Think refill pouches are sustainable? Think again.
Refilling a plastic bottle from a plastic pouch and calling it sustainable doesn’t make much sense. Refill pouches are made from 100% virgin plastic, which relies on petrochemicals and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Not only are refill pouches unsustainable in terms of their manufacture, they are also difficult - or impossible - to dispose of.
The truth is, plastic refill pouches are a greenwashing exercise, not a sustainable solution to the problem of single-use plastic.
The problem with recycling plastic
In Australia we use 3.5 million tonnes of plastic every year. Only 10% of that plastic is recycled, while the remaining 90% ends up in landfill or discarded into our natural ecosystems where it never degrades. The plastic that does make it into the recycling system has a limited recycling lifespan and can only be 'down-cycled', not remade into like-for-like products.
In Australia, soft plastics like those that make up refill pouches cannot be recycled via curbside recycling programs. While there are a handful of private companies offering collection points for soft plastic, the overwhelming majority is not recycled due to incorrect disposal, batch contamination, lack of education and consumer confusion.
The only way to stop plastic pollution is to stop using single-use plastic.
The benefits of glass
From manufacture through to post-consumer, glass is the most sustainable option for personal care packaging.
Glass can be easily sterilised in the home to be safely refilled and repurposed. Glass can be recycled in perpetuity without a loss of integrity, meaning there are no limitations to its recycling lifespan. Glass manufacture doesn’t rely on oil or petrochemicals, making the process far more environmentally sound than plastic manufacture.
Should it enter our natural ecosystems, glass poses no risk of leaching toxins into soil and water. Similarly, it does not pose any risk to wildlife or marine life.
A refill system with integrity
At WØRKS, all of our formulations are housed in reusable glass vessels. Our refills are also housed in glass vessels and sealed with a screw cap, which represents a 12% reduction in plastic compared to our pumps.
Our refill system is built around the reuse of our pumps. When a customer receives their refill, they simply remove the screw cap and fit the pump from their existing vessel. The empty vessel can then be cleaned, fitted with the screw cap and repurposed within the home for storing liquids in the kitchen, bathroom or garage, as a drinking bottle, or however our customers see fit.