Using the right packaging material for our products is a key focus area for us. After having spent much time studying packaging options, we concluded that the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is the most environmentally safe option for our tubs, as of now. Tupperware containers that we use in our kitchen are also made of HDPE! HDPE is strong and durable food-grade plastic that is also very hard-wearing. It does not break down upon exposure to sunlight or extremes of temperature.
Though MAG365 tubs are made of HDPE, we use low-density polyethylene (LDPE) for the lids. This type of plastic is softer and more flexible than HDPE, which makes it easier to get the lid off your tub of MAG365. Like HDPE, this plastic is also easy to recycle.
We understand there may be some concerns about us using plastics, but as explained by Susan Selke, director of the School of Packaging at Michigan State University: “In many cases plastics are actually better for the environment than the alternatives. It is surprising until you look closely at it.”
They are quite different! Single-use plastics are items like plastic bags, straws, utensils, beverage bottles, feminine hygiene products and most food packaging, are used only once before being recycled or thrown away. They make about half of the worldwide production of 300 million tons of plastic. Only about 11% of plastic items are recycled (the number is low as many recyclable items are not being recycled). The bigger environmental issue, however, is that large quantities of plastic produced every year is not recyclable. Improperly disposed plastics can leach toxins into the ground. Toxins from plastic are known endocrine disruptors and can lead to a number of ailments like cancer, infertility, suppressed immunity, birth defects, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases and more. It is, therefore, important to be aware of the kinds of plastic items we are using, and how we are disposing of them.
In contrast polyethylene plastic, the kind we use, has a much smaller carbon footprint compared to other options such as glass, especially when it is properly recycled.
Absolutely! We urge you to recycle them to help reduce our collective carbon footprint in whatever way you can.
HDPE and LDPE are some of the easiest plastic polymers to recycle. Most neighbourhood recycling centres will accept high- and low-density polyethylene plastic. Recycling companies collect polyethylene products and then take them to a large facility to be repurposed. Dropping HDPE and LDPE containers at recycling centres may help reduce pollution and lessen demand for raw materials, as these plastics can be melted and used again.
It is more cost-efficient to produce a product from recycled polyethylene than it is to manufacture from virgin plastic. This is one big benefit of recycling HDPE and LDPE.
It is most probably recycled into one of the following new products:
- Pipe fittings
- Chopping Boards
- Recycling bins
Polyethylene is one of the safest forms of plastic. Recycling HDPE and LDPE plastics for secondary use is a relatively simple and cost-effective process.
The dry-mix recyclable bins (generally green or blue, but check with your municipality) can take a range of materials including polyethylene. Drop empty MAG365 tubs into a clean dry recycle bin for recycling.
Plastic tends to get a bad rep from environmentalists; however, glass jars have a greater impact on the environment as compared to plastic. Manufacturing glass uses more resources, also glass is heavier to ship and uses up to 40 percent more energy than plastics, which means more pollution and higher transportation costs. According to the January 2012 issue of International Journal of Lifecycle Assessment, single-use glass bottles cause huge damage to the environment. This report informs that, to lower its carbon footprint to roughly that of a single-use plastic beverage bottle, we must reuse a glass bottle three times. However, if that plastic bottle gets recycled, you must reuse the glass bottle 20 times to achieve a comparable carbon footprint.
Making glass requires sand which is a limited resource. Shortage of sand is a rising problem leading to illegal mining of our beaches and lakes, putting fragile ecosystems and coastal communities at danger. Removing sand leads to erosion, causing destruction of marine life habitats and coral reefs. The ‘sand mafias’ threaten those that dare to speak against them.
Finding sustainable packaging solutions for our products in an ongoing project for us. We have spent a lot of time researching options to ensure a smaller carbon footprint. However, many options currently in the market do not work for our type of product, especially when we consider the big picture. This conundrum is aptly captured in this quote by Eliot Whittington, policy program director at the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership: “It is not as simple as ‘plastic is bad’ so let’s use something else.” We must make sure the alternative is viable and sustainable as well.
We have considered paper, but for it to be a viable option we would need to line it with wax, a process that renders it unrecyclable. Biodegradable bags have a short shelf life, leading to wastage which contributes to carbon footprint. For us food safety is paramount, therefore we are unable to use these options without including additional materials into the packaging that are not great for the environment or the end user. That said, we are optimistic about the future and are constantly monitoring scientific advances in sustainable packaging.
We are happy to execute bulk buying options, however, most retailers are not quite ready for that yet. Please speak with your local stockist regarding bulk purchase of supplements. If customers demand zero waste options of their favourite products, we can hope for a change! In the meantime, we recommend you purchase MAG365 in 300-gram tubs to reduce your carbon footprint.
Reduce Consumption: Over-consumption is one of the biggest challenges we face today. While recycling is important, its impact is limited. Be aware of what you are buying and do not buy cheap throwaway items in the name of convenience. As Matt Wilkins, a postdoctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University's Center for Science Outreach says, "Recycling plastic is, to save the Earth, what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper." In other words, it is more of a feel-good action and distracts from the real problem!
Evaluate the real costs of what you buy: A life cycle assessment report put out by the UK Environment Agency found that to reduce the global warming potential of a reusable cotton bag, you would have to use it 131 times. Although a stainless steel water bottle may seem a greener option as compared to a single-use plastic bottle, it requires seven times as much fossil fuel, releases 14 times more greenhouse gasses, utilizes metal resources during extraction that cause a huge toxic risk to humans and ecosystems. To justify the carbon footprint of a steel bottle you must use it for years!
Better waste management: Adequate waste management and recycling is key. One of the ways to have the most impact is by becoming an advocate for change. Lobby with the governments and decision makers to put better systems in place for diverting waste from landfills. Putting our efforts into demanding better management of waste, better recycling practices, and less consumption of single-use plastic will ultimately be better for the earth than banning plastics like HDPE and LDPE.
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