As a Soil Association certified business, being as sustainable and ethical as possible is at the heart of what we do. Our whole business is based around working with nature not against it and so being as plastic-free as possible is important to us.
However, when we saw that a local community group Stroud District Action On Plastic was looking to take up the Surfers Against Sewage challenge to create a ‘Plastic Free Community’ in Stroud, we wanted to know more.
This initiative urges local business to look at how they can cut down on every day single use plastic. By proving that you have made several swaps your can apply to be a Plastic Free Champion and once they have 34 champions, then Stroud can declare itself a ‘Plastic Free Community’. This is not about eradicating all plastic but about “helping local businesses and schools free themselves from reliance on throw-away plastic..” and sharing ideas.
We already work hard to ensure that all our packaging meets the Soil Association guidelines which require us to:
All our soap packaging is plastic-free. We use FSC certified paper, printed locally at Wheatley Printers, which is powered by renewable energy and printed using vegetable-based inks.
Pretty good, so far, but could we do even better?
The initiative from Stroud District Against Plastic gave us the incentive to look at all aspects of what we do and think what replacements we could make.
Starting with our packaging, last year, we made one change to the Rosehip & Safflower Body Oil which originally was provided with a plastic and rubber dropper. We have changed the lid to a recyclable aluminium one (instead of a plastic dropper) which was actually recyclable but needed to be separated and was thus tricky to do.
For shipping out orders we also use a recyclable card version of ‘bubble wrap’ (no plastic) and seal our boxes with a paper tape rather than plastic tape. Another change we have made is to switch to using fountain pens, rather than ballpoint pens.
Our workshop is based in Inchbrook Mills, just outside Nailsworth where we share a communal space with other businesses. Our workshop neighbour, Kung Fu Accounting has been a great influence converting us to using plastic free tea bags in the kitchen and Who Gives a Crap Toilet Roll, (It is wrapped in thin paper wrappers, not plastic) in the bathroom.
The hardest challenge we face is that some of our organic oils are transported in large 25kg plastic drums. There is no current alternative. However, these are all recycled following our Waste Management Policy. Also, as our ingredient suppliers are also Soil Association certified, we know that they will be following the same strict Soil Association packaging guidelines as we do. This creates full traceability right back to the farmer, so literally, from seed to soap, as we are all trying our best to minimise our impact.
We are constantly challenging ourselves to find the most sustainable route through, as regular small changes are the easiest way forward as new options become available.
James & Owen, 2 London Rd, Stroud GL5 2AA for recycled paper, paper tape, ink refills.
Pulp, George St, Nailsworth, Stroud GL6 0AGfor recycled paper, paper tapes, ink refills
We can also recommend https://www.eco-craft.co.uk/
In the kitchen and bathroom
Supermarket and major brands protect their paper loo roll and kitchen towels with outer plastic packaging. As an alternative, we like whogivesacrap as it's made from environmentally friendly materials, and they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need.
Jolly Nice Farmshop & Takeaway, Frampton Mansell, Stroud GL6 8HZ , Compostable serveware, discounts on reusing coffee cups, grab some loose fruit and veg whilst you're there.
Hobbs House, 4 George St, Nailsworth, Stroud GL6 0AG All coffee cups are compostable and offer 10% discount off hot drinks if you bring you own reusable cup.
Falafel Mama, 6, Cotswold Chambers, 1 London Rd, Stroud GL5 2AA - use compostable containers or bring your own
For carting coffee, tea and sugar supplies to and from work, we recommend Bioaware - plastic free biodegradable food containers and lunchboxes. They are very strong and will last for years. 3D printed from plant-based bioplastic right here in Stroud. You can find them in Made in Stroud or catch them at the Farmers Market.
Head over to https://www.sas.org.uk/plastic-free-communities/ for more information on how get involved, as a business, individual or even school. There's so much going on across the UK, it's really inspiring that so many people have take up the challenge of reducing single use plastic.
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