Why circular economy?
Our seventh value that drives our business is striving towards a circular economy. We don’t yet live in a circular economy, but it all has to start somewhere! And we want to embody the future that we want to see. We will do a brief overview of what a circular economy is, how we practice it in our business and the limitations and obstacles we face. If you want to learn more in-depth about circular economy, click here for an article that we wrote about it.
Why Circular Economy?
Circular economy is a return to a more natural way of life, a way that works alongside of nature instead of the exploitative and destructive way of the linear economy. The linear economy, extracts new resources, makes and discards. It does this in the name of progress, fancier phones and new seasons of clothes, but how can it be progress when it comes at the cost of our ecosystems and at the ethical treatment of humans? Circular economy provides one solution within a tapestry of solutions that will work together to help us achieve system change. To help us shift our system from one that mindlessly overconsumes and pollutes without thought of its impact, to one that is conscious of its impact and has the means to carry on having their needs met whilst being respectful of other beings that cohabit with us in this planet.
How does circular economy work?
The objective of a circular economy is to pull both ends of the line in the linear economy together so as to close the circle and it does this through these three main principles:
- Design out waste and pollution
- Keep products and materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems
How it looks for us
Firstly, so as not to contribute to the burning of fossil fuels which release pollutants that have caused climate change, we use a renewable energy company as our electricity provider. Secondly, below are some of the ways in which we have designed out waste and pollution, as well as keeping materials in use:
- The way we make our soaps means that there is very minimal offcuts and the small amount that there are, we use as samples which potentially also minimizes waste as people are able to choose a soap that works for them
- With exception of the beauty oil, all our products have been designed so that they are completely plastic free
- We operate a scheme to incentivise our customers to return the ZWP tins and glass bottles, so that we are keeping those materials in use, reusing saves energy and other resources from being used in the process of recycling those materials
- There is some plastic with the pipette of the beauty oil, however you can keep the pipette and reuse it and send in your empty glass bottle and when you buy a replacement beauty oil it comes with a metal cap instead of a pipette (the metal cap has a small lining of plastic to keep it from leaking)
- All our other packaging is made from cardboard that can be recycled or returned to the earth by composting it
- By having all our ingredients as natural as possible it means that if you are living off grip it is safe to release water with ZWP soap or shampoo residue back into the earth
- We invested in a printer that allows us to refill the ink cartridges with reusable ink bottles which get returned to the ink company
- We’ve tried to source as much as we could our furniture second hand
- We buy from our suppliers in as large a quantity as possible so as to cut down on plastic packaging
Limits & obstacles
In our part of the circle we have quite a lot of control in how we design and do things, however we come up to obstacles when we start zooming out and interacting with other parts of the circle. For example, we can ask our suppliers to use less packaging when packaging orders to us and sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. We also don’t have control over how our supplier operates with their supplier, so as we grow, and we can afford to buy bigger quantities we try to go to the source so as to reduce waste. We try to operate our business in a circular way, but we are in a society that is predominately linear, so for the time being we cannot be fully circular. However, in this journey we have grown and improved so much, and we look forward to seeing where this journey takes us. Join us by sending back your empty tins and gifting our plastic-free products to your friends and family to show them that a circular economy IS possible! And don’t forget to read our article on what a circular economy is here to find out about how it is not just about becoming better at reusing and recycling!