This article first appeared in our ‘Why organic is the answer’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 03 September 2021. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Back in 2003, Ursula Whittle and Paddy Heyland were ‘looking for a new challenge’ and bought a small fledgling business – a handmade soap-making enterprise – from a friend.
Today the husband and wife team, Heyland & Whittle, is one of England’s largest and most successful manufacturers of cold-processed soaps, famed for using traditional techniques to create luxurious products.
Earlier this year the company launched an Eco collection that builds on a legacy of artisan products made with natural ingredients such as olive oil, essential oils, herbs and spices. The collection is a celebration of all that is kind to our bodies and the Earth.
‘What is not included is just as important as what is included’, Paddy tells us. ‘We launched our new Eco collection because we knew that customers were looking for products that were more than just paraben free. Our customers are very savvy about environmental issues; they were looking for products that would help to make their lifestyle choices better for their homes and the planet.’
Candles and diffusers in Heyland & Whittle’s Eco collection come in recycled glass vessels, sourced by Paddy, that can be repurposed in the home. The soaps in the collection are free from palm oil – a commitment that will soon be rolled out across all Heyland & Whittle soaps.
‘Thanks to the internet we now know about deforestation of the rainforests in South America and East Asia and the terrible things happening as knock-on effects of palm oil farming’, Ursula says. ‘We didn’t want to be part of that.’
Paddy and Ursula discovered it wasn’t at all difficult to create eco formulations that delivered the same high quality Heyland & Whittle customers expect; ‘It was a challenge we all embraced’, Ursula says. ‘Eco products can absolutely be luxurious – all the ingredients are nature’s best – and there is the added feel-good factor of how they care for both the planet and the home.’
The team at Heyland & Whittle is working on other ways to improve its products – Ursula and Paddy acknowledge ‘some things take longer than others to fix’ – and constantly reviews its packaging, from the boxes to the print dyes and the product wrap.
‘More and more of our glass vessels and containers will be recycled and recyclable’, Paddy tells us, ‘and all our soaps can now be bought as a brick and cut into bars at home, which saves packaging completely.’
Ursula and Paddy share a vision to bring the Eco collection’s sustainability credentials to all Heyland & Whittle products, so in the future there might not be a standalone Eco range.
‘It is small steps – but they are going in the right direction’, Paddy explains. ‘It was a big commitment for us to launch an Eco collection in the middle of a global pandemic, but it is so rewarding to see that we made the right decision. Going forward we will strive as a business to make more planet-friendly choices – both for our customers and for our team.’
‘Coming through the pandemic we have all enjoyed bluer, clearer skies’, Ursula adds; ‘I think deep down we all know that we need to protect this Earth for future generations.’
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