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Soapbox: On a roll - but never packaged in plastic
Darryl Penson of Foremost UK argues that using recycled products isn’t going far enough in terms of caring for the environment; we need to focus on packaging and reducing transportation impact too…
We'd all had our fill of toilet roll at the start of the Pandemic, but in being up to our eyeballs in toilet rolls, consumers began to realise just how much single-use plastic was being used to package everything together for our convenience. Pun intended.
Whilst as consumers we're always wanting to be better and do better when it comes to the environment, the returns we want from products such as recycled toilet paper aren't necessarily visible or measurable. All we have is perhaps a Kitemark to cling onto, or a fancy marketing tagline designed to signal virtue, without actually showing the positive impact being made.
With Ecobox ranges focusing on the impact of packaging, we provide our customers with evidence of the good work being done. Our Ecochart reports provide monthly feedback on the volume of plastic and CO2 wastage being saved, which is great for our customers in reporting to their stakeholders.
To illustrate the difference this can make, Pillowsoft (Foremost's highest grade three-ply quilted toilet tissue), demonstrates luxury and quality to the last sheet, yet each Ecobox saves 11 plastic wrappers from going into waste streams, and cuts transport CO2 emissions by 25%. In addition, we tightly wind 65% more paper onto the same (standard width) rolls. We then pack them in recycled cardboard with kraft paper tape, cutting out plastic and excess transport bulk that comprise a large part of the environmental impact of traditional toilet paper.
Our client, Ian Whittingham, commercial director of Smarter Services, had this to say:
“For me, this product was a no-brainer. It's a great way of reducing the impact this core consumable has on the environment. It will help us achieve the environmental KPIs on major tenders we've recently won, as well as maintaining our ISO 14001 certification along the way.”
Though we supply to customers in a range of industries including hospitality, leisure and education, the Ecobox concept is gaining momentum fastest in premium office spaces. Exploration reveals that CEOs of forward-thinking industries, along with facilities managers providing high-end offices and co-working spaces, are committed to promoting an environmental ethos, without compromising on a luxury washroom experience for staff and guests alike. It's clearly a great combination to contribute to a conducive working atmosphere.
Though the commitment of other brands that focus on product impact is commendable and impactful, there are setbacks. Either the quality (think single-ply and recycled roughness) makes the product unattractive, or the product is made of an alternative to paper (such as bamboo), which carries significant cost to the customer in order to overcome the significant cost to the environment.
By flushing out single-use plastic packaging, this product is showing it's possible to provide an environmentally conscious product range with measurable impact - without costing the customer more money, or compromising their quest for quality.
We're feeling so good about this here at Foremost, that we'll be donating 1% of all Ecobox revenue for the next month to www.plasticfreejuly.org
5th August 2021