Over the past year, we’ve been on quite the sustainability journey. While our product ingredients have stayed exactly the same, the presentation of them has changed significantly. And we want to say a big thank you to you, our customers – because our decision to transform our packaging began with you. You told us you wanted to see changes and we listened. Here’s how we’ve changed...
What sustainable packaging solutions has MitoQ introduced?
We began by asking you what you wanted from us – and you gave a us a clear direction to go in. While you love MitoQ and its ability to fight cell stress, you weren’t thrilled with our packaging. Specifically, you told us you wanted to see changes in the following areas:
Sustainable packaging for shipping
- Less packaging (and therefore less waste)
- A smaller bottle
- This left us considering: how can we make our packaging sustainable?
Here’s what we came up with.
What were some of the key considerations in developing MitoQ’s new environmentally friendly packaging?
A lot of research went into our new packaging. We wanted it to be sustainable, suitable for the size of our product and for it to be easily shipped around the world – but we had to balance this with ensuring it would protect the integrity of our unique molecule.
We didn't just want our new packaging to sound sustainable – we wanted to make it easy for our customers to dispose of it in a way that is environmentally friendly. To achieve this, we worked with Sustainability Consultant Ian Schofield, from international Brand Transformation Consultancy Born Ugly. In 2019, Ian was named by Packaging Europe as “one of the UK’s leading experts in the field of packaging reuse and recycling”. So, we were more than excited to take his advice onboard as we searched for some unique packaging materials.
A smaller bottle
One of the first areas we looked at was the size of our bottle – it needed to be smaller to avoid shipping excess air. But this wasn’t an instant fix. We needed to adjust the size without compromising the quality and safety of our product. We also needed to ensure there was still enough space on the bottle’s surface to satisfy regulatory guidelines (there’s a lot of regulatory text that we’re legally required to display on our packaging). So, after investigating many innovative solutions, we've developed a peel and reveal label that has enabled us to nearly half the size of our bottle (190ml to 100ml) while still containing all the information you need to use MitoQ.
Finding the right materials
In terms of materials, there were a lot of things to consider. We thought about changing to glass bottles – but that came with concerns surrounding weight and breakage. We also considered using sugarcane, but that came with issues too: we discovered it doesn’t have the required stability properties to hold our product safely - and there were also issues with supply and demand. While many of the materials we looked at initially sounded great – we eventually discovered that they either didn’t provide the product stability, supply or recyclability that we were searching for. So, we had to get innovative (more on this below).
Recycling and composting
An important realization within our sustainability research was that, while compostable packaging initially seemed like an obvious choice, it wasn’t the most environmentally friendly option – considering where most of our product ends up. While we’re a New Zealand company, the vast majority of MitoQ’s customers are in the United States and China so we had to take into consideration that most of our customers typically don’t have home composting systems.
Continuing to use an outer box
The outer box is solely for the protection of the bottle during shipping. When redesigning our packaging, we took careful consideration of what elements were crucial and what could be excluded. If we did not protect the bottle with the outer box, there was a high risk of the bottle being damaged during transit or being additionally packed in non-environmentally friendly packaging by our couriers. We tested many different materials and packaging scenarios and found that the combination of a single reinforced outer box and Ecowrap provided the best protection from damage by knocks and liquid, while also being the most planet friendly option, as they can still be widely recycled and composted.
What sustainable packaging materials is MitoQ now using?
Under Ian’s guidance, we landed on a new packaging design that is 100% recyclable. Our new materials include:
Polypropylene bottle & cap
Due to the use of carbon black pigments, black packaging often can’t be effectively recycled. After many attempts, we've developed a polypropylene black bottle and cap that can be easily recycled in all countries as waste collection infrastructure improves. Also known simply as PP, polypropylene is fantastic at protecting your MitoQ and making sure moisture doesn’t get in while our product is on its way to you. It’s durable, so we don’t need to worry about it breaking during shipping, and there’s no need for you to worry about separating the bottle and cap when disposing of it. PP can be processed several times so it is a truly circular economy product. It took a lot of trial and error to achieve this, but we’re so happy we took this step.
Boxing made from environmentally responsible paper
As you may have noticed, our revamp extends beyond the MitoQ bottle. The box that protects our new bottles is made from environmentally responsible paper which has been produced using PEFC certified pulp from responsible sources.
Environmentally friendly inks
Our packaging makeover extends to the inks we’re now using. We've opted for environmentally friendly inks – which can also be recycled.
Recyclable courier bags
Wherever possible, we’ve also switched to recyclable courier bags that are made from post-consumer and post-industrial materials. Even the removable adhesive backing is from recycled materials. After much consideration, we chose not to go ahead with fully compostable courier bags because, if they go into landfills, they degrade slower than plastics. As many of our customers don’t have home composting systems, we decided this was the most environmentally friendly choice - for the time being.
No more bubble wrap
It wouldn’t make sense to go to all of this effort to create environmentally friendly packaging – and then keep using bubble wrap to protect your MitoQ. So, where possible, we’ve gotten rid of it. In place of bubble wrap, your MitoQ bottle will now be wrapped in an “Ecowrap” which is recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. It’s made out of paper sourced from sustainable forests.
What is the best way to dispose of MitoQ’s new packaging?
MitoQ’s bottles, bottle caps, inks and outer-boxes are all 100% recyclable. Simply pop them in your recycling bin!
We’re hoping to use only recyclable courier bags for all of our customers in the near future. However, we’re not able to offer this to all of our international customers just yet. We encourage you to check the guidelines given on the courier bag that your MitoQ arrives in.
Will MitoQ continue to explore eco-friendly packaging solutions?
We fully realize that there’s more work to be done. We're continuously looking for ways to take small steps toward a more impactful MitoQ. This includes considering the full environmental impact of MitoQ’s packaging, rather than just focusing on how it is disposed of. We’ll continue to shift and evolve as new sustainable packaging options become available. We aim to be transparent throughout this process – and we look forward to keeping you informed as we grow and improve.