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Plastic Saved

How are we calculating plastic saved for a product?

Our beliefs shape all our actions. This is true for individuals and organizations. When we started awenest, we were struggling to find 100% plastic-free items delivered in a 100% plastic-free manner. We had studied and seen enough to realize that this rampant consumption of plastic is ruining our cities and destroying our oceans. The human health impact of microplastic is becoming evident in research across the world.  

India is a developing nation – with a huge mismatch between plastic production and plastic recycling. Add to that the fact that most plastic cannot be recycled unless the infrastructure is sophisticated, and you find a mammoth problem at our hands. And plastic recycling, unlike metal recycling, is not infinitely possible – most plastic can be recycled only 3-4 times. 

Hence we concluded that it was safest to not use any plastic at all. We are starting with an 80%+ plastic-free range, delivered in a 100%-plastic-free manner. Give us few months, and we will move this 80% to 90%. We want to get to a final state where you will be proud of being associated with awenest because awenest will be a 100% plastic-free brand.

Why 80%, you may ask? Plastic is a versatile material – and in some cases, there are no alternate options. In those cases, we have chosen options that have minimal plastic or the most recyclable form of plastic. We want to talk about these options – because, while they don’t eliminate plastic completely, they give us the best solution available today. And these brands require all our help. 

We reiterate our philosophy here – we are constantly looking for the most planet-friendly solution. And the day we find a viable alternative (a function of our scale and your love), we will replace every item in our store with the most planet-friendly alternative possible. This is true for not just plastic, but every planet-friendly value that we commit to. Keep watching this space for the next value we want to take on. 

When we spoke to patrons like you, most of you said that you needed to see the impact of the actions taken by you. Hence we decided to link every product to the value which was core to you. We wanted to tell you each time you have shopped on awenest, how much microplastic you have saved – microplastic which would leach into your family's food, your skin, or the inhabitants of your planet. 

Plastic is a very light product. One kilo of plastic sounds less but can kill many animals. There was a WWF study done that reveals that people may be consuming 5 grams of plastic every week – which is the equivalent of the weight of a credit card.  So we decided to express plastic saved in terms of pieces. This also comes with a fair bit of complexity - single-use plastic is very light - and a shampoo bottle is relatively heavier. The average weight of a piece of plastic - 7 grams. 

To calculate the grams of plastic saved for every item (a very difficult task as you can imagine), we have taken the most used conventional product in urban India for that product segment and compared the plastic saved against that product. As an example, for the shampoo bar, we are calculating the amount of plastic saved compared to a 340 ml shampoo bottle – that’s 43 grams of plastic saved or 0.126 grams of plastic saved per ml of shampoo. Based on the grammage of the shampoo bar that you buy and the number of days the bar lasts, the grams of plastic saved are revised accordingly. 

As we are delivering in a 100% plastic-free supply chain, a significant amount of plastic is saved in delivery as well compared to most mainstream marketplaces.  These marketplaces use bubble wrap, plastic padding, etc – which we have estimated to be 2 pieces per delivery. We are adding that as a constant factor to our plastic savings per item. The idea again is not to be 100% accurate – but to get the conversation started around various hidden/ not-so-obvious plastic usages, that are very much avoidable.

In those small number of cases where we are not saving any plastic in the product, we are not considering any benefit from packaging material as well. While there are obvious benefits to not using plastic in delivery, we want the plastic saved in these cases to be zero - this will motivate us to find a better solution for you and it will be our area of focus at all times. 

An average urban Indian household consumes around 20 kg of plastic per year – and most of it comes with our household products like detergent, creams, food, or vegetables. Try to save as much as you can – because, trust us on this, most of it is not getting recycled. It is important that we be imperfectly zero waste from today, rather than perfectly zero-waste in the future.