always the best solution. Although these materials are recyclable, they can take more energy to produce and can release more CO2 emissions in the process. Plus, they sometimes simply aren’t suitable for certain types of products.
The best solution here is biodegradable and compostable packaging, alongside trying to minimise the amount of packaging we use altogether.
What is sustainable packaging?
Sustainability is becoming more and more important to governments, businesses, and the general public. A sustainable industry is one that works in harmony with the environment to ensure that the industry can continue to safely operate for generations to come. The environmental impact of the resources, suppliers, consumers, staff, and everything else it does must be taken into account.
Sustainable packaging, more specifically, is manufactured from sustainable materials using energy from renewable sources. The packaging should be safe and effective throughout its life cycle, and should then be recyclable or decomposable at the end. This creates a loop from manufacturing, to usage, to death which can be continuously repeated without causing excessive harm to our planet.
Sustainability does not end there, however. In order to be sustainable, the packaging also needs to meet certain criteria for performance and cost in the market. Otherwise, businesses would lose profits, jobs would be lost, and the economy would suffer - this is not exactly sustainable for future generations!
The packaging should use renewable or recycled source materials wherever possible. It should also be sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy. Unfortunately, we as producers don’t have much control over how the product is recycled after use. But, we can control what happens before the product is sold…
Sustainable packaging at Core
Our end goal at Core is to become 100% plastic-free, using only biodegradable or compostable materials. We are currently developing a range of capsule supplements that will be packaged in compostable bags, but when it comes to liquids, it’s a little bit harder.
So, whilst we search for a solution to completely avoid using plastic for our liquid supplements, we are doing all we can to maximise sustainability.
For our bottles, we have used green plant-based PE (polyethylene) plastic which is made using sugarcane. This material is CO2 negative, renewable, recyclable, and sustainable, which is pretty good!
For every kilogram of this green PE plastic that is produced, 3.09 kilograms of CO2 is removed from the air. And once you’re done with it, it can be recycled in normal household recycling. This bio-plastic is an incredible material that works just as effectively as normal plastics but without the devastating environmental effects.
As an alternative to this, we may also look at using ocean-waste plastics and PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastics for some products.
Ocean-waste plastic is… well… plastic that comes from the ocean. By removing and repurposing this plastic, we are helping to clean the world’s oceans and prevent further pollution. Plus, ocean-waste plastics conserve energy & non-renewable resources, and are 100% recyclable.
PCR plastic is sourced from consumer recycling, meaning that recycled waste is being put to good use which helps to continue the loop of sustainability. Much like ocean-waste plastic, PCR plastic conserves energy & non-renewable resources and is recyclable.
Aside from our bio-plastic packaging, the only other packaging we use is FSC-certified card and paper. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council - their job is to certify forests that practice sustainable and responsible wood sourcing. This wood is then used to produce FSC-certified materials. This certification means that the material has been obtained in an environmentally friendly, socially accountable, and economically feasible manner. This ensures our Earth’s forests are treated with respect, i.e. there is no deforestation!
As a brand, we are still learning and growing to become more sustainable in everything we do. The customer has the choice when it comes to buying products that use sustainable packaging, but we, as a producer, feel that we have the responsibility to be kind to our planet and provide only sustainable packaging solutions. If you have any thoughts or advice on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.