We’ve arrived on the last day of July and it’s given us pause to reflect on what has been called “Plastic Free July.” How do we as a business measure up?
Since the beginning, we’ve made it our mission to take time to source products that follow our core principles: thoughtfully produced, well designed, functional, cruelty free, and sustainably designed / packaged. We don’t source anything that was mass produced in China, everything is made by small businesses like ourselves in countries that include Canada, US and Europe.
But how does plastic-free fit in? To be honest, when you source your goods responsibly, plastic-free isn’t our reason d’etre, it just becomes a part of every conversation. We talk to our suppliers (usually the owners) about how goods are made, where they source their raw materials and how they package those goods to ship to us. And while we’re not 100% perfect, we’ve incrementally and consciously increased our efforts towards a plastic-free store. We’ve made big strides, but there is always more we can do to help protect our environment from plastic waste, especially single use packaging and goods.
Let’s take a moment to showcase some of those products that fit that goal. Abeego Food Wraps was one of our first plastic-free products we started carrying about three years ago. A food wrap that eliminates the need for cling wrap, they keep food fresher and longer reducing spoiled food that ends up in the garbage.
Our favourite Tokyo Vase is the result of a changing, more eco-friendly world. The design incorporates natural elements and is a fair-trade product made in Sri-Lanka. The vase collection is designed to surprise and inspire the world that recycled materials can be sustainable and functional while looking beautiful. We also love the Tokyo Collection because they have more than 200 female workers that work from home and are paid fairly. From creation to arrival in our store, there is no plastic used, so when you buy from this collection, you can be sure there is minimal impact on the environment
However the road to a plastic-free journey has hit some bumps along the way. We’ve made mistakes, course corrected and learned from them. Last year we fell in love with a line of quirky, colourful reusable bamboo travel mugs. We believed the distributor and thought these would make a great addition to eliminating single use cups. However we learned that even though this product is eco-friendly, the chemical melamine resin, and formaldehydes that are used to infuse the bamboo fibre are dangerous to our health. They are not suitable for hot drinks which defeats the purpose. We no longer carry any bamboo mugs. It’s been a great lesson in sourcing responsibly for us.
Since then, we’ve continued on our journey and introduced Simply Gum, a plastic free chewing gum. Did you know most gum brands use plastic as an ingredient in their gums? Polyethylene, one of the most popular ingredients of gum base, belongs to a collective group of plastics and is used in products from plastic bags to hula hoops. Polyvinyl acetate is a sticky polymer found in white glue. And we give this to our kids?
Our eyes have been opened to “green plastics” as well. New strides are being made in plastic made from renewable raw materials like sugar cane, corn and other non-petroleum bases. Our Hinza tote is made out of sugar cane plastic. It fits our Lagom lifestyle and can be used for years instead of plastic single use shopping bags.
Our plastic-free journey is well at hand, but not without the occasional bump. We’re listening and learning and taking the time to figure out what is best for the environment, and how it fits our Lagom lifestyle. Be confident that we’re working on providing plastic-free options year round and not only in the month of July.
Make your change to plastic-free now: