April 17, 2022 4 min read

Nature is at the heart of our business, which means sustainability — and keeping our planet as healthy as our bodies — is too. With this in mind, we get a lot of questions about packaging and want to share some insights into what guides our decision making with you.

The Packaging Dilemma

The ultimate vision for sustainability is to close the gap between the life of the product and the life of the packaging. For example, our lip butter may last you 3 months of usage but the plastic packaging can last up to 300 years in a landfill. This is an issue we have been tackling for over 7 years.

What we’ve discovered is that there is not one material that solves all of our concerns. We need a multi-tiered approach to solving our packaging dilemma. This is a journey we are passionate about and committed to solve. We want to take you along on our journey.

Our Sustainable Packaging Philosophy

These are the pillars that guide us when choosing our packaging:

Use Wisely

  • Minimal material — we never use secondary packaging and encourage refill sizes.
  • Bio-based materials or natural fibers — paper, plant based plastics.
  • Bulk and refill — bath bombs, bar soap (and slabs) and Rocky Refill program.
  • Design for recovery — avoid multi-layered materials that are hard to recycle.

Recover More

  • The Rocky Refills program
  • Recycled materials
  • Clear “How To” recycle info on labels

Package-free is the ultimate solution
We offer all our bar soaps label-free and have some exciting innovative formats in development to offer more products package-free.

Return. Sterilize. Refill. Repeat.

One of the most important ways to reduce your impact is by reusing and refilling what you already have. That’s why we have our Rocky Refills program. You can return items like 1L refill bottles, glass skincare containers, and cream deodorant jars to our retail locations. We take them back to our workshop to be sanitized, refilled, and loved again. We've already refilled 1,800 bottles and counting! To see which items are eligible for the Rocky Refills program, please see our complete list here.

Materials We Use

We tap into a variety of packaging solutions the natural products you love.

Sustainable Plastics and Glass

These are two materials we love to use at Rocky. We’ve conducted research with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and found sustainable plastics and glass were equal in comparison.

Our Cream Cleanser tube is made of 70% recycled plastic in Montreal and can be recycled again. 

Recycled Plastic & Post Consumer Resin (PCR)

Recycled plastic and PCR are great packaging options, made from recycled materials and given a second life. At Rocky, we also like to refer to this as "repurposed" plastic. In the case of a post-consumer resin, “post-consumer” means the material used for your packaging was previously used for a product that was purchased, recycled, then repurposed into the material you’re holding now (like recycled water bottles or that old peanut butter jar, for example). These materials are a great step in sustainability through reducing and reusing waste, and mean less new plastic in the world. 

Pros:

  • Great options for circular systems and continued life
  • Made from post-consumer materials (like old water bottles or other packaging)
  • Produce less waste

Cons:

  • Some polymers have low recovery in recycling facilities
  • Not all PCR packaging can hold our formulas without breakage

Double take! Don’t let the beautiful clean look of this jar fool you. The white jar is made completely from glass with a plastic lid and is fully recyclable.

Glass

Glass is a wonderful material made from natural substances like sand or limestone. We use glass in most of our skincare line (except our toner bottles, which are 100% recycled plastic).

Pros:

  • Can be cleaned, reused and recycled indefinitely
  • Creates beautiful packaging from natural materials

Cons:

  • Energy intensive to produce
  • Low recovery in recycling facilities due to breakage

Paper

Some of our soaps come with a wrapper. This wrapper is made from 100% recycled paper. Being FSC-certified ensures old growth forests are not harmed. It’s one of the best-certified papers for reducing environmental impact, and is an easily recoverable material. The wrappers also come to our workshop from nearby Calgary, to keep it local.

Virgin Plastic

We only use virgin plastic when PCR or recycled content is not commercially available. It is a last resort or in cases where recycled content is not compatible with the formula of our products, such as in some cases when recycled content or PCR renders the packaging weaker and not able to support our formulas.

Materials We Never Use

Aluminum

This is a material we never use as it is rated as the least desirable packaging option due to the high energy in production, greenhouse gas emissions, water and mineral consumption and open pit mining.

We hear you and we’re with you. We put careful consideration to every decision we make when choosing our packaging. Thank you for being with us on this journey!


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