The cosmetic company claims it has developed the first ‘carbon-positive’ packaging in an attempt to reduce plastic waste.
The biodegradable cork pots – that Lush will begin buying for its products – are not only sustainable and regenerative, but also require that trees be planted in order for the bark to be harvested for the pots. This means that to produce cork, one has to plant more trees, meaning that carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere.
Miles King, a nature writer who works with the company, explained: “Cork is a natural product, made from the inner layer under the bark of the Cork Oak tree (Quercus suber). Traditionally used to make corks (as in stoppers for wine bottles) Cork is actually a remarkable material – anti-bacterial, fire-retardant, water-resistant, flexible, strong, easy to work; and at the end of its life, it can be composted.
“Harvested from a living tree, it also has an exceptional ability to sequester carbon, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change chaos. The [Lush] team’s calculations suggest that each cork pot sequesters over one kilo of carbon dioxide gas (and this is a very conservative estimate). This compares with an aluminium pot which releases 9kg of CO2 for every kg of Aluminium created.”
In addition to being biodegradable, cork – made from the inner layer of bark from the cork oak tree – is anti-bacterial, fire-retardant, and water-resistant.
Lush plans to buy half a million cork pots for its products in a years’ time, and wants to ensure that the pots it buys are produced from forest which is also being restored.
Nick Gumery, creative buyer for packaging at Lush, hopes the cork pot initiative will start a global packaging revolution, and said: “It’s a serious test of logistics and whether it makes business sense.
“Business won’t change if it’s solely done charitably. Lush is interested in its impact but wants to show, as an ethical business, it can still make a profit.”