Update on Plastic/Waste Free Journey, May 2020:
Over the winter last year we shut down and moved into the retreat for two months to enjoy it ourselves. It was wonderful, i really got into hibernation mode, sleeping when it got dark, waking when it was light (often 12+ hours a day) my body must have really needed a decent rest to recover. Anyway i spent a lot of my spare time researching New Zealand made products, I wanted liquids for refilling, and also ordering in bulk quantities (reducing all waste) while also being made from lovely natural ingredients.
I was very passionate about getting this right, not just for our guests but also for us to change our ways. We used to buy whatever single use plastic, small quantity options looked good in the supermarket at the time. Often these are only 200 - 500ml bottles of shampoo/conditioned/body wash etc, and when you think about how many you use in a year and how many realistically aren't actually recycled and end up in landfill it adds up quickly and is definitely something we didn't want.
I spent weeks researching ingredients, i discovered a lot of "natural" ingredients are not necessarily very natural or safe for our bodies at all. In fact quite toxic, it's amazing the "greenwashing" that occurs in marketing these days. I was really pleased when I eventually a discovered a wonderful relatively new small business called "Real World" up in Hastings. They provide us bulk 5 litre jerry cans, which we use to refill our glass bottles, then we can send them back up to be refilled and sent back to us. We're really happy with this and the products are lovely.
You can have a look at their website here to learn more about them.
Next I sourced some beautiful NZ made soap holders from "Made of Tomorrow", a great business with lovely design aesthetic and functional items that are all made here in NZ. As i needed ten of them I was able to get their wholesale rates which was awesome.
It was a bit of a challenge installing these, and not something I could do on my own as they needed to be drilled into the bathroom tiles. I'm so lucky to have an incredible father in law who basically dropped everything and told his work he would be back in a week, jumped on a plane and came and did hard labour for a week for us.
I am forever grateful to him for this (It was going to take over a month for someone locally in Nelson to come out which was not an option, when we had our first guests for the season arriving within a few weeks).
I was also passionate about using glass bottles, and with the metal holders it was a perfectly safe way to do it, so i sourced some beautiful amber glass refillable bottles, with plastic pumps for all of our shampoo/conditioner/ body wash and hand soaps. I would have loved stainless steel, but I couldn't find anything at the time. At least they are being used over and over again and are designed to last a long time. I installed these in the new holders in the two ensuite bathrooms and upstairs toilet.
They come from a Wellington business called Arthur Holmes, I can highly recommend them and the staff were incredibly helpful. One poor lady spent at least half an hour on the phone with me while we were trying to work out if my glass bottles would fit into the metal holders, in the she offered agreed to send them to me right away to try and make sure, they would fit, she said don't worry about paying until we know they are going to work for you! How amazing is that, they arrived two days later!
So it's been about 6 months since this was all achieved and i can happily say we have not had to purchase any single use plastic product bottles and we only just ran out of our 5 litre bulk body wash, and hand soap, still have a fair bit of shampoo and conditioner, and this was with a pretty much fully booked solid Dec - May so I'm really pleased not only is it helping the environment but we are saving so much more money, a win win!
Our Journey to becoming Waste/Plastic Free, August 2019
We’ve been working on some exciting developments lately. We’re passionate about reducing and eliminating single use plastics at Peak View. It can be an adjustment but it’s very rewarding when you take small steps and they all add up.
There are lots of great small businesses around NZ making beautiful, sustainable and earth friendly products with very minimal or no use of plastics. You have to chose the things you’re passionate about focusing on to make this world a better place and you can never do everything so choosing a few things is a great start.
We love supporting local Nelson and NZ businesses that operate in a way that aligns with our personal beliefs, we love Nelson based “Heke Homemade Herbals” and can highly recommend their beautiful teas we have a wonderful selection for you to try in the retreat kitchen.
We’re currently in the process of finalising our coffee source and also our shower and cleaning products. We really want a product that uses luxurious natural ingredients that are great for your skin and hair as well as the environment.
We’re also passionate about finding a product that uses no palm oil. We don’t believe there are any true sustainable sources. When you’ve stood in the rainforest in Borneo watching Orangatangs in their natural habitat you really can’t justify using it when it’s not actually necessary, there are perfect alternatives!
Also our gardens and orchard, we’re going to be starting small with raised beds for veggies and herbs. You’ll be able to go and forage the freshest ingredients to add to your meals. This is part of our long term goal to become totally food self sufficient, growing and hunting the food we need to survive. So stay tuned and we will update you as we go!
Update, we've been purchasing bulk coffee beans from our local Nelson roasters "Sublime" in their 1kg home compostable paper bags it's amazing, we love the freshly ground beans in the espresso machine, and no nasty wasteful pods or anything.