Now is the time to get real about the health of our planet.
As part of our Shepherd’s Dream of Sustainability, and as a manufacturer and producer of consumer home goods, we feel it’s important to shine a light on our entire production process, our business practices, and our products’ lifecycles.
This focus has inspired us to continually seek out creative and innovative ways to reduce our hoofprint and negative impacts. Presenting…our Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative!
With our Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative, Shepherd’s Dream is committed to:
- Reducing waste and landfill contributions, including plastic toward the goal of eliminating it altogether.
- Educating ourselves and our customers about zero waste, eco friendly, and sustainable lifestyle choices.
- Continuing to improve our packaging and shipping materials with more sustainable and/or compostable materials.
What Qualifies as a Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative Product?
Moving from linear economy thinking to circular.
There’s got to be a better way than what we’ve been doing: taking natural resources, making them into products, using and disposing of them, only to look for more and do it all over again. This linear process takes from nature, causes damage along the way, and ends without giving back.
A circular economy takes into consideration every step of the process and every potential impact. From the research and design phase to manufacturing to repurposing, we close the gaps and find creative ways to honor the contributions of the people involved and the planet on which we all live.
The 6 Tenets of Zero Waste
- Refuse what you don’t need.
- Reduce what you can’t refuse or use.
- Reuse instead of throwing away.
- Repair rather than replace.
- Recycle anything that can’t be refused or reused.
- Rot what is compostable.
We’re grateful that every item we sell has serious environmental cred, but there are a few distinctions that make our Zero Waste Ewe-nitiative products special. Be sure to look for the logo badge!
- The product is made from production scraps that would otherwise go to the landfill.
- The product is designed to be a sustainable, enduring substitute for a product commonly either made to be disposable and/or from plastic.
What’s the Deal with Plastic?
Think for a moment about one of your childhood toothbrushes…
Now think about it sitting in a landfill somewhere—because it is. Now think of every toothbrush you’ve ever used and multiply that by a couple billion humans. Then think of disposable razors, shampoo bottles, bottled water…it’s truly staggering to consider. Nearly all plastic ever produced still exists.
While the invention and implementation of plastic undoubtedly solved some short term problems, it created millions more long term ones.
Plastic does not go “away” when we throw it away, and unfortunately, traditional recycling just isn’t a good enough solution. Even though it might degrade, plastic just keeps getting smaller and smaller. We now know that microplastics are not a micro problem—they’re a big one.
For example, a lot of plastic ends up in the ocean where it is often confused for food by marine life and then deposited as tiny pieces on beaches all over the world. In many locations, scientists have had to dig several feet into the sand to find a sample without plastic in it.
If that wasn’t enough, there are major impacts to human and animal health. Plastic is a known carcinogen, contributes to impaired immunity, and disrupts hormonal systems, including fertility.
Finding healthy, sustainable, and compostable alternatives to plastic is a great place to start! We realize this is a challenging task—even those who are devoted to living as plastic free as possible find it difficult to get beyond an 80% success rate—but with some know-how, resourcefulness, and a sense of adventure, it’s amazing how much impact we can have as consumers. When we vote with our dollars, we support other businesses working hard to do the right thing, and we create viable economies for sustainable living.
One way to prevent persistent plastics and overstuffed landfills is to focus on the “Refuse” part of the Zero Waste principles. By pausing to really think about what we want and need, to consider finding earth-friendly alternatives, and focusing our buying power on items that will serve multiple functions or provide long term solutions, we can begin to lessen our consumer impacts.
In a world of “Fast Fashion” and “Mattress-in-a-Box” companies, cheap and environmentally-damaging materials are used to quickly fulfill consumer demand with no regard for the consequences, and many of these items end up being very quickly thrown away. 50,000 mattresses a day end up in landfills!
Imagine if we all began supporting companies sourcing and making sustainably-aligned products that lasted, not for a season, but for several years, if not a lifetime? What if we learned to repair and mend our garments instead of tossing them out? What if our mattress was still as soft and supportive as it was in the first year of its lifecycle as it is in its 15th? And what if when that wool mattress finally gave in, after decades of use, you composted the wool in your garden where it benefited the soil?!
It may take some research and initial investment, but it’s more than possible to begin doing our share. Join us as we dream a new sustainable world into being!