Below is an email I sent to EcoStore today. I am still concerned about their plastic packaging and it unfortunately hasn’t chnaged over the years. I have asked about refilling already in the store about two years ago and was told that there were no plans to chnage the packaging or to refill them.
30 September 2009
We use your product now for a couple of years, basically since we arrived in NZ, and are very happy with the quality and performance.
One thing that always bugged my though is the plastic packaging.
I do not mind that too much, but I believe it should be either refillable (in various stores and supermarkets throughout NZ) or at least recyclable.
With recyclable I mean not being collected in kerbside collections and then either shipped to china or downcycled in some low-quality throw-away product.
I personally would love the idea of a refillable solution. You have quality plastic bottles and I reckon they could be reused a 100 times.
Please advise what your future plans are to reduce the amount of plastic rubbish.
I received the following reply from them on 4 October 2009:
Thanks for taking the time to write to us.
The reducing recycling idea is not a black and white issue and I will try not to rant on too much here…
Unfortunately in most areas of our practice we are required to use a plastic bottle.
An example of this is we initially provided the dish powder in cardboard boxes and got into a lot of trouble for it with consumer watchdogs and the newspapers! Our founder Malcolm says it was deemed unsafe, given that children and animals could so easily get into it and dish powder is by nature a high PH product (although ours is lower than most). So we have no choice but to go to plastic bottles in order to sell an environmentally and human safe, locally made product. When going by guidelines or rules such as the one you’re currently trialing, we need to consider all the issues involved – for example whether you feel it’s best to buy a NZ-made product in a recyclable NZ-made bottle, or to use all your ‘carbon credits’ buying product that’s in cardboard but shipped all the way from the USA? The other issue is that there are only two ways that we know of for companies to provide powders in cardboard: they must either add a chemical ingredient to stop the powder absorbing moisture as mentioned above (and legally they don’t always have to put it on the ingredients listing!) or plastic / wax coat the box which may actually deem it unrecyclable.
So there is my little rant as to why we have to use recyclable plastic bottles, but within saying this we do offer larger bulk items, (4.5kg, 5L and 20L drums), either for purchase here in Freemans Bay, Auckland, or via our mail or online ordering facility. Many Wholefoods stores and Binn Inns stock those 20L Drums so you can take your empties along and fill up. This option is also available in our Freemans Bay store which we encourage. Unfortunately supermarkets haven’t seen this potential yet, but we’re hoping for refill stations there sometime in the future.
We do believe in the idea of recycling (where and when needed) and do encourage it. We know it’s not absolutely the solution but think it’s better than going straight to the local landfill.
I hope this helps! If you have any more questions please feel free to ask!
The team @ ecostore