We are here to tackle all of the big questions.
We often get asked why we don't pump out new products more often...?
We make our products from fresh plant based ingredients in our own manufacturing facility, as needed. Meaning, we don't have a sales office, we don't project sales and pre-order for the next season from a contract manufacturer or stuff our products with phenoxyethanol so that they can sit on a shelf for years while we market the heck out of it. This allows us tremendous flexibility in our "make fresh" production and keeps unnecessary product out of the consuming-of-things cycle.
Truly natural cosmetics can not run on the cosmetic industry hamster wheel. Many excellent cosmetic products can be manufactured with just a handful of pure, non-processed plant-based ingredients. But we must be realistic in their limits. They are after all, like food.
Creating a life, a workplace, and a product that impacts minimally on our Earth is important to us and to be honest, true sustainability in a capitalistic system seems impossible. We'll keep trying.
We ship in recycled and recyclable corrugated packaging and use 100% recycled post consumer paper for void fill. Our wholesale packs and product boxes are made from 100% post-consumer paperboard using 100% wind power. If we have to shrink wrap, we use non-toxic polyolefin vs PVC.
In our continuing efforts to reduce plastic use, we have included more readily recyclable materials for our products: aluminum, glass and tin. We also encourage you to buy less. A tube of balm lasts the average user 6-12 months. Our BALMTOO and BALMUNDER last the average user 2-4 months.
Plastic Tubes: manufactured: United States
We literally can not get enough recycled PCR (post-consumer recycled material) pellet to make our tubes. We must use FDA approved plastic for cosmetics which is a clean, non-tainted plastic resin; polypropylene #5. We have been contacting plastic manufacturers around the world for the last ten years trying to find a solution. The bad news: there is none...yet. Petroleum rules the planet and that makes us (and you) sad...and mad...and...
Look, plastic is amazing, it has changed the world. It works really well for many, many things (serving drinks on a airplane is not one of them;). We must close the loop and be smarter in its uses. To just stop using it is just not a viable solution as all alternative packaging materials have similar manufacture, sustainability and disposal issues.
Things you can do to help now: Stop buying stuff. Grow a garden. Walk more. Drive less. LIMIT SINGLE-USE PLASTIC CONSUMPTION (food containers, yogurt cups, coffee pods, cups, cup lids, straws, forks, spoons, beverage bottles, trial size items, produce bags, etc...etc...etc...). C'mon, bring your own grocery bag, coffee cup and water bottle already! ;)
We’ll keep trying to find a solution. Know that our tubes now contain 30% less plastic than our old tubes (so they are a bit thinner). We always use recycled pellets in our tubes when available (up to 50%) and they are still recyclable #5 (although honestly, there is very little market for recycled polypropylene and hardly anyone does the recycling of it). Our hope is that PCR material becomes easily attainable for all manufacturers that rely on plastics and that alternative plastic material and technology continues to be developed.
Common Question: Why don't you use compostable plastic?
We've been offered compostable plastic from several manufacturers. When we ask for hard data on if this "new, amazing compostable plastic" actually breaks down in the landfill and if it is safe, there is none. Basically, this new compostable plastic has an additive in it that promotes an "enzymatic" breakdown. However, the tube is still made from petroleum; plastic is plastic. Putting "compostable plastic" in a landfill defeats the purpose (in our opinion). Saying you use compostable plastic makes for great marketing though.
Common Question: Do the plastic tubes leach BPA into the balm?
Common Question: Why haven't you put your balm in cardboard tubes?
We tried...and tried again. We love the concept of cardboard tubes but in real life application we felt they didn't perform to our standards. Cardboard tubes didn't keep our balms fresh, a slightly cardboard taste would develop, the oils in the balm would "weep" into the pulp. The lack of rigidity in capping was problematic. Another issue we ran into was source material, we couldn't get guaranteed clean source (no contaminant) cardboard stock. Bummer.
Getting you a high quality balm is our mission and if we can't keep that balm high quality in it's package, in your hands, it's a no-win. But, we'll keep trying! We are hopeful for market maturation in all things packaging. We feel closing the plastic loop is the true solution because any packaging en-masse becomes a sustainability issue.
Aluminum Tubes: manufactured: France
In our efforts to reduce plastic use, we have introduced aluminum tubes. Even most silver “aluminum looking” pliable tubes on the market are infiltrated with plastic but ours are not! We believe just one small change can make a difference.
Common Question: Does aluminum leach into the balm?
No. A lot of misinformation is out there about aluminum leaching into the products that it houses. Modern aluminum tubes have been repeatedly tested for safety; they are very safe and do not leach aluminum. Our tubes are manufactured in France to food-grade and cosmetic products standards.
Aluminum has been used for decades to house many common items like soda and beer. It has been shown that products with aggressive “acids” like soda, can over time have negligible amounts of aluminum show up in them. However, soda is different than cosmetics and soda cans are different than cosmetic tubes.
Cosmetic aluminum tubes have a BPA-free coating and in our case, they are also housing a non-aggressive product (no acids). Thankfully, even with this thin safety coating, aluminum is easily recycled, yay!
Common Question: But isn't aluminum bad for me?
Keep in mind that biologically reactive aluminum is present throughout the human body. Human exposure to additional aluminum is inevitable and, perhaps, inestimable as it is the third most common element on the planet.
Metals are all over our environment; in our water, food, cookware, etc. But rest assured, there are no heavy metals or aluminum leaching into our BALMTOO or BALMUNDER products. All of our products are regularly tested for presence of metals per Cali Prop 65 and EU regulations.
Common Question: So why do I hear aluminum concerns in connection with deodorants?
The aluminum in antiperspirants is completely different than the aluminum in our BALMUNDER deodorant tubes. Aluminum chlorohydrate is the aluminum salt found in anti-perspirants. This is made when aluminum is reacted with hydrochloric acid. This salt was designed to soak into your arm pit pores and prevent sweating. The FDA says it’s safe at concentrations up to 25% in anti-perspirants. The FDA also requires anti-perspirant manufacturers to list it on their label as aluminum salts, aluminum compounds, aluminum chlorohydrate, etc… always read labels!
Although there are negligible findings that long term exposure of aluminum leads to Alzheimer’s, cancers, kidney things and bone diseases, we don’t want to put it on our arm pits, so we won’t put it on yours either!
Common Question: How do I open and use the aluminum tube?
1. Unscrew the cap. 2. Flip the cap over and re-screw onto the tube to puncture seal. 3. Re-seal using either side of cap. 4. Squeeze gently from the bottom up. Squish the tube as you use product or roll the tube up as you use product.
Common Question: Can I recycle my tube and cap?
Yes! Remove the cap and recycle the tube with other aluminum products. The cap can be recycled as #5...but again, hardly anyone does the recycling of it.
Glass/Tin: manufactured: United States & China
Again, in our efforts to reduce plastic use, we have introduced glass and tin.
Common Question: Can I recycle my Aura jar/lid?
Yes! Remove the cap and recycle jar with glass.
Hurraw! Balm is a clean energy partner of Arcadia Power. Arcadia Power is a renewable energy certificate (REC) that matches 100% of our electricity usage with Wind energy from partnered generation facilities. Visit www.arcadiapower.com to learn more about how you can make this switch. We are also planning our first solar install on our facility in 2022!