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By Kristīne Doroško
Packaging is much more than the face of a product and the first thing that we see when choosing a product. Packaging seems to be the second most important component of the product. Over time, it has become complicated to read the printed information on the packaging, because there is so much to expose and disclose on that small space, be it a plastic bottle or a paper box. Weight, content, use, packaging material, etc. How not to get lost in all of that? I have to admit that even for me, someone who has an understanding of the ingredients and sustainability of cosmetic products, it is quite difficult to choose a product that is not harmful to me and the environment. Sometimes I spend hours in stores choosing the best solution for both – me and the environment.
From the very beginning, MADARA Cosmetics has been practicing responsible manufacturing. Already since 2006 it has been using 100% recyclable plastic packaging. At that time, plastic pollution was not as relevant, or perhaps it was simply not mentioned, as the social networks had less outreach and influence in the dissemination of information. At that time we couldn’t see all the posts of plastic islands, waste streams, or suffocated seabirds and other living creatures. Europeans are in a slightly more privileged position than Asia, where there is located more than 80% of the global plastic pollution of the ocean. It is because we have a well-developed waste collection system and infrastructure. Recently I had a chance to visit a surfing paradise, the beautiful island of Bali. On the beaches I noticed the recurring phenomenon of the Europeans collecting plastic waste. Some a bit aggressively and chaotic, others slowly and patiently. I managed to talk to one of them. He was a Danish man who had recently retired and decided to move to Bali. He said he decided to invest his time in setting an example and educating the public by collecting plastic trash from the beaches.
Currently MÁDARA has launched products made from recycled plastic that is collected from the ocean in a partnership with the only company in the world - Ocean Waste Plastic (OWP) - that pulls the plastic directly from the ocean. The road to the concept of taking plastic from the oceans and turning it into new and beautiful packaging was not easy for the company. But thanks to faith and investor confidence, 2018 saw a breakthrough, and now OWP is capable of cleaning the oceans and making packaging for selected customers.
Plastic collected from the ocean later is recycled into a plastic pellets which will later be turned into a new and beautiful packaging.
Unlike in Asia, we have no issues in collecting post-consumer waste. Our problem is the behavior. It is such a pity that in many parts of Riga and Latvia the responsibility for sorting waste to the citizens is still not taught and practiced. Thus, the lack of community responsibility and involvement in the environmental activities becomes a secondary priority. These elements are so crucial given the growing challenges of climate change, where people should consider the consequences of their behaviors and choices. If politicians are still afraid or unwilling to obliges us to do the minimal efforts, then MÁDARA is brave enough to engage its clients. Thus, part of the responsibility is placed in the consumer's hands as the customers are invited to return the used packaging. This action creates a sense of participation and also satisfaction that is so important when we want to make positive changes in the behaviors of the consumers. As a gratitude to the responsible purchasers, MÁDARA rewards their customers with a discount on their next purchase. Moreover, the company sets a very good example of the circular economy. Afterwards collected packaging is delivered to construction company that produces a brand new building material. Thus, the packaging that would be incinerated and emitted even more CO2 emissions, takes on a new life in becoming another product.
It should be mentioned that the returnable packaging shouldn’t be washed, it creates an additional environmental impact of the product by consuming water in rather inefficient way. The recycling company washes the plastic itself to get rid of unnecessary substances. Therefore, if you have used one of your favorite creams or shampoos, bring it back to the MÁDARA store and be content about your gesture to the planet and another gram of CO2 saved and then a kilo that won't go into the atmosphere.