In 2019, we sold approximately 100,000 products in plastic bottles. Numerous data shows that about 8% of these bottles are recycled back to other forms of plastic. That meant that we were responsible for adding 92000 additional plastic bottles to the incinerators or landfills, where the carbon-rich material takes centuries to decompose.
That was both mindboggling and disturbing. After all, Nature’s Baby prides itself of making safe, natural/organic, plant-based and non-toxic baby products and yet our business was adding a considerable amount of toxins back to the environment.
Something had to be done, so we looked for alternative packaging that could fit the following criteria; 1) sustainable and recyclable, 2) practical, 3) economically feasible and 4) readily available.
Glass would have been an obvious choice, but since we primarily make baby bath items, breakage hazards did not make it an ideal packaging material for our products. Also, being much heavier than both plastic and aluminum, the environmental cost of transporting glass bottles are much higher as compared to its lightweight counterparts.
Recylced plastic bottles are becoming a trend. There are made fully and/or partially of recycled plastic and are much better alternatives to other forms of plastics, however, constraints in the supply chain (market availability issues) combined with the fact that the end-product is still plastic, made us ignore recycled plastic.
Paper packaging, typically created with recycled cardboards, have become increasingly popular as they are highly recyclable, non-toxic, and use much less plastic. Other than the inner plastic bags used to contain the liquid, paper packaging had the potential to be the ideal choice to use and that was an option we exhaustively entertained, but in the end, factors such as pricing and market availability made paper packaging impractical.
AND THE WINNER IS…
To us, using aluminum bottles was the best and most sensible choice. Aluminum is light, 100% recyclable, available in large quantities, shatter proof and aesthetically pleasing but also more expensive.
Being completely aware of environmental issues concerning the production of raw aluminum (new aluminum cans are not eco-friendly), the fact that one hundred percent of all aluminum that has ever been produced is still being used in one form or another, combined with ease of recyclability, made our decision clear.
We are continuously searching for safer, less toxic and eco-friendly packaging options. As more sustainable forms of packaging options become available, our goal is to eventually transition all our plastic bottles and components, hopefully sooner than later.