We are back again with a new post for our "Maker of the Month" blog series!
Every month we have a chat with one of our visionary sustainable businesses we source our eco-friendly products from and that make up the amazing fabric of our website!
It is an absolute pleasure to work closely with such amazing makers, as we have said many times we vet all our collaborators very carefully before deciding to stock their products, so we can make sure that all our values and sustainability principles are aligned. Our February makers have been with us since day one and we are absolutely in awe with what they do.
Bianca and Giulio @ Zero Waste Path
- Hello Bianca & Giulio, how are you? Tell us a bit about yourselves!
- Hi! We’re Bianca and Giulio, we moved to the UK from Italy in 2016 to pursue our Master degrees in sustainability. We’ve been trying to live zero waste for about 4 years (across 3 cities and 2 countries!) and 1.5 years ago we went vegan, for both environmental and ethical reasons! We’re passionate about trying to reduce the negative impact we have on the world, and for this reason we try to live ethically and sustainably, but of course we’re far from perfect!!
We officially opened our small zero waste vegan business in February 2018, I (Bianca) was finishing my studies and realized that an office type of job was not the right fit for my personality. I wanted something more practical, where Giulio and I could apply all the things we had learned during our studies and personal zero waste journeys, we wanted to create something that would represent all our values and contribute to create a more sustainable future!
- What’s the most challenging thing about running a sustainable business in your opinion?
- I would say that the hardest things for us are two:
- The balance between the inevitable higher costs of running a sustainable and ethical business, and the fact that we don’t want sustainability to be a privilege. This is why we always try to keep prices that aren’t too high and to make products that are multipurpose and long-lasting!
- Another thing we always struggle with is the lack of access to many opportunities, including certain sustainable options that maybe aren’t available in Europe or have minimum order quantities that are too high for a small business like ours. When we’re not able to make the choice we want due to the barriers that small businesses have to face, it can often be hard to compromise.
- How much of your own personal sustainable journey is reflected in your company’s ethos?
- Definitely a lot, our business is the result of our personal journeys into living more sustainable and ethical lifestyles. In addition to trying to live zero waste and being vegan, we also put a huge effort into buying second hand and/or ethically made, whether it’s clothes, electronics or furniture. We’re immigrants which means that we do have to go back to Italy at least a couple of times per year, we try to fly as little as possible and mostly do holidays in the UK or with our Campervan on our way to Italy! When we do fly we offset our miles, but
- Describe “ZWP” in 3 words (if you can!)
- Zero waste + vegan + handmade... but if I could use more words I’d also say ethical and palm oil free! Haha
- What are the ingredients you simply cannot do without and why?
- This is very hard as it depends a lot on the products line, but I would say our favourite ingredients right now are:
- the Hydrolysed Quinoa Protein that we use in our 2in1 shampoo + conditioner line, we love it because it leaves the hair incredibly soft and helps detangle them, while also helping with colour retention, something that I (Bianca) struggle a bit with since dying my hair white 3 years ago!
- the organic cold-pressed Rosehip Oil in our Bliss Beauty Oil, I’m obsessed with its properties and the incredible bright red colour it has
- organic unrefined cocoa butter, which we use on some of our shampoo bars and 2in1 shampoos, and in all of our solid lotions and multipurpose balms. It has an incredible chocolaty scent and it moisturizes deeply without leaving an oily or sticky effect!
- Can you tell us what sustainability practices are at the heart of ZWP?
- We try to apply our values throughout all the stages of our production, from choosing local independent suppliers that can ship to use low waste, to reusing all of the shipping packagings we receive and, of course, always shipping plastic-free (or, when customers approve it, in reused shipping packaging)! We also use a 100% renewable energy provider, both at home and at our business unit, try to get equipment second hand or made ethically, and are a certified real Living Wage employer!
- How do you keep things fresh when coming up with new products ideas?
- Our inspiration usually comes from products we need ourselves or things that our family and customers suggest (actually a lot of the products were inspired by Silvia, my mother!). All of the products we make must always be sustainable, palm oil free, biodegradable and vegan, and are always tested only on ourselves and our friends and family! We also put a lot of effort into making our cosmetics multipurpose and long lasting, to make them more convenient to use and a bit more affordable.
- What’s next for ZWP?
- Who knows! We hope to keep growing so that we can create more products, have access to more sustainable suppliers and keep providing truly sustainable and ethical products to people! We’re keeping our options open, but no matter what will happen we will never take a step back on our values or our commitment to sustainable and ethical practices
- What is your best eco-friendly tip for 2020?
- Owh it’s hard to find just one, I would say buy second hand and/or refurbished! We get most of our clothes second hand, from charity shops or on apps like Depop, where we are able to find specific items that we’re looking for. For furniture and objects, we use Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree a lot, we managed to create a beautiful office + break room here at our business unit using just second-hand things we found locally!
- Thank you so much for chatting with us Bianca and Giulio!
You can browse Zero Waste Path range here:
and check our their Instagram account here: @zerowastepath