For many people, having an array of plastic bottles in the bathroom is all part and parcel of a beauty regime. The conditioners, the shampoos, the moisturisers, the creams, the lotions… all wrapped in plastic and adding to the ever growing pile of stuff that’s dumped in landfill.
But did you know that only 45% of plastic bottles in the UK are recycled? That’s not a great deal of recycling. Which is why, when AKT launched in 2020, we chose to produce our natural deodorants in 100% recyclable aluminium packaging.
Why we chose our packaging: the benefits of aluminium
You may have already admired the packaging of our AKT natural deodorants. They come in three punchy colours:
- A bright shade of tangerine for Sc.01 Orange Grove
- A soothing grey for our Sc.02 After Thunder and
- A calming purple for Sc.03 The Onsen.
They look stylish but they’re sustainable too. We are one of the only companies in the world using aluminium tubes with bespoke aluminium caps (there’s no plastic here, thank you very much). This means that you'll need to pierce the seal of the tube yourself with a pen or other handy tool, but it’s a small price to pay in order to save the planet.
There are loads of reasons why we chose aluminium. It turns out that aluminium is one the most user-friendly and eco-friendly materials out there. Here are a few stats to back us up from Alupro, the not-for-profit organisation with over 30 years’ experience representing the UK’s aluminium packaging industry:
- 84% of all aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK were recycled in 2020
- 68% of all aluminium packaging sold in the UK was recycled in 2020 (up from 41% 2010)
- Recycled aluminium drinks can be back on the shelf in just 60 days
- 75% of all the aluminium ever produced is still in use
This basically means that aluminium provides a permanent material loop. In plain English, that means that it can be recycled or reused without changing its quality or properties, regardless of how often it’s recycled.
Geek out on the aluminium recycling process
We’ve done a lot of research about the best materials for our products, which means that we get pretty excited finding out about all the ins and outs of things like aluminium recycling. Here’s exactly how our tubes are recycled:
When your tube is completely empty, you can throw it in with your household recycling. Yes, we’ve made it that easy for you! Your recycling bin is then collected from outside your door, with all the aluminium, glass and plastic mixed together.
The aluminium is separated from other packaging in the recycling bins but using a tool that’s like a giant magnet. It’s called an Eddy Current Separator, which uses an electrical current to separate the aluminium into a different container.
At the recycling plant, the aluminium packaging is shredded into small pieces before being passed through an oven that burns off any paint or lacquer on the packaging. This is also when our small silicone seals disappear from the packaging. We recently added these into our designs to stop our products leaking after taking on all the lovely feedback from our cast (you, our lovely customers!). You can read more about that here.
The aluminium is then melted in a furnace at a seriously high temperature (over 650oC) before being cast into ingots (like those gold bars you see in bank robbery films).
These blocks of aluminium are then sent to rolling mills that transform them into sheets of metal ready to be turned into containers for exciting things like AKT natural deodorant!
So where does AKT fit into all of this?
At AKT, we wanted to use aluminium because it has the best reuse life, and we didn’t see it being done anywhere else in the industry. What’s more, not only are we saving the environment through recycling, but we’re also improving our carbon footprint. That’s because recycling aluminium uses 95% less energy than producing aluminium from raw materials. At AKT, we use 15% new aluminium and 85% recycled aluminium for all our natural deodorant tubes.