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Waste Not
Waste-Free Personal Care Products Set to Revolutionize Industry

Blueland debuts another plastic-free offering, Lush develops carbon-positive packaging, and Maiiro calls out the beauty industry’s ‘Pack of Lies’ in a new plastic-awareness campaign.

Blueland debuts C2C-certified, waste-free hand soap

Blueland — a company on a mission to reimagine all categories of household packaged goods with innovative form factors and environmentally responsible packaging, beginning with household cleaning products — today launched a new offering: Foaming Hand Soap with a Cradle to Cradle Platinum-level Material Health Certificate assessed by MBDC.

Following the successful, April 2019 debut of its Clean Up Kit — a set of tablet-based cleaners that earned buzz in Vox, Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal — Blueland’s latest addition gives its reusable glass bottle a new use, for dispensing a gentle, paraben-free, non-toxic, biodegradable and cruelty-free foaming soap that Cradle to Cradle certifying body MBDC says reassures good health; MBDC will assist Blueland on its journey to continue optimizing its ingredients and processes along its path to becoming fully Cradle to Cradle Certified™.

The new soap is also part of Blueland’s Clean Essentials Kit, which includes Multi-Surface, Glass and Bathroom cleaners. Similar to its original cleaning products, Blueland made sure both the soap’s dissolvable tablet and reusable glass bottles reached Platinum Material Health specifications — the highest level of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program — meaning that the formulations do not contain any toxic or unidentified chemicals and are instead nutrients for safer, continuous cycles.

Blueland’s mission embodies MBDC co-founder William McDonough’s call to action to redesign packaging for a circular economy. By eliminating their cleaning product waste by choosing Blueland, customers can, as McDonough says “refuse refuse” — or reject plastics and packaging that are not reusable, recyclable, compostable and recoverable.

Maiiro’s plastic-awareness campaign aims to fight greenwashing in the beauty industry

Image credit: Maiiro

Newly launched sustainable skin care brand Maiiro is calling out the beauty industry for what it’s calling a “pack of lies” when it comes to plastic use. As the company asserts, although the skincare industry preaches self-care, the same attitude does not seem to extend to its role in the environment. In fact, a lot of skincare brands are major players when it comes to contributing to the world’s plastic problem. While many brands are setting targets to reduce the amount of plastic they use, in a lot of cases their progress isn’t being tracked and they are greenwashing their way out of making real change with charitable initiatives.

With its new “Pack of Lies” campaign, Maiiro — which aims to be an industry leader in terms of sustainability and recyclability, reducing the use of plastics wherever possible; and using only natural, organic and ethically sourced ingredients — wants to raise awareness of this greenwashing phenomenon and highlight the extent to which the skincare industry is contributing to the plastic problem. ‘Pack of Lies’ includes information on how to identify which brands are greenwashing, while also providing information and tips on the recycling of plastic, to encourage consumers to do their bit for the planet.

Pack of Lies includes a petition, to campaign for legislation that ensures all brands are transparent about their plastic initiatives, updating consumers on their progress and the measures they are taking to effect change. This will help consumers understand what impact their purchases are having on the planet, so that brands will ultimately feel the pressure to work harder to reduce their plastic output.

“Being eco-friendly and sustainable has been a core element of Maiiro from the very beginning, and the plastic problem is one that we feel especially passionate about,” said Maiiro Managing Director Katy Rowe. “We therefore wanted to launch something bigger than the brand and the products, to help tackle a problem that the skincare industry adds so much to, and to encourage brands to produce environment first.”

Lush unveils what could be world’s first carbon-positive packaging, lo-fi logistics

Image credit: Lush

Meanwhile, UK-based cosmetics brand Lush likely won’t be called out in Maiiro’s Pack of Lies campaign: The company — which has largely done away with single-use plastic packaging in favor of creative, reusable alternative materials; or no packaging at all — recently announced the development of what could be the first ‘carbon-positive’ packaging.

As the company explained in a blog post, cork is a remarkable material – anti-bacterial, fire-retardant, water-resistant, flexible, strong, easy to work and compostable at the end of its life.

Harvested from living trees, it also has an exceptional ability to sequester carbon, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Lush is awaiting confirmation from the Carbon Trust that the company has produced the first-ever accredited Carbon Positive Packaging. The team’s calculations suggest that each cork pot sequesters over one kilo of carbon dioxide gas (which they say is a conservative estimate). This compares with an aluminium pot, which releases 9kg of CO2 for every kg of aluminium created.

Nick Gumery, creative buyer for packaging at Lush, told the Telegraph that cork may be the answer to the plastic packaging crisis.

Lush said it plans to buy half a million cork pots for its products in the first year, and wants to ensure that the pots it buys are produced from forest that is being restored; this means it will buy at a high-enough price to cover the cost of a forest restoration and regeneration program.

In addition to the carbon-sequestration potential of the packaging, Lush aims to reduce carbon emissions from transport of the product, so it is trialing bringing it to the UK by sailboat — it reportedly just received its first 6,000-pot shipment this way.

“Transporting goods by sail cargo is a good fit with our ethics and ambition to reduce harm to the planet as it’s largely carbon neutral,” Derek Hallé, Trade Compliance Manager for Lush UK, told Fast Company.

Lush has partnered with New Dawn Traders, a company that coordinates deliveries by sailing ship, to set up a multi-stop delivery: The trip originates from suppliers in Portugal, where Lush sources its cork packaging; with stops in France and Belgium to collect salt and moss. The trip took four weeks; a direct route from Portugal to Lush’s headquarters in Poole, in southeast England, would have taken half the time — and both are longer than the five days it would have taken on a truck, though the company said it was able to work with its suppliers and procurement teams to build in the necessary lead times.

Romantic as it sounds, transporting cargo by sailboat is riddled with challenges — added expense and travel time notwithstanding; and few transport companies offer sailing ships as an option (New Dawn Traders helped launched the Sail Cargo Alliance to help bring them together). But Lush is hoping it can steer more companies into joining its effort to bring sailing back: “By starting to encourage more companies to make use of sail cargo, we could start to see a reduction in costs,” Hallé said. 

In addition to starting a revolution in transport practices, Gumery told the Telegraph he hopes the cork pot initiative will start a global packaging revolution, as more companies adopt plastic alternatives.

“It’s a serious test of logistics and whether it makes business sense,” he admitted. “Business won’t change if it’s solely done charitably. Lush is interested in its impact but wants to show, as an ethical business, it can still make a profit.”