As a small eco-business, Lavender & Lemon takes its social responsibility very seriously by investing in good-for-the-planet, eco-friendly packaging. We genuinely want to make a difference.
But the truth is, there is no simple solution when it comes to eco-friendly packaging. Not only does the product container and the box the product is shipped in need to be sustainable, but there are other factors to consider, including the label material, ink and adhesive used, as well as the overall carbon footprint the packaging and shipment leaves on the planet. For example, while it’s important that a material can be recycled, the recycling process is energy-intensive and has an environmental impact. Reuse requires less energy consumption than recycling and helps keep materials from landfill.
The best solution for a robust circular economy is a combination of reuse and recycling. Reusing recyclable materials requires less energy than creating new products and conserves our precious natural resources as well.
At Lavender & Lemon, we spent a significant amount of time researching suppliers and materials for our products to ensure they are as environmentally friendly as possible and can be reused. As a result, we only work with socially and environmentally responsible UK suppliers who care for the environment as much as we do.
With that said, here's our guide to Lavender & Lemon's packaging and the practical things to consider when reusing, recycling and disposing of it.
We source our shipping boxes from a certified carbon neutral supplier. The 100% recycled and recyclable materials are also home-compostable and biodegradable. The vibrant sleeve is created with eco-friendly, water based ink.
Aluminium is the ultimate zero-waste, sustainable packaging. It's lightweight and, unlike plastic, retains its quality indefinitely no matter how often it is reused and recycled. It won't break if you drop it, and it won't rust, so you can reuse your bottle or tin forever safe in the knowledge that you are significantly minimising your impact on the planet. Furthermore, because of the intrinsic value of metal and well-established recycling channels, metal packaging has one of the highest recycling rates with a global average of 60% – 70%. In the UK, 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still used in some form which is fantastic because producing recycled aluminium uses 95% less energy than producing primary aluminium.
Spray Trigger and Pump
Unfortunately, there is currently no suitable alternative to plastic spray triggers and pumps. That being the case, we spent a significant amount of time choosing a supplier that aligned with our environmental ethos. We source the highest-quality spray triggers and pumps from the UK’s leading carbon neutral supplier of recyclable plastic packaging.
The spray trigger is 100% plastic and can be recycled nationwide. A proportion of the black polymer is previously recycled material and is NOT carbon black so the infrared scanners at recycling plants can pick it up and process it as required.
The metal spring in the lotion pump prevents it being recycled as a complete unit. We are looking into the option of an all-plastic pump that can be recycled, but currently it is not widely produced so the cost is prohibitive for a small business. Hopefully that will change soon!
Regardless of recyclability, we chose the spray trigger and pump for their durability and outstanding performance so both should be reused with their refillable bottles.
A lot of time and consideration has gone into Lavender & Lemon labels. Initially, we hoped to use biodegradable film labels across the entire product range. However, when we tested biodegradable labels on our containers, they began to lift and degrade (as they should) after a short period of time. Given this, they aren't suitable on a bottle or tin that is meant to be reused indefinitely. Biodegradable labels are relatively new, so future development of the material will hopefully increase its durability.
Next, we considered not labelling the reusable bottles and tins, but cleaning products are regulated under the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulation and must be properly labelled.
That being the case, we needed to pick a label material that would stand the test of time and meet all regulations, so the black labels on our reusable bottles and tins are high-quality vinyl. They are weather and waterproof and will last the lifetime of your container no matter how many times you refill and reuse it.
Although vinyl is difficult to recycle (but not impossible - check with your local council), it's important to remember that an essential aspect of decreasing a product's environmental footprint is extending its usefulness by closing material loops. This means, if a material cannot be recycled, it's vital that it retains its quality so it can be reused, thereby decreasing the need to produce more material and significantly reducing its environmental impact.
Our purple refill labels are biodegradable and printed on certified compostable film with biodegradable adhesive made from renewable materials. In addition, they are certified to EU standard EN13432, which means the adhesive, label and ink breaks down naturally into water, CO2 and new cell biomass within six months and does not leave any toxic chemicals or harmful particles behind.
The benefit of biodegradable labels (when disposed of properly) is that they improve the soil's health and strengthen ecosystems. One important note: these labels cannot be recycled or composted at home. Please remove the label from the refill packaging and put it in either your kerbside garden waste or your food waste bin for industrial composting. Failing that, put the label in your general waste bin.
We are working very closely with our label supplier to ensure our labels are as eco-friendly as possible while guaranteeing a quality product that can be reused and refilled for many years.
If you have a moment, you can read more about our Environmental Ethos, including how we have partnered with Ecologi to offset our carbon emissions.
Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Lavender & Lemon Ltd. disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.