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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 (7)
7 Comments

about 4 days ago

My heart also sank when I saw the packaging - but knew that Lush surely wouldn't be using polystyrene. So I googled and eventually found this page. Have I missed the explanation in the box that the products came in? Or is there not one there? Surely it could be printed on the packing sheet / invoice so people know what it is and what to do with it?

about 2 months ago

Would love it if you added meadow seeds into the eco pops then you could make them even more awesome and spread even more beauty than you already do!

katie.pryce_7054645

about 8 months ago

What materials other than cornstarch is used to make these ecopops? When they biodegrade, what is left over?

Jade_parry_7048330

about 8 months ago

Cool

lindasuleiman_6758203

about 1 year ago

When I opened my order from Lush my heart sank when I saw the packaging. Only to be delighted to find that the 'Wotsit' packaging is biodegradable. It will go on my compost heap. Well done Lush! Hope other companies take up the idea.

chrissweet867_6433835

about 3 years ago

I have a question. What do I do with the Ecoflow packaging? I thought about using it to support drainage in my garden soil, where it would naturally break down - but then wondered whether the Ecoflow is organic. Can you answer that please? I do not wish to dig it into the garden earth or pots of it is not organic. If not can I put it with cooked and uncooked food waste to be recycled by our council waste/recycle contractors?

Lush Customer Care

about 3 years ago

Staff

The Ecoflow is made from potato starch, so you can pop it in the compost bin or melt it kettle water and it shall wash away. :) - Carina

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