Why We Made Our Packaging Tree-Free

First, we made our packaging plastic-free. Now, it's tree-free too.


At Sqwishful, we love working with zero waste shops to offer our products package-free (if that's you, say hi.) But some channels, like grocery, require us to package our products to protect them from moisture during distribution.

Sqwishful's tree-free packaging made from sugarcane fiber and starch-based bag
Sqwishful's new, tree-free packaging


Thanks to our certified, industrial compostable, starch-based bags, nobody will get a sad, half-popped-up sponge at Whole Foods. If you've seen our sponges in the cleaning aisle recently, you may have noticed our new look. Our packaging is now tree-free, and we couldn't be more proud.


Why Tree-Free

From the American coast to the Brazilian wetland to the Australian bush, wildfires raged last year in response to climate change, struggling economies, and loosened environmental regulations. Despite record-breaking fires, deforestation also poses a threat to forests as demand for single-use paper products remains at an all-time high.

Deforestation by Boudewijn Huysmans
Deforestation by Boudewijn Huysmans


According to the World Resources Institute, we lost 12% more tropical, old-growth forests in 2020 – adding 2.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


Thankfully, tree-free alternatives are on the rise, and products traditionally made from virgin wood pulp, like toilet paper, are now made with bamboo. More households are also choosing reusables like sponge cloths and sponges over single-use paper towels.


But more than half of the paper produced globally is destined for packaging. While we use wood pulp for our reusable sponges, we want to protect trees that sequester enormous amounts of carbon from being fated for single-use. This is why we had to do something about our packaging.


Introducing Bagasse

Bagasse is sugarcane fiber. After cane juice is pressed, the leftover husk can be made into paper, feed for livestock, or raw material for energy production. Like wood pulp, sugarcane fiber is renewable, recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable.

Sugarcane farm by Ashwini Chaudhary

Sugarcane farm by Ashwini Chaudhary


But unlike wood pulp, paper made from bagasse diverts agricultural waste from being burned or ending up in landfills where they contribute to greenhouse gases. And unlike trees that can take ten years to mature, sugarcane is a year-round crop that can be harvested up to three times annually. Not only does making paper from bagasse generate less C02, but it also consumes significantly less water and energy.

Using bagasse, we feed two birds with one scone by adding value to crop waste while putting less strain on fragile forests.


Recyclable and Compostable

What happens at a product's end of life is just as important as the beginning. Our sugarcane packaging can be placed into paper recycling streams and recycled 3-4 times. Or like all of our products, added to industrial or home compost and returned to the soil.

Sqwishful sponge art

Sqwishful's wood pulp pop up sponge


As we strive to be more sustainable, we're always looking out for new materials. Our goal is to design earth-friendly, carbon-saving products that leave the world cleaner. That includes our packaging, which is now tree-umphantly tree-free.