When are you going to be plastic-free?
We started this journey with two goals: make toilet paper that’s kind to the planet and gives back to the people living on it. We’re proud that we have stayed true to these goals by creating toilet paper, tissues and paper towels that are produced thoughtfully and without the use of trees. In the process, we’ve donated over 1.8 million Aussie dollars to our charity partners, ensuring more people have access to safe, clean, and dignified toilets… and we’re not done yet!
But we are a growing business and that means that we sometimes need to prioritise our focuses. While in an ideal world, our offerings would be 100% plastic free, as of right now, there are a few places where you will find plastic on our products.
There’s a small piece of plastic at the top of our tissue boxes that helps keep the contents moisture free and hygienic, as well as keeping the whole lot from pulling out each time you reach for a tissue. We’ve added a special compound called Reverte™ to the plastic, which makes it oxo-biodegradable.
For those of you who weren’t chemistry whizzes at school (most of us were not), oxo-biodegradable simply means that the plastic will oxidise, and then degrade in the presence of oxygen and sunlight. This process is triggered by 4-8 hours of continuous exposure to sunlight or heat, after which the polymer chains in the plastic start to break down.
Since we first started working with oxo-biodegradable plastic back in 2014, there’s been a lot of research and discussion around the merits of bio plastics and the risk of plastic waste ending up in an environment in which it can’t degrade the way it was designed to. It’s hard to make sense of all the conflicting information, so we’ve decided the best thing to do is to get rid of the plastic inserts completely by the end of 2019. We know, that sounds like a long time, but keep in mind we have months’ worth of inventory in our warehouses, so it’ll take us a while to sell through that and have the new plastic-free tissues start shipping!
Supermarket six packs
You may have spotted our supermarket six packs in your local grocery or health food store. It's a small part of our business with the vast majority of our customers buying in bulk online. Currently our six packs are also wrapped in oxo-biodegradable plastic, but we're already working on paper packaging to replace this and expect it to start shipping soon.
Right now our boxes are secured with plastic tape. We’ve tested a few paper versions in the past but the adhesive has never been strong enough to ensure the boxes don’t open up whilst in transit. We're nearly there, watch this space!
You’ll also spot some plastic when you order more than one box of our product. We haven’t (yet) found a plastic free alternative that’s strong enough to keep ‘em together. As a result, multiple boxes may arrive strapped together with a durable plastic strap. This is primarily to avoid doubling up on shipping costs for our customers.
Our logistics team has been hard at work on this problem and we’re thrilled to say that in Australia we’ve found a new set of carriers that will let us do away with plastic strapping for good. We’re rolling this out already in some states and expect to be able to eliminate all plastic strapping on Australian orders by July 2019, with no cost impact to our customers! We’re a little further away on a solution to this in our UK and US businesses but it’s a major focus for the rest of the year.
We want every delivery that arrives to your door to be plastic free by the end of 2019. It’s not easy, but we think it’s the right thing to do, and if you have more ideas for ways we can improve, we’d love to hear them—we’re on this spaceship called Earth together, so help us get better!