For brands who take environmental responsibility seriously, questions need to be asked right the way though the product life from the beginnings of research and development, sourcing and manufacturing, producing the product for sale to its ultimate use and disposal.
One of our core values (and you can find them all here) is Integrity. We actively seek to work with suppliers and manufacturers who share the same goal of reducing their impact on the planet. This has meant that the opportunities and contracts we have say no to are just as important to us as the ones we say yes to!
Reducing Waste across the Supply Chain
One of our deciding factors in selecting where to source materials has been the efforts suppliers and manufacturers are going to in reducing their own waste. The packaging waste from materials in the early stages of production can be a hidden 'cost' to the planet. Generally speaking, when a product is marketed as plastic free, that doesn't account for any plastic waste which may have been acquired earlier in the design process.
When we were in early stages of product development we tested some round wooden wicks (like straws) that burnt beautifully. They gave a cool edge to the product and had the added benefit of making a nice crackling sound as the flames danced around. The wicks had a couple of small questions hanging over them in terms of footprint and sourcing anyway, but the element that resulted in a hard no for us was that each individual wooden wick arrived at our workshop inside a plastic tube casing (like straws!). This was not a compromise we were willing to make for the brand and couldn't move forward knowing that we would be indirectly responsible for the (making and) disposing of a plastic straw for every single candle we produced.
Instead we selected a cotton wick manufactured in Europe with a clear and understandable policy around environmental protection. The company have pledged to continuously monitor their emissions and take appropriate measures to reduce them. They pledge to properly manage their waste and reuse materials where possible. And that just makes our hearts crackle, even if our wicks now don't!
Packing our Candles for Delivery
Our product boxes are carbon neutral, certified by World Land Trust. We'll dig into this a little more in a future post as there is A LOT we can say about paper and card manufacturing! All Undo packaging is recyclable, including the wrapping and packing we use for posting out orders. Shipping heavy glass means boxes have to be well wrapped and secure! Our hivewrap paper is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. The boxes used for larger deliveries to retailers were developed with the help of WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Programme to have increased strength with less material and up to 90% recycled content, and crucially, with a 30% saving in CO2 emissions when compared to standard double wall boxes.