Turning Trash Into Packaging
When I say Bali, what do you think of first? Maybe beaches. Trash? Probably not—but Bali has a major waste problem. In fact, many years ago the Indonesian province produced 20,000 cubic meters of garbage a day; almost 300 tonnes in the south alone. Millions of tourists clammer to the island’s beaches, stumbling over piles of trash and adding some of their own.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that Axiology is a brand that cares about animals. All of our products are cruelty-free, certified by PETA’s “Beauty Without Bunnies” program. We’re completely vegan, meaning there’s no bug bits in your favorite red and no beeswax either. Our formulas are also 100% palm oil free. But none of this would hold much weight if we didn’t also care about the environment and women around the world.
Our founder, Ericka, started Axiology because she couldn't find a decent vegan lipstick. This one piece of do-gooding has grown to a whole ethos.
As of Earth Day 2022, Axiology is 100% plastic-free. Why? Because the beauty industry (and, let's get real, our society) has a huge plastic problem. You've heard us say it before, and you'll hear us say it again: The beauty industry purportedly produces 120 billion units of plastic every year, and that stat keeps us up at night. We worked our butts off to get lipstick tubes made of 50% PCR Plastic, but it just wasn't enough. So, to go we doubled down on our recycled and recyclable exterior packaging and went totally plastic-free.
From the start, Axiology's signature pyramid boxes have been made by a group of downright dreamy paper manufacturers in Bali, and we're so proud that this amazing group of women now also makes the innovative matchstick boxes for our award-winning Balmies, as well as their adorable paper wrappers.
Here's how our love affair with plastic-free, recycled paper packaging began.
Bali Recycled Paper Manufacturing
Ericka, fell in love with Bali while living there, during which time she also learned about a company founded and run by women that was turning Bali's huge waste problem into beautiful packaging. When she realized that Axiology could help clean Bali’s beaches through our packaging, she jumped at the chance.
How our zero-waste packaging is born:
First, the woman-founded-and-run business on Bali collects 100% post-consumer recycled paper from offices, hotels, and schools around the island and sorts and shreds it. Although Bali does recycle, it’s not accessible for everyone, so directly collecting paper waste before it has the chance to litter streets and shores is a really helpful preemptive move.
Next, they boil and soak the shredded paper overnight. While a bit time-consuming, this process is the most eco-friendly way to clean the paper without using bleach or other harmful chemicals. This step also allows our manufacturer to consume less energy down the line. In fact, they only use one piece of true machinery—a huge energy saver. All of the water used in the process is also saved and then carefully reused. We're telling you, this paper manufacturer is amazing!
Who Runs the World?
You may have already heard this said, but sustainable choices are feminist choices. Women are often exploited in factory positions, and only 10% of ‘domestic workers’ are in a position to receive protection under national labor laws. We’re proud of the fact that the factory where our signature Balmie matchboxes are born is female-owned, with a mostly female staff who are empowered by their role as environmental protectors. Paper making and binding by hand is a historically rich, creative trade and we’re so happy that we can help keep that alive through our brand.
While recycling and repurposing paper doesn't get as much eco-attention as solar panels or composting, it’s a crucial sustainability practice. By recycling one ton of paper waste, we potentially save up to 17 mature trees, as well as energy that could power a home for months. We also support meaningful jobs for women who want to make a difference in their community. And we’re able to do all of this while maintaining the aesthetic and style that makes Axiology unique. Now, who said that you couldn’t be eco-friendly, fair, and chic at the same time?