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Article: Earth Day Spotlight: Brush On Block's Sustainable Packaging

Brush On Block Eco Friendly Packaging

Earth Day Spotlight: Brush On Block's Sustainable Packaging

It’s Earth Day again, and that’s a good time to talk about something that has a wider impact than we often think about … our product boxes. Brush On Block uses folding carton boxes, made of paperboard and printed and coated. Our boxes have always been recyclable, and we have stayed away from using things like foils because it can impact the recyclability of the package.

Our boxes are important to us, not only because they are the first representation you see of our brand, but because they contain information that you, as a consumer, need to have available, and that we are required by the FDA to provide, in a specific format. The most important of that information is the Drug Facts Panel. It takes up a lot of space on our packaging, but everything on the here is important to you. Is the sunscreen mineral or chemical? You’ll find that info at the very top, where Active Ingredients are listed. Are there warnings you should be aware of. They are pretty standard, but there they are. Directions for use are often overlooked, but they are there, and contain specific information you should know. First, apply generously and reapply at least every 2 hours, but that’s standard. The more important thing is that this tells you how often to reapply this particular sunscreen if you are swimming or sweating. If it says to reapply immediately after swimming or sweating, the sunscreen is not water resistant. After 40 or 80 minutes, it is water resistant, but you need to know which, as there is a big difference in the time that could prevent sunburn if followed. And the rest of the ingredients are listed there, as well. As you can see, our boxes are an important component to our finished products.

In the past year, we moved our box printing to a new company. The initial reason for doing so was color consistency, but what an eye-opening adventure this has been! Our new company, Knockout Sustainable Packaging Solutions, has provided us with so much more transparency about the materials we use and their impact, but also given us the ability to make better choices for the planet, and we couldn’t be more thankful.

Brush On Block Packaging by Knockout Sustainable Packaging Solutions
Our packaging partner, Knockout Sustainable Packaging Solutions, provides environmental transparency to help us make better choices for the planet.

The most important change we have made starts with the paperboard that the boxes are printed on. We have always insisted that our boxes be recyclable, but beyond that we didn’t have much choice in what paper was used. But Knockout only prints on boxes that are either SFI or FSC certified. We had heard of FSC, and knew that was a great goal for us, but we didn’t know much about it, other than that, and that it was more expensive to use.

FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is a global non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. When a product bears the FSC label, you know that the product comes from forests that are certified to FSC standards regarding protecting animal habitats, maintaining biodiversity, protecting old growth trees, insuring zero deforestation, protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and providing fair wage and safe work environments for workers. The FSC maintains standards that are specific to areas beyond the US and Canada.

SFI is Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Unlike FSC, this non-profit organization is specific to North America. SFI works with 3rd party governing bodies to determine that paper meets criteria for the SFI label, that it comes from certified forests, recycled content or responsibly managed forests. SFI emphasizes protecting water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitats, at-risk species and forests with exceptional conservation value.

Since switching to Knockout for our boxes, all of our product boxes are produced using SFI or FSC paperboard. We don’t always take the time to work the appropriate logo into our box design, but regardless, the paper is all certified by one of those organizations.

Inks are another area where we have learned a lot! We now use only vegetable inks in our packaging. Vegetable inks are much lower in VOCs than traditional inks, and provide brilliant color and range. And of course, they have no impact on the recyclability of a package. The best thing for Brush On Block about vegetable inks, is that by using our Pantone® colors in vegetable ink, the problems we had with uneven package color are gone. Our packages look as we intended, from the first of the run to the end of the run.

And finally we are using an Aqueous coating on our boxes. Originally, we didn’t coat our boxes, but we found that in shipping from manufacturer to us, and then from us to our world-wide partners, color would transfer or rub off of the boxes. It usually transferred to another box, making both unsightly. Then we went with a UV coating, which, while it seems appropriate for a sunscreen package, is not as environmentally friendly as the aqueous coating. Aqueous coating is a water-based coating that dries quickly when applied to printed materials. It is clear but gives our boxes their soft, semi-glossy appearance.

These changes are obviously more earth-friendly than what we were doing before, because we stopped thinking about just the end-of-life of the box, but about the whole life cycle of the box, from creation to recycling bin. We are pleased with these changes, but what does it mean to you as a consumer?

When you choose to purchase from Brush On Block, you are selecting a company that takes our environmental footprint seriously. We already thought about the boxes, so you don’t have to think too much about them, other than getting them into a recycling bin. That’s why we think every day is Earth Day.