Spotted: According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, between eight to 10 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. Innovative companies are trying to do something about this by repurposing ocean plastic into new products. One of those taking this route is Sarah Ribner’s company PiperWai, which is making a line of natural deodorants, designed to work on all skin types.
Instead of packaging its products in plastic or glass, PiperWai uses containers made from recycled ocean plastic. The containers are made by a non-profit that pays fishing boats to collect ocean waste instead of fish. The plastic is then cleaned and processed into new packaging, and the company also relies on solar energy for its operations. This is all fitting for a deodorant that is certified vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain pollutants or toxic ingredients that harm the environment or people.
According to Ribner, the move away from virgin plastics was spurred on by many of her customers, who wrote in to ask when the brand would switch to more sustainable packaging. Ribner credits this to an increase in the amount of information that is available now about the climate crisis, saying that “…now, we have more access to information through social media and there’s more attention on the fact that the climate crisis is one of the biggest that we’re going to face.”
However, once PiperWai began looking for alternatives, the company found that there were not a lot of options. It took Ribner around a year to find a suitably sustainable one, and she explained that “Every time we thought we had a solution, we would find out it wasn’t actually a solution—it was greenwashing.”
There is a huge amount of interest, from all sectors, in finding more sustainable packaging options. Springwise has covered a number of innovations hoping to find a part of the answer, including stretchable paper wrap to replace plastic shrink wrap, and candles that double as packaging.
Written By: Lisa Magloff