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Sustainable Packaging

When it comes to sustainability what our purchases are packaged in is a crucial part of the picture. Here we’ll look at the problems of plastic and how glass and...

When it comes to sustainability what our purchases are packaged in is a crucial part of the picture. Here we’ll look at the problems of plastic and how glass and aluminium stack up against it. There’s also lots of ideas for up-cycling your empty supplement bottles.

The Problem with Plastic

It’s now clear that plastic packaging is a real problem for this planet. After being used just once it often ends up in landfill or in the oceans where it has devastating effects on wildlife. Even if plastic is sent for recycling each time it is recycled quality is lost and its viability decreased. This means it is not good enough to be made into plastic bottles or many other items; instead it is used to make things that do not require high quality plastic. This is sometimes referred to as down-cycling rather than recycling or up-cycling. It’s better than plastic ending up in landfill but it means that more new plastic is constantly needed for the packaging and products that can’t be made out of recycled plastic.

The other problem with plastic packaging is that chemicals from the plastic can leach into the product. These include Bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates and styrene:

BPA – found in water bottles and food storage containers. Research suggests that most people in the US have traces of BPA in their urine. It acts like a synthetic oestrogen that can disrupt the body’s endocrine system. It may be associated with an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, developmental problems and obesity in children.

Phthalates – these are chemicals that increase the flexibility of plastics. They are found in food containers and plastic wrap as well as shower curtains and toys. They also act as endocrine disruptors. They may be associated with brain development problems in children and male infertility.

Styrene – a chemical found in styrofoam. Used in packaging material, disposable cups and take away containers. Leaches out when exposed to heat. Associated with respiratory problems, memory and hearing loss, and an increased risk of certain cancers including leukaemia and lymphoma.

Clearly, avoiding single use plastic and plastic packaging is better for your health and that of the planet. Let’s look at some of the alternatives:


Unlike plastic glass can be recycled over and over again without the quality being affected giving it an unlimited life span. If you put glass into the recycling bin, it will almost always be turned into new glass. It does not lose quality, which sets it apart from plastic and paper.

The other piece of good news is that glass is stable; it does not leach chemicals into food, drink or supplements. A super safe, durable, sustainable product.

Tom Oliver supplements come in attractive glass bottles that can be recycled, or even better, up-cycled. Below there are lots of deas on how to re-use your empty supplement bottles.

Aluminium Lids

Tom Oliver supplement bottles have aluminium lids. These can be recycled or re-used. It requires 95% less energy to recycle aluminium than it does to produce new aluminium. This massively reduces greenhouse gases and other emissions. Like glass aluminium does not lose its inherent qualities during use so can be recycled again and again. About 75% of the aluminium ever produced is still in use, some of it having been through many life cycles.

So, if you are not going to up-cycle your aluminium lid be sure to put it in the metal recycling bin – the one where drink cans go. Better still re-use it along with the glass supplement bottles.

Here are some uses for your supplement bottles once the contents have been used:

Storage for herbs and spices - brown glass keeps things fresher than the clear glass often used for spice jars.

Travel pots - often when we go away we want to take just a small amount of products with us. Our jars can be used for shampoo, conditioner or liquid soap as well as for condiments, spices, salt and pepper that you might want to take with you. Or keep things like ear plugs, USB sticks and phone chargers safe and dry in Tom Oliver’s supplement bottles.

Seeds for sowing - collect plant and flower seeds ready to re-sow next year and store them in our glass bottles. Dry the seeds thoroughly before putting them in the jars with a silicon sachet or salt sachet to absorb any moisture.

Nuts and seeds - once you’ve opened a packet of nuts or seeds transfer the contents of the packet to your empty supplement pot to keep them fresh and prevent oxidation.

Salad dressing - use your bottles to mix up salad dressing. Pour in your oil, vinegar, mustard etc. Put on the lid, give it a good shake and drizzle on your salad.  

Stationary storage - keep your desk tidy by storing paper clips, safety pins and elastic bands in your empty jars.

Painting – use your glass bottle to rinse paint brushes when painting with water colours or gouache.

Paint storage – transfer left over paint from paint cans into the glass jars to stop the paint from drying out. This saves having to keep a large tin with only a small amount of paint left in it.

Pen storage – keep a few empty supplement jars around the home for pens and scissors. That way you’ll always be able to find them when you need them.

Flowers – pick a few flowers and put them in an empty supplement jar with some water to brighten up your home or office.

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