Improve health and waste nothing: The Elemental Essentialz formula





Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 6/14/2013 1:02:16 PM


Theresa HarrisTheresa HarrisTheresa Harris, founder/CEO of Elemental Essentialz, presents her unique sustainability-driven insights Tues., June 18, from 1:00 – 2:45 p.m. as part of the EastPack seminar series. For more information or to register for the conference or the show, visit


As a chemistry teacher and former developmental specialist, Theresa saw firsthand the increase in developmental delays and disorders. Along with research linking chemicals found in our homes to an increase in various health issues, she felt an obligation to take what she knew and formulate cleaners that were both safe and effective.


Additional research led her to the realization that her customers were also concerned with consumption levels and waste production. The rebel in her itched to upset the status quo, and she decided to take on both issues, making it her mission to “Improve Health & Waste Nothing.”


Packaging Digest asked her to share insider information on her approach to business and packaging.


Q: What was your hobby and how was that propelled into a growing business?
A: Cake Pops (cake on a stick)! Unfortunately my teenage sons and I ate them faster than I could make them, and I realized I needed a hobby that nurtured my creativity, not my waistline. Around the same time I happened upon an article about the dangers of certain chemicals in cleaning products. I was shocked to learn the ingredients in household cleaners did not have to be listed in their entirety. I decided to make homemade cleaners that weren’t dangerous for my family. In doing so, I had three priorities, that they needed to be safe, smell nice and be pretty. 

I started with used wine bottles because they were beautiful and free! As an aside, it turned out that many high school teachers enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day. I was proud of my little sets of cleaners and started sharing them with friends and family. The response was amazing…and here we are!


Q: What are the essentials of your “waste nothing” approach?
Our approach is to bridge the gap between knowing what is right and being able to achieve it. Our customers want to consume and waste less. They do not want to negatively impact our planet. Current efforts to help make this happen, including improvements in packaging, are often “invisible” to consumers. That’s not to say those efforts aren’t admirable. The impact of these changes on our planet is positive and significant, but the customer doesn’t get to “feel” they are making their own contribution. By packaging in refillable and reusable glass bottles, we make it easy for our customers to feel good about joining the mission to “Reuse for Zero Waste.”


Q: Why has this resonated with retailers and consumers?
Ultimately, we are making it easy for our customers to feel better about how they are treating our planet. Our products are safe, beautiful and, simply by purchasing their first bottles, consumers can “waste nothing.” The ambiguity over how, where or even if our bottles can be recycled is a non-issue and our customers never have to feel guilty about adding another empty household cleaner to our landfills or oceans. For retailers, I think they recognize the priority consumers are now placing on reducing waste. Providing a new and unique solution for their customers is an obvious win-win.


Q: What is one piece of advice you can share with consumer packaged goods companies?
I feel funny offering advice to an industry to which I am still so very new, especially since I feel much of our success came about almost accidently. By hard work, yes. But a brilliant and calculated packaging plan, no. 

I’ll explain why I think that’s important. We chose wine bottles because they were pretty and, in the beginning, free. We started allowing our customers to refill them to save money—ours and theirs. Fast forward almost two years…our packaging approach is now considered by many to be sustainable and innovative. Thankfully, these are two good qualities to have these days. 

Looking back, I just wanted to make something that was safe and beautiful and the package was always part of the product. 

My advice would be, when considering a new package, treat it as part of the product, not separate from it, not something to be discarded. Ask yourself, is it safe? Is it beautiful? And will it always be? If the answer is no, I guess I would ask, what can be done to change that? 







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Organizing a Green Wedding by Reusing and Recycling

Organizing a Green Wedding by Reusing and Recycling

It is our obligation to protect our environment. As a result, more couples will try to plan their weddings in a way that it become a green wedding. There are a lot of details you will need to think about in order to planning for a greener even. There are people who try to minimize the wedding so that it become a greener one. There are also couples who will only hire vendors that have the sense to protect the environment.

As a matter of fact, there can be a lot of wastes after a wedding. It does not make sense to hurt our environment in order to have a wonderful wedding. As a result, it will always be good to reuse the items after your event. You may even use recycled materials in your event. We will focus on the ideas of reusing and recycling in a wedding in this article.

Let us first of all talk about the wedding invitation. In fact, it will be extremely environmental friendly if you can invite your guests by sending emails. Of course you will also send the save the date note via emails. You will also ask your guests to reply you via emails. In this case you do not need to print the cards and these will certainly help to save the environment.

However, it is also very true that it can be too informal if you decide to send the invitation via email. It may consider a bit impolite if you do so. If this is the case, you may still need to prepare some physical wedding invitations and send them to your guests.

When you are search for the cards, you have to pay attention to the materials. Make sure that the paper you use is either recycled paper or paper from sustainable sources. The ink to be use is also very important. In most cases, it will be more environmental friendly to use soy ink when printing the cards. You will need to discuss with the invitation vendor on this matter when you are ordering them.

A lot of brides will consider purchasing a new gown for the wedding. Every bride would like to be the most beautiful bride in the word on the wedding day. However, you can still consider to purchase a second hand wedding dress. A second hand item does not necessarily mean that it is not a beautiful item. If it is possible, you can also wear the gown your mother or even your grandmother wore when they got married. This is on one hand environmental friendly and on the other hand make the gown more meaningful.

When your wedding favor is concerned, the best situation will be that you do not prepare them. However, it will not be so practical in a sense that you have to use the favor to thank your guests. To this end, you should make sure that the package of the gifts are made from recycled paper. Besides, you should also choose some environmental wedding favor.

What’s hot and new at the 2008 International Housewares Show? Going Green! Manufacturers are making green products to be more sustainable and address environmental issues. Reducing environmental issues through reducing product packaging, conserving energy, and recycling is what is hot and new in 2008. Watch this Expert Real Estate Tips segment from the International Housewares show for new information on hot green products and environmental sustainability.
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Top 5 Tips For Eco Friendly Living

Top 5 Tips For Eco Friendly Living

No matter how much money you make, what your politics are, or what you do for a living, we can all agree that we want to be able to drink the water and breathe the air without worrying if it is safe. This planet is our lifeboat in an uncaring vacuum, and we have an obligation to care for it, for our children, our grandchildren, and every generation that comes after.

Step 1: Use less energy. If you lower the temperature on your thermostat by just a couple of degrees in winter and instead bundle up a warm sweater and turn up your thermostat on the air-conditioning again by just a few degrees in the summer, you will use a lot less energy. That doesn’t mean that you have to freeze in winter and bake in the summer. Most of the time, a couple of degrees isn’t going to be noticeable and it will really add up to an amazing savings in energy. Also, don’t forget when you leave rooms to turn off the lights, and if the sun is out and keeping your room is nice and bright, why use an artificial light at all? Another way to save energy that people often overlook is to make sure to turn off the iPod, TV, and computer when you’re not using it. This is common sense if you are thinking about saving energy, and as an added benefit it also saves you cash.

Step 2: Use less water. For example, don’t just leave the water running as you brush her teeth. Also, don’t leave the water running while you’re waiting to get in the shower. And when you are in the shower to wash your hair, can try wetting it, turning off the faucet while you lather up and then turn it back on for when you rinse. You can do the same thing when you shave. Why not wet the area, lather it up, shave, and then turned back on the water to rinse? There’s no point in throwing away gallons of water when you’re not even really using it.

Step 3: Recycle your trash. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised number of people who don’t take advantage of their city recycling program. Separate out your glass, plastic, paper, metal, and organic waste, and recycle them in the appropriate places.

Step 4: Reuse. You can take your peanut butter or jelly jar and when it is finished wash it out and use it to store something else. You can also reuse old nails, newspapers, print on the blank side of something you printed previously, and save by reusing many other things in-house that are usually thrown away. Again, not only is it saving the environment, but it’s putting precious dollars and cents back in your pocket.

Step 5: Educate yourself. You can find a ton of free info online and in your community about how to live a more eco-friendly life. All you have to do is read it. Once you learn how to reduce waste, and live green by cutting energy, harmful chemicals, and expenses, you’ll be well underway to being an eco-friendly person.

In summary, in order to eco-friendly, you’ll want to follow these five steps: save energy, save water, recycle, reuse, and educate yourself. With these tools in hand you’ll be set on the road to eco-friendly life.

For more livng green tip tips:

Peter Chandler is respected ecologist who has been living green for the past fifteen years. His constantly updated blog, Living Green Tips, is at:

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