On Board with the Big Brands

On Board with the Big Brands

This week, we ordered some Q-Tips, and we’ll be the first to say it: it feels really weird to carry a brand-name product! We thought long and hard before buying these all-cardboard boxes of organic cotton swabs. So if you’re skeptical, we get it, but hear us out! 

Cotton swabs are almost always sold in part-plastic packaging, and most of the ones that aren’t are made in China. That's because the sticks are usually bamboo rather than paper—which is a great thing, but you also have to factor in the environmental cost of transporting the items across an ocean. Q-Tips are manufactured in Puerto Rico, so that's at least a bit closer to home. And because a big company is making them, the price point is pretty low, which makes them more accessible to more people. While we prefer to support the little guy, there’s something to be said for encouraging the big guys when they’re doing good things. If Q-Tip takes the lead, we hope other manufacturers will soon follow.

Decisions like this remind us of how complex sustainability can be—weighing concerns about materials, manufacturing methods, transportation costs, etc…not to mention quality, price, convenience, corporate ethics….There’s a lot to consider, and there can be a lot of unknowns. So here’s our tip: Approach it all with humility, openness, and the intention to make a solid effort to do right by the planet. But don’t beat yourself up, and don’t beat up others who could be your allies. Individuals, companies, politicians—everyone is someone worth bringing on board.  

-Justine, Full Circle Sustainability

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