green potions bath bombs wrapped

Packaging that doesn’t cost the Earth

We have just launched new packaging for our shampoo bars, and so I thought it was time to write a few words about our choice of packaging materials.  What do we mean by ‘packaging that doesn’t cost the Earth’?  Why is it so important to reduce plastic waste?  Why do we wrap our soap and shampoo bars at all? 

We hope we’ll answer some of these questions here…

What packaging don’t we use?

When we say packaging that doesn’t cost the Earth, we mean that we strive to avoid anything that is unsustainable. So, for example, we are committed to never using plastic packaging. Far more eloquent people than me have written plenty on this subject. If you need persuading we suggest you look to Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace for some pretty compelling arguments.

Why do we use packaging for our soap?

We are really proud of our soap, and one of the reasons we are so proud is that we only use botanicals and clays to add the colours.  These are amazing natural ingredients, but by their nature the colours will fade.  So, until our soap reaches your soap dish, it’s important to us to keep it under wraps, so you can enjoy the colours and patterns as much as possible! But it can be a challenge to find packaging that doesn’t cost the Earth.

How do we wrap our soap?

All of our products need to comply with cosmetic product safety legislation to make them saleable in the UK.  As part of the Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) for our soap, our cosmetic chemist has stipulated that our paper packaging must be food-safe.  We started by just wrapping our soap in plain, recycled, soy-waxed paper (together with a recycled paper band to give all of the important product information).  After receiving feedback from some of our lovely customers, we realise that our soaps are often bought as gifts and that got us thinking that perhaps we should make the packaging just a little bit prettier!  After much searching for food-safe, planet-friendly and economical options we have added a layer of tissue paper.  This tissue paper is vegan-friendly, biodegradable, recyclable and is printed with water based ink.

What about our shampoo bars?

Similarly to our soap, our shampoo is coloured with some lovely (fadeable!) botanicals.  When we started marketing our shampoo we used the same recycled soy-waxed paper as used for our soap.  But experience now tells us that, sadly, this paper isn’t quite up to the job.  Our shampoo contains some lovely oils and these have had a tendency to bleed through the waxed paper and stain the paper band (containing the important product information).  So, what to do?  Lots more research on food-safe greaseproof paper and we have chosen to go with a pure greaseproof paper that is made in the UK from sustainable resources.  Our greaseproof paper is vegan-friendly, biodegradable in landfill and water and industrially compostable.

What happened to the paper band on the shampoo?

It never sat well with us (ok, me) that a ‘square’ paper band looked a bit odd wrapped around a round shampoo bar.  Plus the fact that it needed a sticker to hold the grease-resistant paper in place and then some glue to hold the band together.  Not to mention that the band got a bit squashed when the shampoo bar was sold in a tin.  Perfectionist?  Me?  I don’t know what you mean…

I decided to investigate sticky labels to both hold the greaseproof paper and contain the information.  So, another hunt entailed to source environmentally-friendly stickers. We are now using matt white biodegradable sticky labels. These are specifically suited for applications where the complete packaging should be biodegradable.

And what about the bath bombs?

When we offer bath bombs for sale at fairs and markets we tend to sell them naked (well, in a brown paper bag to retain their modesty). We also offer our bombs gift-wrapped in carefully sourced compostable and biodegradable cellophane wrap, hand tied with paper raffia ribbon.