We were guided by nature when we designed all of our unique formulas, and environmental sustainability has always been one of Foria’s core values. We’re all intimately connected with nature and one another, and caring for your body means caring for Mother Nature’s body as well.
Every Foria formula is all-natural, organic and sustainably grown. But that’s just what’s in our bottles. What about the bottles themselves? Or our boxes, or even the boxes that arrive on your doorstep when you order your Foria favorites?
Well, we’ve thought about that too – a lot.
All our packaging decisions have been made after years of learning, growing, and adapting to our community’s needs and the needs of our ecosystem — and a deliberate choice to prioritize a lighter footprint over bigger profits. But it’s worth it. Individual wellness shouldn’t come at the expense of our planet’s health. And as participants in a nascent industry, we felt it was our responsibility to continue to do better and to set an example for what was possible.
We learned a lot about sustainability throughout this process, and we’d like to share about the blind spots that conscious consumers face, and the challenges for conscious companies. So let’s take a quick trip back in time...
Rebranding Cannabis: The Power of Packaging
When we founded Foria in 2014, the cannabis industry was still a fringe business occupying a legal gray area.
Although medical cannabis activists and doctors were promoting CBD as a new miracle medicine, Foria was one of the first cannabis brands to focus on the non-psychoactive benefits of this remarkable plant.
From the beginning, we’ve believed that the only path worth following was the one where we made the highest-quality products, with care and respect for all beings along the way. We were committed to using only organically-grown ingredients with extensive testing to ensure purity.
And, frankly, we were a scrappy startup – in order to survive, we weren’t yet capable of doing everything that we would have wished, like using eco-paper or plant-based inks for our packaging. We had to stand out on the shelf, and reach a wider audience, so we chose gold-leaf and soft-touch treatments that dispelled the stigma of “illegal drugs” while also signaling the preciousness of our premium formulas.
Our goal was to help people feel comfortable with our products, especially given the unique & intimate nature of what we were offering. To a great extent, our early design and packaging helped us arrive where we are today.
High-End And High-Impact
As the cannabis industry emerged from the shadows and the CBD “green rush” began, the market was flooded with new brands that took their cues from high-end luxury products. Unfortunately , what is sold as “high end” in the broader packaged goods market has a certain look and feel that is often far removed from any sustainability concerns.
Suddenly there were dozens of shiny newcomers competing for attention and dollars with expensive, flashy packaging, few of them considering the downstream consequences of their design choices. From an environmental point of view, it was a race to the bottom.
Although that wasn’t our intent – and we always emphasized glass over plastic and recyclable papers – we fell into this trap ourselves, unbeknownst to us. But we learned that there were steps we could take to get better.
We’ve since discovered that many of these high-end details just aren’t sustainable, and it was time to let them go.
We had to turn to the experts to find out why.
Seeking Help from the Experts
We worked in-depth with Brown and Wilmanns Environmental, LLC, a group of sustainability consultants who sharpened their supply chain skills in Patagonia’s industry-leading sustainability department.
What we learned surprised us – for instance, amber, green and clear glass are the most commonly recycled forms of glass. In fact, in many municipalities in the United States colored, painted, frosted & acid-washed glass is not recycled at all. So our blue and white-frosted bottles had to go.
As for paper, treatments like soft-touch and highlights such as gold foil render the paper non-recyclable!
We even replaced our plastic shrink-wrap with a bio-plastic version, and you could actually eat our packing peanuts (though you probably wouldn’t want to).
High-end needn’t mean high-impact. We believe we can deliver our all-natural and organic formulas in packaging that minimizes waste to the greatest extent possible, while still looking at home on your nightstand.
Where We Are Now
We’re proud to say that our latest generation of packaging reflects our unwavering commitment to people, plants and the planet, from seed to shelf, from shipping to your nightstand.
We’ve considered every aspect of how to get our formulas to you, with the least waste and the least environmental impact while retaining ease of use for our community of Foria fans.
Our latest updates include:
- We ship in post-consumer-waste corrugated cardboard with paper filling, all 100% recyclable. No plastic-foam peanuts, ever.
- Our beautiful packaging is made from uncoated, 100% post-consumer and FSC-certified cardboard. Coating can provide a matte or gloss finish that looks and feels luxurious, but actually makes cardboard unrecyclable.
- We include no extra layers, and don’t use product inserts unless they’re strictly necessary.
- Our boxes are built to fit the product exactly, so no cardboard is wasted.
- We use exclusively vegetable-based inks on all our boxes.
- We exclusively use medical-grade amber glass – because when it comes to recycling, all glass isn’t the same. Amber glass is always recyclable, everywhere.
- We only use recyclable inks – no acid frosting, paint or chemical treatments.
The Packaging Opportunity
In a fledgling industry fraught with ethical and ecological challenges, we’ve chosen to grow slowly and consciously, implementing the most mindful methods possible at each step. From formulating exclusively with organic plant- based ingredients and saying no to all synthetics, to selecting glass bottles over plastic, we’ve always tried to minimize our negative impact on the environment. But this work is never over, and we're still striving to do more.
After two decades of “corporate social responsibility” and “ecological packaging” claims, the natural products industry is still part of a larger system that depends on fossil fuels and endless growth. Many of us believed that we could protect the planet if we supported responsible companies with our individual purchases. Although the conscious consumerism movement has made an impact in so many places, it still feels like a drop in the bucket.
We also believe that all this effort is no substitute for drastically reducing consumption in general. By participating in commercial agriculture – and even selling products at all – we’re contributing to environmental damage by definition. No amount of recycled paper or plant-based ink makes up for the fact that the future of the planet depends on a collective reevaluation of what is truly necessary, and what is not.
But we’re also committed to supporting wellness, and standing by farms and companies that set a good example. It’s a fine line to walk, but we’re doing the best we can – and we think our next generation of packaging reflects that intention.
We will continue to learn, and do better every day – for people, plants and the planet.
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