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Why Are We Discontinuing Liquid Refill Pouches?

December 15, 2021

Dear #TheBetterHomies,

We have an announcement for you. We are making a big change

We are glad to have become a big part of your daily lives and to share with you the vision of making a  positive impact on human health, our planet, and its resources.

Everything that we do at The Better Home is finally measured by one metric – sustainable positive impact. And that’s why we constantly review our practices and products, to choose what's good for you and the planet. Recently, our team while evaluating the environmental impact of our packaging options made a series of observations regarding the liquid refill pouches which concluded in us taking a conscious call - To discontinue The Better Home liquid refill pouches, immediately.

Why are we discontinuing the liquid refill pouches?

1)    Current state of waste collection system in India: While our liquid refill pouches are made of PET and Polyethylene and are recyclable, we have come to realise that being recyclable doesn't automatically mean they'll get recycled:

(a)   Recycling of plastic needs careful segregation at the household level, the onus of which invariably falls on the local bodies collecting the waste. Most of the local bodies currently do not have a system for door-to-door segregation of solid waste and the segregated recyclable plastic waste and the same is channelized through rag pickers. The rag picker community is largely unorganised and lacks awareness of categories of waste and what can be recycled.

The local bodies also lack a framework for the collection and transportation of empty soiled pouches to recycling facilities. As per a 2020 CSE (Centre for Science & Environment) report on Managing Plastic Waste in India "almost 66 per cent of plastic waste comprised of mixed waste — polybags, multilayer pouches used for packing food items etc (belonging to HPPE/LDPE or PP materials), sourced mainly from households and residential localities".

(b)  Our pouches are made from PET and Polyethylene layers to be able to store liquid content but are still recyclable. However, the process of recycling involves separation/ delamination of these layers that can be costly and requires technology that is scarcely available across India. This is resulting in most of our pouches ending up in landfills.

(c)   The Better Home fully understands the ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’, whereby we believe as a brand owner it is our responsibility to manage the disposal of plastic products we introduce into the world, post-consumer waste. For this reason, we initiated a partnership with Saahas Waste Management Private Limited for storing, collecting and recycling the plastic waste (pouches) sent across by our customers post use. However, we noticed that only a fraction of our customers were able to send back the used pouches to our partner.

To better understand the plastic waste management system in India you refer to this handbook by Niti Ayog

2)    Focus on minimising and reducing: The Better Home supports a circular economy and believes in maximizing the life span of a product for conserving the use of resources. Refill pouches cannot be reused. Therefore, in cases where these cannot be recycled, their life span ends post a single time use (30-45 days). This goes against our ethos of sustainability.

3)    Avoid product wastage: Since pouches storing liquids are more susceptible to damage during transit, we found out that nearly 90% of all damages in our orders were caused by liquid refill pouches, resulting in a lot more waste being created while also resulting in a negative experience for our valued customers.

What's next?

1)    With these bottles we can focus on all the 3 R's of sustainability:

Reduce : We will continue to focus on sustainable systems along with sustainable materials. We have partnered with Refillable, a bring your own container refill service. Our customers have an option of refillable their existing The Better Home bottle by calling a Refillable agent to their doorstep rather than buying a new pack. We know our Better Homies will not let us down and save a bottle from entering the landfill by getting it refilled!

Reuse : Our bottles can be reused for any number of unique purposes. Here are some interesting ways that in which you can reuse our bottles https://www.thebetterindia.com/58509/reuse-plastic-bottles-reduce-pollution-waste/.

Recycle : We will continue our partnership with Saahas Waste Management Private Limited who will assist us in storing, segregating and recycling the plastic bottles, received from our customers as a part of our sustainability initiative. The current, and the new bottle packaging that we are working on, uses either PET or HDPE both of which are recyclable. These bottles unlike pouches are picked up by rag pickers resulting in a higher rate of our packaging actually getting recycled.

We are keeping our lips sealed, but can’t wait to launch an exciting new range of safer, healthier, and more sustainable home care products for you very soon!

Stay tuned for updates on our website.
We are making a big change.


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