Give it up for aluminium this World Environment Day

We’ve had a love story with aluminium since we began on our natural skincare journey over 3 years ago. Our story begins when our founder Danielle, visited a HUGE packaging trade show held in Paris in 2020. She set out determined to find a sustainable solution to package our eco-friendly skincare in and to say she was left disappointed is an understatement. It seemed like all everyone was doing was pushing plastic packaging options and the talk of the town was plastic made from ‘bio-plastic’ or ‘sugarcane plastic’ which is still plastic.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she spoke to a supplier who was thrilled that they had launched a new mascara wand with ‘5% less plastic…’ hardly a big innovation.

Luckily our founder filmed a little video with her thoughts straight after the show and we think you will agree, she is not best pleased!

This set us out on our journey to be the most sustainable skincare brand on the market and here’s where our nifty tubes come in…

Did you know that around the world over one million plastic bottles are purchased every minutes. 5 trillion plastic bags are used every year and we produce around 400 million tonnes of plastic per annum! 

Now let’s break that down specifically for the beauty industry. 

It’s estimated that the global beauty industry produces over 120 million units of plastic every year and packaging accounts for about 70% of that waste. Let’s not forget about glitter-based products or those with micro-beads. Think about when you purchase any makeup product, mascara wand, cotton wool balls, or your favourite shampoo, each and everyone is packaged in a plastic of some sort. You only need to nip to Superdrug and you’ll see what we mean.

So plastic was off the cards, there’s no way we wanted to contribute to the statistic that over 11 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year and (as we all know by now) this is consumed up the food chain causing toxic problems for dolphins, whales and even anchovies which we then ingest. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they discovered that some parts of the ocean have seven times more plastic particles than fish - HOW!

We looked at using glass but it was too heavy to ship and it meant bigger carbon emissions. We did think about making a solid product but we don’t think that the product innovation is quite there yet, so we ended up back where we started with our original go-to aluminium. 

Now of course, aluminium has its problems too and as we've learnt, nothing is 100% perfect but… aluminium is infinitely recyclable meaning it gets broken down and used again and again not ending up in the bellies of our favourite marine wildlife.

We then spent over a year trying to find a European supplier so that we didn’t have to ship our tubes across the ocean from China contributing to more damaging ocean pollution. Luckily we found an amazing supplier based in Germany who took a punt on a start-up. They are super eco-conscious as a business and are even ISO 50001 energy management certified with plans to go entirely CO2-netural in the next 5 years. So it was a win-win until a worldwide aluminium shortage in Covid-19 meant we had to wait yet again for our tubes. We were pressured to go for a plastic alternative just to get the product to market, but there was no way we were budging so after a year's wait, our daily skincare routine, My Skin Feels was born.

The elephant in the room is our plastic caps. We tried EVERY solution to get rid of them. We looked into tooling our own aluminium cap, we thought about producing tubes without caps so you just re-use the same one again and again but we kept coming up with hurdles along the way. From testing issues to minimum order quantities. The best thing we could do was to use a PP Polypropylene Plastic flip-top cap that’s made from a thinner plastic than standard tube caps. The reason we chose white, is because it’s easier to recycle meaning you can just pop it in your recycling bin as it is. You can check out how to recycle our products here.

After the journey we've been on and especially with all that we know about plastic pollution, we feel incredibly responsible for bringing our packaging into the world so we do have big plans to make changes to this as soon as we are in a position to do so. But, the question we often find ourselves asking is; ‘Why is it up to a start-up to fix these problems?’ Surely one of the huge beauty conglomerates with unlimited funds and a huge plastic footprint should be doing ALL they can to find a plastic-free packaging option which can then trickle down to everyone else?!

In a nutshell, this World Environment Day we hope that you can consider your purchases based on packaging as well as the product it’s just as, if not as important and you only need to google the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and you’ll see what we mean.

Here are our top tips for reducing plastic waste in your daily life:

  • Carry a water bottle - sometimes we can’t believe w is still being sold in plastic bottles. Here’s looking at you government!
  • Don’t use plastic bags - full stop.
  • Think about your shopping habits. Is there an alternative solution for a product you repeatedly buy? For example swap Persil for Smol and go plastic free.
  • Talk to your local council about what they are doing to help in your community.
  • Stand up to suppliers that offer plastic-based products - change will only come when we demand it.
  • Support smaller businesses that are trying to change the norm (hello aluminium tubes)
  • Say no to plastic straws - think of that poor turtle.
  • Talk to people about it. If you see someone sampling food in plastic cups stop and ask them why. Ask vendors why they still use plastic cutlery and make it known that every small change makes a huge difference.

We don’t want to be one of those preachy brands but also… we can’t quite believe how bad the problem still is even after all the stats and info, so we’re here for the preach and we hope you join us too.

You can find out more about our daily skincare products in aluminium tubes here. 

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