When you buy a bottle of Plato, we send you a few things, each of which we’ve agonized over to an obsessive degree:
• A mailer box of corrugated cardboard – 100% recycled, 95% post-consumer, made in the USA
• Acid-free, FSC-certified tissue paper printed with soy ink (our only padding)
• A small sticker to hold the box closed, also printed with soy ink
• Plato itself, made of herbs and encapsulated in veggie caps made from birch and spruce trees
• A PET bottle :/
… pretty good up until the bottle, right? You can tell we’ve made an effort to thoughtfully use recycled and recyclable materials, and to use as little as possible to get the job done. And then … a plastic bottle.
It’s not ideal and we know it. While PET is highly recyclable and is almost always recycled (its resin identification code is 1, where as a shorthand lower numbers indicated a higher likelihood of an item being accepted for recycling), it’s still, in the end, a petroleum-based plastic product, i.e. the last thing on Earth we need more of on Earth.
So why aren’t we using something better?
Believe us – we want to.
The simple answer is that even though we have history, we’re still a new company, Plato is a new product, and we’re not producing at the MOQ (minimum order quantities) needed to be able to use the kind of compostable packaging we’d love to be using. We’re not even close.
We are not finished, not nearly, reducing the ecological footprint of our product and our packaging.
While we could use a stock size of something biodegradable, it’d look pretty shabby – silly, even, and we know that first impressions matter. If we made that choice, we’d never survive long enough to grow to the point where we could order the custom sizes of biodegradable or compostable packaging that make sense for what we’re shipping.
There’s a little more to it than that – PET and HDPE are the common choices for supplements (alongside glass, which, while very recyclable, weighs a lot and thus is more carbon-intensive in shipping), and that’s because of their performance when it comes to vapor and gas transmission. Simply put, they keep supplements fresh and dry, and that means you don’t have wasted product lost due to spoilage of various sorts. Wasted product means wasted energy, so you can see there’s a tradeoff at work when getting anything all the way to the person who wants it.
The takeaway, though – most important thing we want to communicate – is we are not finished, not nearly, reducing the ecological footprint of our product and our packaging. We have loads of ideas in R&D and quite a few in the roadmap already, just waiting for the day (hopefully coming soon) when we’re at the scale to make them work. Until then, please tell friends about Plato so we can reach that point faster.