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Packaging and the environment

We are often asked about the packaging we use - with particular regard to Soda Crystals and Liquid Soap Flakes. Soda Crystals and the old 'dry' soap flakes used to be supplied in a cardboard box.

Soda Crystals are actually a 'wet' product and the reason why they can go hard if they reach over 32oC. The water content would seep out of a cardboard box. Even when they were supplied in a cardboard box, many years ago, they had a plastic bag inside. Some customers complained that a box wasn't ideal for pouring the crystals, particularly if they'd started to clump together. The new bag is therefore more practical and uses less materials overall and certainly less energy in its production. Although plastic bags are technically recyclable, such facilities are not routinely supplied by UK local authorities.

The soap in Liquid Soap Flakes is different to the dry version; it's not simply dissolved flakes. There is actually less energy used in its production and although we have to use a plastic bottle, it's PET so is widely recyclable. The market dictated a move in the product formulation from flakes to liquid because the former was not suitable for use in automatic washing machines. They are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Bicarbonate of Soda, Citric Acid and Borax Substitute ARE all suitable for packaging in cardboard boxes. We use recycled cardboard for these products.

In summary, you sometimes have to look at the OVERALL environmental impact and we always look at ways of minimising our carbon footprint wherever practical, as well as being an ethical supplier. For example, we don't use palm oil in our Liquid Soap Flakes. We always welcome any comments from customers, so do please get in touch: leave feedback in the Comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Packaging and the environment

  1. Has dri-pak looked into using glass bottles for packaging as an alternative to plastic?
    Or are there any places that let you fill up your own bottle?

    1. Hi Sarah – this is another case of looking at the whole picture. In this instance, there are a number of reasons but the simple fact is that it involves different production facilities.
      The energy used in manufacturing glass, coupled with the much greater weight and associated transport costs (and thereby vehicle emissions) would mean that any potential environmental benefits are more than outweighed. The plastic bottles we use can be recycled.
      There are no retailers that would be prepared to offer a refill service that we are aware of.

  2. Why is the laminate packaging, which no council can recycle as you say above, not being replaced by a plastic that can be recycled easily and widely? What is the point of using a practically not recyclable packaging?

    1. Without using a laminate, the bag would not stand up. Because retailers want people to see the front of the bag, so they know what they are buying at a glance, this dictates the packaging. Even if it were in a box, the crystals would have to be in a bag inside as it’s a wet product. We realise it’s not an ideal solution, but we have to try to strike a balance between ideals and pragmatism. It does look like progress is being made in recycling laminated plastic so it might be worth contacting your Local Authority to see if they have plans to follow Cambridge’s lead.

  3. Can the plastic packaging used for soda crystals be recycled? I cannot find any indication on the packaging to show what type of plastic it is made from.
    Many thanks

    1. The plastic bag is a laminate and although in theory it can be recycled, we’re not aware of any local authorities that do so.

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