More than 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year. And it's no secret the cosmetic industry relies heavily on plastics for its packaging. Plastic packaging was 42% of all non-fiber plastic produced in 2015, and it also made up 52% of plastics thrown away.
Rather than contribute to the issue by introducing more virgin plastic we thought, "What if we can do something with what's already here?"
And we did.
1 Firsthand jar = 1 Recycled milk jug
We're not changing the world (yet) but we were able to make our line completely out of recycled plastics. And we think that's pretty awesome.
Since launching- we've been able to recycle the plastic from over 50,000 plastic jugs. We're still calculating how much milk was consumed to make that possible!
Read how, below.
We live in a Plastic world
This is, unfortunately, how most plastic finishes its life. Our landfills are reaching capacity, our oceans are being contaminated; what was meant to assist us in our every day lives has become a problem we can no longer ignore.
When we set out to rebrand Firsthand we thought, "If we're truly going to be a company that puts PEOPLE FIRST we need EVERY part of what we do to reflect that."
Not surprisingly, to value people often times means considering their communities and environment- thus this planet. So we looked into how we could make our packaging using a material that wouldn't contribute to the plastics and resource crisis we are having.
The answer wasn't in what we could create, but what has already been created.
PCR in the making
A view from the factory that recycles our plastics.
Closing the loop with PCR
After months of research we found a material called PCR which is short for Post Consumer Resin. It's a plastic material that is created by recycling old used plastics and remaking it into little "beads" that a container manufacturer can use to mold into containers.
This material had the potential to allow us to close the loop on our packaging supply chain.
It wasn't an easy process.
Most manufacturers that we reached out to either didn't use the material or didn't want to. When we finally located a manufacturer that would we had to source our own resin.
We found an amazing company, KW Plastics, out of Alabama that began over 30 years ago and has become the largest plastics recycler and PCR Resin provider in the world.
Through them we were able to source our HDPE PCR resin which is essentially recycled milk jugs.
JARS in the making
A view from the factory that produces our jars.
HDPE is a rough material. In its virgin state it's not meant to be very sightly. This is why you see it in applications where the container has more of a rough finish. Milk jugs, gallons of water- containers like these are made from HDPE. On top of that, HDPE PCR is even more rough to work with.
We were attempting to make smooth containers using a material that is typically used in rough applications and given its PCR properties it's even more difficult for the molding machines to work with it.
The result was beautiful.
Our new packaging has these little swirls and marks on its surface that are caused by the molding process. You can almost see the history of the plastic's former life in its imperfections.
Our hope is that after you use your Firsthand product you will help us continue this plastic's life cycle by depositing it into your recycling bin. We are currently developing a system for you to send your Firsthand containers back to us but until then, help us close the loop!
Keeping it local