The multi-trillion dollar hair and skincare industry is one of the biggest producers of throwaway packaging. In Indonesia and other Asian countries single use packaging is very popular but adds enormously to the landfills and the garbage thrown carelessly away by roadsides or rivers. While a few tentative steps are undertaken in Indonesia to stem the tide of plastic bags and throwaway packaging, it is obvious that we have a long way to go to change consumer behaviours in terms of waste management.
There are those who say that it should not be entirely the responsibility of the consumer to manage the manufacturer’s packaging. One of the tenets of the Zero Waste movement is that manufacturers should bear that obligation and come up with packaging that are non-polluting, i.e. compostable or recyclable. Some manufacturers are taking this idea seriously. A good local example is Leaf Juice Skincare, a spa products manufacturer based in Batam who recently opened a showroom store in the Sayan-Ubud area. They are underpinning the Zero Waste movement by creating non-polluting packaging for their all-natural ingredients skin care line by using naked, refillable, reusable, compostable or dissolvable containers. What’s more, their product line uses natural and vegan ingredients, the bounty of Mother Nature, the favourite being the Hibiscus plant.
Naked packaging means that the product is sold in a solid form after water has been removed during the manufacturing process. Shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, toothpaste, cold cream, soaps and scrubs come in the form of bars and not in bottles or tubes. The bars themselves can be wrapped in clear, water-soluble plastic or put in refillable containers. Other products come in eco-friendly, compostable packaging, refillable or reusable containers.
Reusable jars, bottles and tins are made from glass, aluminium or PLA (polyactic acid), a plant based substance that is biodegradable. However, the PLA jars can also be refilled and reused repeatedly. Though PLA containers look like plastic, they are actually made from corn. More and more manufacturers are using PLA packaging and though it is not a total panacea, this type of packaging, when discarded, is definitely kinder to the environment than normal petroleum-based plastics.
From a money saving perspective bars are very economical. A shampoo bar for instance is the equivalent of three 500 ml bottles of liquid shampoo. If you figure it out, the per-use savings are considerable. That also means that one long-lasting shampoo bar is the equivalent of three plastic bottles that won’t be thrown in a landfill or end up in Bali’s waterways.
Another interesting form of packaging is the use of chew paste instead of a tube for toothpaste. Just think of the billions of toothpaste tubes that are thrown away each year and take hundreds of years to decompose and you’ll agree that liberating the paste from the tube is genial. Chew paste comes in the form of little pellets in a tin jar. Each time you want to brush your teeth, simply pop one pellet into your mouth to chew and start brushing. No more squeezing that ungainly tube to get the last smidgen of toothpaste. Comes in delectable flavours too.
This what you get when you combine Swiss precision work and ethics with American style ingenuity. How it all came about is an interesting story in itself. Leaf juice Skincare is the creation of Jasmine Borschberg, a medical lab technologist by profession. Swiss by origin, Jasmine’s parents immigrated to Canada and later moved to America where Jasmine obtained her education and worked as an entrepreneur in many successful businesses that are still running today. Eventually the wind blew in the direction of Asia and Jasmine found herself setting up house there where her brother is a professor at the University Of Singapore. When the 2008 financial crisis hit, she went back to work and opened a lovely Balinese style villa into the now well-know #1 Tempat Senang Spa Resort on Batam Island.
For the spa she formulated her own line of natural products which customers were then requesting to take home. In order to fully control the quality of the natural ingredients she set up her own BPom certified class A laboratory to manufacture the products and opened a retail outlet. The link to Bali came early on as Jasmine liked to escape for frequent breaks and leased a villa in Sayan where she launched the Sayan store in January this year. It was a logical extension of her laboratorium in Batam.
All natural ingredients. The cosmetics, hair and skin care industry is heavily reliant on the use of chemicals like sulphates, parabens and phthalates in their products which are not kind to your skin or body. Often these components strip away the natural oils from your body, make your hair fall out, act as hormone disruptors or are known carcinogens. Over time these chemicals build up in your body and create havoc with your immune systems.
By contrast the ingredients used in the Leaf Juice products are natural, body-friendly and chemical-free. By using plant extracts and hydrosols from materials such as leaves, flowers, peels, berries, wood, stems and roots, Leaf Juice products pay homage to mother nature and respect the environment. They are also kinder to the body. Shampoos are sulfate-free to avoid thinning hair, the zinc-based reef-friendly sunblock contains none of the ten chemicals usually found in marketed sunscreens that are banned in certain areas because they are bad for reefs. Aluminium-free deodorants won’t threaten or disrupt hormone cycles. Eco-friendly detergents and cleaning products will help reduce pollution in the environment. Face scrubs contain vegetable, rather than plastic beads. None of the products contain palm oil and none of the product ingredients are tested on animals.
The products and their eco-friendly, attractive and innovative packaging make for great gifts. People like to be pampered so give your friends and family a gift that screams natural goodness and non-wasteful packaging. With more than 175 products to choose from there is bound to be a fitting gift for everyone on your list.
The Leaf Juice Skincare shop is located in the middle of the Sayan-Ubud neighborhood between Moksa and The Mansion. You can get an idea of the product line and the underlying philosophy by visiting the website www.leaf-juice.com/
Zero waste is a journey, not a destination, say the Zero Waste pundits and the Leaf Juice efforts really put us squarely on that journey. Jasmine’s philosophy is that it is simply a matter of re-educating consumers, steering them away from harmful chemical-laden products towards natural products, and to start thinking differently about all that wasteful packaging. When all the enhancers and fillers are removed from the products texture and skin may feel different but this is an adjustment that is well worth it. In developing a natural product line Jasmine is like a medieval herbalist mixing lotions and potions from natural components, concocting soothing and healing balms and cleansers for your skin. As a woke consumer, by refusing to put harmful chemicals and ingredients on your body and treating it instead to the natural goodness of Mother Nature’s bounty, you are also treating the environment with the respect due to the planet that sustains us. We only have one body and we only have one planet. It behoves us to make that our mantra.
By Ines Wynn
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