In the past I wouldn’t say I’ve ever personally identified as an eco-warrior, and even as I type this I’m conscious of being perceived as jumping on what I’m aware is currently a very trending bandwagon, but ultimately, not being prepared to make changes in favour of a sustainable future for fear of being labelled this or that or having your motives questioned, is missing the point entirely and is energy better spent on real impactful action.
So with that out of the way, I’m actually really proud to write this post and share with you all the ways in which I’m trying with The Grampians Goods Co. to make changes in my own practices and help you guys easily use your power to make a difference too. In so many ways I’ve struggled for a long time to find business solutions that I felt honoured my brand’s integrity and my commitment to not just using the highest quality ingredients possible, but prioritising using Grampians locally sourced ingredients as well. For a small business, buying supplies and materials in huge quantities to save on costs is always a risk and not always the right choice.
For those of you following along on my Insta-stories, you may remember my trip to Hong Kong earlier this year where I went with the hope of finding the holy grail of innovative eco-packaging solutions in this manufacturing mecca, but I came away feeling pretty despondent at the lack of truly eco-sustainable options available, especially in realistic quantities – it was so disappointing.
So it got me thinking about what I could do since I can’t really make a dent in the behemoth that is the Chinese manufacturing scene, and I can’t order such huge quantities to warrant the cost of a completely unique material or design.
I chose to do the following:
- Reuse every bit of packaging that my supplies and materials arrive in – so if you receive an order from me and the outer box is a bit ugly and obviously secondhand, there are stickers over stickers and scribbled out old addresses OR there’s polystyrene padding inside – Smile! Know it’s been given a second life and then resue it yourself if you can.
- Use recycled PET plastic bottles for my Lathers & Lotions. Plastic is plastic and plastic bags converted into new products is still plastic, but not using new materials is a great step forward. I’ve researched glass bottles, they’re hugely energy inefficient to produce and transport due to the weight of them. They can also smash on the tiles in customers’ bathrooms 🙁 So! Until hemp bioplastic, Boston bottles are being mass-produced and sold in smaller quantities by an Australian distributor and I can make the switch – fill your empty pump bottles with dishwashing liquid and keep them under the sink or recycle them in your council recycling bin 🙂
- Use stone paper labels for my Lathers & Lotions – Stone paper is amazing! Made from 80% recycled stone (retrieved from quarry waste and industry offcuts which would normally go to landfill) and bound by a non-toxic HDPE resin which is photodegradable, 100% recyclable and commercially compostable, stone paper is the world’s most sustainable, naturally waterproof, luxuriously matte label option – I’m really proud of these labels!
- Use as many locally-sourced and handcrafted elements as possible to support local primary industry and minimise transportation – organic olive oil, hemp oil and husks and rosemary essential oil, all produced closeby. Leather from the Ballarat tannery in the Avoca-handcrafted Leather Blanket Carriers, and Mt Sturgeon clutches and of course my Aromatherapy Candles which I pour myself at home, they are made in glass vessels (which I’d love you to reuse as a pen jar!) with cotton paper sticker labels minus petroleum-based coating.
- Recycled wool tartan blankets – Yes, these are imported from Scotland, the home of true tartan, but they’re not made from virgin wool. What’s a recycled wool blanket made of? Used wool garments, blankets and offcuts from the woollen mill that get meticulously sorted into colour groups, shredded into individual fibres, re-spun into yarn and finally rewoven into blankets. This journey skips the dyeing process, saves water and chemicals, and eliminates the resulting wastewater. It means your blankie is no stranger to rough treatment and is, therefore, less precious and more practical – rugged luxury at it’s best!
- Use washable paper packaging for my Sandstone Soap Scrub and Hemp Husk Hand Scrubs & Body Bars. This packaging is meant to be used to store your soap so you can keep it dry between uses extending its life, or even take it with you on your travels – less waste!
- My very beautiful custom branded tissue paper that wraps the blankets and other goodies comes from noissue – all their tissue is completely acid-free and FSC Certified and their ink is soy-based as opposed to traditional petroleum-based ink, so it’s more environmentally friendly and makes it easier to recycle paper.
- I’m about to introduce the noissue compostable mailers and very cool custom packing tape and stickers which are water-activated and also compostable. Creators of the noissue Eco-Packaging Alliance, for every order I make, they plant trees in areas of need.
- Use Bio Fill packing pellets to pad boxes for orders. Manufactured from renewable resources, these void fillers are made of 100% natural starch making them compostable and once water is applied to Bio-Fill it quickly breaks down so pop them in the compost, shower with a sprinkling from the hose and they’re gone!
- Finally, with the strongest desire to use my business to create a force for good, I decided to partner with online social commerce platform, i=Change. Practically what this means is, every time you shop on The Grampians Goods Co. website, $1 (or more if you donate!) goes to a project that you choose at the checkout to Restore the Land, Restore the Reef or End Violence against Women. By integrating philanthropy into every purchase, I wanted to activate a powerful opportunity to create a new funding stream that could make a positive investment in the future. You will also be able to ‘Track Your Impact’ and see how much your purchase has helped to raise and where it’s going, in real-time – with your dollar, you’re choosing change and that feels amazing!
So if you’re already dreading consumerist Christmas shopping because of the “stuff” and the Christmas paper and the cards and the junk and the impact of that junk, but you know you can’t boycott it completely; take heart, there are ways to try to offset it and you’re not alone in your quest – this movement is gaining momentum!