This looked to be the most promising option. Tinware is easily recyclable, lightweight, strong, breakproof, and cheap. Unfortunately my optimism was short-lived, when I discovered the downsides of tinware. First among these is that tinware requires a barrier layer to separate the metal from the product in the tin. For this barrier a chemical epoxy resin called Bisphenol-A (BPA) is typically used. When I started reading about the health impacts of BPA I was shocked. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that mimics our bodies hormones. Infants and young children are said to be especially sensitive to the effects of BPA. The negative health effects of BPA are widespread. These include potential impacts on foetal brain development, increased risk of breast and prostrate cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and reproductive disorders. BPA is highly chemically unstable and will leach into whatever product is in the tin - the longer the product is in the tin - the higher the concentration of BPA in the product. How could I make products, using certified organic ingredients for use in holistic therapies, when the packaging would actually poison the balm? As if this was not bad enough I discovered that the majority of tinware is made in China in factories where labour conditions are poor, and that the tins are then transported halfway around the world at a huge carbon cost. Tinware is cheap - but I want to run a business that is centered around my personal ethics - a business that respects people and our environment. What applies to tinware also applies to the majority of heatproof cardboard containers for liquids, such as soup containers, coffee cups, and skincare packaging. There are now products that proclaim they are BPA free, but the need for a barrier layer is still there - the alternatives used in these BPA free products are often even worse than BPA itself.
With tinware out of the running I looked to glass. Glass is an amazing material that is virtually endlessly recyclable, chemically stable, easily available, and cost effective. Unfortunately, after my research it also proved unsuitable. The main reason for this is that glass has one weakness - it is often fragile. This is especially true for glass pots - it is not a problem for small glass bottles which are immensely strong. As such, I do use glass bottles for my facial reflexology and skincare oils. For my balms that need to be packaged in a pot the fragility of glass was of serious concern to me, especially as the balms would need to be sent by post and courier. Just imagine if a pot was damaged during transport and a sliver of glass got into the balm - this could cause serious injury to both the therapist and the client. The localised pressure applied during reflexolgy and massage made this risk of injury all the more serious. This was the reason why I chose not to use glass.
With tinware and glass both proving unsuitable I finally looked at plastic. There are many different types of plastic, and many of these have very serious issues associated with them - including their not being recyclable, and containing high BPA levels (this stuff is everywhere). These were not plastics I would ever consider using for my organic balms and oils. If I had to use a plastic I wanted a plastic that would be compostable and fully bio-degradable - unfortunately this does not yet exist for skincare packaging. When this becomes available (which it will) this is the packaging I will begin to use. My research led me to a type of plastic called Polypropylene (PP). This type of plastic is 100% recyclable, light in weight, chemically stable, and break proof. It is more expensive than either glass or tinware. Critically for me PP is highly chemically stable and has no interaction with the product it holds - there is no chemical leaching whatsoever - as with tinware and BPA. In addition the PP pots I use are made in the UK, in a factory with good working conditions, and the pots do not have to travel far before they come to me. Like glass, PP can be recycled and re-used repeatedly with a very wide range of durable uses.
All you need to do is dispose of your clean empty Flying Wild pots in your recycling bin, to make sure they enter the recycling stream and the materials can be entirely re-used.
I hope that this will have helped explain the choices I had to make in packaging my products. Choices that are responsible to our environment, and bring you the best organic balms for reflexology and massages in a way that is safe for you, and for your clients.
From Bee to You,
Why does Flying Wild use recyclable plastic?
When I started making Flying Wild organic reflexology balms I spent a long time researching what would be the best packaging solution for my organic balms and oils. What I found is that there were 3 packaging material choices open to me; glass, plastic, and tinware. Before I started my research I did not think recyclable plastic would be a suitable option, my research eventually made clear that it was actually the right solution. Here's why: