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Eco-friendly teamwork

Handcrafted soap that ships in paper shreds, pretty flowers from composting paper shreds and handmade paper from using shredded paper.

First published April 29th, 2014

The first soap business I started almost 15 years ago was Botanical Earth.  It is everything I love – essential oils, organics and raw ingredients with no synthetic fragrances or preservatives.  It’s completely minimalist to the best of my ability.  One of the challenges of running it, or any business for that matter, is to find ways to be as eco-friendly as possible with the least amount of impact on the environment.  When I was a flight attendant, it bothered me to no end the amount of Styrofoam cups that went in the trash bin every leg of a trip.  On international flights which I worked the most, one single passenger could go through at least 5 cups.  Multiply those 5 cups by 300+ people on simply 1 flight asking for 1 cup of water or coffee whenever they were thirsty and you start to see the amount of just Styrofoam trash that is generated.  To this day, if a restaurant or cafe hands me Styrofoam packaging, I never return as there are too many alternatives.

It’s the same with packaging materials to ship orders.  I have used the organic corn starch, biodegradable packing peanuts, though more expensive it is worth it to my conscience and my customers.  If you see some green Styrofoam ones every once it’s a while, it’s because I just received an order of glass jars from a particular supplier. The biodegradable peanuts do not handle heavy impact from the weight of the glass so the green anti-static ones are a safer option. They are always super clean and have not come from boxes that had scents so I figure I can reuse them.  I am happy to say all of my other suppliers use eco-friendly packing materials!  So when I was talking to the helpful ladies at the MU Extension office over at the Iron County Courthouse a month ago, they mentioned that they save all the shredded paper and take it to a recycling center which is a 20 mile drive.  Debra Henk asked if I would be interested in it for using with my products.  While shredded paper is not my first choice for neatness ( I sweep several times a day now to pick up shreds), it is reducing the carbon footprint for both the Courthouse and my business!

Iron Co. Courthouse

By the Iron County Courthouse offering the paper shreds to me, they save on transportation and disposal costs.  I come over the 2 blocks, pick it up and use the shreds for packing, making handmade paper or composting.  It’s so nice to work with a group of people that want to recycle and look for ways to help others.  It does save me the cost of shipping in from Chicago (the best price) by semi truck 6 or more 8ft bags and finding storage for them.  This simple solution makes their efforts to recycle actually end up being recycled locally for finished product into artisan items (handmade paper), beautiful plants (compost) and help a small local business cut cost (shipping materials),  I don’t think you can close the gap much tighter on waste in the Arcadia Valley than how efficient this paper system has become.  Improvements are always welcome.  So for all the people at the Iron County Courthouse – THANK YOU for helping a small, local business and THANK YOU for helping keep our beautiful region of SE Missouri pretty and clean. With the price of fuel rising, driving to a recycling center adds up and so does shipping in materials.  Plus the wonderful people at the Courthouse even sort colored paper out and make sure the ink is eco-friendly and good for compost.  How nice is that?   It’s a win-win for everyone thanks to their efforts.

Now if you are interested in the shredded paper at the Courthouse, by all means jump to the front of the line as I don’t want to be the only Shreddy Paper Princess!  It’s always good to share so if you can help the Iron County Courthouse with their recycling and help them to avoid having it disposed of properly, give the MU Extension office a call.   Here’s a link to the Extension’s website with all of the community programs, small business resources and agricultural information.