This post is part of a new segment on our blog that features amazing, sustainable businesses and the eco-warriors behind them. Through this segment we strive to introduce you to new plastic-free alternatives and share new, attainable ways to reduce your plastic consumption and help the environment.
Do you have or know of a business that should be featured on our blog? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to share recommendations or say hello!
Plastic-Free Company Spotlight: Timber Child
Timber Child is a BC-based family business that makes natural lifestyle products for children. Husband and wife team, Kisha and James, offer a safer and healthier, non toxic alternative to the regular plastic plates made for kids today. The cute shapes and different sections make meal time fun for everyone and are the perfect addition to your and your family’s natural lifestyle!
The wooden plates are:
-Made from sustainable Canadian Maple Wood
-Completely free of glue, PVC, melamine, plastics, mineral oil or toxic finishes
-Cured in Canadian food grade organic Hemp seed oil and Okanagan beeswax
Location: Okanagan Valley, BC
Who: Kisha and James
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- Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your products and how Timber Child came about?We are husband and wife team that makes natural lifestyle products for families. We established Timber Child in November of 2016 but really started selling to the public in January 2017. After having our first child in February of 2016 we quickly realized that most of the baby and children products on the market today contain dyes, chemicals, petroleum based products, SLS, and parabens. We also found that it was close to impossible to find 100% natural, non toxic plates that did not contain plastic, melamine and weren’t finished without mineral oil. We decided to make a few plate-like trays for our little one and things just grew from there.
- What is your biggest driver for being sustainable?
For us it would have to be seeing what not being sustainable has done to the planet thus far. We also want to be role models for our kids and have them grow up in a home where taking pride in where they live and living a sustainable lifestyle is encouraged.
- How have you managed to embed sustainable thinking within your company?Thinking about sustainability is why we started Timber Child in the first place. We thought about where all of these children’s items go after we’re done with them. People think that food grade silicone and BPA free plastic is a good alternative to regular plastic items; they’re not. We felt like we had to re create a traditional product with a modern look to offer a truly sustainable option.
- What are the biggest sustainability challenges you face personally and professionally?
Personally, it would be single-use plastic and packaging. Companies are coming up with very clever marketing tools to get children’s attention, as they have for years, but the amount of useless junk that’s created and pushed on kids today is horrifying. You can’t walk into a store without being overwhelmed with the advertising on packaged goods geared towards our youth. Professionally, it has been mostly about the materials we use. We were thinking of using natural oils with faster drying times than Hemp seed oil, but they were not grown through sustainable practices and were produced outside Canada. We decided to use Organic Food Grade Hemp seed oil from seeds grown in Saskatchewan and pressed in Chilliwack, BC. It’s a very fast growing crop that can be harvested after approx 120 days of planting, it has broad leaves that block out competing weeds which helps omits the need for herbicides and it’s a gluten free, lactose free, and nut free product.
- What is one thing you have done at your company to drive sustainability that other businesses could replicate as best practice?
Turning our by-product into new products. The pure untreated Maple wood dust that we produce goes to local chefs for smoking meats and cheeses. We also use it for gardening.
- What have you done outside of work to live a more sustainable life?
We are quite new to this and are constantly challenging ourselves to do more. Some of the small changes we have made to start our waste free lifestyle include: cloth diapers, cloth produce and shopping bags, stainless steel straws, cotton bread bags, we share one vehicle and walk whenever possible, shop at thrift stores and reuse kids clothing from friends/family, wool dryer balls, shop at local farmers markets, cotton bowl covers in place of plastic wrap, bulk food shopping with glass jars, compost our organic waste, compostable garbage bags, grow our veggies and herbs, use glass containers for storage and leftovers, make our own baby balm and lotions, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable coffee cups, using stainless steel lunch containers, stainless water bottles/baby bottles and Hevea Rubber products for our kids. We also tried to use old wood and give it new life when we bought our house by using old pallets for our kitchen floor, oak barrel staves for our bathroom shelves and barn wood for our kitchen table. We are slowly but surely omitting plastic from our household.
- Which sustainable action or change you’ve made in your life are you most proud of?
Creating an alternative to plastic/silicone and melamine plates for children that are made from Canadian materials in Canada.
- What is your “guilty” habit that just isn’t very sustainable? How do you plan to change it if you could?
Sushi takeout. We try to eat in house when we do (difficult with 2 young children sometimes) or bring our own take out containers when we pick up. We’re also planning to talk to our favourite local restaurants and encourage them to ditch the polystyrene for good.
- In one phrase, what does sustainability mean to you?
A lifestyle that allows our environment to continue to grow and thrive without having our actions jeopardize its well being or natural beauty.
- Can you provide three top tips for others trying to lead more sustainable lives and reduce their waste?
#1 Start Small – I know a lot of people that get quite overwhelmed when they first start out. As long as you’re taking steps in the right direction, that’s what counts. Start off with the easy changes; use reusable bags for shopping, stainless straws etc. Look to others that are leading the fight for ideas and tips on how to start.
#2 Educate Yourself – Take a closer look into how our single use consumption is causing drastic environmental negative impacts. Find out how these small single use items that people use on a daily basis are destroying the planet’s wildlife and oceans. Eg: Plastic bags of course, balloons, plastic wrap, polystyrene etc. Beware of eco friendly alternatives that aren’t so eco friendly like some silicone products.
#3 Recycling is NOT the answer – Saying NO to these single use types of waste is the answer. Only a fraction of what we recycle actually gets disposed of properly.
- Share the love – Which businesses besides your wonderful company would you recommend to help people reduce their waste?
The Edgy Moose – Cotton Bowl Covers
Splat & Co – Wool Dryer Balls
Life Without Plastic – Various plastic free items
Hevea Planet – 100% plastic-free children’s products from natural latex
Pura Stainless – Children’s bottles
Klean Kanteen – Plastic free water bottles, children’s products and canisters
Bulk Barn – Bulk foods with a “Bring your own container” program!
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