The excitement of getting the keys to our new office was immense.
Quick to follow was the daunting task of kitting the entire place out… and, for a business like ours, that meant a little more than just finding desks and chairs.
First of all, we wanted our office to serve as far more than just an administrative function – we wanted to build a cosmetics lab and video recording studio, too!
Most importantly, we wanted the School of Natural Skincare to be ethical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. It was of paramount importance to us, therefore, that we were running as plastic-free an operation as possible.
Our goal was to create an office environment that would prioritise not only the wellbeing of our staff, but that of the planet, too.
As was to be expected, we came up against a number of challenges along the way.
Some essential kitchen equipment (namely our dishwasher, fridge, kettle, toaster, microwave and water filter) were items to which plastic-free solutions simply didn’t exist, and so we had to make a concession on this point.
Financial constraints and practicality came into play, too, specifically with regards to choosing chairs and tables. We hold weekly yoga sessions to which all of our staff are invited, and so we knew we would have to be able to move the office furniture as quickly and easily as possible.
As a result, the chairs and tables that best suited our needs included elements of plastic coating, but we ensured that these elements were kept to a minimum. The chairs were primarily metal, and the tables a combination of metal and wood.
Delivering the fit out to a budget, and building a space that worked for all of our specific needs was a demanding project, but we maintained the mentality throughout that no step is too small to be taken seriously.
From our daily cups of coffee to the kitchen roll we used – we were determined to find the most ethical solutions to everyday tasks.
Let’s start with the kitchen and bathroom
Wherever possible, we avoided plastic completely – turning to natural materials, metal, and wood, instead.
There was no need for plastic to come into play when we were eating or drinking. Bamboo is an excellent natural alternative to plastic, and a highly renewable material. So, for the kitchen, we purchased a cutlery drawer, table mats, and chopsticks all made of bamboo.
The rest of our cutlery is either entirely metal, or a combination of metal and wood. Our crockery is ceramic, and we provide glasses rather than plastic cups.
Tea and coffee are at the heart of any office!
We ensured that our teapot, cafetiere and milk frother were all metal, as well as our containers for sugar, coffee and tea.
Our coffee is provided by Percol – the first ground coffee to be Fairtrade certified. The brand’s beans are organic, climate-neutral, and delicious, to boot!
Washing dishes is a plastic-free process, as we installed a sink, draining board, and cutlery holders that were all metal. Our EcoForce dish brush is recycled, and our washing up pad by LoofCo is a 100% plant-based, biodegradable product.
Supporting like-minded businesses whose ethical values we admire was a fantastic bonus as we worked on fitting out our new space.
Ecover is another company whose environmentally friendly ethos is reflected in their products. Our dishwashing liquid and all of our cleaning sprays are from Ecover, and we utilise the brand’s refill service in order to cut down on packaging waste even further.
For the toilets, we use EcoLeaf toilet roll, made from 100% recycled paper. We also use their kitchen roll, and both products come in compostable packaging.
We take care to recycle wherever possible at the office, and made sure upon purchasing recycling and general waste bins that we chose the metal options, rather than plastic.
And now for the office itself…
The yoga equipment for our weekly classes comes from Yogamatters – another company that endeavours to minimise its carbon footprint wherever possible.
We use yoga mats that are all natural, and made from sustainably harvested tree rubber. Our yoga blocks are made from sustainably sourced cork, and our cotton yoga blankets are organic.
As we all work mainly from MacBooks, it is important to ensure that we look after our posture, and so we procured bamboo laptop stands to prevent unnecessary discomfort or strain for ourselves and our staff.
We have very little need for storage at our workstations, but made sure that the containers we did buy were metal, wood, or bamboo.
The School of Natural Skincare is an almost entirely paperless business, as so much of our work is conducted online. What paper we do use is always recycled, recyclable, or both!
Looking to the future
As we begin the exciting process of kitting out our very own cosmetics lab and video recording studio, many more decisions will have to be carefully mulled over.
For now, we’ve invested in some stainless steel workstations, as well as plastic-free storage solutions, and a metal breakfast style bar.
We are well aware that new projects present new challenges, and we are already gearing up to meet these with energy, enthusiasm, and creative solutions.
Our vision is for humanity to live in harmony with nature.
The essence of our business is one of inspiration. We want to inspire ourselves and others to
- innovate and create sustainable change.
- be individual; to stand up for what we believe in and create the lives we want to live.
- act with integrity, honouring both ourselves and the environment, and making a difference in the world.
- approach life intuitively, in alignment with the natural world.
That means we take it upon ourselves to ask the big questions, and to find solutions that will keep taking us closer to leading a sustainable, ethical and natural way of working and living.
We’re not perfect, and sometimes the right answers can be difficult to find. Sometimes we have to concede or compromise – just for the time being, but our goals of sustainability and integrity remain resolute.
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