Packages and closures for packaging

- What it's like to promote plastic these days?

Environmentally friendly solutions in the Polpak Packaging offer!
An interview with Katarzyna Piątek, the head of the Polpak's packaging department.

- What it's like to promote plastic these days?
- Apart from promoting our, indeed, plastic closures and packaging, for years we’ve been paying attention to environmental protection, educating on the topics of our products’ recycling and management, when they become waste.
However, in order to be able to convey this, we closely watch the world around us and the scientists’ publications on topics related to plastics, their management and reuse.

- What have been your conclusions so far?
- Paradoxically, that plastic is the least harmful packaging material compared to all available ones. We are happy to write about it in our blog. Based on sources, we publish populism-free content exposing facts about various materials.
Although cotton, glass and paper are considered to be eco-friendly, climate micro-disasters are organized, in order to produce and later process them. Farmland is drained, trees aren’t planted as part of sustainable logging, while erosion of seashores and rivers caused by mining for glass production is irreversible.

 -They are quite unknown theories.
- These are not theories, but facts. It's easier to talk about plastic as an enemy than about the fact that, with the so-called eco-friendly paper each of us throws out two medium-sized trees a year to trash. Paper, in general, has been labeled “eco” prematurely. Analyzing the entire chain of its production, it's hard to find even one green aspect. Cutting down trees, which produce oxygen and clean our atmosphere of CO2; transportation, which emits exhaust fumes, then processing, chemicals needed in its production which are often poured illegally into rivers.... Do all of them really contribute to the environmental protection?
The only moment when paper is already eco-friendly is when it ends up on a landfill..., provided it isn’t coated with inks or varnish that uses polymers in its structure....
What's used for the production of plastic is post-petrochemical residues, which would have to be disposed of, if they weren’t converted into plastics. In addition, their production doesn’t require a lot of water, and the transportation of light plastic isn't such a burden as, for example, glass....
The research carried out by, for example, Plastic Europ association, confirms that plastic leaves the smallest carbon footprint compared to other materials.

- So, all in all, plastic, but what should it be like to be actually friendly to our planet?
- It should be of good quality, in order to be recyclable. Recycling resembles cooking. We can prepare an exquisite dish only from top quality ingredients.
Such quality is needed, before a product is recycled. Durable and solidly made lotion pumps can be used for a very long time, not only with the cosmetic they have been attached to.
We reduce the production of waste in a smart way, not by slimming them down, but by buying them less often.

- And how can we reduce the amount of plastic in cosmetic packaging, if not by slimming it down, as you called it?
- We have introduced to our offer airless packaging intended for refill.  
The AB1214-02 model is a great solution for cosmetic brands whose target audience is clients who care about environmental protection, but also those who have a faithful group of clients who return to get their favorite cosmetic.
Cream in the entire packaging should be purchased only once, and the subsequent shortages are replenished with a 'thermos' closed with a cap. The clients themselves exchange an empty internal bottle for a new, full one.
The producer’s task is to make sure that this backup is always available at the chemist’s or online store. In this and any other case, environmental protection requires consistency and making changes for good.
Planting a tree is a good spontaneous green initiative, but if we want to support, in a genuine way, our planet in the struggle to slow the climate change down, we need to be consistent in our changes.
Polish cosmetic brands are great at building relationships with female clients. Instagram accounts are vibrant with the life of the community centered around a given manufacturer. Brands know perfectly well that the product promotion itself won’t build a strong, engaged group. They need other topics to connect that community. The environmental protection in one of them. It’s credible, when it’s deeply rooted in the brand's DNA.

- Is there any other way in which producers can support the environmental protection?
- Companies started to successfully use eco-design, but the rampant inflation has reversed that trend.

- What does the inflation have to do with the environmental protection?
- Lots of companies have decided to go for “downsizing”, that is the reduction of the product's weight or capacity without changing its price, and, sometimes, without changing the size of the packaging.
A consumer who is used to a 50 ml cream, today gets just 40 ml for the same price. No wonder that the quantity of waste is on the rise. In order to get 200 ml of cream, a consumer used to buy four packages, today it’s five....
Encouragement to upsizing, that is the exactly opposite sales procedure, is also part of our education.
It’s more eco-friendly to offer the client a big packaging in a solid bottle with a cap which will remain in it for the next portion of the cosmetic or detergent from a refill.

- You are talking about quite obvious but very unpopular facts. What are clients’ reactions to such information?
- They are really surprised, don’t believe their eyes, and need a longer moment to realize that “wow, it makes sense!”.
We aren’t rebels, and we also don’t want to harm our planet. We provide information that proves that our world in general, but also the packaging industry has no black or white sides. We operate in the shades of grey, make choices, but we should know what we choose from and what consequences it involves.
- Thank you very much for an interesting conversation.