A concern for the environment plays a role in every decision we make. It informs everything from the ingredients we choose to how we package our products. We want to ensure that when a product is being washed down the drain it does not negatively affect the environment. That's why all of our products are made with natural ingredients. When using ingredients from mother nature, it's important that in return we don't harm her.
WHAT ARE OUR 2020 ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES?
NO PRODUCT GOES TO WASTE
Purple Urchin streamlines our environmental values through every aspect of our business. Since we first launched our business, we have made a conscious effort to ensure none of our products go to waste. Whether it's the ends from our batches of bar soap or a surplus of skincare products, we ensure the extra bits of each of our batches goes to good use.
WE SELL THE UGLY BUTTS OF OUR SOAP AT A DISCOUNTED PRICE
When we make our cold process bar soap, the blend is poured into a soap mold. The ends of the large batch harden during the saponification stage and do not always harden perfectly flat. This leaves some of the large soap batches we make with wavy ends. We cut each bar of soap into perfect rectangles, stamp them with our logo and sell as individual bars of soap. Any leftover soap or soap ends that are not shaped to our aesthetic standards (i.e. not being a perfect rectangle or too small) is weighed out into 650G bulk packs and sold for a reduced price.
These ends of our soap are what we refer to as soap butts. The bar soap as a product meets our quality assurance standard, the only difference between soap butts and the individual bars we sell is that the soap butts are just not as pretty. Each of our soap butts are available to purchase in bulk, organized by each scent. Learn more about how to find and buy soap butts here (coming soon).
WE USE SURPLUS OF PRODUCTS AS FREE SAMPLES
When we make our products, we can sometimes have leftovers from the batch. But that doesn’t mean it goes in the trash. Instead our team uses the surplus of our batches as free samples for customers.
We include samples in each of our online orders and are available for free to take at our store. We love that this sustainability initiative doubles as a way to allow customers to test and trial our products before committing to purchasing a full sized product or are introduced to a new scent they haven't tried yet!
WE DONATE OUR PRODUCTS TO THOSE IN NEED
Purple Urchin prides ourselves on the quality and performance of our products. Our team makes all of our products here in Ottawa and them all by hand. With every product batch, we test the quality to ensure each passes our performance assessment test.
Using natural ingredients in our line of products means that sometimes the natural ingredients can alter our batches to not fully meet our level of quality assessment. This does not mean the product itself does not perform well or is of danger to the user. Rather, we have very high standards when it comes to the quality assessment of the products we sell to customers, and will not lower that bar. The colouration of our bar soap and products may vary. What deems a product not up to the standards we have set for quality assurance is the mixture of the batch. For example, an ingredient like our dead sea mud may not evenly spread through our mixture of soap. Which in turn, because we have always sold our Dead Sea Mud Bar Soap as an evenly mixed formula, we will not sell that particular batch of soap and instead donate it.
It’s important to us to give back to our community where we can. We cannot think of a better way to pay it forward than to not only support our community through monetary donations but with product donations too!
GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO GO GREEN
This year, our team has taken a moment to evaluate the environmental sustainability of our business, operations and products. We wanted to take a moment to see how we can do better to honour both our and our customer's environmental sustainability values through the business as a whole. A lot of you, our incredible community of customers, support us as a business because the products we make are eco-friendly and are made with natural ingredients. But we don't want it to stop there. We want to ensure the packaging you're bringing into your home aligns with your values too!
We want to encourage our customers to move their eco-friendly initiatives forward, that's why we're making some big changes this year.
GO NAKED! BUY OUR SOAP WITHOUT PACKAGING AND GO ZERO-WASTE
Purple Urchin now offers customers the option to buy our bar soap without packaging. We refer to bar soap without packaging as naked. Buying soap without packaging means buying a zero-waste product. No waste is produced from the purchase of naked soap, as it all disintegrates with use and is low impact when going down the drain.
Purple Urchin will continue to offer packaged soap. It is available as an option for those who are buying gifts and need to identify ingredients to the gift recipient. If you would like to identify ingredients to the gift recipient, but not buy packaging you can refer them to our website and specify the product page to the recipient.
GOODBYE PLASTIC, HELLO REUSABLE PACKAGING
REUSE YOUR LIQUID SOAP AND LOTION BOTTLE
Each year, our team evaluates how we can improve our environmental sustainability practices. This year our team identified how we can further reduce our environmental impact by offering reusable containers and packaging. In May 2020, we switched out our plastic liquid soap and lotion containers to reusable amber glass ones. Customers can now reuse these containers at Purple Urchin when we re-open our store and roll out our refill program. Additionally, customers will be able to purchase 1L liquid soap refills online (coming soon) to refill their existing plastic or glass bottle. Trying a new scent? Learn how to clean your glass bottle following these instructions.
In the mean time, re-use your liquid soap and lotion containers at zero-waste grocery stores such as Nu Grocery!
REPLACING ALL OF OUR PLASTIC WITH REUSABLE PACKAGING
Our team will be replacing all plastic containers with reusable, glass ones. We have identified new suppliers and we are working towards implementing more environmentally friendly packaging. Unfortunately some of our 2020 Environmental Sustainability Initiatives have been put on pause due to COVID-19.
BIODEGRADABLE STICKERS AND PACKAGING
Our team sells all of our Bath Bombs in biodegradable cellophane. The cellulose product derived from wood and is 100% biodegradable. The stickers however are not, and that's why Purple Urchin is evaluating how we can improve this!
This year our team is designing new labels for our products as well as refining our product line. As part of this, we will be replacing all of our vinyl stickers with biodegradable, eco-friendly ones. We want to ensure, when you clean your bottle - removing the sticker, that even down to the label of our products we are reducing our negative environmental impact.
REUSE AND REFILL AT PURPLE URCHIN
At our physical shop, we want to encourage customers to use reusable containers. That’s why Purple Urchin set up a refill program at our store.
IMPROVING OUR BEST PRACTICES AS A BUSINESS
We understand there are still many aspects of our business, and all businesses, that can impact the environment. For example, shipping online orders contributes to the release of gas emissions. Our team offers a pickup option during the online checkout process that allows customers to have their order ready for them for pickup in store. We want to do what we can, where we can to reduce our impact on the environment. Our team is always looking for ways to improve our practices within our operations.
WE VALUE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
Purple Urchin is always open to feedback and genuinely appreciates hearing from our customers. Contact us to leave our team a message with any further suggestions you may have on how our team can improve our environmental sustainability practices.