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The Challenges of Sustainable Packaging
Today I want to address something most companies like ours would likely try and avoid. Sustainable packaging is on the mind of many consumers these days, and so it is also on the mind of the companies that serve them. Lumineux® is no exception. But reducing your carbon footprint can be challenging and I don’t think a lot of brands speak to what stops them from switching out things like plastic.
If I had my druthers, all 16oz portions of mouthwash would be delivered by a friendly bird, who happened to be migrating to your area, and then poured our mouthwash into a container made of some material that would collapse into soil as soon as it was empty. From each pile of soil would then grow a strawberry plant for you to enjoy. Alas! No one has figured out how to make it so.
In reality, our mouthwash bottle is one of our biggest challenges when it comes to sustainability. Many people have suggested over the years that we use a glass bottle instead of a plastic one, but glass in the bathroom (especially the size and weight it would need to be) can be dangerous and shipping it all over the country is costly and difficult. Many of the alternatives to plastic or glass also won’t hold our formulations well. You see, one of the hardest things for us to overcome when it comes to sustainable packaging is what is in Lumineux® products themselves.
All Lumineux® products contain one ingredient that puts a serious limit on the kind of material we can use to hold our toothpastes, mouthwashes and even our strips. That ingredient is Dead Sea salt. In a previous blog article, I explained how incredible Dead Sea salt is at helping to balance your mouth’s ecosystem of bacteria, neutralize toxins and protect the surface of your teeth (here’s the link: https://lumineuxhealth.com/blogs/blog/oral-health-and-dead-sea-salt). But the Dead Sea is also famous for its ability to erode material! A boat cannot cross the Dead Sea without experiencing some erosion to its hull, and many of the alternatives to glass and PET plastic (which is the kind of plastic we use) will not hold products made with Dead Sea salt well. The kind of erosion that occurs limits the shelf life of our product and could make it dangerous for consumers as well.
The other ingredients that pose a challenge are essential oils! We have quite a few essential oils in our mouthwashes and toothpastes; including spearmint, wintergreen, peppermint and clove. In our whitening products we have additional ones, such as lemon peel oil. All of these oils, while incredibly beneficial to your oral health, should not be held in many of the alternative packaging materials on the market today.
So you see, to truly switch over to the kind of packaging consumers would like us to, we would have to reconsider our products root and stem, and that is not something we can do. The Purposeful and Uncompromising™ ingredients that make up Lumineux® products are simply too important to us to change. The nature of them is also what makes them so special, and (in our opinions) so imperative to your oral health.
This limits our choices in bottles, toothpaste tubes and the backing card that holds our strips. However, just because the above is true, doesn’t mean we don’t put in serious efforts where we can, and it doesn’t erase the benefits of Lumineux® products over others on the market when it comes to the health of our planet. For example, we do use recycled plastic that is BPA free for our mouthwash bottles. We have also reduced the size of our shipping boxes by as much as 20% over the last few years and we use recycled cardboard wherever possible. We currently donate a tree for every new subscription gained through our website or Amazon and the biggest differentiator of all comes from an unlikely place. Let’s talk about it…
All Lumineux® products are microbiome safe. That means they do not disrupt or damage the oral microbiome, which is comprised of thousands of different microbes, including good bacteria. In your body, bacteria are responsible for the production of nitric oxide, which helps carry oxygen from your heart to the rest of your body and it is also your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease.
There’s an old saying that goes, “as within, so without” and I’ve always believed that the relationship we have with our internal and external lives are deeply connected. It is certainly true when it comes to this idea of the microbiome. The bacteria inside our bodies are precious and so important. And the bacteria outside our bodies are just as vital. Here’s a quote from American Oceans, a group of conservationists dedicated to educating the public on the ocean and the life it holds:
“Oceanic plankton is responsible for the production of an estimated 50-80% of the oxygen on earth. Plankton takes its form in algae, plants, and photosynthetic bacteria. One specific bacterial species, known as Prochlorococcus, is responsible for producing a whopping 20% of the oxygen on our planet.”
So, friends, when you use antibacterial products, and you wash them down the sink… you see where I’m going with this right?
I would never try and argue that sustainable and renewable materials are anything but super important. They absolutely are and we are committed to continuing to search for more eco-friendly ways to deliver our products to you, but if I may, what is inside of those packages and how they impact the world, and its ecosystems, is also extremely important. If you want to read more about why antibacterial oral care products are both unnecessary and potentially harmful to your long-term oral health, read this blog article: https://lumineuxhealth.com/blogs/blog/entry-2-your-second-immune-system
I want to leave you with a little cheat sheet! Below is a list of ingredients you can find in many oral care products on the market today that are antibacterial. Some of them may surprise you and all of them pose a threat to our micro- and macrobiomes (that’s Earth, y’all).
- Denatured alcohol
- Tea tree oil
- Hydrogen peroxide
Above and beyond oral care, moral care®.