Talking Trash: Waste Audit with Sustainable Connections

APRIL 27, 2018, Author: Julie Fish, Sustainability Steward


Recently, the Sea Witch Botanicals team proudly welcomed Sustainable Connections Smart Business Manager, Mark Peterson, to conduct a waste audit of our production facility. A waste audit entails reviewing a company’s sorting stations, asking questions about proper sorting for pesky production materials, with the ultimate goal of identifying ways to reduce what ends up going to the landfill.


Throughout the audit, Mark enlightened us with his wealth of knowledge by answering all of our questions related to our production’s waste stream. But what struck us the most was him explaining the importance of thinking of sustainability in tiers, with the top tier aligning closest with the mission of the company. When doing this, businesses can alleviate feeling overwhelmed by their negative impact by instead directly tying their mission to which sustainable practices are most critical to their operations. For the Sea Witch Botanicals team, it’s easy to identify the top tier of where we want to place our positive impact because with every decision we make, we answer to the waterways. We strive to minimize plastic packaging and refuse fragrance/parfum, a petroleum-based synthetic ingredient that is neither good for our skin nor the environment.


In a world where consumer products demand more plastic production each year, we are proud to have a primarily reusable packaging line which now features new packaging for the lip balms, along with the print and grooming soaps. The new lip packaging is a metal tin that is not only reusable but also allows for easy cheek tinting with the applicating style. The print and grooming soaps are now wrapped in compostable shrink wrap and we find they break down in an industrial compost within a month.

 

Most people are struck with plastic every single day. We live along the Salish Sea on the tip of the northwest, in Bellingham, WA which allows us to connect deeply with the ocean, and witness the plastic pollution problem firsthand.

Most people are struck with plastic every single day. We live along the Salish Sea on the tip of the northwest, in Bellingham, WA which allows us to connect deeply with the ocean, and witness the plastic pollution problem firsthand.


We hope this inspires you to make efforts towards sustainability in your home and work life. Spread the word about the importance of waste management!

Key Waste Audit Takeaways:

  • Doing business is going to have an environmental impact. TIP: What is on your top tier of sustainable values and goals? What low hanging fruit can you tackle to reduce overall waste going to the landfill? It can be as simple as bringing coffee and lunch to work in reusable containers, don’t overthink it, just do something.
  • Ever wonder if a certain type of paper is compostable? For us it was label paper, we figured the wax made it inorganic, we were wrong. TIP: Try this simple test to decipher what is compostable- tear it, if it easily tears and does not fight you, it is compostable.
  • Plastic film wrap can be collected and recycled at most grocery stores, near a front entrance, and if they aren’t, request it of them! You can give your local recycling service a call to check on curbside options. TIP: Peel off any stickers or labels from cling wrap prior to recycling, this keeps the waste stream cleaner. This also goes for those pesky Amazon bubble wrap envelopes, peel or cut the label off and it is good to be recycled.
  • Vinyl gloves are present in many industries, particularly manufacturing and food service. These gloves are a necessity for sanitary reasons yet are one of the most frustrating components of production. We have collected our gloves for years and now with the help of Terracycle, we will have the opportunity to properly recycle them. TIP: Check out your local grocers and ask if they offer plastic waste sorting for customers. Perhaps even suggest Terracycle to your boss or favorite local sandwich shop.
  • We print all of our materials, from labels to the print soap images, using vegetable- based biodegradable ink, which comes in post-consumer toner cartridges that can be used again through collection stations at places like Best Buy. TIP: Check out the supplier, Environment First Printing and look into switching your office’s printing ink.
  • Are you a Whatcom County local?  TIP: check out Sustainable Connections and ask for a free waste audit. Mark Peterson is more than happy to help your business reach Toward Zero Waste.

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