For a long time, not much thought went into environment-first packaging. Businesses simply used the most convenient and cheapest packaging, primarily to maximize profit. However, over the past few years, we have seen a significant rise in environmental awareness.
Consumers and businesses alike are turning their backs on single-use plastics (which will go a long way to reducing the estimated eight million metric tons dumped into the ocean every year). Brands are becoming more proactive regarding climate change, waste disposal, and pollution — in short, even the most traditional of businesses are doing their best to go green. With so many eco-friendly packaging options, sustainability has become much more accessible — and possible — for businesses across all industries.
There are a few companies of note out there who are leading the charge and shifting to environmentally-friendly packaging, much to the delight of consumers, who see sustainability as a top priority.
1. The Body Shop
The Body Shop has a wholesome image. It’s a cruelty-free brand that has built its reputation on its strong ethics and beliefs. It makes sense, then, that its customers will be conscientious and caring about the environment and the packaging used for their cosmetics.
The Body Shop’s strong values have led to a renewed commitment to tackling the plastic crisis. The Body Shop has bought 250 tons of recycled plastic to address this issue and aims for its packaging to consist of 75% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic by 2022. Where packaging still involves virgin plastic, it will be from a green source — by 2025, the brand won’t be using plastic derived from fossil fuels, but rather a bio-based source, which will ensure it can be recycled after use.
2. Seed Phytonutrients
Seed Phytonutrients strives to provide natural hair, face, and body products that are good for us — and the environment. In line with this mission, Seed Organics makes use of environmentally-friendly packaging, a notable example being their shower-friendly paper bottle — the first of its kind. Each bottle is composed of 100% post-consumer recycled paper and lined with a recycled plastic liner. This allows Seed Organics to use 60% less plastic than you’d expect with a typical bottle.
The bottle gets wet in the shower, but the mineral coating used ensures it dries quickly and looks as good as new.
Lush is another brand well-known for being cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly. This brand is constantly looking for ways to be greener and kinder to the planet. One way Lush has adapted is to opt for solid products over liquid cosmetics, where possible. This means that in many cases, no packaging is needed at all. As an example, we can look at their famous shampoo and conditioner bars.
When Lush does use packaging, they make use of sustainable, recycled materials for 90% of all packaging. These pots and packaging materials can also be recycled, composted, or reused.
Graze is well-known for its eco-friendly subscription boxes of healthy snacks. Graze does all it can to operate in-line with its green image. Their factory and bakery are both 100% carbon-neutral, and the company is constantly looking for ways to make its packaging more sustainable.
Currently, Graze packages their snacks in cardboard boxes sourced from sustainable forests, while their trays are made from recycled plastic. Their only fall down is their film lid, which cannot currently be recycled. However, Graze intends to reduce its plastic packaging by 80% over the next two years, while introducing a paper-based punnet to replace their plastic trays in 2020.
Reformation is doing some exciting things with packaging — the brand currently delivers its e-commerce orders in vegetable bags. These bags are completely compostable, and once used, the bag will break down like organic waste. The packaging is free of harmful chemicals and plastic, comprising 100% recycled paper products and compostable bio-based films.
6. Plaine Products
Consumers have some degree of choice today, but largely, shampoos, conditioners, and body wash are still packaged in single-use plastic. To counter this, Plaine Products have built their brand around sustainability. They package their products in aluminum bottles and ship them in eco-friendly shipping cartons. They even have a refill program, where customers can send their bottles back to be refilled with their products. When customers are completely done with their bottles, they can be easily recycled.
McDonald’s recently received a lot of attention for switching to paper straws in the UK. But that’s not where McDonald’s eco-efforts end. By 2025, all of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from material that is either renewable or recyclable. They also aim to do away with their foam packaging completely. This will make a huge difference, considering how many McDonald’s products are sold each second.
8. Bulldog Skincare
Bulldog’s products are cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. This popular men’s skincare range does a great job of showing what men care about in the 21st century and that they are committed to social and environmental responsibility. Bulldog have swapped out their plastic tubes for eco-friendly bioplastic packaging made from sugarcane, which is ethically sourced and created from the leftovers of sugarcane extraction — meaning it’s entirely renewable and sustainable.