Without Co Walking the walk

For anyone who has been into my shop, you know the drill.  Bring your bottles, or buy some from us, fill them up, use them, and refill them.  The refilling aspect of our business is constantly on the rise, driving home that people care!  They care about single-use plastics, they care about natural cleaning products. They care about using what they have. And that is great news (considering the refill model is the cornerstone to my entire business…)

So on the floor of our shop, you see big 4 litre jugs, that you can come in and fill up your containers from. But I wanted to shed a little light on what you don’t see.  

Now our processes aren’t perfect, and there is still waste generated from running the store, but I’m definitely proud of how little waste we generate! 

Our waste outputs fall into two categories

  1. Shipping material
  2. Emptied products

Shipping materials: 

When we get a delivery from our suppliers there is always cardboard and packing paper associated with the delivery (except when they are delivered in person, shout out to Routine Cream and Fieldkit!).

For the cardboard boxes, we repurpose as much as we can, about 75% of what we receive.  We either send our customer shipment out in the boxes we have received our inventory in, use the boxes for storage, give boxes out to customers, or I send the boxes to my husband’s kindergarten class and they do all sorts of fun stuff with them!

For the packing paper, we either repurpose it as is, or we shred it and pack customer orders with it. None of the packing paper we receive goes straight into the recycling, it always gets at least one more life! Any paper products we buy for the store (cardstock, printing paper, tissue paper), are 100% post-consumer recycled product.  

Also - none of our suppliers use styrofoam to pack shipments (that’s a really easy way to never get another order from us), or any sort of plastic so thankfully it’s all paper. Packing practices is always a question I ask new wholesaler so that we don’t get any plastic-ey surprises in the shop.

Emptied Products:

We have a Canadian supplier for 96% of our bulk product that is on the floor in 4 litre jugs.  All of our DIY ingredients (carrier oils, witch hazel, etc.) come from a local supplier, who refills our bottles!   That’s right, you refill your bottles at my shop, and they refill my bottles at their shop. It’s like a bottle filling inception or something.  

Our cleaning product supplier?  Another amazing Alberta company, that refills our bottles as well!  

This is my favourite thing about working with local companies.  Chances are, they can tweak their typical services to better accommodate us from a waste perspective.  All I had to do was ask!

Some of the bigger names we carry don’t offer a refill service on their jugs at the time being, but we order in large volumes resulting in fewer empty bottles, and all of it is either post-consumer recycled product, cardboard, or recyclable. Plus I send the empty jugs off to my husband’s kindergarten class when he sees a purpose for them.

The only packaging I don’t have a good solution for is our salt packaging - for epsom salts, Himalayan salts, and spa salt.  They come in big plastic bags, that can technically go in the city’s recycling. So that’s what we do. But because of the size, I can’t find a good repurpose solution for them. If you have a brilliant idea on this definitely get in touch!  

Other Fun facts

I source post-consumer or compostable packaging for labels and packaging requirements on our in house product (produce bags, skincare line, etc.).  So any tags you receive on our products are all post-consumer and can go straight into the compost bin.  

I try to avoid paper promotional products, so you won’t see those around too often.  But I do get business cards printed, and they are printed on cards made from recycled t-shirts!  Yes they do cost me an arm and a leg, yes I’m probably a big sucker, but I think that’s pretty cool!  Plus our gift cards are made from recycled paper.

So that’s it!  A little run down on our not-so-wasteful business.  Full transparency is what we are all about. 

Now if I could only get my pin pad to listen to me when I set its receipt setting to off… the thing has a mind (and attitude) of its own.


- Michelle

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