The ugly face of beauty - its packaging....
It is a bold statement, but the heck with it. If you are not actually doing anything to change anything, it is all empty talk. The whole packaging and plastic bottles thing has been giving me a heart ache since I started Katari.
My first shocker was to discover how limited my options were for selecting packaging that does not come from China. And then I decided to go crazy and make my own and hopefully change the way packaging is done for me, for you and for the entire world.
I spent literally eight years while working on Katari to come up with ideas for alternative packaging. And when I say packaging, it is jars and bottles that hold beauty products, lotions, creams, oils and anything else we use as consumers.
First thing I noticed is how few (very few) companies use glass for packaging. Catastrophically low number of companies, actually. I follow all kinds of blogs and Instagram and Facebook accounts and see companies in my field screaming 'natural' and good for the environment. Yeah, ok. I do too though I have not put anything like this on my site or on my labels, because I don't want to be a hypocrite. I am not doing nearly enough to qualify for 'caring about the world'.
But seriously, when do we all start putting the world first and create things that are not driven by consumption, marketing and ease of use or low cost of transport, but driven by understanding of what we need as a human race to deliver a safe and healthy world to the next generation?
I did not know a lot of things about packaging when I started packaging Katari products. I did not realize that recycled plastic cannot be recycled again. I am not even talking about different grades of plastic (quite a different story). I did not know that plastic is added to the glass, because this is what manufacturers ask for to cut of weight, to reduce breakage, etc. I did not know that glass in huge cube with plastic added to it arrives to 'glass' manufacturers who have options for making it clean but they are driven by market demands. Hence, more plastic...
It is infuriating to have almost zero choice for packaging closures - tops, pumps, sprayers, lids, etc. Yes, there are some metal ones, but if you have a lotion or a toner in your drawer, chances are you are staring at the plastic elements in your bottle.
And then my company went oversees and is now starting its European sales in Russia (the country where I was born). I thought, we will just get some glass there and package in Russia. Not so fast... Glass market in Russia is also owned by China. I am happy for China, but VERY unhappy for the rest of the world that is not able or willing to do anything about creating better ways to package products.
And then on top of this, you have to buy glass from a supplier in your country who purchased it from another supplier who works with China. Or something like this. Just think of the landed cost of such packaging. In addition to being horrific for environment, what is a good word here - carbon print, it is 3-4 times more expensive than going to the source and doing it right.
Going to the source for every single ingredient is what I already do for all Katari products and accessories, so mapping the route was not hard. When you know that you can positively affect change in the lives of many, cut out cost and still create something much better, more beautiful and hand-made for the cost of crappy plastic, it is a no-brainer. The 'brainer' is in details and actually doing it. It is HARD. Change is hard. Trying to make something that people are not used to anymore because easy is what most of us want. But sometimes we all have to say 'no' to easy and get used to doing things the right way, the long way and better way for the world and humans in it.
My head was splitting from thinking about the ways people used to consume lotions and creams and toners a century or a thousand years ago. They did. They did not have plastic, right? So, what prevents us, today, in 2018 to use the same ancient methods of packaging that don't mess up the world?
So, I decided to go my own way and make it happen. As they say, "when the student is ready, the master comes his way." It is a miracle and a fact of life that doors open when you are ready for the next step and you meet all the right people. This is how it started for me just a few short months ago - a mission to change Katari packaging, stop being a packaging hypocrite and to change the world of packaging for others, for good too.
I found artisans in the poorest of countries who have been making souvenirs out of glass for tourists for many decades. They work in horrible conditions, they don't have enough work. They don't have enough to eat but they have passion for making amazing things out of glass out of pure silica they bring from the desert.
In a few weeks I am going to proudly introduce first Katari collection that has NO PLASTIC. ZERO. And then I want to gather forces with other companies all over the world who currently use plastic packaging who want to join the quest of making beauty really beautiful inside and out. Who is with me?