Sustainable packaging, a long journey
We care not only about the “content” but about the “container” too.
We always invested lot of resources – economic as human ones – in research and production to find the “ideal packaging”, a subject often ignored by companies that produce detergents and cosmetics, even the eco-friendly ones.
During these years we were shifting from common bottles and jerry cans, to buckets, to flexible bags, to recycled plastic, to softboxes. All these solutions had their respective strengths and weaknesses, but always had a logical sense, avoiding sham solutions, which pretend to give a sustainable answer but only satisfy the requests of a critical consumer ...
We were searching for an alternative to the usual detergents or cosmetics packaging, generally produced by oil-derived molecules, involving a series of well known environmental problems. It’s not a greenwashing operation, but a real sustainable choice on packaging.
So we came to a solution which – for us – is the most sustainable at the time, both in ecological and economic terms.
We chose to renovate the household detergent packaging, using a ‘green polyethylene’ (bio-based) obtained from the sugarcane-derived ethanol synthesis. Sugarcane is grown in Brazil in a responsible way.
We wish to emphasize that the production of this raw material we chose for our new packaging, has a low environmental impact, as we will explain below.
Brazil is currently the main sugarcane producer for its special climatic conditions. However, the sugarcane planted areas occupy only 2.4% of the land available for agricultural activities. Sugarcane planted lands totally exclude the Amazon Rainforest protected areas while occupy mechanical harvesting areas, abandoned pasture lands and regions with a lower need for water usage in production. The growing takes place in crop rotation with peanut plants, so to respect appropriate areas for food production.
A by-product of the processing of sugarcane, is the “bagasse”, which is used as fuel for energy production, both for the same production plants and the same energy led into the Brazilian electricity-grid. Other organic waste products are used for improving degraded soils, which become newly cultivable, without the intensive use of chemical fertilizers.
The environmental impact of transportation is, therefore, balanced by low emissions of the whole production cycle.
This bio-based plastic used for the new packaging is “4 stars” certified by Vinçotte (a Belgian independent certification), the highest rating, as the plastic is almost 100% derived from renewable resources.
Throughout the entire life cycle of the product, then it has a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to the production of the same plastic (HDPE) from fossil resources, thereby reducing the potential for global warming, preventing the thinning of the ozone layer and acid rain. To give a concrete example, the production of 200 kg of bioplastics avoids the emission of a quantity of CO2, equivalent to that one produced by a car in a year, traveling 15 km a day.
It must be said that this green polyethylene is not compostable, because due to their conformation bottles would not have enough time to degradate as to be defined as “compostable” – according to EN 13432 – and they would not have enough strength and other characteristics suitable to trade detergents but it certainly is 100% recyclable with the common plastic.
In this way, this bioplastic life cycle closes perfectly.
The material of a package is not the only thing to take into account to ensure that the packaging is defined as “sustainable”.
On the market there are both green products and non packaged in bottles with the handle or shaped in a way that wastes space inside the boxes in which they are packed and shipped.
It is useless to boast of having an environmentally friendly product, when the transport includes nearly a 20% volume of air!
So we couldn’t stop us at the only use bioplastics, we have long studied a sustainable packaging in terms of weight, material and life cycle.
Then we produced a bottle in eco-design, that is “ecologically” conceived and designed, in order to have the best ratio of size, volume occupied and quantity contained.
What the many benefits?
• Reduced consumption of cardboard
• Reduced consumption of primary resources
• Less volume transported
• Less CO2 production
• Less space in homes and stores
These innovations are the result of months of analysis and considerations aimed at making make lighter and sustainable Officina naturae’s environmental footprint.