Sustainable packaging refers to the materials and practices than minimise the environmental impact of packaging, from production to disposal.
Sustainable packaging practices include using recycled materials (paper & board), using renewable materials (like bioplastics), using reusable packaging (glass & cloth), and reducing waste (recyclable materials).
At My Beauty Luv we are extremely proud that our packaging is currently 90% recyclable and sustainable. We are working towards our goal of 99%!
THE PACKAGING POLLUTION PROBLEM
Packaging waste is a significant contributor to environmental pollution. Non-sustainable packaging can take hundreds of years to decompose, causing harm to the environment, wildlife, and ecosystems.
Plastic pollution is one of the most important environmental problems facing our planet.
According to the OECD Global Plastics Outlook database (oecd.org):
The world produced twice as much plastic waste in 2022 (over 460 million tonnes) than what was produced in 2002, with the bulk of it ending up in landfill, incinerated or leading into the environment.
Plastic consumption has quadrupled over the past 30 years, driven by growth in emerging markets.
Plastics account for 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Nearly two-thirds of plastic waste comes from plastics with lifetimes of under fiver years, with 40% coming from packaging.
Only 9% of plastic waster was recycled (2019 stats), 50% ended up in landfill, 22% evaded waste management and went to uncontrolled dumpsites or was burnt or ended up in aquatic environments.
Most plastics in use today are virgin / primary plastics, made from crude oil or gas. Global production of plastic from recycled / secondary plastic quadrupled from 2000 to 2019, but was still only 6% of total plastic production.
WHY IS SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING IMPORTANT?
Simply put, sustainable packaging is important because our planet cannot continue being overloaded with materials that cannot be recycled or disposed of safely.
Sustainable packaging helps to reduce waste and conserve resources as most sustainable packaging includes recycled materials and materials that are recyclable. Sustainable packaging helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower carbon emissions.
Consumers have also become more environmentally conscious and are more likely to investigate and choose products with recycled / recyclable packaging.
THE BEST SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING MATERIALS
Some of the best materials that can help reduce the environmental impact of packaging are:
- Bioplastics – made from plant-based materials (like corn & potato starch or sugarcane) that are biodegradable or compostable.
- Mushroom packaging – an innovative material made from mycelium (mushroom roots) that can replace foam packaging.
- Plant-based textiles – like cotton, hemp or bamboo.
- Recycled paper & board – helps reduce the need for virgin and one-time use materials.
- Glass – My Beauty Luv’s favourite! Glass is 100% recyclable and reusable, it’s non-toxic, durable, and made from naturally occurring materials (like sand, limestone and soda ash) which reduces the strain on natural resources.
MY BEAUTY LUV’S AFFAIR WITH GLASS
Having come from an art and design background, I have always been drawn to beautiful packaging and immediately resonate with excellent pieces of design. One of my favourite art movements is the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements and I adore the old apothecary look and feel from the 19th & 20th centuries. I wanted the packaging to resemble elegance, portray quality and especially ooze luxury.
From the start I knew I wanted glass. I wanted something different to the typical supplement packaging that all the others use (and continue to use), which is mostly plastic and foil bags. Imagine, a beautiful bottle that could be re-used at home in different ways with different functions. The packaging also needed to tick the sustainable and recyclable boxes. It had to stand out from the crowd and draw people’s attention.
Finding a bottle was an extremely long process as I was simply unsatisfied with the majority of mass-produced glassware that is available. We are very restricted here in terms of variety, so it took me no less than a whole year to find the perfect bottle. It was not easy in the beginning to negotiate with the company importing these specific scientific-grade bottles, as being a very small business back then it was a challenge to stick to huge order quantities. Eventually I decided to go straight to the source and have since then developed relationships with various glass manufacturing companies in the country of origin. I also like to deal with family-run businesses that have heart and soul – this is very important to me as I like to know every step of the manufacturing process.
Our signature My Beauty Luv bottles are extremely sexy, very versatile, manufactured by human hands, and a stunning design piece to have in the home.
SUSTAINABILITY VS COST
Unfortunately, sustainability and cost are often competing factors in the decision-making process for packaging. Sustainable packaging usually requires more investment especially upfront, even though it does provide long-term planet-saving benefits and can save the customer money in the long run if packaging is reusable.
Governments and organisation are working to promote more eco-friendly practices and provide incentives for businesses to adopt them. Bans and taxes on single-use plastics exist in more than 120 countries worldwide, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be enough to reduce overall pollution.
Every single one of us is responsible for helping to do our part in easing the earths pollution burden, why not start by examining what your products are packaged in?