I believe it's time for all producers of personal care products to take a hard look at the impact we're having on the environment. The amount of waste generated by the skincare industry is staggering, and it's time for us to do better.
According to a report from a plastic coalition last year, over 120 billion tons of waste were generated by the personal care industry. When I read that number, I was shocked because I honestly don't have a context for what that means. So, I did a little investigation - it turns out 120 million tons are equivalent to:
- Filling up 20 million Boeing 737 airplanes
- The weight of 40 million blue whales
- The weight of 1.2 trillion average-sized apples
If you're feeling the same panic as I am about my bathroom cabinet, I get you. The challenge for small personal care companies like Botnia is massive because we simply need the option to offer better alternatives due to the nature of disposable packaging, the cost of goods, and access to producers of better packaging. The minimum order sizes in the tens of thousands of units make it all but unattainable for many values-driven brands to invest in better packaging.
In 2022, I was fed up. I felt lucky because, with your support, I have grown Botnia to a large enough size to start walking forward with a solution. I started to think about our refill program first and why it wasn't more successful. We launched refills in 2020, and at the beginning, it was a success, but ultimately it kind of flopped. I had this epiphany: maybe it was because I was only dipping my toe in offering opinions for sustainability. I needed a fully thought-out solution. So, I thought what if we offered all our fully recyclable and recycled aluminum packaging as the only option?! Armed with the desire for aluminum (the most sustainable material for recycling and packaging available right now), I jumped on a plane and flew to NYC to the largest packaging show in the United States to invest in an option that has yet to exist for small companies like Botnia.
What I found at the packaging show was depressing - so much plastic, so much waste. As I watched the buyers for the most prominent personal care companies ask for more plastic, not caring about green-washed packaging options (I saw so much plastic and glass wrapped in plastic! Yikes!), I felt even more convinced about what I had to do. We needed to take a stand.
I am proud to share that a year after going to that packaging show, we have developed a new packaging option that’s the best there is at this moment for consumption. It's in recycled and recyclable aluminum that all recycling centers can easily recognize as a recyclable material. An interesting fact I learned is that many aluminum options that are "dipped" in paint on the outside are not recycled because if the recycling plant can't tell in a split second that this aluminum is recyclable, it makes its way into the not-recyclable pile.
Our boxes are made of end-of-the-line compostable cardboard, and our insert cards are printed on recyclable paper. We consider the impact of our stand against waste on ecosystems. For me, this stand against waste is about our values of healing and health. It's about our earth, and the love I have for each plant, ocean, and animal.
My hope is that when you use Botnia, you're participating in self-love and not at the expense of our vital ecosystems.
This is our first step toward something different for the personal care industry, truly not green-washed and cared-for packaging.
It brings our team at Botnia great joy and excitement to offer you this solution. Our hope is that you feel proud every day of the small impact your dollars are making by investing in personal care from companies like mine. Thank you for believing in a better way with me and trusting us with your values. We hold them close like our own, and together, we'll make an impact with the waste we don't produce together.
Justine and the team at Botnia