Ditching the plastic in 2019

I thought I should write a short blog, by way of an update, about where I am now with the dreaded P word.  Plastic! 

I’m aware that I have many more customers than I did at the beginning of 2018 when I started my move from plastic to glass jars so you lovely new customers might be reading this for the first time. 

If you’ve been with me a long time you probably know all this but do read on, there may be something you don’t know in here! 

Love it or hate it plastic is a necessary evil for many things.  Our lives have moved on so much since its invention that to live without it would be really hard.  However, plenty of people, myself included, are trying as hard as they can to ditch the plastic in favour of something more eco friendly.

In January 2018 I was lucky enough to go to the NTA’s (in the audience, not getting an award obviously).  I’m sure if you saw them on TV you’ll remember David Attenborough picking up an award for Blue Planet.  The speech he made about our use of plastic, in particular single use plastic, hopefully struck a chord with many people, it certainly did with me!

It was such a privilege to be in the same room as the great man himself, listening to his mesmerising voice and wise words.  I had a bit of an epiphany as I realised that I needed to do my bit to remove single use plastic from every aspect of my life and that everyone needs to reduce single use plastic use and plastic in general. 

And so began my quest to ditch the plastic both in my business and at home.

Between February and May 2018 I began to introduce more glass jars for the products. I ditched the pumpy pots, even tho they were glass due to the pump not being recyclable and I moved the products into glass jars, first blue glass ones and then onto clear glass ones with aluminium lids.  The blue glass was lovely but the lids were plastic and I didn’t want that!

Over the course of 2018 I gradually phased out plastic for all full size products and I’m happy to say that just one year on everything is now in glass jars, bottles or aluminium tins.  The only thing that remains is a few blue 250ml toner/foot spritz refills that will sell out shortly.

The packaging I use when I post orders out is now totally plastic free too.  I was reusing bubble wrap but now I donate it to charity shops.  That way I don’t pass on any unnecessary plastic onto my lovely customers who are also trying to live a more plastic free life. 

I use puffed wheat chip packaging (they look like pale wotsits) to pad out the products and all the glass jars are wrapped in special expandable paper (a kind of eco paper bubble wrap). It’s amazing.  Here’s a video I made about it last year that tells you more about it. 

What do I use to wrap my soaps and bath bombs?

I’ve been asked a couple of times recently about the ‘plastic’ that i use to wrap my bath bombs and some of my stripey soaps. The fact is IT’S NOT PLASTIC! IT NEVER HAS BEEN AND IT NEVER WILL BE!

From the very start of The Maldon Soap Company in 2013 I have wrapped my soaps and bath bombs in natural cellophane. It’s totally plastic free and made from wood pulp. The wood comes from offcuts from the UK furniture industry so it’s made from stuff that would otherwise go to waste. Result!

The paper that I use to wrap the majority of my cold process soaps is Himalayan Lokta Paper. It comes, unsurprisingly, from the Himalayas.

Nepali crafts people have been producing handmade lokta paper for more than a thousand years in the Himalayas. 

This handmade lokta paper is an environmentally friendly, tree free and sustainable resource that is harvested and produced naturally. The bark of lokta bushes is harvested by hand without destroying the plant. After harvesting, the Lokta bush naturally regenerates.

So it’s wonderful stuff to work with and gives the soaps and shampoos a look all of their own!

Here’s a video I made explaining all about the paper and and showing the difference between plastic ‘cellophane’ like you get in a florists and the compostable, biodegradable cellophane I use. It’s all in the scrunch!

So what’s next?

Well, I’m continuing to keep stuff plastic free as much as is humanly. I’ve introduced natural cellophane, compostable refill bags for my magnesium bath soaks so that cuts down on glass jars flying about the place and weighty postage.

My massage oils come with a refill option so that you can just have the one pipette dispenser and get your refill oil in a glass bottle with an aluminium screw top to save on pipettes.

I’m just about to launch a minty foot/shoe powder for hot, sweaty feet and stinky shoes but I’ve run into problems with packaging. I am currently trying to source a plastic free powder dispenser but it’s not easy.

As a quick fix I am launching them in glass spice jars which do have a plastic inner shaker, but I will be selling refill packs which means that the glass spice jar will be able to be used indefinitely, so the plastic shaker won’t be a single use item. It’s all a learning curve.

I will update this blog as and when I make more progress in my effort to ditch the plastic. If everyone takes small steps to reduce their plastic use it’s much better than just a few people doing a lot. Even baby steps move forwards!

Have a lovely day.
Lots of Love
Sue xxx

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