In our opinion, running a low waste company shouldn’t end with the product. At Zerra & Co. we strive to do our best to extend our sustainability values to the manufacturing process and beyond. We know our customers care about more than just the final product, and we want our customers to know we do too!
Although we understand we can’t be perfectly zero waste in our process, and different companies will have different definitions of what sustainable manufacturing is, we have some personal guidelines at Zerra & Co. we stick to. We’d like to share some of the ways we keep our manufacturing process as low waste as possible so you can take a peek into how your favorite eco-friendly makeup and skincare products are sustainably made!
When we think about sustainable products, sometimes we forget everything used in actually creating those products. Many companies create a lot of waste behind the scenes that we might never hear about or see, and the waste from conventional cosmetic products doesn’t end with the plastic packaging.
Disposable manufacturing tools like plastic measuring cups, mixing spoons, and paper towels or wipes might also be used in creating that product - these get tossed directly in the trash after a single use.
At the Zerra & Co. warehouse, we never use disposable measuring cups, weigh boats, mixing spoons, or cleaning rags. Instead, we use glass measuring cups, metal bowls, metal spoons, and washable rags. That way, we can produce far less waste than conventional cosmetics companies, while still maintaining a sanitary environment.
Avoiding Plastic up the Supply Chain
First off, what is a sustainable supply chain? This article from NetSuit on supply chain sustainability puts it nicely:
“While conventional supply chain management focuses on the speed, cost and reliability of operations, sustainable supply chain management adds the goals of upholding environmental and societal values. This means addressing global issues such as climate change, water security, deforestation, human rights, fair labor practices and corruption.”
Part of that focus for Zerra & Co. is avoiding plastic in the supply chain as much as we can, and when we can’t, we look for the best option available. Plastic isn’t always avoidable, but we do our very best to avoid companies who ship ingredients in plastic bags and instead opt for companies who ship in plastic jars we can up-cycle or that are more likely to be recycled.
Whenever we can, we find uses for the plastic we can’t avoid. For example, we like to up-cycle plastic ingredient jars to store a variety of things around the office! This helps us avoid buying new storage and keeps the plastic that lands on our doorstep out of landfill.
We also reuse packing material from ingredient/supply shipments for wholesale orders and prefer suppliers who ship with materials we can reuse. In our own packaging, we use compostable packing peanuts and avoid suppliers who ship with plastic void fill or styrofoam peanuts.
Another pretty cool thing we do in our warehouse is distill our own water and reuse bottles to store it instead of buying distilled water in gallon containers, which could add up to so much unnecessary plastic waste.
Container Return Program
When it comes to packaging supplies, we of course opt for the most low waste options available for any given product. And by implementing our Container Return Program, we can take our sustainability another step further by closing the loop on many of our containers and packaging components!
When customers send back eligible Zerra & Co. containers, they receive a store credit and we are able to reuse those containers and give them a new life. Not only does this save on resources used in creating all new containers, it also saves those containers from potentially ending up in landfill.
These are just a few ways we keep our manufacturing process as low waste as possible, but if you ever have any questions at all about our sustainability practices, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.