Verity, a startup making packaging for personal care products, is producing curbside-recyclable aluminum options in lieu of hard-to-recycle plastic.
The Encinitas, Calif.-based company, which launched in January of this year, manufactures aluminum and stainless steel cases for deodorant and is looking into the wider personal care market.
Kerri Leslie, CEO of Verity, told Plastics Recycling Update the concept was born out of an experience she had with a separate company producing deodorant products that used traditional plastic packaging.
“We went to our recycler, and they told us our container gets recycled 0% of the time,” she said in an interview. “We were shocked.”
Plastic packaging used in some personal care products can be challenging in the recycling stream. Deodorant packaging, for instance, can include multiple materials and be difficult to sort in typical materials recovery facilities (MRFs) or separate during the plastics recycling process.
Leslie and her collaborators began looking into the packaging stream and learning about the intricacies of the recycling process. They learned that metals have high value and are far simpler to separate during the recycling process. From there came Verity, a small packaging producer that is looking to work with brands who are interested in more readily recyclable packaging options.
Verity currently supplies its metal packaging to Noniko, the deodorant producer that first spurred the recyclability assessment. Noniko is currently offering deodorant in reusable stainless steel packaging from Verity – customers sign up for product refills (costing $22) that are delivered every three months.
“We were solving the problem initially for a solid stick component and we branched out from there,” Leslie said.
Because they are made out of recyclable aluminum and stainless steel materials, the Verity packaging options are widely curbside recyclable, according to the company. The aluminum deodorant can would get handled similar to an aluminum beverage can in the MRF sorting process, Leslie noted.
Beyond offering a more widely recyclable alternative to certain plastics, Verity is exploring reusable and partially reusable metal packaging options. The design could include a durable, reusable metal container with recyclable packaging for the interior refill, according to the company.
The company has engaged with a variety of smaller brands that are focused on sustainability, but in the long term Verity wants to “make reusable packaging approachable for any brand size,” the company stated in a recent press release.
“Ultimately, we want to be an educational resource to our customers,” Leslie said in the release. “After countless hours of research, it is our commitment to be so much more than just a sustainable packaging company. Our goal is to be a partner to our brands by staying on top of the ever evolving advancements in sustainable packaging, and openly sharing as we learn.”
Verity’s move to offer plastic alternatives mirrors a larger packaging industry discussion around metals versus plastic. Major aluminum packaging producer Ball Corp. recently forecast growing aluminum can demand in the future, largely due to brands expressing concern over their plastic packaging and seeking alternatives. PepsiCo, meanwhile, recently converted some of its Aquafina water bottles from PET into aluminum cans.
Additionally, TerraCycle’s Loop reusable packaging platform offers metal alternatives for numerous goods typically packaged in plastic, including personal care products.
A version of this story appeared in Resource Recycling on October 13.