Why I chose Miniml and SESI.
The number of brands now offering larger refill quantities of their liquids is increasing. It’s great to see as one large 5l bottle will certainly use a lot less plastic than 5 to 10 smaller bottles. Also, for customers, this results in a lot less plastic reaching their recycling bins at home as the same shampoo bottle can be refilled multiple times.
The main issue that still remains is the end of life for the larger refill bottles, as many of them are sent for recycling themselves after one use. Of course, some refills go up to 15 or 20 litres, so the plastic saving is still great and if you can get your favourite brands in a more sustainable way, this is not to be sniffed at. However, I wanted to be sure that the stock here at Earthian was not only ethical, but as sustainable as possible. That's why I have chosen two companies that offer myself and my customers a completely closed-loop system.
How does a closed-loop refill work?
It’s amazingly simple, when we order in large 20l refills we are buying the liquid inside and the container itself is borrowed. Customers can bring their own containers from home as normal for refilling and once our large container is empty it doesn’t get thrown away or sent for recycling. A new order arrives, and I swap the empty ones for filled ones with the delivery driver.
There are other companies offering to take back their empties but mostly, they are still sent to recycling as they don’t have the means to sterilise and refill yet. Also, a closed-loop system is only possible if the company is in charge of deliveries directly so that the containers can be brought back to the factory, but many come from a wholesale distributor so this isn’t possible. With a closed-loop system the empty drums arrive back with the supplier where they will be cleaned and refilled. The liquid refills are then sent out to more happy customers without the need to waste any plastic or the energy used in recycling.
No, Miniml isn’t a spelling error!
I’m secretly quite a big fan of Miniml and I’m so pleased that we are stocking their products. They are a small, family run business from Yorkshire who produce green, toxin-free and zero waste cleaning.
All of their liquids are vegan, cruelty-free, biodegradable and palm oil free. In terms of toxins, they have a long list of nasties that they avoid: Parabens, Chlorine Bleaches, Optical Brightener, Thiazolinones, Sulphites, Methylisothiazolinone (CMIT), Gluten, Alcohol, SLS, ALS, ALES, Formaldehyde or Phosphates.
Our stock will include:
· Washing Up Liquid – Apple Orchard (£1.70 per litre)
· Toilet bowl cleaner – Spearmint and Peppermint (£1.95 per litre)
· Laundry Liquid – Fresh Linen (£2.37 per litre)
· Fabric Conditioner – Tropical Coconut (£1.75 per litre)
· Liquid Hand Soap – Sweet Clementine (£3.20 per litre)
· Disinfectant Hand Rub – Mighty Minty (£11.15 per litre)
· Body Wash/Bubble Bath – Pink Grapefruit and Aloe Vera (£3.50 per litre)
SESI are also a family run, UK company, which started as a local delivery service from a primary school in Oxford. They are a social enterprise that create vegan, cruelty-free and biodegradable cleaning products in closed-loop refills.
They have also made every effort to work with farmers and stockists with strong ethics in human, animal and environmental rights. They even keep the carbon footprint of production low by avoiding more “exotic” fragrances so that their ingredients have travelled a shorter distance.
Our stock include:
· All purpose cleaner –
Lavender and Rosemary (£2.80 per litre)
· Liquid Hand Soap
Fig (£4.80 per litre)
· Organic Castile Soap -
Unfragranced (£6.50 per litre)
· Hard Water Rinse Aid
(£3.30 per litre)
At the beginning I won’t be able to hold stock of everything that I'd like to from these suppliers as we are only just starting out and having a large range is quite a big initial outlay. Still, I wanted us to have the chance to try out as much as possible and as we grow so will the range!
If you have anything in particular that you’d like to see in the shop, please do let me know and I’ll see what I can source. I’m really keen for the shop to grow on feedback from the community so drop me a line by email, through social media or in the shop when we open doors next month!
Take care and I’ll speak to you soon.