The days are growing longer as we move toward the Spring Equinox and the clock just sprung forward for most of us in the US, causing us to lose an hour of precious sleep. Monday March 13th is National Napping Day (no doubt to help us catch up that lost hour), and Friday March 17th is World Sleep Day. So it makes perfect sense that March is National Sleep Awareness Month.
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Introducing…Our Zero Waste Ewe-initiative®!
Owner Robin Kearns was contemplating ways to continue building Shepherd’s Dream sustainability commitment when it struck her.
“We love a good sheep pun around here! The name just came to me, and it was perfect for the zero waste efforts I was thinking about. As a bedding manufacturer—especially a handmade one—we’re proud of our origins as an alternative to synthetic, toxic mattresses that contribute so much waste to the planet, both in the manufacturing stage and at the end when they get tossed into landfills. And because a person is involved in every step of our process, we’re aware of every thread, every piece of cloth, and every bit of wool batting. We really try to find ways to reuse what’s left, and we’ve been inspired by what other resourceful folks are doing.”
The Journey Toward Zero Waste
The Zero Waste concept is guided by at least five principles, credited to writer and activist Bea Johnson in her book Zero Waste Home:
- Refuse what you don’t need.
- Reduce what you can’t refuse or use.
- Reuse instead of throwing away.
- Recycle anything that can’t be refused or reused.
- Rot what is compostable.
We also love the addition of:
- Repair items slightly damaged but still usable.
By rethinking our consumer habits and preferences, we can move from a linear economy that begins with natural resources and ends in trash, to a circular one that realizes trash doesn’t go “away” and that we are responsible for our impacts to people and planet.
What Qualifies a product for the Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative?
Everything Shepherd’s Dream sells is sustainably minded—even compostable! But there’s no getting around the fact that, as “producers” of material goods, we manufacture “products” from natural resources. Part of our mission is to educate ourselves about best practices and our customers about the importance of investing in the right product for their needs. We think of our products as having an “heirloom quality” that feels naturally luxurious, and will inspire you to keep it around for a really long time.
The Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative challenges us even more to make and sell products that satisfy the “reduce,” “reuse,” and “recycle” principles of Zero Waste. Products must meet one of two guidelines to be a ZWE product:
- Made from production scraps that would otherwise go to the landfill.
- Designed to be a sustainable, enduring substitute for a product commonly either made to be disposable and/or from plastic.
Look for the ZWE badge on these items:
- Paper[less] Towels are made from leftover cotton fabric remnants, and replace one-use, disposable paper towels.
- Reusable Face Wipes replace those disposable cotton balls and wipes with a soft, skin-friendly cotton cloth.
- Wool Dryer Balls, the eco-friendly solution for laundry softening and static management.
- Wool Sponges clean anything their synthetic counterparts can, but are compostable when they’ve worn out.
- Handmade Wool Felted Soaps are made fresh by a local company, and the felted wool cover provides a built-in washcloth.
And this is just the beginning…we’ll be rolling out more soon!
The Plastic Dilemma
By now, we all know about the dangers of plastic, both to our health and to the planet’s ecosystems, particularly marine environments. We are committed to keeping plastic out of our products as much as possible, however, it does solve some problems for us with regards to shipping.
Given our all-natural materials and our focus on human health, it’s incredibly important to keep our products clean and free from contamination. Products can take on scents or moisture from the environment or during shipping, and plastic provides a secure barrier that is hard to duplicate.
Even so, we’re setting a goal to cut our plastic packaging usage in half by 2025. We’re also looking at reducing or eliminating plastic packaging for both local and online customers. Luckily, the packaging industry is one with a keen eye on increased sustainability, so we’re hopeful for smart solutions.
Shepherd’s Dream of Sustainability…
The Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative is just one way we can walk a little more lightly on the planet while meeting our modern needs. Within Shepherd’s Dream’s larger sustainability focus, we’re always seeking more opportunities. As Robin says, “We welcome the challenge of refining our business practices toward ever more Earth-friendly options. It takes awareness, feedback, and creativity, but whatever we can do for a more sustainable future, we’re all for it.”
Join us as we get real! Check out our Sustainability and Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative pages to learn more about Shepherd’s Dream’s commitments.