At Haven Herbs, we are always asking ourselves, "how can we do better?". This applies to our formulas, our packaging, our sourcing, and our commitment to the communities we inhabit.
One of the ways we are always improving is our waste stream. As we all know, zero waste is a goal that not many achieve. But we are constantly tinkering to move closer and closer to this goal.
How do we achieve this?
1. Sourcing locally. We moved to a farm to be able to grow much of what we use- with zero waste from cultivation, harvest, processing, and medicine making. This means no plastic packaging (getting bulk herbs from a distributor) and no fossil fuel use (the delivery truck). We are so excited to create zero waste products this year!
2. Re-use. All of the packing supplies that we use in your shipments (biodegradable peanuts, wrapping paper, and yes- sometimes bubble wrap or other plastic items) are reused. We capture these, reuse them and encourage you to do the same. We also reuse the 5 gallon buckets that suppliers send and larger boxes become shipments for wholesale accounts.
3. Ecobricking. That said, there are some items that we do not make that leads to waste. Ethanol, oils, honey, etc- these all arrive in packaging that is often plastic. While we can reuse some of these, so we cannot. And what about all that soft plastic that comes in all packaging these days? Bags, ziplocs, liners, even those dang windows in all junk mail and bills! Recycling plastic is a joke- most items are not recycled at all, and those that are are made into products that are not sustainable and often replace items that are.
It is much more sustainable to sequester that carbon through ecobricking- taking a plastic or non-recyclable vessel and stuffing it to the gills with softer plastic packaging. Even with deliberately making choices to avoid plastic, we still end up with a lot. So we create these "ecobricks" and will be using them to make walls for root cellars, livestock pens, and sheds on the farm. These "bricks", along with cob, are going to be the walls in our new farm structures.
4. Composting. We compost (or feed to chickens) all spent marc (plant material, post extraction), plant remnants, and biological waste. We will be using it to make chickens fat and sassy and feed and amend the soil to make our plants happier and healthier (and more nutritious and medicinal!) each year.
5. Shipping "carbon neutral". While this is only a band-aid to our fossil fuel addiction, we do pay more to have carbon neutral shipping. UPS, our only shipper (because they are union and fairer labor practices) has their carbon neutral shipping plan supervised and approved by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) and Natural Capital Partners. Read more here.