A New Brunswick-based natural soap and body care company is going 100 percent plastic-free with their by the end of the year.
Bubbles & Balms, established in 2014 by Judith and Justin Sweeney, manufactures 100 percent natural bath and body care products for sensitive skin. The business first launched in Alberta but moved to New Brunswick in 2018, where the Sweeny’s now sell their products online and for pickup at their home studio in Lower Norton.
The Sweeneys say switching to more eco-friendly packaging was always on their mind, but having their first son a few years ago pushed them to get the call rolling.
“At that point in time, we just wanted to eco-friendly and sustainable. We were pregnant with our first child and all of a sudden wanting to choose eco-friendly options when they were available just wasn’t enough for us,” says Justin.
“We wanted to create a product where we could be proud of putting out into the market place and to know that there was no chance it was going to become a burden on future generations. That was the goal from the outset.”
Starting this month, all Bubbles & Balms products are transitioning to 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials. The main packaging material will be a vegetable wax-coated and recycled paperboard that is fully recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable. Like other paperboards, it is not recyclable if the materials are saturated with oils, so customers will be encouraged to compost their packaging.
“The reason we wanted to do this is that we felt the onus should be on the manufacturer for making a viable option and not on the consumer,” says Judith. “We wanted to make it as easy as possible for somebody to do good by the environment.”
Since announcing their plastic-free move earlier this week, the Sweeneys say they’ve already had inquiries from other businesses looking for insight on how they too can make the switch.
“We had two producers of personal care products within the country, one in B.C. and another one out west, reach out to follow up on our journey and see if we were willing to share,” says Justin. “We actually shared everything, how we sourced the manufacturer so they could actually start to do a little bit of this with their own [products].”
In the years to come, they expect more businesses to make efforts to switch to sustainable packaging.
“Consumers are asking for more reasonable options,” says Judith. “They’re asking for the biodegradable. They want to do low-waste. They want to have that option to do good by the environment that they’re living in.”
Cherise Letson is the associate editor of Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.