Why We're Going Plastic Free
When we started Healthy Sprouts, the choice to focus on non-plastic products was really more about aesthetics than anything else. Go down the Baby aisle of any Walmart or Target store and you're bombarded with the same thing: brightly colored plastic. Our reasoning was that silicone, steel, and (soon) wood look cool, and they stand out amongst a world of bright plastic.
But along the way, we've connected with a lot of folks - including our own design and engineering team - who have some pretty strong feelings about plastic, and they've taught us some things that sorta blew our minds:
1) For one thing, just because we've sent something off to be recycled, there's now a good chance it's just sitting in a landfill somewhere here in the US.
As it turns out, a whole lot of our recyclable waste has been going to China, and they recently decided that their own garbage was more than enough for them to handle without taking ours on as well (which given their population, it's kinda hard to blame them). As it turns out, a lot of the stuff we thought was being recycled was just being hauled across the ocean, and now that that's not an option? A lot of it is now just sitting in a landfill.
Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not
New York Times - May 29, 2018
2) Not a lot of plastic actually gets recycled, even if it is recyclable.
The reason for this? Well, there are many, but the biggest one is this - it costs money to recycle something. The machinery, the processes, the labor, you name it - that all costs something. And if it costs more to recycle plastic than to just make new plastic? Well, you can probably guess what choice gets made 90% of the time.
Why is so little plastic actually recycled? ScienceNordic - August 3rd, 2018
3) Unlike aluminium or glass, plastic can't really be re-cycled, only down-cycled.
Glass and aluminum can be recycled indefinitely without ever losing their initial properties. Plastic, on the other hand, can't. Your plastic bottles can't be recycled into new plastic bottles - they can only be turned into less flexible, more rigid stuff like trash cans, plastic toys, truck bed liners, etc - and there's no real way to recycle them after that - they've hit a dead end on the recycling train.
A Guide to Plastic Recycling - The Spruce, August 11, 2018
4) Finally, there's the health question.
At this point, you can't go through that aforementioned baby section of your local Target or Walmart and not see "BPA Free" on pretty much everything on the shelves. BPA stands for Bisphenol A, and several years back it was discovered that the BPA in plastics was leaching artificial hormones into whatever said plastic container was holding. As such, a wave of BPA Free plastic products hit the market. The problem is this: Nobody's really sure that the alternatives to BPA now found in plastic products are any safer than BPA, which has been shown to caused health issues, particularly in regards to exposure to children.
Why 'BPA Free' May Not Mean a Plastic Product Is Safe -
National Geographic - September 13, 2018
With that knowledge in mind, we're working towards everything about our products being completely and totally plastic-free. Our products themselves have always been plastic-free (and independently lab tested), but now we're on a mission to rid even our packaging of any plastics and any other 100% non-biodegradable material. We're determined to have this done both on our existing products and all future products by the end of 2019, and hopefully a lot sooner than that. Change isn't exactly easy or fast in the manufacturing world, but we know we can do it. We'll be keeping updates of our progress on our Facebook page so you can follow us along on the journey.