Idealog's Most Innovative in Long-Term Innovation Excellence: ecostore

The winner of Idealog's Most Innovative Companies in Long-Term Innovation Excellence is ecostore. Since launching in 1993, ecostore has been committed to making and selling safe, environmentally friendly household cleaning and personal care products.

That means creating packaging that is as sustainable as possible, so it makes sense then that the sustainability-minded outfit is one of the first companies in the world to embrace sugar bioplastic, an environmentally-friendly alternative to petrochemical plastic.

All of ecostore’s bottles are made of sugar bioplastic – a sustainable and renewable source that also removes carbon from the atmosphere as it grows. Mostly rain fed and requiring minimal irrigation, sugar bioplastic is grown using organic fertilisers, including a by-product of the sugar harvest itself. Sugarcane husks even generate bio-electricity for the factory that makes the sugar plastic, making the production process even more sustainable.

The eco-cleaning and body care company first invested in the sweet petrochemical alternative back in 2014. The biggest obstacle at the time was the cost of the raw materials – creating sugarcane bioplastic requires a more complex extraction and conversion process than traditional plastics and thus can’t compete economically with the oil industry’s vast economies of scale. Despite the significant costs, however, the company made the decision to switch, and four years later, 80 percent of ecostore’s plastic usage is sugar bioplastic. 

And though more costly than traditional plastics, the move has been worthwhile. According to ecostore’s calculations, the company has saved just under 4500 tonnes of carbon from being released into the air, the equivalent of the emissions caused by driving a car from Cape Reinga to Bluff – 8500 times.

And the company isn’t resting on its laurels. This year ecostore signed on with ‘A Line in the Sand: A New 2018 Global Commitment’, part of a global initiative to eliminate plastic waste and pollution at source. The movement, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and in collaboration with the UN Environment, has been endorsed by over 290 organisations worldwide, representing 20 percent of all plastic packaging produced globally.

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