One of the main barriers many individuals face when choosing to live more sustainably is the cost of environmentally friendly products. Compared to disposable, single-use plastic products, items made from materials like bamboo or organic cotton are often more expensive as they factor in costs of materials, ethical labor and production. Started by Rabia Dhanani, Siempre Eco is a lifestyle startup committed to providing affordable eco-friendly alternatives for everyday items.
Upon graduating amid the instability of the pandemic, Dhanani found herself with a lot of spare time. To save some money and keep herself busy, she set out on a mission to try making beeswax wraps, an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic wrap that her family had begun using at home. Beeswax wraps are made from organic cotton sheets with a coating of beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil. These waxy sheets create an antibacterial layer to keep food fresh for up to two weeks and have a year-long shelf life. However, they can be relatively expensive and often cost upwards of $10 apiece.
After a few weeks of experimenting with different materials and spending over $400 of her savings, Dhanani’s beeswax wrap trials finally yielded some positive results. She decided to continue this venture and sell the wraps to family and friends as a summer project. As the project gained momentum, Dhanani realized that she could create a meaningful impact on people’s daily lives while keeping her costs and carbon footprint minimal.
Siempre Eco aims to provide people with sustainable and affordable alternatives for daily use and self-care items. Since the company values impact over profit, the profit margin is a little lower than that of competitors. In doing so, prices remain consistent, encouraging customers to switch to sustainable alternatives, as they can afford to use them in the long run.
Over the past year, Siempre Eco has expanded its collection of products that range from lifestyle to kitchen items, all of which use locally sourced materials and/or ethical manufacturing. The products can now be found in over 40 retail stores in Canada, and the website offers worldwide shipping. The most popular products, besides beeswax wraps, include bamboo straws, shower fizzies and reusable wool dryer balls.
Approximately 98% of Siempre Eco’s packaging is recyclable, reusable or biodegradable. A lot of the materials are paper-based and use recycled paper and/or cardboard, including recycled paper boxes, wrapping paper and box filling. Other forms of environmentally-friendly packaging include reusable glass jars, rice paper packaging and even corn mailers, which can be composted after receiving a package.
In the near future, Siempre Eco looks forward to preparing curated boxes of products and partnering with other small sustainable businesses to create exciting theme-based bundles. The company is also in discussions with a massive North American retailer to bring the product range to over 400 stores.
Images courtesy of Siempre Eco