When we first launched Akhal Beauty, we had to think about our packaging and most recommendations we received were for HDPE bottles or jars. This type of plastic is commonly used in retail to pack personal care products. Against those recommendations, we chose glass bottles because they are a greener alternative. It costs us more to pack our products and transport them to our customers but we would not be true to our values, had we done it any other way.
What makes plastic so appealing for companies is also its biggest drawback for us. It is built to withstand extreme situations. That means that it does not convert easily into inert biomass through natural biodegradation. Plainly speaking, it is built to last and as result compounds our pollution problem.
In addition to its polluting factor, it is derived from oil and we think it is rather careless to promote by-products from fossil fuels if there are greener and affordable alternatives available. In less than 40 years, the ratio of plastics to fish in the ocean will increase from 1:5 to 1:1 and plastics will represent 20% of the share of global oil consumption. That is alarming.
* Forecast of Plastics Volume Growth, Externalities and Oil Consumption in a Business-As-Usual Scenario / World Economic Forum
If you think that because your streets are clean and free of plastic bags or bottles, this issue does not concern you, think again.
There are now numerous scientific and medical studies which demonstrate that toxic chemicals leach out of plastics and can be found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, and other ailments. It is a pernicious material that spoils our ground water, poisons our marine life, and threatens wildlife.
So why do we still use it?
For companies, it comes down to the bottom line and logistics. Plastic is practical and cheap to buy and transport. Imagine you have thousands of products to pack and transport through many hubs. If you are using a fragile material like glass, that means more labour required to carefully package your products, and a higher overall cost. Keeping costs down is one of the main focuses of businesses, whichever their industry.
For us consumers, well we have a theory. As a species, humans are incredibly forward thinking and we continuously push the boundaries of what is possible. Yet, when it comes to our habitat and long term survival, we show equally incredible short sightedness. Based on our personal experience, we don’t use plastics out of a desire to pollute but rather through complacency. We just don’t think about the repercussions of some of our actions.
So, what can you do?
Stop buying products with polluting packaging for one. As consumers, our most powerful tool to impart change is our wallet. If companies do not have any incentive to find greener alternatives to plastic materials quicker, they will continue to use them.
Feel like reading more in this topic? You can check out the sources we have used for this article: