There is a big disconnect between recycling and packaging. From a recycling perspective (and I try to recycle as much as possible), it bugs me how some companies seem to ignore the impact of their packaging.
Recycling is limited by the packaging. I feel makers/producers have a responsibility to make it easy to recycle their packaging. Too many businesses take the easy option, often because it’s cheap and, well, easy. Producers use packaging that is cheap and functional and nothing else. This seems like such a low bar.
Plastic has great advantages, but plastic’s greatest advantage is also its greatest disadvantage: It doesn’t break down and isn’t that easy to recycle. For example, there are many types of plastic used in everyday products; some can’t be recycled locally and some can’t be recycled at all. Additionally, recyclable plastic only has a finite number of times it can be recycled because the polymer chains that make up the plastic get shorter after being recycled due to thermal degradation. Eventually, the plastic is degraded and no longer useful.
Producers and makers need to take more responsibility for their products, exercise some ingenuity and use packaging options that can reduce the need for recycling and environmental impact.
Yes, this can sometimes come at a cost. For example, it would be easy and cheap to package our Green Llama refills in small, plastic ziplock pouches. Instead, we did some research and found a compostable option. After testing it, we feel it’s more functional and environmentally conscious.
We’ve also used paper and cardboard wherever possible and glass for our bottles. Glass is infinitely recyclable while paper and cardboard are compostable materials. Even the ink used to screen print onto our bottles and the stickers we use are certified eco-friendly. The one exception in our products is the trigger spray, only because there are no alternatives. However, we have tried to ensure that the spray is robust and functional and will last for a long time; ultimately, it can be recycled.
We’ve really thought a lot about our packaging so that anyone who buys Green Llama doesn’t have to.