Why did we switch to plastic? Find out now.
This is a big one for us. It was a real bittersweet moment. We love our home compostable pouches. They look beautiful, they heat sealed really well, the clay fit perfectly, and you could throw them into your home garden compost and they'd become one with the earth. Everything about them were perfect. Except the most important part. They didn't keep the clay soft and usable for longer than a couple weeks. We were bummed when we found out after feedback from customers saying their clay had dried out. (Luckily it's a super easy and free fix, but still frustrating.)
So we started using a home compostable cling film, and lovingly wrapping every clay sausage in film, then putting them into our pouches. But that only extended the shelf life another week or so.
So we started doing some digging. A WHOLE LOT OF DIGGING. But you know what we found? Understanding plastic and as well as their recyclability in NZ is really hard to find. And even Kiwi packaging companies weren't much help in figuring out a product that would keep our clay moist and still be able to be recycled curb side (which was our preference to ensure everyone has access to the ability to recycle our pouches).
Our suppliers would say "yes, it can be recycled and show the documentation" but upon further research, it was only possible in other countries where recycling is more advanced. So we looked into foil lined bags, like coffee bags and those couldn't be recycled either. Which would mean the plastic or foiled paper would just end up in the bin anyways.
We felt defeated. Like we couldn't win. We didn't want to add more plastic to landfills, but we felt we couldn't keep using pouches that delivered an inferior product. So we settled on plastic. On a PET plastic, which is the most commonly used plastic around. It can be recycled. It can be reused. It is the best we can do right now. It has the high moisture and oxygen barrier we needed. And we've opened up a clay refillery option, so our pouches can be reused. The refill clay will be delivered in compostable film, so when it arrives you can slide it into your existing pouch.
Our search isn't over. And neither is the advancements of recycling in NZ. By the time I decided to write this blog, things could have already changed.
It's our hope is that Handsy can grow enough to create a custom product that works for us and the planet, or that advancements are made and someone else is able to create a product we can use.
Until then, we're doing our best.