Why be sustainable?
29th October 2021
Urbee is a small business that is based on conserving the natural world, so it makes sense to be sustainable.
It wouldn’t be right to support wildlife on one hand, but then pollute on the other. We are evolving and constantly improving to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Where we can’t change a material, we make sure there is quality (and therefore longevity) – reducing the need to replace. Sustainability is a key objective and at the forefront of every decision that we make.
Urbee is based in South London, and we are lucky enough to have a lot of green space and woodland close by – places to inspire us, places to get out and research bees and plan with the local community ways to improve pollinator forage areas.
Finding the right manufacturers takes time and sourcing sustainable products with a low carbon footprint can be frustrating and time-consuming – I had a huge challenge sourcing a great honey dipper that wasn’t imported from the other side of the world. It was very important that the wood used was also from responsible sources.
We do a lot of researching before choosing our products.
We are a fundraising partner to the conservation charity Buglife and every penny donated is put to great use by supporting their pollinator projects.
How do we promote sustainable living?
Made in the UK – Our manufacturers have great eco-credentials, from water-based printing inks (no damaging chemicals), FSC certifications, Sustainable raw materials, recycled stock, solar panelling and wildlife gardens in their factories. Most of our products are British made, which lowers our carbon footprint.
High-quality items – Our bee gifts and homewares are mainly made by British, family-run manufacturers that have stood the test of time. Many of them have passed skills down through generations. High quality items last longer, reducing the need to replace.
Reusable, recyclable, recycled materials – Our gift boxes are totally recyclable, made from recycled materials, reusable and free from print – We use plastic-free tape and filler in our postal packaging. Recycled paper gift tags and recycled or FSC certified labelling. Recycled paper is used in our Urbee & Friends notebook sets and all the carbon generated in the production is offset by the planting of forests and woodlands, in association with
The Woodland Trust.
Plant pot initiative – Our plant pot returns scheme reduces plastic waste and saves on manufacturing pollution.
Plus, it reduces the cost per plant, encouraging reorders and more lovely food for the bees.
Plants - We use peat-free compost and no pesticides to grow our plants for pollinators. (We encourage biodiversity by companion planting instead). We also use collected rainwater for our plants.
Sustainable materials – We use jute and hemp for our honey gift set, as these are both fantastic materials that do a lot of good in the environment. Jute is grown in India and supports the country’s economy; it is 100% biodegradable and recyclable. It relies on natural rainfall for irrigation and reaches maturity quickly, also improving soil fertility. It releases oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide faster than trees.
Hemp grows without the need for pesticides, needs less water to grow than cotton and reaches maturity quickly. Hemp is also a soil improver.
The wax in our candles is from sustainable sources and from plants grown in Europe and North America – no deforestation has occurred as a result of the production.
Tree planting – We are proud to be a member of Ecologi – who help us with carbon offsetting by planting trees. Urbee now has 76 trees planted across restoration projects in Madagascar, Mozambique and Nicaragua.
Our workplace – The electricity that we use is from totally renewable sources and we have energy saving lightbulbs.
We are now moving to paperless receipts to reduce paper use.
There is still plenty more that we can do as a small business and every change, no matter how small has a definite feel good factor and is a positive step in the right direction.