At LUNA & me we choose not to use plant-based packaging, and here's why?
When we consider anything new for LUNA & me we conduct a thorough life-cycle analysis. With packaging it is especially easy to focus on the benefits i.e. you can compost, imagining the packaging melts back into the land as if it never existed! But, we believe we have a duty to dig a little deeper if we are to truly be able to answer your concerns (and ours) fully.
So let's talk about plant-based packaging...we were very excited when the concept was introduced, now, however, it is the invention that causes us the most disappointment!
From a consumers point of view or for a business that wants to shout about how environmentally friendly they are, plant-based packaging is just about as perfect as it can be, or is it?
Taking sugar cane as an example; one of the main crops used in the production of plant-based packaging. First, sugar consumption is in decline as governments around the world fight obesity, but surprisingly sugar production is at an all-time high. Why? Because of the material used in the production of packaging, Bagasse that was once the byproduct has become the primary product in growing sugar and the sugar itself has become the byproduct!
Farming sugarcane is widely known to be disastrous for the environment, causing huge stress. Farming sugarcane mainly relies on the clearance of huge swathes of virgin rain forest that make way for monoculture plantations that use strong pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers as well as huge amounts of water. Eco-systems are destroyed, wildlife is displaced or die out as nothing can live in this barren environment. Just as palm oil plantations are hitting the headlines for the devastating impact on our world, sugar plantations are equally as devastating.
As our appetite for plant-based packaging grows voraciously, sugar production continues to increase destroying even more virgin ecosystems for farmland and further polluting the land and waterways.
In conclusion, this wonderful 'environmentally friendly' product that is used 'only once' and then miraculously 'melts away into the soil', is made after virgin forests are cut down, eco systems and their inhabitants are destroyed. Then to make matters worse, this so-called 'environmentally friendly' packaging is shipped around the world amassing a huge carbon footprint as it goes.
Of course, there is no right answer, however for us, we cannot condone a product that causes so much damage to our fragile environment, it would be unethical for us to keep taking from our natural world when there is an abundance of recycled material that can be used endlessly. We choose to source our packaging materials and the production of our packaging in the UK, our carbon footprint is minimal and the materials our packagings are made from are used time and again...therefore at LUNA & me we are closing the loop.