Impact

Behind Ritual's Goal to Have Sustainable Packaging by 2025

3 min read
Ritual's packaging sustainability goal.
Ritual's packaging sustainability goal.

Article Content

Sustainable packaging is the right thing to do, and like many projects related to positive social impact, it’s easier said than done. That’s why Ritual wanted to hold ourselves accountable to 100% sustainable packaging by 2025. Great! So what does that entail?

Sustainable packaging doesn’t have a formal legal definition so let us be clear, we count packaging that is recycled, recyclable and/or refillable. Included in this goal is primary packaging (what the product is stored in), secondary packaging (any cartons for use in retail) and tertiary packaging (what the product comes to your house in).

Our Approach to Sustainable Packaging

Our sustainability program is built on science, just like our formulas, so we developed these goals by referencing frameworks like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, using tools like Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to determine which packaging is most sustainable and avoid greenwashing and guidance from leaders like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Leveraging third parties like Bluebird Climate and COMPASS, LCAs help us decipher the carbon footprint across a packaging’s lifespan. The reason this is important is because people can often only think about sustainability within the context of a packaging's recyclability, vs doing a scientific assessment of the entire life of that packaging, from production, use and disposal.

We select packaging with circularity in mind and are ok with bucking consumer perception about what is sustainable when science is on our side (for example, our 100% recycled plastic multivitamin bottles use 59.4% less carbon than glass). †

†Relative performance estimated by Eco Impact® COMPASS version 1.0.20

Recycled Material

These are materials that are either post consumer recycled, upcycled, or re-used in the manufacturing process. We aim to reach the highest amount of recycled content possible, without compromising the packaging’s ability to protect the product we are shipping. Our LCAs indicate that anything with 25% or higher post consumer recycled content, drives significant carbon savings. A great example is the bottles used for our Essential Multivitamins, made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic, giving plastic a second life. We also selected recycled PET, which is a material that traditionally enjoys high curbside recycling rates (please check with your local recycling instructions to see if it’s recyclable in your community).

Recyclable Material

Not to be confused with recycled, recyclable means that you the consumer can recycle it after use on your end. Recycling rules vary widely based on where you live and therefore we always recommend you check to see if our packaging is recycled locally before disposing. We consider a variety of factors when determining recyclability including the type of material the packaging is composed of, color of the packaging, labels, supplier documentation, and packaging dimensions (smaller packaging is not actively recycled in most centers). As we discuss more below, integrity of our formulas must always be weighed with our packaging goals. For Synbiotic+, we could not find a container that both preserved the active nature of the biotics without needing refrigeration and was recyclable. So, that packaging, with its moisture-controlled bottle technology, is not currently recyclable curbside. But we don’t let a compromise become a dead end. To address this, we are launching a partnership with the Pact Collective takeback program, recently in our retail location. And if you’re not in Los Angeles, you can go to the Pact Collective website and download a printing label to send in your bottles.

Refillable

We use design principles outlined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which focus on eliminating waste and pollution, circulating materials at their highest value, and designing products regenerative in nature. While we know refillable systems can often be more sustainable and reduce carbon emissions, it’s complicated. Initial testing we conducted of refillable pouches showed that the integrity of the nutrients in our formulas was not stable being stored and transported in pouches. The last thing we would want to do is ship you our products in more sustainable packaging but have the formula and benefits compromised. With that being said we are exploring ways to approach refillable packaging in a way that would deliver sustainability benefits while still protecting your product. Thanks for your patience as we tackle this complicated topic. (And in the meantime, we’re proud of our 100% post consumer recycled bottles and other packaging solutions).

We promise to keep you posted on our progress toward this goal and we welcome your questions.

Meet the Author

This article was written by our content specialist.

Lindsay Dahl - Ritual Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl, Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl is an accomplished writer, clean living expert, advocacy nerd, and Ritual's Chief Impact Officer. For over 20 years she has been working at the forefront of environmental health campaigns, working to eliminate toxic chemicals in beauty products, household cleaners, furniture, and children's toys. Lindsay has helped pass over two dozen pieces of consumer safety, health, and climate legislation at the state and federal levels. Lindsay has received national recognition for her work on ingredient safety, packaging sustainability, human rights, and climate change.

Lindsay Dahl - Ritual Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl, Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl is an accomplished writer, clean living expert, advocacy nerd, and Ritual's Chief Impact Officer. For over 20 years she has been working at the forefront of environmental health campaigns, working to eliminate toxic chemicals in beauty products, household cleaners, furniture, and children's toys. Lindsay has helped pass over two dozen pieces of consumer safety, health, and climate legislation at the state and federal levels. Lindsay has received national recognition for her work on ingredient safety, packaging sustainability, human rights, and climate change.

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