Over 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world. Whether that’s a bottle of water, your favourite skin care products or those cleaning bottles sitting under your sink.
And the worst part about this? We throw them out when they are done! Even when we try and do the right thing and recycle, only 9% of plastic produced in Australia is actually reprocessed. This might be something we didn’t think about in the 70s or the 80s, but its 2022 people. And there’s a better way.
As more and more companies begin to look at refill options (yay! Nice work) it’s a good idea to understand the concept a little more and how it can lessen our environmental footprint.
So what is the refill & reuse concept? It’s exactly as it sounds. Rather than repurchasing bottles, you purchase one bottle to keep and top up with refills instead.
In most cases, refill pouches contain less plastic than a standard plastic bottle. This is because it is made from a lighter weight, lower density material. The saving of plastics can be upwards of 80% compared to a standard bottle which means overall, our total plastic consumption could significantly decrease if more products were available in a refillable format.
But it’s not just about less plastic bottles. It’s also about less non-recyclable elements. It takes a lot of engineering to create a pump for a plastic bottle and that pump is made up of small components of different material- making it impossible to recycle. If we reduce the amount of new pumps and triggers we use, we reduce the amount that end up in landfill.
Fewer Carbon Emissions
It can feel overwhelming thinking about the entire supply chain process and its impact on the environment but transport and shipping of products around the world every day is a massive contributor to carbon emissions.
When refill pouches are smaller and lighter, they take up less room on pallets and in trucks which means its overall carbon footprint is much lower.
We did the maths on our refills just to double check this one. We can fit 3 times the number of units of refills onto a pallet compared to a standard cleaning bottle. More refills on one pallet means less pallets requires AND less trucks on the road.
Teaches Us To Reuse
This really should be the first point because we feel it’s the most important and the biggest contributor to making us change the way we consume products. Refill pouches are better than bottles because it teaches us to reuse. We have been conditioned for so long that plastic bottles get thrown out when they are finished when in fact, they can have a much longer life span if we look after them well and refill instead.
Better yet, invest in a bottle made from a material such as aluminium or glass which is recycled at a much higher rate in Australia and has an endless lifecycle. That way, we can swap to more sustainable choices in our forever bottles as well as reducing the amount of plastic required to make our refill pouches.
It’s our goal to see more and more people switch to refill and reuse options around their home. So far, our Cove community has saved over 90,000 kg of plastic from heading to landfill just by making the switch to our bathroom, kitchen and laundry cleaning products. Imagine the impact we could have if refill and reuse was available in more product categories and if more of us make the switch?