Recycling, Composting and Disposing of PG Products and Packaging - The Public Goods Blog Recycling, Composting and Disposing of PG Products and Packaging - The Public Goods Blog

Recycling, Composting and Disposing of PG Products and Packaging

At Public Goods we want to reduce waste as much as possible.

green, orange and blue bins with wheels

Many of our members have asked about how to properly recycle, compost or dispose of the materials in our products and packaging, so we decided to make this comprehensive guide.

We know there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to making our products and business more sustainable. The good news is we’re working hard to include more materials that are easily compostable, biodegradable or recyclable.

In the meantime thank you for doing your part to be a conscientious consumer. We will send updates as we modify our products and packaging.

Plastic Bottles

All of our white personal care bottles are made from a sugarcane-based resin. This material is a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based plastic, but it’s still plastic and needs to be recycled.

Before you start recycling our plastic bottles, conduct some quick research about the recycling programs and codes in your area. Local authorities should display guidelines on resin identification codes [RICs], those 1-7 numbers you might have seen on the bottom of your plastic products. In other cases the government will simply tell you which types of plastic products can be recycled in your district.

Our plastic containers have RICs — mostly 1 and 2 — that are accepted in most areas, but it’s best to double check. Remember to thoroughly wash all of these products before recycling them.

Bottle Caps and Pumps

It seems like recycling organizations are still figuring out exactly what to do with the caps and pumps from plastic bottles. Look up the recycling guidelines for where you live, and you will most likely see one of these suggestions:

  1. Throw them out.
  2. Leave them attached to the plastic bottles.
  3. Detach them and recycle them along with the rest of the plastic.
  4. Detach them and recycle them in a separate area specifically for bottle caps, pumps, etc.

If your area doesn’t provide any instructions for these items, the safest option is to throw them out or consider one of the recycling organizations we list below. It’s better than taking the risk of burdening recycling workers with materials they can’t use.

Glass

Almost every recycling center in the world accepts glass. Like plastic, remember to wash it. Some facilities put anything with residue on it in the trash.

Metal

Most common types of metal can be recycled. The list includes cans, lids, tins and more. Again, remember to check your local government recycling guidelines.

Paper, Packaging and Boxes

Many of our products come in paper boxes that can be recycled. If the boxes become soiled with food, however, check if your local waste management department accepts food-soiled paper for composting.

As for the shipping boxes, you can recycle these by breaking them down and placing them in the appropriate section of your recycling (there is usually a space for boxes).

Note: Read about how we are trying to improve our packaging.

Composting

Some of our products are entirely compostable; others only have compostable parts.

Remember that there is a big difference between what can be composted at home versus at a center. Composting requires very specific conditions, as well as plenty of time and attention. Unless you are confident you can successfully compost at home, we recommend sending compostable materials to municipal or commercial facilities.

Below is a breakdown of exactly what can be composted and whether it is practical to try at home.

At Home or In a Facility

  • All of our 100% organic cotton or wool products
  • All scraps from our food products (although check local regulations because some composting facilities don’t take greasy food scraps, meat, etc.)
  • Ayate Washcloth
  • Dental Floss
  • Sea Sponge
  • Tea Bags

Only in Certain Facilities

Dealing with Refill Pouches

As you might already know, we sell refill pouches for several of our products. These items allow our members to save money and reuse products rather than ordering new ones.

Unfortunately the materials in our current pouches are not recyclable in most municipal systems. We are working on a better solution.

Organizations, Companies and Products That Can Help You Recycle, Upcycle and Compost

If the municipal waste management and recycling authorities in your area are being difficult or unresponsive, there are organizations, companies and products that might be able to help you ensure nothing goes to waste.

  • TerraCycle: takes difficult-to-recycle materials (caps, pumps, lids, tops of cans, etc.) and waste and uses them for upcycling
  • The Bokashi Bucket: products that make home composting easier

We are trying to expand this list, so feel free to send us recommendations. There are many companies and organizations that assist businesses with recycling and composting, but not many legitimate choices for individuals and homes.

What’s Left Must Go to the Trash

If you can’t deal with waste or remnants from our products by using the above methods, we’re afraid the trash is the only option left. Remember that not all plastics are recyclable. Wrappers and bags for cookies and such need to be disposed of.

How Else Can We Help?

We want to be mindful of sustainability during every stage in the journey of our products, and that includes what happens when you are done using them. Please let us know if we are missing any opportunities to inform people about recycling, upcycling, composting or disposal.

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Comments (22)

  • I buy your tea bags, but I don’t think the clear plastic wrapping on the tea bags are recyclable or compostable. Please let me know, thanks!

    • Hi Selina, You’re right that the plastic wrapping on the tea bags is not compostable, and most centers can’t recycle it. We are working on replacing that wrapping with something more sustainable.

  • Thanks for this! I’m wondering if there isn’t some way to cut down on the plastic just a bit, for example using a paper rather than a plastic wrapper for delivering dry goods such as toilet paper. Every little bit helps!

    • We recommend trashing them or signing up for a Zero Waste Box with Terracycle. They are not made of sugarcane-based resin.

  • I’m thrilled to hear that you’re researching further for more options. I do like the product refills but thought that possibly a larger refill makes more sense. For example 60 ounces instead of 34.

    I also agree with one of the other comments about the shipping packaging being paper and cardboard only. Removing all the plastic item wrapping as well.
    Thank you for helping us with this global issue.

  • What about the scrubber sponges? I go through a fair number of them, and if they’re vegetable cellulose and walnut, are they compostable? Seems like I could put them through my chipper-shredder but wanted to make sure.

    • Hi Becky,

      I’m afraid the sponges are not compostable. It’s true that they are mostly cellulose and walnut, but there are bits of material in them that aren’t totally biodegradable.

  • I would absolutely love some more zero waste options. I see a few companies selling items that dont require the packaging. I hope you all come up with some too. Love all the options you guys are coming out with.

  • I’ve heard of another company giving the refills in cardboard cartons (like milk cartons). That could be an interesting idea!

  • I got my first batch of items and was really disappointed by the thin plastic bags around the moisturizer and face wash. Surely that is unnecessary. I also wish the toilet paper and paper towels were wrapped in paper instead of unrecycle-able plastic. The simple, paper wrapped soap bars were great, but there was way more plastic than I was expecting. 🙁

  • When I heard about your company, I was so excited and quickly signed up. I really hope you guys will become ever more responsible. There is way too much plastic wrapping to really be considered sustainable. Also, if the refill bags are trash, why even make them? I’d rather order refills in plastic bottles if i can at least recycle those. Glass would be even better! Or if you guys could have a glass buyback that would be perfect. We should be getting away from plastic production completely and TRYING to steer towards zero waste. Please consider these things! I really want to keep supporting you guys! You could be the next sustainable Amazon! And please stop using palm and soybean oils…come on!

    • Hi Eva,

      Thank you for giving us a chance! We are trying our best to reduce plastic and develop sustainable initiatives such as a take-back program. As we make more progress, we’ll send updates via email, social media or the blog.

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