The campaign for World Environment Day 2022 #OnlyOneEarth calls for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet. Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our ocean. Plastic pollution is our global problem. Approximately 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic produced from 1950-2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or dumped, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). In Taiwan, only mono-material plastic can be circulated back into the recycling system. The refill packs or flexible packaging commonly found in stores are generally made from mixed materials (i.e., a combination of plastic materials), and some even contain non-recyclable metal films, posing a serious circularity challenge.
In 2021, O’right joined forces with Formosa Flexible Packaging Corp., a subsidiary of Taiwan Toyota Group and in association with Toyota Motor, to discover a solution to the non-recyclable, single-use flexible packaging problem – an innovative recyclable refill pack and sheet mask pouch. This year, the breakthrough innovation passed Interseroh’s assessment to carry the Made for Recycling label, the guide for the environmentally-conscious shopper, and became the first flexible packaging in Taiwan to be granted the quality seal. A pioneer in sustainability like O’right, Interseroh is one of the leading providers of services for the take-back and recycling of transport packaging, designing intelligent zero waste solutions and products that benefit the environment, the economy and the society at large.
Closing the Circularity Loop through Recycling: Starting with Mono-material Recyclable Packaging
In the quest to embrace self-care, sheet masks have gained popularity over the years and have quickly become an essential and staple in any skin care routine. In Taiwan, up to 120 million pieces of sheet masks are produced per year. Sheet masks, while convenient and efficient, usually come in a plastic pouch, and sometimes the mask is wrapped in an additional plastic sheet – none of which are recyclable and therefore end up in the trash, landfills and oceans. This means that more than 120 million pieces of trash are generated after the sheet-masking session. In the quest to become more beautiful, the environment is harmed along the way, more than you can imagine. As O’right founder Steven Ko has always stressed, “We believe in beauty without compromise. Being beautiful doesn’t have to cost the earth.” Taking on this challenge, Ko set off on the mission to solve this sheet mask problem and deep dive into developing a recyclable sheet mask and refillable shampoo pack that can literally make you and our planet earth happy.
“Refill packs are usually non-recyclable. Therefore, we had no choice but to give up on this market channel altogether,” Ko said. O’right had never quit searching for green packaging suppliers. Many suppliers believe the pursuit of sustainability and environmental protection to be a stumbling block in business development. “It is not profitable and nothing good comes out of it,” they say discouragingly. Formosa Flexible Packaging eventually got on board. At the meeting, the General Manager said to the team, “We’re not taking on this challenge just for O’right, but we’re also doing it for the world. We see this innovation as the second growth curve of green packaging.”
Back to Zero: The First-ever Mono-material Flexible Packaging
“This is not a profitable business,” Formosa Flexible Packaging’s Chief Technology Officer said bluntly. The team overcame problems such as seal integrity, load bearing capacity and heat resistance, while striving to make it sustainable. By trying, failing and trying again, they spent copious amounts of time and effort coming up with ways to reduce the carbon emission of the product lifecycle and develop a mono-material packaging with the same functions and benefits that mixed-material packaging can deliver, without the environmentally-damaging parts. It took a process of trial and error and duration of two years until the team eventually got it right and achieved the impossible – a recyclable refill pack and sheet mask pouch made entirely from a single material, also known as a mono-material packaging.
In 2021, O’right launched Sorghum Radiance Banana Fiber Sheet Mask, dubbed “a sheet mask that makes you and our planet earth happy,” which was soon awarded the New Sustainable Product Award of the Sustainable Beauty Awards (also known as the Oscars of the beauty industry). The first Taiwanese brand to win a Sustainable Beauty Award, O’right is honored to bring about green business opportunities, ignite hope and shine a light on Taiwan’s achievements in sustainability.
Together towards a greener world with Formosa Flexible Packaging
Environmental Action is a Choice; Our Actions Are Our Future
O’right believes that the only way to achieve sustainability is by respecting nature. As EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism, better known as a carbon border tax, shakes up the global supply chain and Taiwan pledges to go net-zero by 2050, businesses are speeding up their carbon footprint reduction plans and accelerating transition to a sustainable world. Fifteen years ago in 2006, O’right made the bold prediction that it’s only a matter of time before all brands go green. SGS conducted an independent carbon neutrality validation of the direct and indirect emissions associated with O’right and awarded O’right the declaration of achievement of carbon neutrality for two years in a row. With the looming threat of climate change, O’right urges everyone to learn to respect nature and to live in peace and harmony with all life on earth.