Raising the barEthical Health & Beauty News & Features
This article first appeared in our Consumer Revolution issue of My Green Pod Magazine, released on 19 Dec 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Only 50% of packaging is recycled in the bathroom, compared with 90% in the kitchen.
It’s a huge problem – especially considering that 120 billion units of packaging are produced annually by the global cosmetics industry.
The war on plastics is leading to innovations in ‘ethical’ packaging, but question marks still hover over the wider and long-term environmental impacts of some plastic-free solutions.
The most obvious approach is to minimise packaging – of any sort – wherever possible, and to make sure that any packaging used is easy to recycle and reuse.
‘There’s no excuse at all for wrapping soap in plastic packaging’, says Jayne Waddy, founder of The Kentish Soap Company, ‘and the use of all-natural ingredients absolutely does not make plastic-free packaging any more of a challenge.’
The Kentish Soap Company removed the last small bits of plastic packaging – such as sticky tape – from its products last year, and in August it soft-launched a subscription service to help customers reduce unnecessary waste. ‘We have tried to think of everything’, Jayne tells us. ‘We’ve even gone the extra mile to find compostable postage labels rather than the normal plastic-based ones.’
Subscribers can have four soap bars, or three bars of soap and a shampoo bar, delivered to their door every month or every other month. They come unwrapped in an easily recyclable cardboard box, which should help the 4.5 million people who don’t recycle bathroom products due to the inconvenience.
Vegan friendly and plastic free
The subscription model also helps to cut costs: the price of the soaps is reduced and subscribers receive a 20% online discount on other products, such as bath salts, body butter, hand cream and candles.
Subscribers can cancel at any time, though we’re pretty sure you’ll fall in love with the naturally made, beautifully scented, vegan-friendly and plastic-free soaps that arrive through your letterbox. The soaps last for at least a year so there’s no rush to get through the bars as soon as they arrive.
Click here to find out why The Kentish Soap Company Blissful Soap is a My Green Pod Hero
‘Our Blissful soap (sweet orange and geranium) has been a firm favourite with our customers for a long time’, Jayne tells us. ‘At the moment we are particularly excited about our just-launched shampoo bar in a lavender and rosemary fragrance.’
A new Christmas range will pack all the same natural and ethical goodness into soaps, bath treats and candles, but with a winter twist and natural, warming festive scents.
Keeping it in the family
The move to reduce packaging is part of Jayne’s wider concern for the environment. ‘Our products are vegan friendly and the premises are run on 100% renewable energy due to our wider concerns about climate change’, Jayne explains.
Natural ingredients are also key – and the very reason Jayne first started making soap from her kitchen table over a decade ago.
As a pre-school teacher Jayne washed her hands ‘what felt like a million times a day’, which left her skin feeling dry and irritated. She decided to make her own natural alternatives for her family; they proved so popular that Jayne’s family – daughter (Emma), husband (John) and nephew – all joined the team.
Keeping the business in the family and making all the products by hand means Jayne can keep tight control over the ingredients used. ‘We can ensure the honesty and integrity of our products, and speak with authority about them’, Jayne tells us. ‘We also run workshops to help people to understand the natural soap-making process.’
By sharing her knowledge and passion, Jayne is helping people to understand the difference between authentic, handmade products and the soaps commonly found in the retail environment, while also providing an opportunity to cut the issue of packaging entirely: by making soap for yourself.