The bags are more environmentally friendly than glass, plastic or aluminum. Here’s why.
British oral care brand Ordo sells dilutable mouthwash sachets by subscription. One 80ml sachet equals four regular bottles: why ship water when it’s readily available from the tap?
Drinks brands in Australia and overseas have explored more sustainable packaging innovations, from putting wine in cans and pouches to companies like Hey Tomorrow launching new keg brands. In the United Kingdom, so fundamental is the bag for the wine merchant Le Grappin, he went so far as to patent the word “bagnum”.
“It was difficult to sell them at first; customers were expecting poor quality wines so they thought they were expensive,” co-founder Emma Nielsen says of her Côtes du Rhône and rosés, which cost £30 a 1.5-litre bag. . Produced by Irish company Smurfit Kappa, the pouches are so lightweight that a five-litre bag emits 80% less carbon emissions than wines packaged in glass, according to the company.
Attractive designs helped change the perception. “We try to show how nice a pouch can be,” says Sarah Vachon, co-founder of Citizens Of Soil, a UK-based olive oil brand that sells its product in an arty-looking pouch (13 £.50 for a litre). ) splashed with hues of Yves Klein Blue and abstract graphics of the limestone soil it grows in. The brand also takes responsibility for the afterlife of its bags: if recycling is not available, customers can return them using a free address.
“I find it frustrating to see luxury brands invest in beautiful packaging only to expect you to throw it away and buy it again,” says Vachon.
Bags can also help reduce product waste. Wine and oils stay fresher longer – two to three weeks after opening for wine and more than six months for olive oil, according to Constantinou (olive oil usually dates after three months a once the air enters).
“The whole proposal for YesColours had to be durable, not just one part,” says Stubbs, who says he “got a few raised eyebrows” when he tried to convince manufacturers to package his paint. Each pouch features a milk carton-style screw cap and clear window, making contents visible and easier to pour. “Boxes are difficult to open, close or dispose of safely.” He sells them by the litre, with a calculator on site to predict the volume each customer will need for their painting project: this prevents half-empty cans from ending up in the trash.
Psyche sells one-liter sachets rather than half-liters to encourage consumers to place fewer orders; Grappin bagnums are two bottles in one. “Ten one-liter sachets can be the same volume as 20 smaller ones, but that’s 10 less T-taps and 60-70% less plastic that we have to produce,” says Constantinou, who supplies restaurants including September workshop in Copenhagen and Scarrs. Pizza in New York with larger volume bags. (Last month, he opened a Psyche cafe in Copenhagen, where his oil is used in bulk.)
In the age of online grocery shopping, Psyche Organic and Citizens of Soil offer subscription models to encourage customers not to turn to store-bought bottles. “Pouches don’t require the amount of protective packaging to prevent breakage like we need with glass,” says Vachon. And, in terms of emissions, “this last mile transport actually represents a lot”.
Bags have less luggage, it seems.