Towards a Circular Economy. Towards Zero Waste. Towards Net Zero.
At the Black Cat Soap House, we have made a commitment to do things with sustainability in mind, to create as little waste as we can, to reduce our emissions, to avoid plastic and to reduce and reuse as much as possible. As a family and as a business we're not completely waste free, but we are taking steps to do what we can. We believe that everything we do, however small it seems, does make a difference.
We sell most of our soaps and shampoo bars as “naked” slices at our events and online and we have a lower price for bars which are bought in this way. However, we understand that you may sometimes want to buy bars which are wrapped, particularly for gifts and so they are also available wrapped by Haluk in beautiful fairly traded, handmade paper with recycled paper label bands and also unwrapped but with recycled Kraft bands.
Our information leaflets are printed on recycled paper and all the wrapping / packaging can be composted and/or recycled. Our energy supplier provides electricity from 100% renewable sources. All our gift sets are designed in such a way (without print and sticky labels) that the bags and boxes can be used again. So please fill them with other goodies and pass on the love!
Bring Back Your Empties!
Our creams and oils are sold in glass jars and bottles. We will take back your empty jars & lids to wash, sanitise and reuse. You can return them to us at any of our markets or events or to one of our participating stockists - shown with * in our stockists list. If you don’t live near one of these places you can send your jars by post and we will refund the postage. However, we can only do this if you have saved 10 jars or more. Please contact us to arrange.
As a small thank you for helping us on our journey towards being a zero waste business, we'll give you 30p off your next Black Cat Soap House purchase for every jar returned.
If you are not in a position to return your jars, please wash out and reuse where possible or recycle.
So far we've taken back nearly 500 jars. Will you help us increase this number?
mightIf you are ordering online, your naked soaps will be wrapped in some paper or a paper bag to keep them fresh. If you are local to us we will deliver your order to your door in a paper bag. In an effort to reduce our fuel use we will normally deliver to Forfar just once a week and tie it in with the footy run or weekly shop! If you live in Kirrie I might deliver your parcel when I am out on a run. This may sound like I'm a seasoned runner. Not at all! I am working my way through the Couch to 5K programme at the moment so I can't call it express delivery - more like shuffle delivery - but needing to deliver an order is a good motivator to get me out of the house and at the same time cut down on fuel emissions. Unfortunately I sometimes just can't do it, so don't be too disappointed if one of us turns up in the car!
If you aren't local we will send your order by post. It will probably arrive in a re-used box we we have collected from family, friends, customers, suppliers and other local businesses - we hope you will be pleased about this! Most of the packaging in the parcel, such as cardboard, paper for padding, tissue paper etc is pre-loved too. We're pleased to say that the amount of plastic packaging we receive from suppliers is getting less and less and although we still do occasionally get bubble wrap or jiffy bags in our parcels we don't re-use this for our customers. We know how nice it is to receive a parcel which is completely plastic free! We use paper tape to fasten your parcels but there may occasionally be some plastic sticky tape on your box from its previous life. You may have packing "peanuts" in your parcel keeping your goodies safe. These are made from plant starch, are fully biodegradable and can also be dissolved in hot water. We collaborate with other local businesses to help reduce waste. We pick up boxes and packaging from A Longer Table that they don't need and give any bubble wrap we get to Cathrine Holtet Ceramics to keep her lovely creations safe in the post. We can also be found on the Packshare website, a directory aimed at reducing packaging waste by encouraging businesses to swap what they don't need.
Please reuse everything if you possibly can. If you are local to us, we will happily take back the packaging to use again.
Here are some other activities we do in our business to contribute to a circular economy and to reduce waste:
Our products are multi-functional. Why buy 4 different products to moisturise your face when one organic facial oil does the job beautifully? Using fewer products cuts down on packaging and waste - not to mention cost!
Our products are designed to last! Because our oils & creams are anhydrous - this means they contain no water - their benefits are not diluted and it means a little goes a long way.
We produce all our products in small batches which ensures freshness and also means that we rarely have surplus going to waste.
Occasionally, if the products are not quite up to the high standard that we expect then we use them ourselves, share with family and friends, sell as “seconds” or give them away.
Soap rejects are grated up and used for the laundry and household cleaning. We haven't bought washing up liquid for about 3 years!
We store these soap gratings in old jam jars and ice-cream containers.
We dry petals from the flowers in our garden or from bunches of flowers that we are lucky enough to receive and use them in our gift boxes to add a touch of natural luxury.
We save and dry coffee grounds and use them in our Chocolate Orange soap.
After we've weighed out and added essential oils to our products, we rinse out the measuring containers with water and use this water / essential oil solution in the final rinse of the wash to make the laundry smell lovely.
We save the offcuts from the handmade paper we use for wrapping soaps and use them in our gift boxes to add a splash of colour.
We shred used paper and use it for packing.
We cut up old greetings cards, tea boxes and any pretty bits of card that we find and use them to write notes to our customers when we send out our orders.
We store our soap logs in paper and reuse this paper again and again.
We upcycle old boxes, decorate them with wrapping offcuts and fill them with our products to make lovely gifts.
We save all plastic bags - we still occasionally receive products in them - and reuse them for storing gift tags, beads etc.
We save glass ramekin dishes (after eating the very delicious puddings inside) to be used as mixing bowls for our range of clay facial masks and pots for shaving soaps.
We stock a carefully selected collection of plastic free, sustainable beauty and bathroom accessories to help you on your zero waste journey.
We were lucky enough to take part in an online webinar organised by Sustainable Kirriemuir, in collaboration with Circular Tayside. Visit their website for an explanation of the Circular Economy. These two organisations are here to help local businesses make a smooth and supported transition to operating in a circular manner. We worked through a Circular business canvas with Circular Tayside in early 2021. It was really inspiring and as well as a recognition of the steps we are already taking, the process allowed for other resource use and waste to be identified. This in turn has led to actions we can take to reduce our waste and CO2 emissions even further. After that we signed up to the SME Climate Commitment, with the aim of reaching net zero emissions. We are currently at the planning stage, have a lot to learn and are undertaking training about how to do it. We will keep you updated.