Plaine Products Is On A Mission to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
It is estimated there will be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050. It's no secret that unfortunately lots of personal care items are packaged in single-use plastic, that gets discarded. Lindsey McCoy, co-founder of Plaine Products, saw this problem and created a solution with her all-natural collection of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion and hand soaps that are available in refillable and reusable aluminum bottles. (PS, after a successful Kickstarter campaign they will be adding a face wash and moisturizer to the product lineup this Summer)!
We had the opportunity to speak with Lindsey, and learn more about her brand and efforts to reduce single-use plastic.
Tell us about you! Where are you from and how has that influenced the path you’ve taken in life?
I worked in non-profits for 20 years and was doing environmental education in the Bahamas for the past 10 years where I saw the consequences of disposable plastic. When you're living in a country that doesn't hide waste like the United States, it was hard to avoid all the plastic and waste that washed up on the sand. One area that I couldn’t find a solution for reducing waste was in the bathroom, with products, so I created Plaine Products. In 2015, I launched the company with my sister. She has a design background and was instrumental in creating the cool design, picking the scents and helping find the right manufacturers. It has been a really fun partnership because we both have very different strengths we bring to the table. It was a solution for myself first, then it became an option for the beauty industry. I wouldn't be comfortable selling products just to sell products.
Tell us more about creating your sustainable and reusable packaging. How did you develop it?
As far as we know, we are the only ones doing something like this. Whenever you’re the first ones to do something people look at you like you’re crazy. It took us almost 2 years from the idea, to the conception to finding the right packaging. At first, we tried stainless steel, but it rusted. That was an expensive lesson in that there are multiple kinds of stainless steel and only one kind, the most expensive kind, doesn’t rust. That led us to aluminum and there were concerns about leaching with aluminum, but our bottles have a cosmetic liner in them that’s PVC and PBA free.
To clarify, customers aren't getting the same bottles every time. What is the process behind shipping your products?
This is more of a bottle exchange, customers aren’t getting the same bottles every time, so it’s been important to develop the right language to explain it and talk about it. Helping customers to understand the process that they can order a refill bottle that will get to you before you run out, because we send a reusable pump with our products, so they will take that out and switch the pump to the new replacement bottle when it arrives. We provide return labels, so they will ship back their used bottles which we will sanitize and reuse to fulfill another order! We also have travel-size products that you can’t send back in, but you can wash in your own dishwasher and use to take your product on trips with you. I think zero waste can be intimidating, but we encourage people to try one thing: whether it be a reusable shopping bag, reusable water bottle, etc. it’s just a habit you slowly start to get into.
How are you continuing to raise awareness on this?
Encouraging easy swaps, we believe in "PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION." That's our mantra, a lot of people don't even try because they fear they'll mess up before they even start. In raising awareness on the effort of sending in products, people want to feel good about their choices and impact on the planet that they will be willing to put a little more work in. We all get sucked in to the convenience of disposability, but I saw a quote recently that said, "when did it become the norm to extract oil from the ground, turn it into a plastic spoon, ship to a store and throw it away after using it instead of washing the spoon when you're done with it!"
It’s important to make small changes because you never know what can come from your actions or who you’ll inspire.
What has been the biggest misconception & miscommunication you've heard about sustainable and natural products?
I always encourage people to really check and read their product labels. Natural can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, and it can be misleading. It's important to read labels and ingredients for yourself.
Also, recycling plastic is great, but it can only be recycled once or twice before it's ultimately headed to a landfill. It's not a long-term solution, but aluminum and glass can be recycled endlessly.
Is there an inspiration or meaning behind the name, Plaine Products?
It's a play-off of our maiden name, Delaplaine and is also just comes from this idea of plain and simple, back to the basics and re-using bottles like back in the day of milk men delivering and re-using milk bottles.
What has been the motto for your business and what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Persist. There were so many times that it felt like OK, how are we going to solve this, but you have to dig-in and keep trying. There would have been many times we easily could have given up, especially in the beginning.
Where can readers purchase your products?
We are in 10 stores now. You can also order on the site at www.plaineproducts.com. We are working on getting into more retail stores sometime soon, we are always looking for ways to make our products as easy and accessible to as many people as possible .
You can also find Plaine Products on social media @plaineproducts