One of the most frequent questions we are asked at Cleanery is “what is your sachet made of?”
Let’s start with the fact that our sachets weigh around 1 gram and they are 99% less single use plastic than the average “traditional” bottle of cleaning product. To put it another way, you’d need to use up to 100 of our sachets to equate to the (often hard to recycle) material in just one “traditional” bottle of cleaner.
By using our sachet you’ve already knocked 99% per cent of waste on the head. That’s a huge saving of resources, and that’s on top of the benefits of a sachet of powder versus a heavy bottle filled mostly with water being shipped around the world.
On to the sachet…
What is the Cleanery sachet made of?
Our sachet is made of lightweight plastic that is recyclable in the soft plastics recycling schemes, where they exist. We are a part of the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme in New Zealand.
How did you decide what to make the sachets from?
What to use for our sachets was not a decision that was made quickly or lightly and there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Our scientists worked closely with some of New Zealand’s leading sustainable packaging experts to establish what option would have the lowest environmental impact while also being highly functional.
First and foremost, packaging needs to protect its contents and ensure it gets to customers in great condition. There’s nothing more wasteful than having to bin an entire product because the packaging doesn’t do its job. This means it needs to be durable and offer a good moisture barrier. Also, while our formulations are plant and mineral based, and super safe you and the environment, it is still an ultra-effective cleaning product in concentrated form, and thus requires packaging that is child resistant. Finally, it has be practical and ensure that mixing your products is super easy and convenient.
Why did you choose plastic packaging?
Initially, one of our decisions was whether to go for compostable or recyclable packaging.
It is a common misconception that compostable packaging is the best or most sustainable option, but the reality is that it is often not. The Ministry of Environment’s recent findings around compostable packaging provide an extensive overview of the many challenges around compostable packaging. These include:
- The majority do not have home compost systems or access to compost systems (either home or commercial). This means compostable materials most often end up in landfill.
- Compostable packaging is often incorrectly placed into recycling bins by consumers – as they cannot be recycled, they often contaminate recycling collections leading to it all going to landfill rather than being recycled. Massive own goal.
- Limited infrastructure to process compostable materials. Commercial composting facilitates – where they are even available – don’t want to be dealing with packaging. They are set up for food scraps and organic waste and because they can’t sort compostable from normal packaging it all goes to landfill.
- And finally, even if the packaging finds its way into a compost bin or commercial composter, it has no nutritional value and adds nothing positive to compost or soil.
While there are some benefits to compostable packaging in the right and very specific setting, it was clear that this was not a suitable route for cleaning products.
Having ruled out compostable packaging, we opted to select plastic that had the opportunity to be repurposed and reused again through Soft Plastic Recycling Schemes.
99% less waste isn’t perfect but it’s pretty close. We are always working hard to be better and looking into options for sachets with an even lower footprint, so watch this space.
How should sachets be safely disposed of?
You can drop our sachets into any soft plastics recycling point around New Zealand and Australia. If this is not available to you, we can send you a pre-paid envelope to return your sachet collection to us and we will see it safely recycled.
We are always happy to answer questions around our packaging and products so please reach out to the team on email@example.com and let’s talk.
 Ministry for the Environment. 2022. Compostable products: Ministry for the Environment position statement. Wellington: Ministry for the Environment. https://environment.govt.nz/assets/publications/compostables-packaging-position-statement.pdf