Which kinds of packaging material is Sonett using?
1. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP)
We only use bottles, canisters, and closures made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) with labels of the same material. PE and PP, plastics that are the easiest to recycle, do not release any toxic substances even when incinerated. We place special importance on the PE/PP used containing absolutely no softening agents. In Germany more than 70% of the PE/PP waste is recycled thanks to the system “The Green Dot”. This is an enormous success, but PE/PP is a petrochemical product after all, thus not fitting into our approach towards quality.
2. Polyethylene containing wood fibre
In 2015 we introduced a new combination of polyethylene with more than 20% wood fibres from sustainable forestry for the 45 ml-containers of our new Organic Bubbles.
3. Secondary packaging, cardboard packaging
All secondary packaging could be substituted with 100% recycling material thanks to adapting the bottling lines of the respective machinery.
Which direction does the development of plastics take?
Our first priority is to change the plastics packaging of the Sonett liquids to sustainable packaging materials and we avoid using the raw material petroleum in our products themselves. In the long run we strive for this aim in our bottles and canisters as well.
We currently assess the alternatives as follows:
1. Plastics derived from starch or polylactic acid
are obtained from genetic corn or using GMOs. Thus foils or injection-moulded packaging (e.g. tins) with short storage life of a few weeks are produced. Furthermore there is PE on the market with a certain content of minerals or plant fibres. So far it has not been possible to produce plastic bottles using the blow moulding, which would fulfil the required mechanical durability, gas permeability, pH stability, resistance towards essential oils, etc. For years we have been testing all available alternatives in our own laboratory.
2. Polyethylene made from Brazilian sugar cane
Alcohol is chemically transformed into polyethylene having it react with ethylene. The PE thus obtained is chemically identical to the PE derived from petroleum and it fulfils the quality requirements in the same way. The cultivation of cane sugar is, however, strongly connected with monoculture, herbicides, pesticides and the cultivation on areas originally virgin forest. Furthermore, in future one has to expect genetically modified plants. Due to the clearing of virgin forest areas as well as to the massive use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, environmental organisations such as Regenwald.org or Greenpeace advise against the use of alcohol of agricultural origin.
3. Plastics made from recycled PE
So far we have strived in vain to obtain this material in food-grade quality. The recycled PE quality currently available is out of the question for us because of a possible outgassing of foreign substances or residues of heavy metal. Currently we carry out experiments with highly purified recycled PE used as central layer in a 3-layer bottle. Thanks to this process 60% of the recycled PE can be used without its direct contact with the product.
4. Recycled PET (polyethylene terephtalate)
is to be found in food-grade quality made from processed water bottles sorted by types. The difficulty here lies in the fact that hormone-like substances were found in the water kept in those bottles (University Frankfurt/Germany, 2009, University Wurzburg/Germany, Prof. Schoenfelder, et al.). Furthermore one quite rightly assumes that the effect of UV rays combined with humidity out of PET bottles makes phthalates being released, invading the bottle content. It is for this reason that we do not use any PET containers.
The „organic Plastics Market“ is in vigorous motion und we will use the experience gained with the polyethylene/wood material, in future to substitute the increasing proportion of petrochemical PE with renewable materials, minerals or recycled PE.