Why are recycled plastics not good enough?
For a long time, I have had my suspicions about the use of the recycling symbol which is so widely used on plastic bottles and containers through industry. I’ve recently discovered that no matter how many different types of ‘chasing arrows’ are printed on plastic products, it doesn’t change the fact that plastic is largely a throwaway material worldwide.
There are many large beauty and toiletry companies that will often tout the fact that their product packaging is ok because it’s recyclable! That is just not true, if they have the interest of their customers, our planet and the survival of all the endangered species, they would be switching to sustainable packaging. Unlike plastic, glass and metal (including aluminum) can be recycled infinitely without losing quality or purity in the product. Recycling glass and metal is the ultimate form of circular economy, the process of using and then reusing materials without generating any waste.
Although using re-useable plastics is an improvement from using single use plastic, which is thrown away, most plastics are recycled using high levels of fossil fuel. This continual need and use of plastic of any kind, creates a demand for plastic to be made.
What are the negatives of recycling?
-It is impossible for extensive recycling to take place worldwide due to lack of facilities and budget
-Recycling requires huge consumption of energy, often fossil fuel
-Recycling creates pollution
-Recycling centres require high up-front capital costs
How bad is the plastic problem?
In excess of 240 billion plastic bottles have become plastic waste and has been polluting our already fragile ecosystem. This is a global problem on an enormous scale and is causing irreversible damage to our planet.
How much plastic is currently recycled globally?
A global plastics recycling rate of 18%, and plastics waste generation of 258 Mtpa (million metric tonnes per annum) translate into approximately 46 million tonnes of recycled plastics production per year. If you want to find out more, read this interesting article from recycle now.
Glass and metal can be recycled infinitely!
Several years ago at Love to b, when we were rebranding we decided to get our own sustainable house in order! It took a whole year of research. We found it was impossible for our packaging to become 100% sustainable due to what was available on the market. We also found that our customers had become used to pumps for the their cosmetic and toiletry bottles.
These are some of the changes we made at Love to b:
-Glass jars: We have switched plastic lids to metal on our glass jars
-Skincare: We stopped using plastic airless pump bottles, it’s now all in glass
-Lip balm tubes: A big switch to cute little metal pots
-Soap boxes: Stopped using plastic lamination switched to FSC card
-Plastic cellophane for gifts: switched to potato starch cellophane
-Ribbon (which is generally made of plastic): switched to jute ribbon
-We’ve started to refuse raw ingredients from companies that still choose to use plastic and polystyrene fill. We make a point of letting suppliers know why we will not use them until they address their use of plastic.
-We have switched out all plastic bags to reusable and recyclable dual-purpose paper and linen bags
-All postal orders are packed with compostable materials such as upcycled shredded paper, wood wool and unbleached tissue.
At Love to b we feel we have an obligation to our families, community and planet to use ingredients and materials that don’t harm us or our world.
Moving forward we, at Love to b plan to continue to be conscious about environmental issues, sustainability and strive to improve in areas where we could do better.
With love from…
Jules and Mimi x