The Pink Elephant Lady
2018 Sustainability Initiatives
We’re working on exciting new sustainability initiatives in 2018. As we move closer to zero waste, our sustainability initiatives will be threefold:
Reducing the use of plastic
Reducing the use of new materials
Increasing our recycling efforts
Moving forward, both our dishwashing powder and laundry powder will be packaged in recyclable kraft paper bags instead of plastic jars. These bags are coated on the inside with a biodegradable, corn-based film called PLA (polylactic acid).
All of our products packaged in 2 ounce, 4 ounce, and 8 ounce plastic jars will now be packaged in glass jars, and all products packaged in 4 ounce and 8 ounce bottles will now be packaged in glass bottles.
Reducing the use of New Materials
Our spray cleaners are packaged in amber glass 16 ounce bottles purchased locally. We have developed spray cleaner concentrates that can be used to refill the 16 ounce bottles. The concentrates will be sold in 8 ounce bottles and can be reused to make enough product to refill the spray bottles 5 times. This initiative will both reduce packaging and the use of new materials. All containers can be returned to us for a 10% discount on the purchase of a new product (same product only – not entire purchase).
Increasing our Recycling Efforts
In 2018, we will more aggressively promote our recycling program. We earn dollars for our non-profit partners by collecting certain materials for recycling. You can learn more about this program and which materials we accept on our website at https://www.pinkelephantproducts.com/wecanhelpyourecycle
The Big Picture
Our product ingredients have always been phosphate-free, non-bioaccumulative, and non-toxic to marine life. However, it can be challenging to design eco-friendly product packaging in the personal care products sector. Shampoo and conditioner bottles, bubble bath bottles, and products to be used by children in the bathtub are particularly difficult to do without plastic, as a wet, slippery environment and glass are just not compatible. We will continue to explore reducing the use of petroleum-based plastics in this sector.
In order to be truly sustainable, a business must consider more than just its packaging and its product ingredients, however. We need to ensure that our presence creates a positive impact on the community we are in, that we are able to pay living wages to our employees, and that we 'do retail’ in a way that ensures we can continue to flourish. That’s a tall order! How do we do it?
In every action, we need to assess not only intent, but impact. As a social enterprise, we need to ensure that our social endeavors “first do no harm”. Does a project we are working on compete with a project already underway? Are we offering something valuable that the community truly needs? Are we responding to needs that already exist, as opposed to trying to convince people that they need what we're selling?
The retail environment is changing rapidly. We witness many traditional retailers shuttering their doors. More and more purchases are made online. We have to respond in a thoughtful way to these changes to ensure we can survive. We need to make sure we are not doing the same old things and expecting different results. Traditional retail business models may not fit anymore. We must be profitable in order to create jobs.
I'm excited about the upcoming year, and looking forward to growing the business in a sustainable, responsible, responsive way. Come along on the journey with me!