Lush's cork pots officially carbon neutral

23 August 2019

Lush’s cork shampoo pots have been certified as carbon neutral packaging by the Carbon Trust.

The Carbon Trust assessed the full emissions lifecycle of the cork pots, which customers use to store the firm's shampoo soap bars, from the sourcing of raw material to manufacturing, transport and end of life. 

The product was awarded the Carbon Neutral label because it absorbs more carbon than it produces, with each pot removing approximately 1.2kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Nick Gumery, creative buyer at Lush, said: “The Cork Pot project is the culmination of two years of work and collaboration with Eco Interventions, an organisation dedicated to assisting farmers and landowners in sustainable management of their land and the rewilding of large areas of forest farmland.”

Lush said production of the cork pot had resulted in over 20,000 cork trees being planted in a year. The bark is harvested by skinning the tree, a non-harmful process, and the bark then grows back over nine years.

Separately, packaging company Exporta has partnered with recycling firm Plastic Expert to provide customers with free recycling scheme for its plastic pallets, storage containers and boxes.

Exporta collect and recycle the plastic pallets from clients such as Selfridges and DHL. The firm uses a circular economy approach with the pallets used for 10 years before they are collected, cleaned, ground into granules, and then remade into new pallets. 

Dale Paterson, managing director at Exporta, said: “This is a great initiative that not only helps our customers, but also contributes to reducing plastic waste. A recent survey of our customers showed a 92% satisfaction score, which we aim to improve further by introducing services like this one.”

Meanwhile Amazon has come under scrutiny for using bubble-wrap lined plastic envelopes for small parcels, which are not widely recyclable.

Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the Earth (FoE), said: “If we want to stem the tide of plastic pollution blighting our environment, giant firms like Amazon have to find ways of making deliveries in returnable and reusable packaging. And if they won’t – the government should make them.”

Amazon told SM: “We are continually working to improve our packaging and recycling options, and over the past 10 years our sustainable packaging initiatives have eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials, avoiding 500 million shipping boxes. 

“SmartPac mailers are curbside recyclable in some locations, and in all store drop-off locations. Smartpac has a “how to recycle” logo on the packaging directing customers to a website on packaging to help them understand how and where to recycle.”

Separately, clothes retailer Abercrombie and Fitch has released new sustainability goals for its supply chain and joined the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest sustainability initiative.

The retailer has set goals to responsibly source materials using sustainable processes by 2025, such as cotton, wool, and viscose. It will also reduce water consumption in denim production by 30% by 2022, and will partner with suppliers for training programs, including human trafficking prevention.

FoE has also welcomed an annoucement by Tesco that suppliers must cut down on packaging or face being delisted.

A FoE spokesperson said: “Tesco’s plans to significantly cut its waste, with an emphasis on removing, reducing and reusing its packaging, is encouraging news – and something every retailer and manufacturer should be doing. 

“Ministers must act too by forcing firms to minimise the unwanted waste they pass on to their customers, and adopt practices that make environmental considerations a priority.”

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