What’s spookier than goblins and makes our skin crawl this Halloween? It’s one of the scariest things out there— climate change. It’s been a popular topic in the news recently, but climate change has been a concern of Earth Harbor for years (even before our company existed)!
Help Us Turn the Tide
Earth Harbor Naturals is committed to our part in the sustainability movement in order to turn the tide. We’ve put a hex on unsustainable skincare with our multi-prong approach to our unique sustainability initiative, which we will be discussing in our new sustainability blog series. We dive into why we are sustainable as well as all of the ways we are sustainable. We will also share ways you can join the effort. One merbabe may make a few waves, but an ocean of merbabes can move islands! We are excited to share this journey with you!
The Sustainability Series
Today we’re kicking off our sustainability series with the basics— Packaging!
You may have noticed that our packaging changed earlier this year. When we first began in 2018, our products were delivered in glass containers with post-consumer wrap— which our independently-owned, bootstrapped family business totally splurged on to make happen (because in case you didn’t know, even the tiniest valiant efforts towards sustainability are so much more expensive than the unsustainable alternative)! In the early stages of growing a grassroots business, even small decisions can sink or float you. Well, we were going to go down with the ship rather than stray from our ethos!
Ethos and Karma
Luckily for us, there’s Karma. So as we continue to grow as a company, we’re able to put even more funds towards eco-friendly packaging and other truly sustainable solutions for making formulas, sourcing ingredients, giving back, etc. You have our word that we’ll continue to push the envelope (no pun intended) towards zero-waste packaging that takes full product life cycles into account as we expand! An example of us walking the walk is that our entire line is now fully reusable and recyclable! Please note, though, that we always encourage reusing packaging first and foremost since that’s the more earth-conscious option.
- 100% Reusable, Recyclable and Biodegradable: This is SO important and rare that we’ll say it again... our entire line is 100% reusable and recyclable with biodegradable packaging. We are constantly working towards reducing our footprint with zero-waste packaging and rethinking recycling by ensuring all packaging can be repurposed.
- All Glass Containers: Glass can be recycled more easily than plastic (and is also MUCH easier and a more premium/glamorous way to repurpose). Whether recycled or put in a landfill, glass doesn’t release harmful toxins. In case you were unaware, toxins created by plastics contribute to greenhouse gases that can leach into waterways and food supplies. We did the math and found that in terms of energy, water and waste it was more sustainable to use glass for our entire line. As always, founder Ali digs deeper into all ingredients, chemicals and packaging options with her Masters of Public Health degree in environmental health and toxicology. Her goal in this is to ensure the utmost efficacy and safety for consumers and the planet.
- Boxes Outside of the Box: Our labels and boxes are printed with eco-friendly ink and are at least 50% post-consumer. They come from tree farms (we have a lot of them on the mainland near our St. Simons Island studio, actually!) so that you can rest easy knowing virgin forests weren’t cut down to produce them. The coating on our boxes is called “soft touch coating” and is particularly environmentally friendly as opposed to gloss, matte, or other finishes.
- We also want to clear the air about something we’re sometimes asked about: Is it necessary to have our products in boxes (a.k.a secondary packaging)? The answer is ABSOLUTELY. The amount of breakages that would occur in shipping and/or handling without these boxes would create a large carbon footprint that we are not willing to chance! This is just one example of how we pay attention to the full product lifecycle.
- Something Is Missing: We encourage you to notice things that are missing in your Earth Harbor packages. You will never find unnecessary plastic spatulas, overcaps, lid inserts or extra product literature. This is because reducing consumption is the ultimate way to be sustainable, followed by reusing, and then recycling.
- Solar-Powered Studio: Our studio where we make, bottle, label, and ship your orders is solar-powered!
- Carbon Offset Shipping: We also use carbon offset shipping with all of our suppliers when possible (we’ve calculated that at least 80% of these shipments are carbon offset), and are working right now to introduce UPS Carbon Offset Shipping as an option for all of you at checkout on our website!
Reduce, Reuse, RECYCLE: How to Recycle your Earth Harbor Packaging
All containers are glass, as well as dropper tubes. Recycle these with clear glass once removing all plastic tops and lids. For all dropper caps, remove the dropper tube from the plastic bulb and see below with how to recycle the bulb.
Boxes: can be recycled the same as all paper products.
Labels: Depending on your city’s recycling program you can leave the label on the glass containers and simply recycle glass containers with clear glass (the majority of programs nationwide allow this). If your city requires all labels to be removed, then you will recycle the label in paper recycling after removing the adhesive glue. To be on the safe side, we recommend removing the label and soaking it in soap or white vinegar (anything to remove the “stickiness”) before recycling.
Shipping Packaging: All shipping packaging, including the cardboard shipping box, shipping paper, and any informational items, should be recycled in paper recycling, too.
Our plastics are BPA-free, so we suggest reusing them since that is optimal. If not, recycling them is best. Once removed from their glass containers, all plastic portions of our product closures can be recycled with plastics. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of the type of plastics each are then see below:
- All treatment pumps, sprayer tops, and bulbs on droppers: Resin Code 7
- All lids that are on jars are PP (polypropylene): Resin Code 5
- Plastic part of dropper tops are also PP (polypropylene): Resin Code 5
- All liners inside the lids are PE (polyethylene): Resin Code 1
Earth Harbor Sustainability
We’re serious about our mission—to make safe, ethical and sustainable products available for everyone to enjoy. We hope to ultimately help create a safer, healthier world. Making sustainable choices when running a business isn’t always easy, and we have more work ahead, but we believe it’s the right thing to do.
Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 of our sustainability series to discover how we make a splash with our formulas, ingredients, and sources that make all the mermaids in the sea do a happy dance for Earth Harbor’s sustainable skincare!