Before I delve into my dilemma with the Tropic skincare range, I have to admit, I really like the products. I’ve been using them for just over 6 weeks. I am not a beauty blogger so I can’t compare it to other products, but I can tell you, the range suits my skin and makes me feel good. Isn’t that what most beauty products are supposed to do? So Tropic skincare, you have a happy customer when it comes to the feel good factor.
Created by Susan Ma, a finalist of the Apprentice 2011 show, the brand is growing in strength and popularity. It hits all the right notes when you read its credentials. The products are plant based, cruelty free, carry a recyclable symbol and enables individuals to earn an income through their social selling strategy. Everything you would expect from a founder whose twitter statement identifies her as an environmentalist. So far so good!
Whilst I love the feel good nature of the products, my issue is not with the product itself, but with how it is packaged. At a time when everyone is looking at ways to reduce waste, I find the range adds unnecessarily to the waste stream. Let’s look at some areas where improvement would make the skincare range more eco-friendly.
Firstly, the bottles are bedded on a non-recyclable plastic tray. Once that tray lands in the bin, it starts contributing to plastic pollution. Switching to a tray made from recyclable packaging such as card would be just as cost effective and more eco-friendly.
Secondly, while the bottles carry a recyclable symbol, which informs consumers that they can recycle the bottle, it is not clear whether the bottles being used have been made from recycled plastic. Switching to bottles that have been made from post-consumer recyclable plastic will turn the business into a truly circular economy.
Finally, when you look at the packaging, having bought the “Restoring Super Deluxe Collection box”, you find that all of the bottles are individually wrapped in colourful paper. As a customer I admire the way that the products are packaged for about 3 days. On day 4, it all goes in the recycling bin. Now I am glad that Tropic Skincare have chosen to wrap the bottles in paper instead of plastic, but it is still an unnecessary admission into the waste stream.
Assuming a minimum of 100,000 products are sold per month, that’s 100,000 pieces of paper entering the waste stream including several thousand plastic trays. I estimate there is a potential cost saving of at least £4,000 to be made by addressing some of the excess packaging issues. The cost may seem insignificant at the moment, but as the business grows, the cost will grow and so will the mountain of waste.
@TropicSkincare and @Susanma your products are already very attractive and do the job, so ditch the paper, ditch the plastic! As a customer and an eco-business blogger can I request you to consider the changes that would turn your business into a truly eco-friendly one and improve your bottom line?