Sometimes it takes a while to realise where a product is heading. With our handmade soaps, they have all been Safety Assessed, so the actual ingredients cannot be altered. However, the way that they are presented can be. Due to legislation, we are required to put a lot of information onto or inside packaging, therefore we need a good amount of surface space to accommodate that information.
It suddenly occurred to us one day that the use and dispose of on a daily basis can be very convenient but not necessarily a good thing. So it’s taken a while to research how to make our packaging more eco-friendly and slightly easier on the environment. There is a debate to be had about which is better for the environment – recycled or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) registered paper and card – in which it is necessary to weigh up the energy required to recycle paper against the energy required to harvest and transport wood (from a forest that is correctly managed) to convert it into paper. That is a whole different discussion that may be suitable for a different time. So for us, we felt that we would like to use card or paper that has been recycled and that has not been coated, therefore it can then go onto be recycled again or possibly put onto the compost. We also knew that we wanted a luxury feeling or a wow factor with our packaging, just to make repackaging a little easier!
I feel that our journey towards being more eco friendly may be a long one, while some areas may be fairly easy, other areas may take a lot of researching and possibly testing. So here is where we are, at the moment. Our soap boxes are recycled. We do have recycled labels to go on them but we are using the labels that we already have first because let’s face it, if we just bin them in favour of using the recycled labels, it would defeat the object of the exercise.
We have new packaging for our sample packs. The card and paper are both recycled. The clear bags are ‘Food Grade bio-degradable Cellulose Bags’, which are made from renewable wood pulp. They are 100% natural, biodegradable and compostable. Even our sticky dots are biodegradable and compostable, it’s also cellulose, even the adhesive on the back is degradable. We are aiming to also use these for our crochet wash ball sets.
The only thing that we need to work on for our soaps is the shrink wrapping. You might be asking, why bother shrink wrapping. The first thing is that in the sample packs, it keeps the soaps separate, so they don’t rub against each other and to protect them. The other issue is that we go to markets all year around. Last year, we lost stock to water damage because of having them exposed to the elements. Having them completely wrapped in protective packaging is essential to ensure that the soap is perfect, when you come to use it. So our aim over the next few months is to find a suitable replacement. Again, we have a stock of wrapping that we already use, so seems counterproductive to bin these in favour of an eco-friendly substitute until we can source a suitable replacement.
We will continue to sell our products at markets and fairs, while we finish working on our online shop. For the moment you can see the soaps that we have and contact us if you are interested or have any questions. We will let you all know when the online shop is ready to go. How exciting is that?