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The New Standard: The Best Chalk in The Best Packaging

The New Standard: The Best Chalk in The Best Packaging

  • Same great Friction Labs® chalk, made in Colorado, now in fully recyclable packaging.
  • Use the Chalk, Recycle the Rest: With your help, no part of this packaging should ever go to a landfill!
  • 100% Curbside Recyclable Outer Box: Made in the USA using wind energy and soy/vegetable inks in a zero-waste facility with a manufacturing process that is Forest Stewardship Council® & Sustainable Forest Initiative® certified.
  • 100% Thin Film Recyclable Inner Bag: Made in the USA from 100% recycled materials that are also 100% thin film recyclable at most grocery stores and large retailers both in the USA (like Kroger, Target, Costco, Walmart, etc.) and around the world, allowing it to be recycled into new bags or composite lumber like Trex.
  • 20% more chalk per unit (compared to our old packaging) means less packaging is needed per ounce of chalk consumed.
  • Our Work Isn’t Done: While we’re confident that this is the most sustainable chalk packaging on the market, it still isn’t perfect. We’re learning from the best in sustainable packaging and continuously applying those lessons everywhere we can. We welcome your input and feedback at info@frictionlabs.com.

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The Full Story

Since our founding in 2013, fun and unique packaging has always been at the heart of Friction Labs. Where others put their chalk in the same old clear plastic bags, we saw an opportunity to better align the fun of the packaging with the joy we experience while using chalk. That’s why we decided to repurpose coffee bags and give them names and mascots like Unicorn Dust, Gorilla Grip, and Bam Bam.

As our business grew over the years, it became more important to us to find a way to bring that same sense of fun through a package that wouldn’t end up in a landfill. We started working on this project in 2017 thinking it would be straightforward to find a solution that would compost or, even better, just biodegrade. Little did we know that we were embarking on a 4+ year journey that came with an enormous amount of frustration and, in the end, many important lessons about the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. We feel it’s now our responsibility to incorporate those learnings into our products and share that knowledge with athletes.

Here’s a hard truth: there’s no such thing as perfectly eco-friendly packaging. No retail packaging anywhere comes from recycled materials in an energy-free process that simply disappears when you’re done using it. There isn’t a perfect solution. It’s more of a spectrum of tradeoffs that are not generally well understood or communicated. This is where greenwashing comes into play…buzzwords like “compostable” and “recyclable” are used to get your attention and make you feel like you’re participating in an eco-friendly initiative even when it isn’t true.

What is Friction Labs doing differently?

After 4+ years of research, testing, and working with packaging, composting, and recycling professionals, we’ve learned:

  • Almost no Americans have access to composting facilities that accept non-food compostable films.
  • Non-food compostable packaging often doesn’t actually compost at a composting facility. It also does not biodegrade as litter or marine pollution (no help to ocean plastic pollution).
  • Bioplastic packaging makes the work of composters much harder by increasing contamination and degrading the quality of their compost…Oregon banned it in 2019 and Colorado is about to.
  • Compostable packaging uses more virgin inputs and has a relatively high carbon footprint to produce, resulting in a linear process where the virgin materials don’t actually get a second life.
  • More and more municipalities and composting facilities will not accept compostable packaging because it is damaging to compost and farmers don’t want it in their soil.
  • Many options marketed as recyclable have low recycling rates.
  • Common eco-friendly certifications, like “compostable” and even certain recyclable claims, are questionable. Many certifiers don’t have oversight or transparent procedures. Often a claim will refer to only one part of the package while ignoring others. For example, maybe some of the film used is recyclable/compostable, but the ink or the zipper or the transparent window on the bag isn’t. When it gets into the recycling or composting stream though, every element counts.
  • If an item is both recyclable and compostable, recycling is typically preferred, even when you consult with actual composters. The raw materials are more quickly and efficiently converted into something usable instead of posing a threat to the quality of the compost.

For all these reasons, we decided that our new packaging had to meet the following criteria:

  • Be made from recycled materials wherever possible (minimal virgin inputs).
  • Be easily recyclable so it can be reused and ideally never end up in a landfill (circular packaging).
  • Not add to non-food compostable waste (bioplastic packaging) that is wreaking havoc on compost facilities everywhere.
  • Continue to be fun and playful!

And with that, we are proud to introduce The New Standard:

The longest-lasting, highest quality chalk, made in the USA, now in the most eco-friendly packaging on the market.

This is chapter 1 of our sustainability story. We still have a lot to learn and are continually working to bring our entire catalog into sustainable packaging that we can be proud of. Stay tuned for more packaging updates and new product launches!

Additional Resources:

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