What does sustainable mean?
Sustainability [suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee] :
The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.*
I am not a saint when it comes to sustainability and I am definitely guilty of frequent forgetfulness and occasional laziness that leads to not always doing the very best I can to reuse and recycle.
BUT on the whole, I believe everyone has a responsibility to protect and preserve our environment, and as an individual I try consciously to reduce the waste I create, reuse the things I have, and buy quality goods built to last.
Now, as a business owner, I view sustainability very differently. My experience in developing products has enabled me to quantify waste in production and has really opened my eyes to the impact and consequence simple business decisions can have on our environment (and I am just a small business owner).
Having the trigger finger ready to order 100's and 1000's of packaging supplies, with the impending question:
What happens to this, once it is finished with? - Is an unsettling thought
It is not possible to have a 100% sustainable business anywhere (or at least highly unlikely), but I believe the more businesses who care about our environment and consider the consequences of decisions made, the more impact we can make globally on protecting and preserving our environment and the wonderful species who share our world (cheesy but true).
By considering the consequences of our decisions, we have made the following choices.
JARS AND CONTAINERS
We have chosen the humble aluminium tin for our core mountain products as despite it's modest looks, alumininum is quite extraordinary stuff. It's lightweight and can take a beating (when rolling around in a ruck sack) and is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet (seriously). In fact:
"It can be recycled forever: It can be melted down and reformed without losing any quality, and the process can be repeated over and over again.'*
It is also said that,
"Aluminum is one of the most recycled - and most recyclable materials on the market today. Nearly 75 percent of all aluminum produced in the U.S. is still in use today."*
For our après sport products we use Amber Glass Jars are they said to be one of the best containers on the market for keeping natural skincare products fresh. We use fully recyclable glass containers, paired with fully recyclable Aluminium lids.
Cardboard Push Up Tubes
Our chafe stick push up tube is made from 100% recycled material and eco friendly glue (that no animals were used in the production of).
We also believe having a chamois cream in a push up tube is a much more hygienic way to 'butter up'. - Absolutely no 'Double Dipping' allowed with our chafe stick.
Labels come in all shapes, sizes, colours and finishes. The scary thing is - when you look into this, even when the base container says it's recyclable, you will often find the stick on label is not.
Our stick on labels are biodegradable. They are composed of 95% of sugar cane fibres and 5% hemp and linen.
Habit can be a creature. Before converting to shampoo bars, I was a little hesitant about switching from the bottle to the bar, but I decided to give them a go, purely for their eco qualities. I confess to start with, I found them a little strange, but now I am a total convert, especially when I learnt that according to the Daily Mail:
“The average British household uses 216 plastic haircare bottles a year.”
* Daily Mail 2020
We do not include excess packaging in any of our products, like cardboard cartons or cellophane. As once the goods are opened, these bits just end up in the bin.
We ship our products using 75% recycled board mailing boxes which are easily recycled and are fully compostable and biodegradable (or use honeycomb paper padded envelopes, which are also fully recyclable and biodegrade).
Instead of plastic bubble wrap or packing peanuts we use an eco bubble wrap which is made of brown kraft paper, horizontally die-cut into thousands of slits, which is converted into a 3-D web of angled cells used to protect our products.
We make all of our skincare products right here in the UK and purchase our raw ingredients from suppliers we trust with ethical policies.
We realise there will be things that aren't perfect about the sustainability of our business, but within means, we can confidently say we've made a good start.
We will always aim to continue improving the sustainability of our business, and we are open to suggestions if you have any.
Jade Murray, Founder of Helm Wind Outdoor Skincare