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June 23, 2024 6 min read

Hi beautiful Go For Zero fam! 

When my daughter was born and reacted badly to over-the-counter products, I started researching, which led me to some big AHA moments. I was shocked by the ingredients I found in my products, I learned about the unethical manufacturing processes & the lengths companies go through to greenwash their products, and most of all, I was disappointed about the lack of government regulation to protect us, consumers.   

The fire in my belly led to me launching Go For Zero with one clear mission—to be a force for good. I started Go For Zero to provide you with a trusted space where you can come and learn as well as find safe, eco-friendly alternatives for all your everyday essentials. From beauty and cleaning to cooking and personal care products.

I wanted to create a place where you could shop with full confidence, knowing that every single item has been meticulously researched and tested to ensure it does no harm to your health or the planet's well-being. This means our standards are strict—probably too strict for some—but our principles have guided us every step of the way.

We have high standards for our ingredients (read more here) and packaging! At Go For Zero, you can trust that you’ll always find the most sustainable solution for packaging and responsible end-of-life disposal. If you wonder how, let's dive in…

The 5-Second Packaging Nightmare 

We talk a lot about prioritising clean ingredients, but what about packaging? How do we decide what materials to allow and what are absolute no-go's?

The truth is, every product we use and every piece of packaging has some level of environmental impact, we're dedicated to keeping that footprint as minimal as possible.

One of the biggest concerns we have around conventional packaging is its shockingly short lifespan. Most product packaging gets torn open and discarded in about 5 seconds, if that! Yet so many valuable resources and emissions occurred to manufacture and transport that "five-second" wrapping. 

That kind of instantaneous waste is not good for our planet impacts our human health too. That's why I'm so meticulous about surveying our packaging options (end-of-)life cycle across all products—whether we're manufacturing our own Go For Zero products or curating items from other suppliers.

Our Sustainable Packaging Criteria

First of all, my goal is to offer you as many options as possible that are 100% packaging-free, like our natural soap, 4-in-1 cleaning blocks, and stain sticks. However, when packaging is required, we follow the "Cradle to Cradle" principle as well as we can, meaning products need to stay infinitely in circulation, and all ingredients need to be chemically safe (and ideally feed back into the earth). 

Here's what that means: 

1. Home Compostable Packaging

    Most of our products like our razors, toothbrushes, … arrive in home compostable packaging, meaning it is made from natural resources. We look for:

    1. recycled paper or FSC certified paper where possible. Once you're done with the packaging, you can simply tear it into strips and put it into your garden compost bin or directly into soil where it will decompose naturally with the help of microorganisms and worms. Seriously, the worms will love you for it! So you don't need a dedicated compost system! It can just be buried in dirt when they've reached their useful life and feed back to the earth. This packaging type is also recyclable.
    2. cellulose film is a great alternative to plastic. Not all cellulose film is created equally so we only allow certified home compostable cellulose.
    2. Infinitely Recyclable Packaging

    For packaging that can't be composted at home, we choose aluminium and glass. Both can be can be endlessly recycled with no loss of quality.

    1. Aluminium is one of the eco-friendly options out there in terms of its ultra-light weight, durability, and extremely high recycling rate. With 75% of all aluminium getting recycled in Australia and only 5% of the energy required compared to extracting new aluminium, this material is a total win. You'll find aluminium containers and bottles for a lot of our products, including deodorants and sunscreens.
    2. As for glass, around 46% currently gets recycled in Australia which is lower than I'd like. However, glass can also be recycled infinitely with no loss in quality, and is great  inert material when a product requires heat-resistant, leak-proof packaging that can't be composted - like our glass baby bottles for example. If you are keen to learn more about why we don't sell plastic baby bottles, you can read more here.
    3. Refillable 

    We're committed to making waste stream as minimal as possible for any items that generate packaging waste, so many our products have refill packs available. This allows you to simply top up your existing containers rather than generating new packaging waste every time. Saving money AND saving the planet =  winning! Some examples are our Pleasant state and Resparkle cleaning products, or the refills for our tea and skincare from Miod. All refills need to adhere to the above material selections. 

    Hard to Recycle Items

    For some parts of products, we can’t find a zero-waste or infinitely recyclable options. Liquid shampoo or liquid face cleansers for example have a reusable pump. We work with our suppliers to offer refills so you can reuse your plastic pump over and over again.

    And when you are finally done with it, we take responsability for the minimal amount of waste by offering a free recycling program at Go For Zero. You can easily drop off or send back to us any packaging bits that can't be home-composted or endlessly recycled (like pipettes!). By partnering with organisations committed to responsible recycling practices, we'll ensure those components don't end up in landfills. Instead, they'll get properly recycled or reused, minimising environmental impact. We will also take waste from other companies including coffee pods or plastic toothbrushes. For a full list of accepted items you can mail or bring to us for recycling, click here

    Our Biggest No-No: Plastic Packaging

    You may have noticed one particularly notable material missing from our approved packaging list: plastic. Plastics are well-documented to absorb and leach hazardous toxins and endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA, phthalates, PFAS and heavy metals that can easily contaminate the products inside.  

    Plastic is also a non-renewable, fossil fuel-derived material that can only be recycled once or twice. As plastic loses its quality in the process, it is "down-cycled", not recycled. Its production, transportation, and disposal generate immense greenhouse gas emissions that contribute heavily to the climate crisis. Recent research found how recycling plastic sheds tonnes of microplastics in the process. 

    “It’s scary because recycling has been designed in order to reduce the problem and to protect the environment. This is a huge problem we’re creating.”- Erian brown - University Glasgow

    We are the only eco-store in Australia where you will not find recycled plastic kids’ toys, lunch boxes, drink bottles, plates, etc. Yes, we are strict, but for all the right reasons. You can learn more here about why we are committed to cutting out (recycled) plastic in our products.

    A Commitment to Continual Improvement 

    Sustainable packaging ensures that your products are protected using the least materials and energy, and leaves minimal pollution in the environment after use with minimal impact on our health. At Go For Zero, we are committed to continually researching, innovating and improving our sustainable packaging solutions to provide you with the very best options for both your well-being and the planet.

    We'll keep seeking out packaging materials that come without packaging or can be home-composted, reused or infinitely recycled. If you have any feedback on routes we should explore or suggestions for new plastic-free/zero-waste products, I'm all ears! Simply send me an email at ellie@goforzero.com.au.

    At the end of the day, Go For Zero is on a mission to minimise environmental impact through our entire supply chain while maximising human health and ecological stewardship. I'm here to support you on this shared journey toward healthier people and a happier planet however I can.

    Never hesitate reach out, 

    Love Ellie x


    The Toxic Truth About Recycled Plastic Products: https://goforzero.com.au/blogs/zero-blog/the-toxic-truth-about-recycled-plastic-products 

    Plastic Recycling Statistics: https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/plastics-material-specific-data 

    Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Plastic Production: https://www.ciel.org/plasticandclimate/ 

    Health Impacts of Chemicals in Plastic Packaging: https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-022-00871-6 

    Recycling can release huge quantities of microplastics: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/23/recycling-can-release-huge-quantities-of-microplastics-study-finds

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