If you are a person that engages with the outside world in any way, you have probably noticed that people like things. New things, shared things, borrowed things, shiny things, big things, small things, colourful things, beautiful things, and more. Walk in to any shop and you are immediately surrounded by them...things. We are creeping into territory now where we ourselves are the things to buy. Just look up Influencers on Instagram.
As we move closer to the largest shopping day globally: Black Friday ($6.7 Billion in online sales in 2018) and Cyber Monday ($7.9 Billion in online sales) as posted by Forbes.com, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the things purchased would still be in use 6 months after. Where does all of the harvesting, mining, production, transport, etc. end up exactly? According to Annie Leonard author of The Story of Stuff, 99% of items purchased are tossed out within 6 months of purchase!
How could we as a population need all of these things for just 6 months? The whole process, from beginning to end, feels extremely short-sighted when faced with the state our climate is currently in.
As a small-business owner and environmentalist, I know that having branded things for people is an excellent way to get my brand out there. T-shirts, stickers, water bottles, reusable bags, patches, pens, coffee mugs, etc. the options are endless. I myself have adorned my computer with stickers that remind me of adventures and the outdoors.
I knew that I wanted to create a feeling of inspired action in a product as well as showcase the brand. Stickers or patches seemed like the simplest and most cost effective solution, but something didn’t feel right. While these items are fun and can be used to adorn travel mugs, computers, windows, backpacks and more, they didn’t quite speak to me as a purposeful option. They didn’t serve a purpose greater than brand recognition. While this would be valuable to the business, it wouldn’t be too valuable to the “consumer”.
I determined the following five criteria for a product: 1) the environmental footprint of the lifecycle needed to be low 2) the product needed to serve a purpose/be useful in the outdoors 3) it needed to support small business 4) it needed to be branded 5) it must be cost effective for us and the consumer
Surprisingly, these criteria eliminated almost all traditional items. T-shirts are made out of cotton (organic or not) and this material is not a great outdoors item, this goes for sweaters too. In looking at outdoors materials such as wools and synthetics, these were neither cost effective or able to be branded easily. Water bottles are a lovely option however, steel is mined in China and therefore the footprint is quite heavy. They also wouldn’t support a small business. As you can see, there are a variety of factors that come into play when truly looking at environmental responsibility and products.
After a few years of contemplating whether or not I wanted to participate in the consumer market in this way, an idea came to me while I was preparing menus for our next season of backpacking trips. What if I was able to find a product that would reduce waste while out on the trails?
Suddenly it hit me: Beeswax Food Wraps! If I could find a producer of these, I could provide people with an option for their trail snacks that wasn’t plastic! Today Blue Bark & Co. and Women Hike Wild is proud to offer branded Beeswax Food Wraps for trail snacking needs!
Here are the awesome pros:
They are made in Ontario by another small business (Beards & Bees)
They are reusable for at least 1 year of use (more with proper care)
At their end of life they can be used at fire starter, twist ties or composted
They completely reduce the need for plastic wraps
They smell and look great
They are branded beautifully
Over and above these incredible points, we have decided that it is important for us to give back as well. As proud partners of Leave No Trace Canada, we have committed to giving back $2 from every purchase to help further their mission.
You can purchase one of these beautiful wraps here: bluebarkandco.com/shop
As stewards of the land, we feel a responsibility to operate our business sustainably with enviornmental care as our top priority. Some of our other initiatives include: using biodegradable packaging on our trips, sourcing our meals locally & ethically, our “take-aways” are from the land and given back to the land, our programs are designed to increase nature connection, we have become official partners of Leave No Trace Canada.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein, Physicist
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
– Robert Swan, Author