Molly’s Suds Packaging & Sustainability
As a company, we realize that plastic packaging is a concern. We've made a conscious effort to package some of our newer products in sustainable materials such as compostable paper tubes (Sink SCRUB) and pouches made from post-consumer recycled plastics (Dishwasher Detergent Pods and Laundry Pods). However, with many of our laundry products, the use of glass and other eco-friendly packaging gets complicated because of our active ingredients. The packaging has to protect our ingredients from moisture and cannot react or deteriorate from our ingredients, limiting the available formats and materials.
Glass Packaging Options
Glass is heavy and can break easily in shipping. For an already heavy product like our laundry detergents, the cost of shipping in glass isn’t a preferred option. Some of our retail partners are currently refusing glass containers due to the risk of damage and breakage. We understand this concern because the last thing you want to do is open a package filled with broken glass. Additionally, glass is persistent in landfills forever.
Cardboard Packaging Options
We’ve seen many cardboard packaging options but many of these aren’t any more eco-friendly than plastic because the inside of the packaging is lined with… plastic. For our laundry detergents to remain stable they do need to be lined with plastic. Many of the essential oils or essences that we use would soak into raw cardboard leaving grease-like spots on the outside of the package. Again this doesn’t look good when our retailers and customers receive the products. The plastic helps to protect the integrity of the products from the elements.
We’re always looking to see what other packaging options become available. We know that there is something better, but it may take time for innovation to meet the market! Consumers have the loudest voice! The more demand there is for sustainable packaging, the more the billion dollar companies will innovate, allowing little guys like us access to better options!
Carbon Footprint & Other Factors
Other factors that we need to consider as a company include shipping, storage, and what our retail partners require to place our products in their warehouses for online and retail distribution. We’ve found that the plastic pouches take up less space on a pallet which allows us to ship more product compared to cardboard packaging. This reduces our overall carbon footprint. The plastic pouches also take up less space in the landfills (sigh) compared to cardboard packaging and they weigh less which helps us (and our retail partners) save on shipping costs. Some of our retail partners require a certain type of packaging when they are displaying it in a retail store which adds another layer of complexity to the situation. As you can tell there isn’t a clear solution to a brands packaging problem.
We will always be mindful of the environment and can’t wait to see what innovations reveal themselves to us in the future. In 2019, Monica Leonard, our founder, realized her dream to open a zero-waste refill store in St. Petersburg, FL where we could offer Molly’s Suds products package-free. The Refillery offered many popular Molly’s Suds laundry & household cleaning products in bulk for customers to refill as little or as much as they needed. In addition, customers could refill shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, toothpaste, and many other items for their home from local and national brands we trust.
In its first year, The Refillery made a huge impact on our local community. Not only could customers choose safer products for their families, they also reduced their waste by refilling their products at The Refillery. Below are some pretty impressive statistics on how just one small refill store madee a difference and how you can help!
With the help from the customers at The Refillery they refilled 10,000 containers. They prevented the following number of containers from the landfill:
- 910 bottles of Liquid Laundry Detergent
- 251 bags of Super Powder Laundry Detergent
- 111 bags of Oxygen Whitener
- 403 boxes of Wool Dryer Balls
- And 772 bottles of Dish Soap
While all good things come to an end, we are proud of the work we accomplished through The Refillery and hope its story inspires you, as it did other customers, to be mindful of the environment and - where possible - make positive contributions to a cleaner, safer planet.