How it works
A simple but effective way to understand the best packaging option to use for any product can be done in three simple steps.
- You obviously need to look at what good packaging options are available.
- You also need to ensure that they will work for your product.
- Most importantly though you need to look at where the packaging will end up once its disposed. Recyclable materials are great, but only if they are going to be recycled. Compostable is also great, but only if it ends up being composted, as it doesn’t work in landfill.
When we looked at developing ecostick, we considered all these in great detail. We knew that currently hotels don’t have the time to clean and recycle the thousands of small bottles they collect every day. We also knew that many recycling facilities within New Zealand and the world over currently struggle with small bottles as they fall between the gaps in the sorting process and end up in landfill. The answer therefore was to reduce the amount of packaging in weight and volume and also develop a form of packaging that would break down specifically in landfill.
The question then is, what is Ecostick and how does it work?
- Firstly we have the cosmetic contents. This was the easy part because for nearly 15 years all our formulations have been biodegradable. We did still however have to adjust some of the ingredients to ensure that they were going to last within our new packaging and not leak through or burst over time. Some essential oils can be quite strong and likewise other key ingredients needed to be trialled and tested to make sure they were going work within this new packaging format. With a lot of hard work (and a lot of patient chemists), we finally came up with formulations that work and maintain our high standards of hair and body care we are renowned for.
- Secondly we had to work out how to make an ecostick. When coming up with something that’s revolutionary unfortunately this means designing and building a machine from scratch. Luckily with a bit of good old fashioned kiwi ingenuity and one of Europe’s premier packaging machine specialists we were able to build a very expensive and state of the art line that can convert our paper based packaging into a great looking stick that can hold cosmetics.
- Thirdly and most importantly comes the packaging and the technology behind it. Ecostick is not only paper based, but as opposed to a plastic bottle, but is also amazingly around only 5% of the total packaging weight of a typical hotel bottle. Ecostick has an outer layer of sustainably sourced paper that makes up around 70% of its total weight. The remaining portion is a special polymer sealant, impregnated with a unique independently certified additive that activates as soon as it is in an anaerobic landfill environment. Once in landfill, the paper obviously breaks down naturally, but so does the polymer! The additive in the polymer attracts the natural microbes that exist in landfill, to process and eat it the same way it would if it was organic waste. Every landfill is different, but this process should only take around 2-5 years as opposed to plastic bottles which can be up to 1000 years!
Some food for thought...
In January 2019 there were nearly 5 million guest nights within New Zealand alone. If all these guest nights were given ecosticks as opposed to plastic bottles then this equates to a potential reduction of 10-15 million bottles of shampoo in one month alone! That’s 75,000-100,000kg of waste we don’t have in our landfills.