Our outer case - but why is it still plastic?
Glass wasn’t an option for us. Living a ‘get out what you put in’ ethos likely means travel, an active life, sport and adventure. Carrying glass in your bag isn’t ideal, nor is it when you drop it on your tiled bathroom floor.
As an eco-brand we looked for ‘better plastic’ option for the outer case. It’s made with all plants… really??? There are some refillable deodorant cases making these claims for their plastic case. In reality, what this means is, plastic - made using ethanol from sugar cane. These came into existence a good few years back and we got close to moving some of our skincare brands into them too.
The marketing stance is clear, you can make statements like made from plants. Yes, sugar cane plastic doesn’t come from fossil fuels, but it is produced through farming – subsequently, using a lot of resources. Nor is it all only sugar cane.
Farming sugarcane in Brazil relies on large plantations, using lots of pesticides and fertilisers which negatively impact soil and biodiversity, as well as using significant amounts of water. Large plantations displace local farmers onto more marginal and vulnerable land. Not to mention, everything then has a carbon footprint starting in Brazil.
Like many skincare brands, we liked the marketing stance, but when we researched and spoke extensively to the bottle manufacturers that we have used for years within the UK, who now sell sugar cane plastic the message was always the same. It isn’t the real solution to our plastic crisis and the impact on the planet is not better producing it versus normal plastic.
A true green plastic is going to need sustainable production but for the whole life cycle. We are watching developments in making plastic with blue - green- algae but still the core of all of this - is reducing plastic consumption. We weren’t willing to take the ‘made with sugar cane plants’ band-aid to market to our customers.
Should we be reclaiming plastic?
We took a deep dive intro PCR post-consumer recycled plastic too. When you use this, realistically between 2- 30% of the pack is PCR. None of the producers we spoke to recommend 100% PCR, as they know the case wouldn’t stand the test of time or be sturdy enough. You can’t have white PCR as it is multi plastics mixed, so white is not possible and you will always get colour change in your plastic batches. We were willing to live with that.
The major problem is, although we can find sources of PCR pellets, there are no bottle producers willing to pour it into their multi-million-dollar machines. We get that and are still looking for someone who will… if you know them, please send them our way.
Minimise the plastic
So, we got to a point where we sat sulking concluding that no packaging was a good route for the world and in that moment, we designed the refill packaging concept. We asked ourselves – what if it could just be wrapped in a piece of paper? That piece of paper had to become a very special piece of technology, our ‘secret sauce’ as to how it contains and protects the deodorant but is viable to go straight into the paper stream, is suitable for home compost heaps and 100% plastic free.
The outside case was essential. It needed to be strong, durable, scratch-resistant, dishwasher proof and travel proof. We wanted it to bounce around in a gym bag and most importantly mean you will only need one. Hence why, it is plastic - normal plastic.
Proverb stands for statements of truth and we really don’t want you to think we haven’t given this an unbelievable amount of thought and will continue to do so. We are committed to always looking and researching for the best sustainable packaging answers, as soon as a new, viable one arises we will always be early to look to adopt it. Truthfully, we don’t think there will be a better option for a long while. The best packaging answer is still to use less.
Help us, help the environment
We don’t want your outer cases to be recycled. We want them used and reused. If they break for any reason, contact us and we will get them back, to be repaired - just like the army, we aim to repair and reuse, not throw equipment away.
Each Refill contains a recyclable plastic PET wheel. Please keep and collect these and when you have 6, we will send you a special bag to send them back to us so we can reuse them.
Do you still want to minimise the packaging more? We would love you to! After you have bought your first refill, we will also give you the option to never have a box with your refill again, so it is straight up naked it its special paper wrap. It means your deodorant wastage would be a tiny ball of paper about the size of a 10p piece coin once you have screwed it up in your hand.
An amazingly positive choice compared to an aerosol deodorant can which lasts approximately 4 weeks. If each person you know is binning 10- 12 of these a year that is a mega waste pile, all just from the deodorant industry.