There are moments when I really do wonder if we are sharing the same planet and these are always truly surprising to me.
As someone brought up in a small coastal town and who had not only as a child pondered for hours amongst rock pools and lost herself to happy sandy feet, I was also aware from an early age of the amount of rubbish and mess either left or washed up on the beach (admittedly, some of it was very exciting treasure)
Even in the 60’s and 70’s we had beach clean ups, so the fact the as consumerism has increased there is more plastic and rubbish in our lives than could even have been conceived of in the past.
That past, and the fact that I feel a responsibility to the world as a whole has informed the way I try to live and therefore how I have shaped the business. Despite being lectured to by some parties that I am limiting my market I stuck to my guns that I would only use glass bottles, tins and cardboard/paper for the products and that I would not use extra (needless)
boxes and packaging. From this ethical perspective I feel that I have created a beautiful brand, which in necessary parts only uses the highest quality recyclable plastic (pump parts!)
I reuse and recycle almost everything which comes in and even although we are still small we already offer a return with discount on the next purchase service.
So with that background I received an email from a waste disposal company which explained the difference between different types of waste (really, do people still need this?)
It also quoted for bin bags, with the minimum order being 100 and of 2 types.
I was really shocked at this. Why would really small workshops and shops need 200 bin bags to fill with their rubbish? That’s a LOT, and at £1.50 each its a lot of money also, and if you did need to purchase such a large minimum amount, how is that going to help make your business responsible and sustainable, you would naturally be inclined to fill the bags
rather than trying harder to reuse.
How could I ever use 200 bags?
So I spoke to them, and I explained, how every bit of packaging, etc which comes in in the deliveries is reused in outgoing deliveries and how, really the most rubbish is my lunch pack and perhaps a couple of teabags. The (very nice) woman was really shocked and this where I am both sad and surprised. I had been feeling a bit resentful that this massive amount of bags was being foisted upon me to being sad that we as a company are still unusual.
Given the amount of publicity on waste and recycling, why are we not taking more personal responsibility and reusing as much as we possibly can? I can and I will always reuse as much of what comes in and sterilise and reuse bottles etc, yes, sometimes it’s time consuming, but I would rather use this little bit of time than see an animal caught in the waste or for children to be eating it in their fish in years to come.
My thinking is that perhaps we do this at home, but we don’t think so much at work – so let’s think everywhere, lets just do this planet saving thing!