How to recycle OVUM’s products and packaging.
Our Mission and Values
At OVUM we are dedicated to sharing with you our journey to producing greener, more sustainable products that defy conventional norms.
In a world where 380 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, with some reports showing that up to 50% of that plastic is for single-use purposes, and a staggering 91% isn’t recycled, the urgency to address environmental challenges has never been more critical. As a company, we wholeheartedly embrace sustainability as a catalyst for positive transformation across the field of fertility and pregnancy. Recognising the recent news that we are precariously close to exceeding the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming threshold, the need for action has never been greater.
We aim to share insightful information, innovative solutions, and inspiring stories on our sustainability and B Corp status journey, to empower other individuals and organisations to make more sustainable choices; collectively joining us to create a more environmentally conscious world.
At OVUM, our founding mission is to support the trying-to-conceive community by shortening your time to pregnancy and assisting you on your conception journey with rigorously tested, best-in-class products. However, our mission goes beyond that. We are equally committed to ensuring that everything we create leaves no trace in landfill. Our dedication to sustainability drives us to minimise waste, optimise resource usage and prioritise recycling practices in all aspects of the business.
With our unwavering commitment to keeping our products out of landfill, it becomes increasingly important to educate about the correct methods of product disposal once they have served their purpose. In this inaugural blog of our series, we will provide insightful guidance on how to dispose of your products responsibly and effectively. We aim to foster a sustainability cycle that aligns with our commitment to environmental preservation by equipping you with the knowledge and understanding of proper disposal methods. Together, let’s take proactive steps towards a greener future by ensuring the end-of-life journey of our products is not that of landfill!
OVUM’s Time To Conceive® supplement
At OVUM, we recognise the significant impact the U.K's vitamin and supplements industry, valued at £520 million, has on the environment, especially with the prevalent use of single-use packaging. While some brands have transitioned to refillable pouches (stay tuned for more on this in our next blog), many continue to rely on plastic tubs for their products. At OVUM we know the negative impacts BPA and phthalates have on fertility and foetal development, and so from the outset, we were adamant that our supplement product packaging was free from these nasties, but we wanted to take this one step further…
To provide you, the consumer, with peace of mind, we have opted for plastic-free tubs made of glass with aluminium lids. Glass is an excellent choice as it is 100% recyclable and can be collected through household recycling or bottle banks. Its endless recyclability saves energy and raw materials, making it a perfect fit for our supplements.
The aluminium cap was the perfect solution for our supplement tub. Aluminium is one of the most recycled materials on earth. Like glass, it can be endlessly recycled without any loss of quality. Almost 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today – how incredible is that!
Our product label, made from recyclable polypropylene plastic (PP), can be left on the glass tubs to be processed by the glass recycling plants.
Tamper Proof Shrink Sleeve
While we are actively seeking plastic-free alternatives to our tamper-proof shrink sleeve, which is currently made of Polyethylene Terephthalate plastic (PET). It can however be recycled through most local household recycling programs. Unfortunately, heat seal film, like that used on milk bottles, is not suitable for our packaging as it only works with plastic materials. Have you seen an eco tamper seal solution you thought was pretty cool? If you have, please do share it with us as we’re always looking to make improvements where possible.
Takeaways - How to recycle the supplement:
- Glass Bottle - Please put them in household recycling or drop them off at a bottle bank.
- Aluminium Cap – Please separate from the glass bottle and recycle with metals in household recycling.
- Label - Can be left on the bottle when recycling.
- Tamper Proof Shrink Sleeve – Can be recycled in household recycling
OVUM’s Early Detection Pregnancy Tests
The medical diagnostic industry contributes significantly to plastic waste. The estimated 12.5 million pregnancy tests used in the U.K. end up in landfill and OVUM offers the only solution ensuring this will no longer be the case.
Used Pregnancy Tests
We understand that, as consumers, you desire a test that is both easily recyclable and enjoyable to use, with features such as midstream testing, a user-friendly grip, and the ability to write on it. We, therefore, had to settle on virgin plastic for this iteration of the product. We acknowledge the use of virgin plastic in our pregnancy tests is not ideal, but by ensuring they’re fully recyclable we can offer the best current solution to keeping used tests out of landfill! But we haven’t stopped there - through the sale of these tests we can fund and continue to innovate with the second iteration which will not use virgin plastic.
We include a prepaid envelope in each box of tests allowing you to post your used tests to Enval, our recycling partner, who uses a patented microwave-induced pyrolysis process to return the plastic back to its original oil state allowing it to be used for multiple applications once again. Currently, no used pregnancy tests can be recycled in household recycling in the U.K. We are working to change this but for now, we can at least offer full recyclability through our partner Enval.
Desiccants and Foil Wrappers
These can also be recycled by Enval, so simply place them inside the prepaid envelope with your used tests.
The envelope which is made of LDPE, using co-ex film, is also recycled by Enval. When they receive the filled envelopes they don't even open them, the entire package goes straight into their recycling plant - that's how clever the machine is.
Our pregnancy test boxes are made from 50% recycled card and 50% virgin card. Using 100% recycled cards for our boxes isn’t an option at present, we hoped to, but using it posed an interesting challenge. Paper and cardboard can only be recycled around 5 to 7 times before the pulp fibres become too short and weak to be used again. You, therefore, need to be feeding the paper and cardboard industry with some virgin materials to maintain the quality and strength of the recycled fibres.
We, therefore, opted for a 50/50 mix of recycled and virgin materials for our boxes to give them the strength and quality to hold 4 of our tests safely on shelves in stores and to ensure long-term recyclability.
Instructions For Use
Our Instructions For Use contained in each box of tests are made from 100% recycled paper and are 100% recyclable in household recycling.
For now, our product is certified and registered with the rePurpose global waste reduction initiative as a Plastic Negative product. For every test purchased, Ovum funds the removal of twice as much plastic from the environment as is produced in making the test.
In Summary - How to recycle the pregnancy tests:
- Used Pregnancy Tests and Desiccants and Foil Wrapper. Please place it inside the Freepost envelope and post it at your local postbox or post office.
- Box and Instructions For Use. Please recycle with paper waste in household recycling.
Ovum Delivery Packaging
Right from the start, we have made conscious efforts to minimise the use of packaging used in shipping our products to you and prioritise a plastic-free approach whilst ensuring your products arrive with you in perfect condition.
Our shipping boxes are made from 100% recyclable materials, meaning they can be recycled easily through household recycling or local recycling centres.
Fun fact: According to our cardboard box manufacturer if every brand moved to 100% recycled cardboard there wouldn't be enough material to meet demand and allow for continued recycling of materials.
All our boxes are sealed using recyclable kraft paper tape, which not only provides robust support but is also recyclable and biodegradable. You can simply leave the tape on the boxes to be recycled.
Thank You Cards
Our Thank You cards are thoughtfully created using 100% recycled paper, so they can be recycled once again in your household paper recycling.
Reinforced Paper Packaging
As our supplement is in a glass bottle we needed to source a sustainable solution for protecting the glass in transit. Plastic bubble wrap was the first option presented to us, which was not acceptable. Instead, we opted for 100% recycled paper bubble wrap, which is also 100% recyclable with biodegradable materials. It delivers the same great product protection and no plastic waste.
Any tissue paper used in our packaging is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
Our commitment to sustainable packaging practices ensures that every step of the shipping process aligns with our dedication to the environment.
Please note that our shipping labels are not yet recyclable but they can be left on our boxes to be properly disposed of by the plant during the recycling process.
In Summary - How to recycle OVUM delivery packaging:
- Shipping Boxes and paper bubble wrap. Please recycle with brown paper and cardboard in household recycling
- Thank You Card. Please recycle with household paper recycling.
- Tape and postage labels. These can remain on boxes to be recycled and properly disposed of by the local recycling centre.
Takeaways and what is next for OVUM?
- All products and packaging produced by OVUM can be recycled in your local household recycling, at a local recycling centre or in the case of our pregnancy tests by post via our recycling partner. Our products are designed so nothing needs to be thrown into general waste and end up in landfill.
- We remain dedicated to challenging the prevailing industry norms and actively seek sustainable alternatives for an industry that has suffered from a dearth of innovation.
- We are continually reviewing the latest packaging innovations and data to ensure we are using the best possible packaging solutions for our products and consumers. Any ideas for how we could do better? Are you a packaging supplier with a product we should know about? Get in touch here.
- We are not perfect but we're continuously improving.
Our key areas for packaging improvement are:
- A more sustainable tamper-proof seal for our supplement.
- To use 100% recycled paper for our supplement label.
- To use recycled plastic in our pregnancy tests.