A proud Kiwi, Jamie Peters grew up in Auckland where he still lives with his wife and four kids. He grew up in the grocery industry. “As a young child, I remember being fascinated by walking around dad’s food manufacturing facility and I’d help to merchandise the shelves in my school holidays.” His childhood fostered a love for the FMCG industry with Peter’s explaining that he loves the pace of it. With a passion for sales and marketing, Peter’s quickly found himself working in the health and wellness industry developing ‘better for you’ products.

Peters purchased the Earthwise Group in 2010 is now based in St Johns, Auckland. What started out as an eco-friendly pioneering brand in a Waikato garden shed quickly became one of New Zealand’s most trusted brands. “Since purchasing the business in 2010, we quickly became the entry-level environmental brand for everyday Kiwi families, offering safe, affordable alternatives to mass-produced chemical products.” In 2013 Earthwise was awarded the Deloitte Fast 50 Award in 2013 which recognised Earthwise as one of New Zealand’s fastest growing companies. “Winning the award and witnessing the organic growth of our products was a major milestone for the business.”

Even with the success, Peters hopes to continue the businesses sustainability footprint. “We know that we can’t tackle the plastics issue alone and are thrilled to be part of the groundswell of change.”  While the company’s bottles are already recyclable, they’ve taken it one step further by starting to introduce a minimum of 75 percent recycled plastic sourced from milk, water and juice bottles across the Environmental Household Cleaning range.

Taking steps towards his ultimate goal Peters works closely with environmental charities and organisations and have a direct partnership with Environmental Choice New Zealand and Sensitive Choice. “There is no governing body to carry out audits for the environmental cleaning category. However, we chose to partner with Environmental Choice New Zealand who is backed by the New Zealand Government and a member of the Global Ecolabelling Network. They perform rigorous audits and hold the highest accreditation within New Zealand. Sensitive Choice strengthens our credibility by providing gentle formulations consumers can trust.” Earthwise also supports the City Mission, Mums and Bubs, House of Hope, The sheltered Worksop and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The environmentally conscious brand has always worked hard to have as little impact as possible on the environment. Recently the company developed a 75 percent recycled plastic bottle across the environmental cleaning range as part of our commitment to reduce the use of virgin plastic. The new bottle is made from plastic sourced from recycled milk, juice and water bottles. The new bottles are being manufactured in New Zealand and have started appearing on supermarket shelves. “We have joined other Kiwi-based businesses and have pledged to support the New Zealand Plastic Packaging Declaration, committing to have 100 percent of our packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 or earlier.” In addition to this commitment, Earthwise has recently upped its commitment by joining the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

This commitment will provide a platform for the company to collaborate with like-minded and passionate businesses towards a common goal of establishing a circular economy for plastic. “We are very excited about the initiative and hope it generates awareness and has a positive effect on reducing the use of virgin plastic. The commitment needs to create a network of as many companies, both big and small, as quickly as possible to raise it on the global agenda to gain traction.” As part of the commitment Earthwise is working on introducing 100 percent recycled bottles across its personal care brands, Earthwise Nourish and Glow Lab in the coming months. The business is also encouraging consumers to repurpose existing packaging – the Baby Hippo range, for example, has a recessed slot which can be cut open and re-used as a money box for children.

“We wanted to be actively involved in bringing about change and helping to reduce plastic pollution. We had already begun to make changes in our own business but know we cannot tackle the plastics issue on our own. We are excited to do our bit,” said Peters when asked why Earthwise chose to join the commitment.

In the past 12 months, the plastics pollution conversation has accelerated – “it’s great to see 250 signatories join the same global movement to bring change to this worldwide issue.” However, Peters believe that New Zealand is still behind the global pace with regards to having the infrastructure and technology available to sort and process used plastic material for repurposing. “The largest barrier to this change is cost; it is more expensive to produce goods using recycled materials versus 100 percent virgin plastic. In my opinion, joining the New Zealand and global declaration movement to make critical change in the plastic arena far outweighed the sacrifice of profit. Caring for our world is at the heart of everything we do at Earthwise,” said Peters.

Peters states two major misconceptions when it comes to recycling plastic packaging. These are that all plastic is recyclable and that all plastic is bad. “Realistically there are only two recyclable plastics in New Zealand HDPE and PET.”

2018 has been a big year for Earthwise. Joining the New Zealand Plastic Packaging Declaration, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and committing to having 100 percent of packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 were just some of the highlights. Peters hopes these commitments will become a strong sustainable platform and help eradicate plastic pollution and accelerate the reuse of plastic into new packaging materials.