While the ocean had always been fascinating for Sylvia, the magic of what it really had to offer came to life when her family moved to Florida at age 12, making the Gulf of Mexico her backyard.
What she couldn’t have seen coming at that age was that the production of plastics would explode over the next several decades and that a large quantity (some portion of the 8.3 billion metric tons produced) would end up in her “underwater paradise”, as she likes to call it.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, marine biologist and oceanographer, has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater. Along the way, she’s made it her life’s work to curb the human impact of pollution and environmental degradation in our oceans.
She says, “Many of us ask what can I, as one person, do, but history shows us that everything good and bad starts because somebody does something or does not do something.”
We take her words to heart, and our belief that one person can make a difference through his or her choices is why we make it a priority to refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle when it comes to how we package our products.
Here are a few ways we do that in our store.
4 Ways We Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
The best packaging is little or none. So when we can, we refuse the use of packaging altogether, and we encourage our customers to do the same. An article in the Guardian by Sandra Laville and Matthew Taylor says, “A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute…”, and we’d rather not contribute to that.
That’s why we shy away from single-use plastic packaging and prefer products like our solid lotion bars or our shampoo bars. Our shampoo bars, for example, yield approximately 80 shampoos all without the plastic bottle that liquid shampoo requires.
As often as possible, we buy in bulk to avoid consuming extra packaging. For instance, we work with the local natural foods store, Pilgrims, to purchase all of their leftover cornstarch packing peanuts. Or instead of buying Epsom salt in twelve-pound plastic bags in boxes, we’ll buy the 50-pound recyclable paper bag.
All of our labeling is all compostable material made from pulverized stone instead of petroleum-based vinyl.
Finally, we take steps in our daily operations to reduce our energy consumption. We recently changed out all of our store lighting with LED bulbs which saves about 80% in energy. We also have a policy to never run the air conditioning in the summer when our front doors are also open. This is something that some municipalities, such as the City of New York, have recently made illegal and we fully support those efforts.
We offer refillable bags for all of our laundry soaps and encourage you to bring in your soap dispensers to be refilled using our liquid soap taps. You can also purchase ceramic dispensers from regional potters in addition to the upcycled glass bottle soap dispensers we make.
What’s more, any product that comes in a container, like the Juicy Girl Body Butter or the Sweet Meyer Lemon Sugar Scrubs, can be refilled in your old container or one of your own. We make it even sweeter by offering a $1 discount when you do this.
All of the packaging we do use includes items made of recycled materials and / or are recyclable. For example, our soap is bagged in a compostable rice-based package and all of the shopping bags in our store are made of 100% recycled material and are recyclable.
Also, the coffee bags that our shower fizzies are packaged in are made of recycled material and are compostable and recyclable.
At our facility, we pay for weekly recycling service and recycle absolutely everything that we can.
Dedicated to Progress
We’re constantly striving to make our production process as clean and earth-friendly as possible, but as a small business, it can be a real challenge.
Right now, we’re working on switching out our plastic packaging for a more eco-conscious option while still keeping our products at a similar price point for you. This has proven to be much more challenging than we originally thought it would be. Post-consumer or post-industrial plastic containers are not readily available for the smaller quantities that we purchase and other options such as paperboard containers are very expensive and would force us to raise our prices for those products. We’re still working on some options, however, so look for more changes in our packaging soon. (image shows one option for a 100% recycled container)
What we know for sure, though, is mirrored, once again, by Dr. Sylvia Earle’s words, when she says, “Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do now.”
We’re thrilled to have customers who care about the environment as much as we do, and we’re going to continue to do our best to live by our personal values to reduce our impact on the one planet we have.
We couldn’t do it without you.