On being green, unlike Kermit’s refrain of not being easy to do, we can manage it easily enough when choosing paper over plastic in the checkout lane of our favorite grocery store or even bringing our own. We choose to be green when we donate old, well-read and thoroughly enjoyed hardbacks and paperbacks to our local libraries. Composting in your own backyard is as simple as taking out those eggshells to the compost bin. Pinterest has plenty of inspiration for how to DIY with all sort of materials for bins. So why wouldn’t we be green? It’s painless, doesn’t cost us anything, and reduces the amount of plastic that continue to rise in our lakes, streams, oceans, forests, roadsides, and yards (how many times have we plucked a wayward plastic store bag from our rosebushes).
As a small business owner, it’s often not just a conscious choice, but rather an ethical one and an economic one. While plastic is cheaper and lighter, making shipping costs lower, it pollutes – pervasively. Made from petroleum by-products, it’s not exactly clean or green, so why use it?
Here’s the dilemma I face when choosing to package bath & body products. Yes, the plastics are cheaper and lighter as mentioned, but since my products are for bath & body care, they are often in areas with lots of water, which can make them slippery when wet. If that bottle slips out of a wet hand or drops into a tub not filled with water, the glass could break, causing harm to my customers. I can’t sleep at night for thinking about that! Yet, I prefer glass. It’s easily recycled, clear, providing my customers with a transparent window on my carefully crafted body wash or lotion so they see what they’re getting, what’s going on their skin. Transparency is especially good for business!
So of course, since glass is preferred from an environmental standpoint, it isn’t always the safest for small business owners who are concerned for their livelihood and their products’ safety. So what’s a small business owner to do? I’m listening to my conscience. I’m changing the way I do business over a gradual period of time to use more recycled/recyclable packaging, more paper, less plastic or only that which can be recycled or is biodegradable. Yes, it costs more, but it’s a sound decision from a personal as well as a professional & environmental standpoint.