Searching for the perfect eco-conscious beauty products that contain safe-for-you and safe-for-the-environment ingredients can be quite the journey. The conscious consumerism efforts to find reliable eco-conscious beauty products go beyond diving into the ingredients a product contains. It's also important to ask yourself about the packaging your favorite beauty products come in.
At Earth Harbor, we've not only put thought and care into our love-filled skincare gems, but also into the packaging they come in. We're proud of our sustainable packaging efforts and the practices that support them, and want to share the sustainable steps that go into our waste-free packaging with you.
We understand cause and effect, and how just a simple decision we make can have a ripple effect that goes beyond the product in your hand. Not only do we source sustainable materials for our packaging, but we also take it a step further by ensuring our suppliers practice environmentally conscious, sustainable practices and that our entire product lifecycle is accounted for.
100% From Local Suppliers; Lowest Carbon Footprint
As a small grass-roots beauty company, we know how important it is to support local businesses. We also know the more locally you source materials, the less carbon footprint you create by reducing cross-country (or overseas) deliveries, which could reduce dozens, if not more, means of transportation like planes, trains, ships, and trucks.
All of our packaging suppliers are located within a 50-mile radius of our studio! Not only does this reduce our carbon footprint, but it also allows us to support local businesses, something we are very passionate about.
Plus, our suppliers are also leaders in sustainability with solar-powered production facilities, LEED-certified buildings, eco-conscious production methods, fair source trade, and carbon-neutral shipping, to name a few examples.
Waste-Free; 100% Reusable + Recyclable
All Earth Harbor packaging is waste-free. Everything we use is 100% reusable and recyclable. Over 95% of our product packaging consists of endlessly recyclable glass. The only plastics you’ll find anywhere in our packaging are the closures to our gems. However, we are moving completely away from virgin plastics and have begun using upcycled ocean-bound plastic, ocean waste plastic, and/or post-consumer resins. We're continuously striving to find alternatives to virgin materials for 100% of our products.
Glass Containers Only
Yep, we only use glass containers. Every product from our samples to our full-size bottles (and every size in between) is housed in clear glass. While glass is a recyclable material, clear glass, in particular, is the most widely accepted type of glass at recycling facilities as opposed to colored jars such as blue, green, and brown amber jars. Even our HELIOS Anti-Pollution Youth Ampoule and NEBULA Adaptogen Clarity Ampoule, which have a color coating on them, are still considered clear glass at recycling facilities! More importantly, though, glass containers are the best material for reusability (which we encourage over recycling any day!).
Upcycled Ocean Plastic Closures; Eliminating Virgin Plastic
Our goal is for all of our plastic closures to contain no virgin plastic in our effort to offer truly zero-waste packaging; that is when we even use plastic! We're transitioning all of our plastic closures away from virgin plastic to ocean waste plastic, ocean bound plastic, and post consumer recycled resins, making our packaging plastic-negative since it not only intercepts waste that could otherwise end up in the ocean, but goes beyond plastic neutrality by actually removing plastic from the ocean. We've been striving to help save the ocean and create equitable access to clean water since day one, including the fact that 100% of our containers and product boxes and shipping materials are already zero-waste glass and paper. See below for some Ocean Waste Plastic vs. Ocean Bound Plastic 101.
Ocean waste plastic: Ocean waste plastic is the plastic that’s collected from the ocean (or within 50 miles of the coast) and upcycled.
Ocean bound plastic: Ocean bound plastic is the plastic that’s intercepted and recycled before it has an opportunity to find its way to the ocean.
No Unnecessary Packaging
You'll never find unnecessary materials in our packaging. This applies to everything from shipping materials to small product packaging that is often overlooked such as plastic cosmetic spatulas, lid caps, wasteful tamper-seals, and protective foams that are so frequently found in the beauty industry. We work with leading-edge eco-packaging experts to use optimized packing materials, to utilize product closures that fully protect their contents without the waste, and to help us search for ways to improve our efforts with emerging sustainable packaging technologies.
According to National Geographic, beauty products have increased by over 120 times since 1960. In 2018, in the U.S. alone, the beauty industry created almost 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic just for personal care products!
Staying true to our ocean-saving philosophy, we're thrilled to be doing our part to keep plastics out of the ocean and are continually sourcing the most eco-conscious packaging materials available.
Sustainable Forests and Post-Consumer Materials Used
Creating truly waste-free packaging goes beyond the bottles and jars our skincare gems come in; it also includes the labeling and boxes that our products are packaged and shipped in.
Product boxes and shipping materials are from sustainable forests by sourcing FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certified materials. Sourcing materials from these certified organizations encourage sustainable forest management. This means that the harvested trees are ethically and ecologically grown, so they benefit the environment and local communities.
We also source materials that are made from post-consumer recycled paper!
According to Zero Waste Week, more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced globally every year by the cosmetics industry, contributing to the loss of 18 million acres of forest annually. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly the size of South Carolina.
Eco-friendly Ink and Labels
We use eco-friendly UV ink on our boxes and labels because they don't have the toxic solvents that other inks often contain and don’t release harmful gasses and vapors (VOCs) into the air. Eco-friendly UV ink also instantly dries when exposed to UV light meaning little energy is needed. We are also proud that our labels are considered biodegradable and recyclable.
Compostable Shipping Materials
When you open up your order from us, you'll notice something different. All of our shipping materials are compostable! We only use paper, cardboard, and a special kind of eco-tape. All of our shipping materials are also fully biodegradable and recyclable and, yes, our paper packaging tape can even be recycled along with the other shipping materials thanks to a unique water-based adhesive!
New on The Horizon
We're continuously looking for ways to make our packaging even more sustainable, and we have exciting things on the horizon, including:
Terracycle: We're partnering with a company called Terracycle so that anyone can get a prepaid shipping label to send back their Earth Harbor packaging to guarantee every bit of it will be 100% recycled! Recycling has never been easier or more reliable!
Carbon Neutral Shipping: Soon you're going to see a carbon neutral shipping option at checkout that every merbabe can opt into to offset the carbon emissions created from their order.
Compostable Refills: We’re also very close to launching compostable refills for a few of our products! Stay tuned, sunshines.
Biodegradable Refills: Another exciting addition coming to Earth Harbor's fleet are biodegradable refills! These are still in R&D and will take a lot of logistics to roll out whenever they are market-ready. We recognize that compostable is best, but this is something the entire packaging industry has yet to figure out how to do in a way that safely and efficaciously stores oil-based and water-based liquids in compostable materials for longer than a few days. This is why we are turning to biodegradable refills for the remainder of our products until the industry can catch up to our aspirations.
Aluminum Bottle Options: We are introducing a unique new set of self-care gems to our line that will be sold in aluminum bottles that are easily recyclable at essentially all recycling facilities nationwide.
Always Pushing For Progress
So much more goes into creating a sustainable and eco-conscious brand than just waste-free packaging. Brands have to look at the bigger picture in order to even touch the surface of sustainability and look at everything from suppliers to distribution practices, as well as pre-production and their own manufacturing processes. At Earth Harbor, one of our core values is to always try our absolute best to dig deeper into comprehensive sustainable practices, and as a little bootstrapped indie brand it can be so incredibly difficult at times, but we know the effort and resources we put towards it are something that we, the human race, and our planet will never regret.
Dive into our blog post Blue Beauty is the New Green Beauty: 6 Ways to Go Blue in Your Beauty Ritual to learn about some of our other sustainability efforts.
As always, sustainability is an ever-evolving and complex process, and we acknowledge we will probably never get it perfect, but that won't stop us from trying. There's so much more to do, and we are constantly evolving to be as comprehensively waste-free, carbon-neutral, and earth-friendly as possible.
We love to hear from you, merbabes! Leave a comment below and let us know small changes you’re making in your beauty rituals to help the Earth and her oceans.