Environmental Initiatives and Commitments
When people make purchases from us in person we generally don't offer a bag unless requested and the bags we use are 100% recyclable paper bags made from post-consumer recycled materials. We can get away with the minimal packaging and being stingy with bags in person because people generally have some way of carrying their purchases, even if that's only their hands, but it's a bit different with mail; we can't just toss a stamp on your order and throw it in the mail, so we needed to find an option that aligned with our values.
The first choice when shipping anything is always reusing and repurposing; with the number of shipments we receive in store there are always a lot of boxes hanging around, as well as a surplus of bubble wrap, air-pockets and paper fill to protect your items from damage in transit. That said, sometimes a box isn't the best option, and reducing the size of the packages we send helps shipping companies to maximize efficiencies in transit.
Bubble mailers were out from the start, we weren't going to wrap your reusable alternatives to single use plastics in a single-use plastic lined envelope. We considered using cardboard sleeve mailers, at least they were made from natural fibres and compostable, but we were seriously concerned about the environmental impacts of their production, some using virgin fibres or harsh chemical inks and glues. There are some options out there made using sustainable practices, but they are company-specific and required us to commit to a specific shipping partner.
Then we discovered NoIssue's compostable corn-based biopolymer mailing pouch and we knew we had a winner. literally, in our hands. We couldn't do any better than them at explaining their product so check out their website here
All of the materials used in our products are purchased from SIMPLIFI FABRICS, a Canadian owned company specializing in organic and eco fabrics. This begins with our beeswax wraps, beeswax bags, bulk bags and produce bags, which are made exclusively with organic unbleached, undyed cotton and extends to our facial wipes, unPaper towels and coffee filters as well. Other products, made with organic dyed and printed cotton, linen, etc meet the Oeko-Tex standard and are processed in a closed loop system.
Our reusable baggies are made with a polyurethane laminated organic cotton from Wazoodle. This ultra-durable material is food safe and produced with the minimum possible environmental impact; a number of options were evaluated before choosing, including a PUL fabric made from recycled bottles, and Wazoodle came out on top with regard to sustainability, environmental initiatives, health certification and research.
For more information on the processes and benefits of organic fabrics, check out the info page on our supplier's website: https://www.simplififabric.com/pages/organic-cotton
Additionally, specific to the beeswax wraps and bags, all of our 100% natural beeswax is sourced from small local apiaries and refined by Canadian Heritage Candles in Amherstburg Ontario, the oils used are 100% organic cold-pressed and we use a pure tree resin sourced from India and refined using a centuries old technique.
When it comes to choosing the products we carry in-store, we start close to home. As mentioned above, a number of the products we sell are made in-house, but in addition to that, we support a number of artists and artisans local to the Windsor-Essex County area, many of whom offer exclusive products for Emerson Supply Co.
When choosing local makers to partner with we could easily choose from a number of brands already offering sustainable products, and we do that as well, but we also like work with other makers to help update their processes to incorporate more sustainable options and reduce their business' overall environmental impact. Many of our vendors have switched to more sustainable materials and packaging for the items they produce for the store and ended up adopting those practices across their brand.
Additionally, we believe that everyone deserves to be fairly compensated for the time, skill, and materials that go into the items they produce, and encourage all of our vendors to reflect the true value of their products on the price tag.
While we source a number of products locally, not everything in the store is made here, but we try to balance a number of factors when choosing the brands and products brought into the store, and proximity is a key factor in the decision making process. Most of the products available in the store are made by Canadian companies, often in Ontario, but being made close to home isn't the only consideration; we aim to offer the highest quality products, with minimal impact on the environment, so we do a lot of research before choosing which brands to work with and which products to order for the store.
We won't sell you a product we wouldn't use, or haven't already used, ourselves. Most of the brands available in the store have been selected because we've tried them out ourselves, and in some cases have used them for years. We understand that the more sustainable option is often more expensive than the conventional choice and we've been disappointed, ourselves, when the quality of a product didn't match the price paid, so we strive to only choose products made with the highest quality ingredients and materials and intended to last.
There's an old saying often used by mechanics, which is likely why my *other* grandfather is often quoted as saying it; "Buy once, cry once." The meaning is, essentially, that you should avoid buying cheap things, and instead invest in a high-quality item that will stand the test of time to avoid future disappointments, and the best way to reduce waste is to choose products you never have to throw away.
Just as a high price doesn't always mean high quality, a low price doesn't always mean low quality, so we strive to find the best products at reasonable prices and you can trust that you're getting a product we stand behind, no matter the cost.