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We'd rather have a box of Eco Pops

Fruit knows the secret to great packaging. Bananas have sussed out bright, biodegradable casing, oranges make their own compostable wrapping and apples grow skins destined for more than bins. Here at Lush, we believe our parcels should be equally as smart.

Nature is inspirational. We make the most of it in our glorious products, like our fresh face masks, packed full of natural ingredients. We also protect it by supporting fantastic environmental causes through initiatives such as Charity Pot. When we combine these aims together, sustainable packaging is the result.

At first, we tried popcorn (yes, that’s right popcorn). It could be transported in its tiny kernel form, saving transport emissions by lowering the lorry loads needed during production. It could also be composted straight after use and - as an added bonus - delving into your parcels felt reminiscent of trips to the cinema.

Experimenting further with packaging that doesn’t cost the planet, Lush soon swapped popcorn for compostable packaging nuggets made out of potato starch. However, every year UK manufacturing demands meant 28,000 bags of expanded packaging nuggets called Eco Flo were transported over 300 miles to Lush UK from the nearest supplier. 

We soon realised that we could be greener. So in spring 2018, the Earthcare engineers started developing Lush UK’s eco-packaging systems. With a goal to reduce waste and carbon emissions in gifts, we started producing a form of compostable packaging called Eco Pops, in-house!

Eco pops UK Manu

This innovative change from externally sourcing product to in-house production has cut out 24,000 kilometres of lorry miles travelled per year in the UK. This saves 19 tonnes of C02 emissions being produced, every year.

Jeremy Davies, engineering manager from the Process Improvement team says, “By producing our own packaging pops, we’ve reduced the 100 truck deliveries of expanded Eco Flo down to just four truck deliveries of corn starch pellets every year.”

To make Eco Pops, small but mighty pellets of cornstarch are mixed with a dash of vegetable oil and extruded under high pressure and heat. Under these hot and steamy conditions, the starch starts expanding into those protective puffy shapes we know and love and has similar properties to polystyrene. 

Back when we were forming popcorn, motors would heat the air which then caused the kernels to pop. In the Eco Pops process, the heat is generated by friction and transferred directly to the starch, saving considerable energy in comparison.

Once expanded, just one 700kg bag of pellets makes enough protective Eco Pops to fill a whole articulated lorry. Unlike plastic packaging nuggets, Eco Pops biodegrade quickly in water and soil and are better at keeping your products secure against impact during transit than their polystyrene counterparts.

This makes them brilliant for safely transporting all your Lush favourites direct to your doorstep. If your willpower is strong enough to save your products for another day, they’re also great for storage - just scoop a handful into a spare box, drawer or makeup bag before nestling everything in for later use.

Eco Pops might not be particularly colourful or glamorous, but they’re the apple of our eye. Want to see how it all works? You can take a peek at Lush UK’s eco-packaging systems here.

 

Eco Pops biodegrade quickly in water and soil and are better at keeping your products secure against impact during transit than their polystyrene counterparts.

Comments (22)
22 Comments

SpeedySam_2

about 5 days ago

Lush can you please answer if I am safe to use this in compost when it has glitter from bath bombs/fragrance all over them? I would hate for it to ruin my pot plants somehow

dan_watson_71

about 6 days ago

This should be really prominent on the packaging. I was amazed at so much (what I thought to be) polystyrene, and without knowing better put it in landfill. Instead of plastering the word Lush all of the box, thus broadcasting to my partner what this Christmas present was, information about the packaging would have been much more helpful.

craig_s_garner_6335442

about 2 weeks ago

I’m sure I read somewhere before on the packaging that the eco-pops were compostable which means I can put them in the garden waste bin, but the latest delivery had no info on the label etc or the box itself as a reminder so like others I’ve had to check online if I can recycle or compost these. It’s just a small thing which would save tonnes of your good work going to landfill which means they won’t breakdown in the same way as recycling or composting. Maybe a look at the lush labels on boxes to point people in the right direction to show what you are doing to help the planet

about 4 weeks ago

I'm another one here because the box didn't tell me what to do with your eco pops. This is without doubt a brilliant way to package your goods but you need to make this information front and centre.

lunazuma

about 1 month ago

I ordered some fantastic Lush products (which are lovely) but now I have a WHOLE BOX of small eco pops that I don't want and there is no information in the box re how to dispose of them! What do I do with them all? No composting facilities. This will definitely put me off ordering from Lush again.

Lush Customer Care

about 1 month ago

Staff

Hi there! You can actually dissolve these under hot water, if you don't have a compost heap :)

kerrie-annerin_6524059

about 1 month ago

I have to agree with those that have an issue with the packaging. First naked bath bombs etc - now I need to find something to wrap them in as gifts. Also the packaging that look like polystyrene...and isn’t. I have to separate my waste and it took ages to work out where to put them. Bit of faffing around I don’t need at the moment.

rjsaich_5777306

about 1 month ago

I agree with the comments below, it would be great if you could make your efforts to address this issue better known. I usually buy my shampoo bar directly in store so as to avoid using any packaging. However, this was not possible during the previous lockdown, and so I ordered online on that occasion. As other people here have said, I was initially quite shocked when I opened the box. I think it's really important to make it more clear how to properly dispose of the eco pops. I would also suggest considering whether your packaging could be further reduced, because I'm not sure that my particular order even needed the eco pops. Fewer eco pops, less energy used to produce them!

laurenpodger_7131933

about 2 months ago

I agree with the comments below. Please please add more information on how to dispose of the Eco Pops on the packaging so that people don’t mistake them for polystyrene. The Eco Pops are genius and Lush should shout about this!

angelina.storti_7284482

about 2 months ago

I was dismayed to open my package today (of non packaged products) to see what I thought was polystyrene packaging. I thought I would do a search to see why Lush would do this and I’m very glad to have stumbled upon this post explaining it but as per the other suggestions, surely you could add this information as default to the invoice that comes with the order so it’s clear that these are Eco Pops and explain to people how you can dispose of them?
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