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When my sister and I decided to sell our candles as a business last year, our first priority was to ensure that we always had the planet in mind with everything that we did. While our candles are made from 100% soy wax with vegan and cruelty-free fragrance oils, we could instantly see endless ways to be even more mindful with every product that we created and sold. And, it’s become one of the things that our customers love the most. We’re pretty proud of that. If you’re a fellow small business owner, or you’re considering starting a small business soon, let me share how & Chai pledges to be as mindful towards the environment as possible. We’re striving to do good with every product we make and every parcel we send.

Sourcing recyclable and biodegradable packaging

Something that was important to us when gathering resources to sell (and ship) our candles was to ensure as many – if not all – of our packaging and materials were either recyclable, biodegradable or reusable. From amber glass jars than can be recycled easily (or cleaned and reused around the house) to mailing boxes that deconstruct and can be popped in with your household cardboard recycling, the aim of the game is to minimise the fuss that comes with receiving online deliveries. There’s even our packing peanuts that dissolve in water, and glassine bags that can be added to your household garden compost! Our goal was that once your candle is safely opened, everything can be sorted out and recycled in two simple steps: peanuts in the sink, box deconstructed and recycled.

Reusing cardboard boxes

On top of sourcing new boxes that can be recycled, we also like to reuse boxes that our own incoming post arrives in. There’s little more joy than discovering the perfect-sized cardboard box that you can neatly tuck away in the studio for a rainy day, right? Particularly for small business owners, it makes perfect sense to keep as many cardboard boxes as possible for those orders that don’t quite fit in the ones you’d previously planned and bought. (Why is it that you can spend weeks researching boxes… and there’ll still be an order that manages to foil your plans?!)

Sustainably sourcing materials

Another of our key missions when it comes to running a mindful business is doing our utmost to sustainably source our materials. 90% of our materials are sourced from the UK, so that we can cut emissions as much as possible. And a huge proportion of those are, in turn, sourced locally to our home studio. More than ever before, it’s important to support and buoy the businesses directly around us. We’re pretty strict on ensuring that our suppliers do just as good as we aim to for our own biz.

And, all in all, running our small business with the environment in mind has cemented our brand with a positive ethos. We’re incredibly passionate about minimising our footprint – we offset our orders with a lovely brand – in a way that directly connects with our customers. It always leaves us feeling fuzzy and happy when customers let us know just how appreciative they are of our products and sustainability ethos.

What are some of the sustainable solutions that you appreciate from businesses?

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