UNSEEN WASTE
Sustainably Manufacturing and Packaging Products
by Jamison Stoike

When consumers visit the spa, they encounter an end-user experience of sustainability: low-flow showerheads, LED bulbs, reusable cups. Yet, true sustainability can only be accomplished by overhauling the aspects of spa that guests may not think about, including the sustainability of the products that spas use on a daily basis.

If you’re a resource partner looking to make your products greener, here are five real-world strategies that you can use to rethink how you approach sustainability:

1. START FROM THE BEGINNING

The first step, according to Kerstin Florian International’s Public Relations & Marketing Manager Ellie Dvoracek, is to source local manufacturers. Kerstin Florian’s recently-launched ANDA skin care line made sustainability part of its core values; to that end, Kerstin Florian worked to make it environmentally-friendly from the ground-up, beginning with its manufacturing processes.

Local manufacturing, notes Dvoracek, leads to reduced shipping distance and a lower carbon footprint. Work with your product manufacturer to see if there are ways to reduce power consumption or water usage during the manufacturing process itself, such as by switching to more efficient machinery or air-cooled systems. If you manufacture your own products, conducting an energy use and water use audit of the manufacturing facility is the best way to gather data that show where a more sustainable option may be possible.

2. REDUCE OR ELIMINATE CARDBOARD

As consumers pressure spas to reduce the packaging they use in their retail areas, spas have begun passing that pressure on to their providers. “Spas are more aware of product packaging and are requiring higher standards of sustainability,” according to Dvoracek, by asking suppliers to use less packaging than ever. For example, Ethica Beauty, a supplier of hair care products, no longer boxes its products: they ship ‘naked’ in a recycled carboard box that holds 12 products.

ANDA uses Miron glass bottles for its products—a more sustainable choice than first-use plastic—which necessitate shipping each product with its own box. However, Kerstin Florian has designed the boxes to “be tight with the package” with no extra panels. Dvoracek says that this reduces the total amount of material used, lowering costs while increasing sustainability. If you do have to use cardboard, try sourcing cardboard that’s verified to be sustainable by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

3. SWITCH TO SUSTAINABLE PLASTICS OR GLASS

Eliminating single-use plastics is en vogue, so making a switch to recycled or reused plastics is good for both your brand’s image and the planet. Ethica Beauty recently switched to using
plastics reclaimed from the ocean to bottle its products, a change which was, admittedly, far from simple. Says Angelica Canter, vice president of sales, “resourcing recycled reclaimed packaging is new in the professional beauty industry, and it requires a complex supply chain.” However, ethica knew that sourcing ocean plastics was an integral part of its values and worked with its packaging partner to make it possible.

New, exciting packaging options are coming onto the market every day, although “they are still limited,” says Dvoracek. However, she suggests working with your supplier to see what they offer—as “the sustainability movement grows along with consumer demand,” more and more eco-friendly options will become available. One such eco-friendly option are aluminum tubes, which ANDA used to replace plastic tubes for its cleansers.

4. SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS CAREFULLY

Sustainability isn’t just a matter of energy-efficiency or conservation: it also involves ethical suppliers who treat both the planet and their employees with respect. Working to source
ingredients or materials from growers or manufacturers who are committed to sustainability can have a far-reaching effect. Using organic ingredients or materials in your products is a good start, but going above and beyond to source ECOCERT-certified or Fair Trade Certified ingredients ensures that the end product will be as sustainable as possible. Considering the wide number of ingredients that go into a single product, using only sustainably grown and harvested ingredients can lead to a “butterfly effect” of sustainability across a supply chain.

5. OFFSET YOUR FOOTPRINT

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to have a net-neutral environmental effect just by tweaking manufacturing processes, materials and packaging alone. That’s why many ISPA resource partner members work with wellestablished charitable organizations to ‘offset’ their environmental footprint. Both Dazzle Dry and ANDA work with WeForest to plant carbon-absorbing trees in the Khasi Hills of India; the former plants one tree for every retail purchase, while the latter donates a portion of its profits. This type of collaboration ensures that every product sold leaves a positive impact on earth.