About Give and Take

About Give and Take

Plastic is one of the biggest problems for our ecosystems, especially when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. One way to cut down these emissions is by properly recycling household trash. Germany is known for its meticulous waste separation, yet, many people still do not separate their waste carefully. The consequence of that waste is sorted out and incinerated instead of properly recycled. Plastic packaging, metal, composite materials and natural materials such as plastic cups, sausage, cheese and ice cream packaging, aluminum foil and plastic cosmetic packaging, cans, crown corks, beverage cartons, plastic bags and styrofoam is considered plastic. It is also important to separate different materials, such as the aluminum lid from the yoghurt cup, the screw cap from the PET bottle or the lid from the toothpaste tube. Rough cleaning with water makes the work easier and avoids odor. Sounds like a lot of work? Then maybe not using plastic at all is the more convenient alternative.

The premium clean beauty brand Plainly has taken on this topic: When looking for sustainable cosmetic products, founder Artsem Kruk was able to find high-quality and natural care products, but no plastic-free alternatives. Most of the products were offered in recycled plastic packaging. Dissatisfied with the seemingly imperfect and superficial sustainability, the Munich based company was founded in 2018. For over 18 months, the team researched all components of packaging – from the bottles to the labels and the product packaging – always with the aim of developing high-quality and, at the same time, holistically sustainable products with minimal environmental impact. With their focus on sustainability, eminent design, premium organic ingredients and innovative formulations, Plainly has developed a range of products that are a sustainable solution for everyone with an appreciation for the environment while working with brands that are not backed by a large corporation. The brand’s vision is to make the most of what nature gives and at the same time respectfully give something back.

The brand’s product portfolio currently consists of hand creams, hygiene gel as well as hand and dish washing gel. All products are free from silicones, parabens, synthetic fragrances and dyes, sulfates, PEGs, microplastics and all are vegan and cruelty-free. The products’ formulations combine carefully selected, high-quality natural ingredients and innovative research: In addition to ingredients like hyaluronic acids, fermented oils, magnolia extract or meadowfoam oil, the line has a high proportion of cacay oil, a 100% pure natural, vegan and non-irritating nut oil. It is obtained sustainably, prevents skin aging and has a moisturizing effect. It contains twice as much vitamin E and linoleic acid as argan oil, and three times as much retinol – which is used to reduce the formation of wrinkles – as rose hip seed oil, for example. For founder Artsem Kruk, it is important to choose the best natural raw materials available and to know where they come from. In this way, delivery routes are kept as short as possible and all suppliers come from Germany.

In addition to the ingredients and innovative formulations, the design and packaging also played an important role. Plainly aims to contribute to an image change of natural cosmetics: away from brown packaging and towards an appealing, timeless packaging, decoupled from current fads and purposely designed in a way that makes it collectible. The products come in reusable, refillable and recyclable glass bottles, the labels are printed on stone paper, a tree-free paper alternative that is produced in a particularly environmentally friendly way with stone powder, without the use of wood, water, bleach or acid. The outer packaging is folded and made from recycled paper. All in all, packaging is conceived in such a way that the use of plastic is avoided as much as possible.

With their products, Plainly wants to inspire others to develop responsible innovations and to redefine the standards of the cosmetics industry. Since its launch, the brand has relied on exclusive partnerships in Portugal, with the Lisbon Sisu, a luxurious studio for clean beauty treatments, with the eco-boutique hotel Craveiral Farmhouse near the southeastern coast of Portugal as well as the Douro41 Hotel & Spa. With the Magazine Monocle, Plainly has collaborated a limited edition. All products are available in the Monocle shops, from London to Tokyo, as well as in select shops in most major cities. For 2021, an expansion into the US is planned.

by Marie Klimczak

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