Earlier this year the government of the UK, along with many national governments, state authorities, public institutions and private companies, have all pledged to reduce plastic use. It’s great they are responding to the groundswell of consumer action around the unnecessary prevalence of single-use plastic in our daily lives. Months on, how far are they going, how fast, and is it more style than substance?
There is no doubt (we think), that actions like banning plastic straws and plastic bags come from the right intention. Plastic bag, straws, some food packaging – all of these are the quintessential expression of our somewhat disposable society.
But what has fascinated us is the subtle sleight of hand on show. For sure, reducing plastic bag use has been hugely popular and effective. But what about what goes in the bags? Little or zero pressure is there on companies – not supermarkets – to get rid of all the excess and unnecessary plastic that is used in their containers? As a company that is plastic-free across our product range, and with our packaging materials, it is a constant source of frustration that we have a higher price-point to running our business than our competitors, whereas an environmentally centred approach would stack the costs the other way. Only by making renewables cheaper than disposables will we really see a change in manufacturing behaviour. That and more consumer power on punishing companies who manufacture single-use plastic products.
The recyclable plastic dilemma
It’s great that legislation is moving towards making us more environmentally aware. In May the government announced a 30% recycled plastics target for all plastic packaging. That’s to be applauded. But 30% could be saved by simply reducing chronic over-packaging. Perhaps 50%. Take a look at the plastic around your Gillette razor, or the over-thick, over-sized soap bottles next time you’re in a supermarket. We should no-longer accept the massive mega-crisp bags, or 35% gap at the top of cereal boxes. Here we’re not talking about environmental extremism, but simply a reductionist, reusable principal at the heart of manufacturing.
Reduce waste, reuse and recycle
The Kairn range is plastic free, made from locally recyclable and reusable materials. Our range is unisex too, as we don’t see why people need to habitually have double of everything. Double soaps. Double skin lotions. Double balms. We don’t think it is necessary. And our customers have experienced the wondrousness of stunning, natural, neutral and universal skincare and shaving with our range. Whilst we continue to work to source suppliers who are plastic-free themselves, we try through our supply chain to minimise plastic that comes into our facilities, and eradicate plastic through our production process, as we have done in our finished products. We hope, really soon, to get there. But we’ll need a bit of help along the way.