As a brand owner, it is important for us to take responsibility for our impact on the environment and to strive to make sustainable choices as we grow. We recognize the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and are committed to implementing environmentally friendly practices throughout our operations.
This includes investing in renewable energy sources, reducing waste through recycling and sourcing materials from sustainable suppliers. We are a small company and so cannot afford B Corps certification, yet :) however we will continue to evaluate and improve our environmental performance and to communicate our progress to our customers and build our data base for when we are able to apply.
We are committed to doing our part to protect the planet for future generations. Safety, efficacy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability drives our company.
Along with transparency Sustainability has been one of the pillars upon which SAPPHO was founded.
Getting Greener as We Grow
In 2008 our philosophy was to get greener as we grow . It is not always easy - we do not have a 'sustainability team' to ask questions of - we do all our own research and we do our level best. When we are presented with an opportunity to become better we do . And in some ways that is better because there is a whole lot of misinformation and subtle pressure in clean beauty around the use of plastics - and a whole lot of money being made.
The truth is no matter how you dress it up - only 9% of plastics get recycled. The rest goes into our oceans, seas and landfills.
Plastics are also one of the major sources of PFAS being leeched into products.
Another thing is we do is upcycle packaging - especially since the pandemic, when we saw how the earth was healing from the usual onslaught of commercial trade, we decided rather than change packaging - rather than follow the crowd and put everything into plastics we would UPcycle our bottles, our jars, our caps and boxes ... whenever we could. shipping rates have also skyrocketed and I personally would rather put my funds into Organic fluorine testing than new packaging just for the sake of appearing cool. We want to use up as much of the packaging - to not add to the gross neglect of our planet.
Sappho was one of the very first companies to have refillable paper compacts - as far back as 2008 ! In all truth the idea came from MAC's plastic refillable compacts for makeup artists .
We started with paper compacts with lots of plastic see through windows and finally ended up with solid pieces = more durable and see through really was only necessary for a makeup artist - most people know what 's in their compacts!
It was (and still is) something I have to double check myself for as I was never a normal makeup consumer - I was always buying for my shows and actors!
The thing is the compacts, although reusable, are still laminated and so are difficult to recycle - we have a few ideas up our sleeves going forward .
Envelopes for shadows, blushes, pressed powders.
These also came laminated at first however upon our re-branding we chose not to laminated the boxes... but we still made a mistake!! We have a silver line and foil stamping - and when you think about this you have to ask yourself where is that metal being mined - whose' mining it ? Maybe we need to get rid of the silver .. we have.
We however do not waste and so will use what we have in stock until it is gone.
But just think of all the little plastic pieces that eyeshadows and blushes go in - they are too small to be recycled so they are just waste. Think of all the fish and wildlife that will die because of it.
In 2008 I used small apothecary bottles with a pump. They were a great size , light and not expensive however they were plastic. I remember another founder going off about the use of plastic and I paid heed. Funny but years later their whole line is encased in plastic. It's hard to get the real info sometimes and financial pressures come to bear... and well life can get messy. I did a great deal of research and decided that glass was the answer for our foundations. I did make a further mistake here and that was we electroplated the glass so although recyclable it is sent to a special place to be recycled and well this is something we will change ... but not for awhile . When you purchase packaging you often have to purchase 20,000+ so our bottles are here to stay for awhile.
We lost a sale this year to an online fashion store , because they thought our packaging was not so 'cool' - it's not white and it's not plastic but I think it's super cool because it's not leeching any toxins into our products - Yes it would be nice to change things up but the cost is just too high and I am not referring to cash. LIterally they said "clean is good but it's not everything" - it broke my heart not because we lost the sale but because these were young women of childbearing years most at risk - falling for the lie. We did make another mistake and that was order non laminated labels and we are learning that they do not hold up as well as one would like so we are looking into alternatives.
Caps for Bottles
Also we get asked why some of our bottles have silver tops and other have a plastic top - well that is because we had 2 lines of foundations and when Covid hit we were selling 95% to stores and when the bottom dropped out we realized we would not be able to make our 2nd fondation ( in the works now for 4 years) and so we had all these extra caps that would just be thrown out so when we ran out of silver caps we decided to upcycle the plastic ones . It is not the best for display purposes - I get it - but then again sustainability is the new luxury and if there is a reason for something and explainable, then until we come up with a better solution we will just keep going. The great thing is that most of our stores are good with the mix match and appreciate the efforts we are making to upscale components nd not waste useable items.
Glass Jars for Concealers / Luminizers/Brow Pomades
Clear glass 100% recyclable and now getting tested for PFAS
We are also testing the bake lite cap as they are apparently notorious for being treated with solvents and the other thing that can be a real problem is the tiny little liner they put in the top - some are made to wick moisture however some are also treated with chemicals that can leech- yes we are testing those.
So technically the caps are recyclable as they are just over an inch in diameter ( anything under 1 inch is a no go - so just think of all those eyeshadow cases!) but then again it's hard to be sure that 1.25 is okay!
We also make use of non-laminated stickers to use up caps that were possibly purchased for items we no longer carry ie auburn brow pomade.
CC tubes/Sample tubes
There is some very special things about these tubes.
1. The are made with biosphere . It is a substance that you put into plastics to make them biodegradable in a landfill in 2-5 years instead of 200- 500 years.
2. The tubes and cap have tested PFAS UNdetected 10ppm !
We are at the end of our lip glosses - they like the original mascara tube were fused and hence not recyclable - we have plans:)
As with our lip glosses it turned out our packaging was not easily or even likely to be recycled because, as we learned, the energy to separate the metal from the plastic is too great a price to render it practical for recycling. As soon as we realized we were going to have to replace our mascara packaging we started planning for the future. More to come