Here at 5 Seed, my goal is to ultimately use as little plastic as possible. There are three particular areas in which I wanted to share my thoughts on this:
1. Shipping packaging. Since I occasionally receive bubble wrap or other plastic/foam shipping cushions, I have debated whether or not to reuse these in my own shipping packaging. I thought it would be a good way to continue to use something so that it doesn’t end up in the trash. However, I realized I would still feel responsible for the plastic used in my shipping materials, and would always wonder whether or not the recipients would continue to reuse them. What if they were to end up in the trash after just one order? With that in mind, I have, at this time, decided to use only paper as shipping material since that is so easy to recycle (and hopefully all my customers will happily toss it into their recycling bins).
2. Plastic lids for lotions. This is, thus far, my biggest concession to plastic. I knew it was imperative to package my lotion in glass (rather than plastic or metal) jars. However, after much searching, the best I found had plastic lids. I’m not super thrilled about this, but they were the best I could find for the price, they are blue-tinted (which I prefer, since they protect the sensitive ingredients from the light), and they are easily cleanable and reusable. You can reuse these jars for anything when you run out of lotion – homemade beauty products, kitchen items, or for those little odds and ends in your desk, sewing box, or craft kit. However, in the future, I may decide to forgo the colored glass jars in favor of clear ones with metal lids.
3. Plastic lip balm tubes vs. metal lip balm tins. This one was a very difficult choice for me. I realized that most people want tube lip balm, as it is a much more convenient way to apply than opening a tin, and using your finger as an applicator. However, all the plastic tubes I found were #5 plastic which is not universally recyclable. There are places that will accept your #5 plastics if you clean them out and ship them (such as Recycline), and some locations in about 31 states (not Oregon, sadly) offer drop-off bins, but (not to be cynical) I cannot imagine the average, busy woman taking the time to clean out the lip balm tubes, package them up, and research drop-off locations, or ship them out if none are available nearby. Let’s face it: For most of us, they would sit in a box or bag in the junk drawer, until we got tired of looking at them and threw them away with a heavy dose of remorse.
In order to remedy this, I decided to use tins, instead, and hope that my customers will understand that being a Green Warrior isn’t always convenient. So I’m forgoing the awful #5 plastics and embracing the tins, which were made from recycled material (yay!), and are reusable. These can also be recycled at SOME locations, but please check on this first. Many of us throw metals or plastics into the recycle bin, assuming they are recyclable, but if your local recycling center does not recycle certain plastics or metals, these will simply be thrown away in the sorting process, defeating your good intentions!
As the year progresses, I will continue to strive to use as few plastics as possible, and my ultimate goal is to use no plastic at all.