Zero Waste Path Interview
Zero Waste Path handmake ethical, cruelty free, vegan, plastic free and natural haircare and skincare products. They have a a really great inclusivity approach to their business whilst creating kinder products that actually work.
Please can you tell us about yourself and your business?
My name is Bianca and I’m a 26 (almost 27!) year old Italian immigrant, I moved to the UK with my partner Giulio in 2016 so that we could continue our studies doing sustainability-focused master degrees, and it was during my master degree in 2018 that we launched our small business Zero Waste Path.
We handcraft zero waste, vegan and palm-oil-free skincare and haircare products in our workshop in Cambridge with the help of our small but mighty team, using a 100% renewable energy supplier and always trying to be as sustainable as ethical behind the scenes as much as in the final product.
What inspired you to start your business?
We were both sustainability students/graduates and had been trying to live zero waste for around 2 years (and a few months after starting the business we also went fully vegan), and we decided to start our small business to create sustainable and ethical high-quality products that could help people reduce their impact and their waste.
Another driving force was the hope to do our bit to create change in the business world, wanting to switch away from a money and capitalist centered economy to a more sustainable and ethics focused one.
We believe that sustainability cannot exist without transparency and without high social standards, which is why we always put a lot of focus into choosing small local suppliers and being ethical employers, as well as trying to ensure that we’re an inclusive brand.
What sustainable factors do your products emend by (plastic free, vegan, natural etc)?
All of our products come in plastic-free packaging (the only bit of plastic we have is part of the reusable pipette of our Bliss Beauty Oil), prioritizing lightweight recycled, recyclable and/or reusable materials.
We also focus on using sustainable ingredients, using natural colorants such as clays and botanicals, essential oils and a variety of vegetable oils. We don’t use any palm oil or palm-oil-derived ingredients and all of our products are always vegan.
We try to be sustainable and circular behind the scenes as well, for example using a refillable ink system for our printer, always using recycled paper and trying to keep most of our work digital (we purchase most of our electronics second hand or refurbished) – we also only use 100% renewable energy suppliers such as Bulb and Octopus.
We try to create ethical working conditions and are a Real Living Wage Employer, we never do zero-hour contracts and paying our staff their full wage has always been our biggest goal during this difficult year (and we’re happy to say that we’ve always done it), as we believe that it’s not fair for businesses to pass on the economic risks and damages directly to their employees.
Where abouts is your business based?
We started our business from our small flat in Edinburgh but moved to Cambridge after a few months, which is where our workshop is currently based.
What are your best-selling products?
This is a bit hard to say as it changes a lot but some all-time best-sellers are definitely the 2in1 shampoo line and the deodorants!
Where do you hope your business is in 5 years’ time?
We hope to be able to increase our range of products and to keep improving our ethical and sustainability values where we still haven’t found “perfect” options. Apart from that to be honest our priority is quality of life, for ourselves and our staff, and we hope to eventually be able to switch to a 4-days working week!
While growing as a business always opens up more doors and possibilities, we don’t believe in pursuing infinite growth and prefer to focus on providing good products and doing so in an ethical and sustainable way!
What is one fact about yourself that we should all know?
I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety since I was a kid, and there are two reasons why I think this is an important fact to share.
First, while my mental illnesses don’t define me and are only a small part of who I am, they did often make things very hard for me, both in school and with the business, when you’re self-employed or own a small business it can be really hard to find a good balance, and to actually ensure to take care of yourself – and managing a small business when you struggle with anxiety is quite the challenge.
Another reason is that in the past few years I’ve become very passionate about raising awareness for mental illnesses, in the hope to help remove the stigma around them so that more people can feel safe in reaching out and getting help. Finding out that I wasn’t alone and getting help has been really crucial for me and I want to contribute to do the same for other people, so I try to speak openly about my mental health issues, especially in the business world.
What change do you hope to see in the future with our environment and planet?
I dream of a future made of small ethical and circular businesses, where everyone is paid fairly and objects are high quality and long lasting. I do also hope for the world to move away from capitalism and big corporations where people’s and animal’s lives truly are the priority, instead of just pursuing money for the sake of having more.
A quote you live by?
Not necessarily one specific quote, but I do think that it’s important to live by your values even if the rest of the world doesn’t, we only have control on our own choices, so I think that it’s important to start there.
This doesn’t mean having to be perfect, just doing your best with the tools you have!
To shop Zero Waste Path at Thoughtful Ways click here.