Towards a Greener Leicestershire Part 3 – Penny Price Aromatherapy28 June 2021
Penny Price Aromatherapy is a well-known Leicestershire company, based in Hinckley, and one which puts sustainability at the heart of its business. Here, Director of Operations, Ellie Dunmore, gives us an insight into how they ensure they always remain as green as possible.
What have you done to ensure that parts of your business are as green as they can be?
The first major change we made was about six years ago when we moved premises. We used to have an old Victorian villa as our base and the layout wasn’t working for us as it was full of small rooms and had no big spaces. So later we found the most eco-friendly building we could at the time. We moved here, an eco-friendly, carbon-reduced building, but we soon realised that it wasn’t as green as it could be and we had all of our lighting changed, using the Green BELLE grant which was available to us.
We’ve changed all of our lighting to LED lighting to reduce our impact and replaced the fan heaters with heating panels in the ceiling. They use less electricity and are easier to maintain and repair. Applying for a Green BELLE grant was very straight forward. We needed to get three quotes from reputable suppliers from their list, and the suppliers were all happy to come and quote. I sent off the paperwork with my reason for wanting to make the changes and it was approved. It was all very efficient – we got reimbursed from Green BELLE within a week.
And how green are your processes?
We’ve moved a lot of our processes over to paperless. Our accounting system allows us to save invoices online rather than printing and filing them. We use recycled and fully recyclable paper anyway and we have a bin for used paper which then gets turned into toilet paper.
We pride ourselves on how we keep waste to a minimum. We never make more than we’re going to use to fill bottles for orders. If we ever have a little bit left over, we give it to our staff so we know it won’t be wasted.
We make sure that all of our bottles and lids are sustainably sourced. Recently, we moved some products into aluminium because it’s more recyclable than PET and some into glass. The pump tops that we use are recyclable – they don’t have metal inside like many pumps do. The products inside the packaging have always been eco-friendly so never tested on animals and always pesticide free. We’ve never used palm oil either.
Do you think your customers notice your efforts and value them?
Oh definitely; especially because we’re all about natural products that are vegan accredited and ethically sourced. For us it’s really important that the way we package and send our products is as eco-friendly as possible.
We have had people comment on how much they appreciate this approach. And we reuse and repurpose packaging that we’ve received from suppliers. So, the box that some materials came in would be reused to send out orders to a customer and we label it as repurposed packaging. The chippings we get in our supplies are not polystyrene, but starch-based so we repurpose those as well.
Was it always in the company’s ethos that you wanted to be like this?
Definitely. We’ve always been as green as we could be and, as new things come out, we take those on to increase our green credentials. For example, aluminium packaging is lighter than glass, so we’ve changed to that to reduce postal costs and to make them more likely to be repurposed.
What about cost? Many people seem to think that it will cost more if they go green.
We’ve had a really positive experience. As long as you compare like for like I think you’ll see reductions. Sometimes the cost savings come in unlikely places – so filing things online instead of on paper doesn’t save us any money but it saves us time which is money. Some of the processes are so simple to do and they save you lots of time. We try to source locally so our carboard supplier is based in Leicester, reducing the miles travelled. They appreciate our loyalty and if they come across an even more eco-friendly packaging solution, they let us know.
How has the Business Gateway helped you?
They’ve helped us in a few ways. We sourced a new filling machine that enabled us to flow better through the products, reduce time and increase capacity. It also reduces waste because we’re filling more accurately. They also helped us to fund a tube filling machine and part of that funding was our innovative vegan hair and body care range.
They’ve helped us drive our business forward while keeping in line with our company values.
What about transport in terms of getting to work and transporting your goods?
We haven’t looked at that per se because it’s not seemed like a big issue; a lot of our staff are family members so there’s a lot of car sharing. We’re close to the town centre so other people walk to us.
In terms of sending things out B2B, we always try to get as much as possible on our pallets. We get clients’ permission to use any space on their pallets for other orders as it keeps their costs down too. And for customer orders, we’ve just moved to DPD as they’re introducing electric vans and plant-based bags to carry smaller items.
We’re always looking at things like that.
Ellie Dunmore was speaking to Peter Allen of the Business Gateway
If you would like to make your business greener, you can apply to take part in a free pilot project offered by the Business Gateway in partnership with Zellar. We’re looking for 100 Leicestershire companies to join us in monitoring their carbon emissions and then, with expert advice, making changes to reduce them.
Zellar is the world’s first ‘Sustainability-as-a-Service’ platform. Their software platform enables businesses to measure, manage and amplify their sustainability journey in one place.
Zellar simplifies and provides easy access to critical sustainability drivers such as the need to transition to renewable energy, invest in local carbon biodiversity and offset projects. Everything feeds their powerful ‘Panorama’ data engine, allowing business owners to understand where they are, how to improve and change behaviours. Each initiative delivers a measurable economic, environmental, and social benefit and is visible through the Zellar profile and directory.
Zellar claim to set the standard for sustainability measurement, bringing much needed clarity to the market by simplifying and offering sustainable solutions for businesses while giving consumers a tool that signposts those businesses committed to making a difference.
If you would like to receive an application form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org today. The scheme is completely free to you and companies will be selected to give us the best sample across Leicestershire.
Sources of information on green suppliers:
For information on DPD’s electric vans: https://bit.ly/35YE80y