(As told by Soo)
“We were supposed to launch our first product (Rose Quartz) in spring 2019 + then bring the next products to market within three months of each other, but this timeline was thwarted due to problems with the bottle, which had originally been designed to be a transparent biodegradable material.
However, the bottle failed the drop tests, due partly to the nature of the complex shape of the crystal shaped bottle + because biodegradable materials tend to be more brittle. This was obviously no good for a product used in bathrooms which tend to be full of hard surfaces + tiled floors. So it was back to the drawing board to re-develop the bottle in a different material.
After extensive research + consulting with experts on waste management, we decided that it was actually better to make the bottle from a recyclable material.
The truth about PP + biodegradable materials
We had been initially reluctant to use PP, as like most people, we assumed that a biodegradable material would be better, but it would seem that the term biodegradable can be slightly misleading, biodegradable materials present a huge problem for recycling plants to differentiate + separate from other plastics.
They can’t be recycled so they inevitably become landfill + unless they're exposed to the right conditions they take a considerable amount of time to breakdown, during which they can still omit toxic residues into the earth, methane into the atmosphere + micro-plastics into sea, posing a huge threat to marine life.
They are also made from natural plant based organisms, which require the use of more cropland + pesticides are often used which can cause engineering problems with the end product.
An expert opinionA friend of mine, knowing we were in an ethical quandary + still unsure that what we were making the best decision, introduced me to Sophie Thomas of Thomas Matthews (an expert on waste management + circular economy).
According to Sophie we’d hit the same wall as many others before us. She told me that we are 5 - 10 years off seeing a turnaround in manufacturing + recycling methods for mass produced biomaterials. So until we can find the perfect solution, the best we can do is to try + ensure a circular economy for our bottle.