In our continuing efforts to “make a difference” and be aware of our impact – we’ve made a few recent changes in our purchasing habits. A shout out to our community member Julie Brumley for inspiring us on these items. We’re sharing with you here in hopes you too will be inspired to make what changes you can.

Change #1 – Instead of using (and continuously re-using) the light-weight plastic bags provided in the produce section we now use reusable and washable net bags. They come with the tarre weight on the label and depending on the brand you purchase may have a zipper or a drawstring of some kind. Lots to choose from. These are the net produce bags we bought.

Change #2 – No more toothpaste tubes! We now buy tubeless Bites Toothpaste. It comes in glass the first time and in biodegradable packaging from then on. It takes a day or two to get used to it but I feel like it leaves my teeth cleaner. And I know it leaves nothing in the landfill.

Change #3 – No more plastic and no more trees for our TP by subscribing to Who Gives a Crap. The company makes all their products with environmentally friendly materials, and they donate 50% of profits to help build toilets for those in need. Our referral link gives you $10 off your first order and also sends us $10 off our next order. We ordered a case of 48 bamboo and love it. It’ll likely last us a year. It feels great to know we’re not contributing to the destruction of trees and/or adding more plastic to the landfill. And I just love that they’re helping to provide free toilets where needed. I wrote to their customer service because I wasn’t sure about buying something made in China and shipped. They sent this thoughtful response…

Where we choose to produce our products is a big deal, and setting up operations in China is a decision we’ve made after taking into consideration a number of factors. These include things like:

  • Product quality and packaging options: e.g. being able to use paper wrappers and recycled cardboard boxes rather than plastic – we haven’t yet found an American producer that could do this to our specifications
  • Materials: having access to a large pool of raw materials – post-consumer waste paper, post-industrial paper and bamboo (which isn’t as readily available in Australia, USA or UK)
  • Cost of operations: Most local toilet tissue manufacturers have extremely high minimum order quantities, and since we’re still a small company it’d be prohibitively expensive for us to work with them
  • Our brand mission: our goal is to make sure everyone has access to a toilet by 2050. Building a sustainable business model that delivers quality and environmentally responsible products at competitive prices is how we’re going to get there.

Also, there’s a bit of a misconception about production in China which we think is important to talk about. Some people think products aren’t as good quality, but from everything we’ve been involved with, we find this totally untrue. We work closely with our producers to ensure standards and processes we’re happy with. You can read more about how we monitor working conditions and wages in this article.

We haven’t yet completed a full lifecycle analysis for our American business, but if you’re worried about the environmental consequences of importing our product from overseas, check out how we delved into a lifecycle analysis study for our Australian business in this article. We’ll be doing the same analysis here in the near future, and anticipate similar results.

PS – Recently we visited the newly renovated Burke Museum (free on the first Thursday of each month). The exhibit that particularly caught my attention showed how we’ve gone from roughly 25 pounds of trash per person per year in the landfill before 1900 to more than a TON per person per year in the present day. And the other image shows how the content of our landfill has changed over time. Look at all that one-time-use plastic now! 🙁

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