Here at Desert Shadow we believe that sustainable is not just a thing you do at work or sometimes, we believe it is a part our lives and is interwoven in everything we do at all times without exception.
"Our aim is to shake up the home hair colour industry by offering truly natural and safe products that don’t cost our health or the health of the environment. We do everything in our power to ensure our products are inline with our own personal morals and ethics. From the ingredients to the packaging and marketing we are transparent, real and honest. This means we can sleep well, knowing that we are offering our community an alternative that can have an impact on peoples lives even if small. It is the little things that go together to make the big things."
- Charmaine ( founder of Desert Shadow )
At Desert Shadow we are passionate about the environment & reducing the hair colour & beauty industry footprint on the planet.
Our ethics are driven by the founders, Charmaine & Tomas who are passionate about living naturally, being gentle, conscious and leaving no trace. "The things we do in out everyday lives flow through the business in all aspects from the environmentally friendly cleaning products used to the way we interact with people and even who we choose to do business with."
Our motto is that it is the little things we each do every day that create the whole. You may not think you are doing much but leading by example, sharing your knowledge and living consciously really does add up to make a big difference.
Below is an outline of all the little things we do each day that create a ripple of change
and radiate out to make a difference.
Click on the subject to read more or simply scroll down to read all of what we do
Waste, Landfill & our efforts to reduce impact
Desert Shadow has a policy of REDUCE, REUSE & RECYCLE.
Our landfill waste is so minimal we do not have a waste bin at our warehouse. Our actual landfill waste amounts to about half of a small garbage bag (or the same as an old shopping bag from the super market) a week and sometimes even a fortnight. We are also waste efficient at home with roughly one shopping bag used each week. We do this by recycling, worm farming and composting most of our waste. It feels good and doesn't take much effort.
Tomas and I are a part of the Freshwater Community Garden which means we consistently compost food scraps which come form the work kitchen. These include tea bags, coffee grounds and any organic food matter. We have a small container in the kitchen area that is designated especially for compost waste and we take it to the garden twice a week. The compost we make is used on our organic vegie patch which grows us some pretty tasty produce all year round.
We have reduced the amount of paper used in our hair treatment products by removing the instruction sheets and printing this on the box instead. We have also made the instructions available in a downloadable PDF on our website.
We are paperless where possible and give our customers online receipts and invoices rather than printed versions (unless requested)
At Desert Shadow we reuse all materials as many times as possible to avoid sending it to landfill or even the recycling depots. Our office waste paper is shredded and used for packaging and shipping our online and wholesale orders. Reusing this paper means we can have a more conscious packaging material for shipping orders that can be recycled at the end of its life instead of plastic bubble wrap that does not do the environment any favours.
At Desert Shadow we have a ‘NO BUBBLE WRAP and NO POLYSTYROFOAM’ policy where we do not purchase any plastic or bubble wrap or Styrofoam for packing & sending orders. However, we do reuse ALL packaging materials that have been sent to us in supplier orders, using them to pack and send our own online & wholesale orders. Boxes received from supplier orders are also reused for sending or broken down and cut up to be used for packing and shipping orders.
We recycle all containers and paper card that we are unable to repurpose or reuse.
As I mentioned previously all of our paper packaging and paper components of our products are made from post consumer and recycled materials This includes any instructions, inserts or promotional flyers.
Sourcing sustainable packaging
ALL of our paper carton packaging is made form 100% Post Consumer recycled materials. We source our printed packaging from a company who carbon offsets, uses vegetable inks and have won awards and are recognised for their recycling and environmental contributions. This means our packaging costs more. It also means that it took more effort to get the colours right ( especially for our hair colour swatches ) but we are not willing to compromise and will continue to use the post consumer stock to stay in line with our own morals and ethics.
Our postage boxes are also made from recycled paper products.
Hair colour pouches:
We recently switched from a non recyclable BOPP to a recyclable high barrier laminate inner plastic pouch. Unfortunately the nature of our hair colour products means we need a good barrier to protect the efficiency and integrity of the ingredients. This means we have encountered challenges in finding environmentally conscious inner pouch packaging solutions. We are always doing our bit to have conscious components and have not given up the search.
We are currently undergoing tests with bio degradable materials with the intention to use this material for our inner pouches in the future. This may reduce the shelf life of the product but will be better for the environment and our impact as a business. This testing is in its final months of trials so fingers crossed we have success!
Plastic shampoo & conditioner bottles:
Our Shampoo & conditioner bottles are made from........... While we would love to use glass for these products our feedback was that the glass could pose a danger in the shower ( which is true ). To try and compensate we have made the volumes larger than regular products to reduce the amount of bottles you go through and therefore the amount of plastic we need to use an recycle. The bottles are made from recyclable plastic and are made here in Australia.
We also sell bulk product to shops which offers a refill option to our customers.
Sourcing sustainable ingredients
ORGANIC HAIR COLOURS & TREATMENTS:
At Desert Shadow we are Australia’s first and only 100% certified organic hair colour brand. Our hair colours are made from dried and powdered plants that contain natural dye pigments. These ingredients are totally natural, water safe and are compostable and biodegradable (because they are made from plant leaves, fruits and flowers). We do not have any of the usual chemicals found in regular commercial hair colours, chemical hair colours contain toxic and carcinogenic ingredients that are not good for our bodies or the environment and have ingredients that are suspected to have effects on marine & aquatic life.
We source our hair colour ingredients from solar powdered, self sufficient farms that use companion planting as a way of natural and organic pest control and is a great way to keep the soil happy. Goods we source from over seas are ordered in large quantities to reduce our carbon footprint with transport.
At Desert Shadow we are conscious consumers and do not put anything in our products that we wouldn’t be happy to use ourselves. Our product formulations are influenced by our own moral and ethical stance on ingredients and safe cosmetics and beauty products.
Where possible we source our ingredients from local & Australian producers. Our Kakadu plum is sourced from a
We DO NOT use Palm oil in any of our products as we believe the palm oil industry is a large contributor to deforestation of regions such as Indonesia and South America.
Palm oil is a common ingredient found in majority of shampoos and many foaming formulas like body and face washes. The surfactant that is used as a base to these products is derived from palm oil and sometimes a mix of palm and coconut oils..
At the start of this year we released our PALM OIL FREE Shampoo & Conditioner range that is called ‘Habitat’ , we are one of very few products that can claim this. We are supported by the orang-utan alliance and we are in the process of gaining palm oil free certification. This certification helps conserve the habitat of the orang-utan by bringing awareness to the Palm oil industry and the effects it has on the environment.
Our soaps are made from 100% olive oil that is waste from farms. The oils we receive are not able to be sold for consumption so we take them and turn them into soap. Olive oil soap is palm oil free too!
Our Carbon footprint
At Desert Shadow we are conscious of our energy consumption and do our best to reduce unnecessary energy use.
Our upstairs office and toilet area have large sky-lights ( 3 in total ) , which enables us to work during daylight hours ( 9am to 5pm) without needing to turn on a single light.
Our downstairs work area has lighting and electrics in sections where lights are used only in the spaces that are in operation. This set up enables us to work efficiently without the need for the entire warehouse to be lit up all day.
We have embraced LED lighting in some parts and have replaced the old fashioned day maker light use with portable alternatives and by simply rolling up the roller door to allow natural light to enter the work place.
Community, causes & contributions
Desert Shadow is passionate about speaking up and standing up for what we are passionate about
The founders of Desert Shadow love to be part of the community. They regularly attend volunteer days at the community garden and have recently discovered the Northern Beaches Clean up crew, which have a clean up day on the last Sunday of each month. This is a gathering of locals who want to keep our environment and ocean plastic and rubbish free. The event cleans up a place at a time and catches the littler before it gets a chance to enter the ocean. Last clean up the community collected "374 toys (mainly balls), 422 plastic lids, 234 drink bottles, 1303 plastic food wraps, 697 plastic remnants, 1418 pieces of Styrofoam, 2104 pieces of broken glass, 102 aluminium cans, 2 chairs, 1 hand luggage bag, 2 tents, 1 broken drone, 6 picnic blankets and some shoes, socks and undies and much more"
We encourage the staff to get involved and make a difference by doing the little things.
Attending community gatherings and talks about issues that are affecting the Beaches and the flora and Fauna in the area is of great importance to us and we do not hesitate to stand up and contribute to make a change or difference.
Here we believe that sustainable is not just a thing you do at work or sometimes, we believe it is a part our lives and is interwoven in everything we do at all times without exception.
Causes & contributions:
We contribute the the organic community by being certified organic with NASAA. Organic certification is carried out by Not For Profit agencies that are focused on the organic industry. The yearly fees we pay go towards supporting the farmers and the industry as a whole. When you buy organic that is certified you are also supporting the industry which creates regenerative soil, healthy produce and less impact on the earth.
It is sad that organic needs certification and we think it is a bit back to front and wish it was the chemical and unhealthy products that should be the ones who need certification but that is just how it is :).
We like to show up and speak up by supporting causes that are close to our hearts. Volunteering, offering services & products are all little things we do to contribute to the many different causes across the nation.
We follow living ocean, the surf rider foundation, WA forrest alliance and contribute by donating money and by showing up at rallies and protests such as the Shark cull along the WA coast & the Seizmic testing and oil drilling that is intended to be done in the coming months along the East coast between the Northern Beaches and Newcastle.
We volunteered for a number of years at the yearly ride to raise money for the Margaret River environment centre in WA
Currently we are undergoing B Corp Certification and in the final stages of both Palm oil free Certification and 1% for the planet.
If there is a cause that you are passionate about and would like to share with us please reach out.
Our working environment
We are an Equal opportunity employer and encourage people of all ages, gender, background and ability to apply for positions within our company. At present, besides the owners ( Charmaine and Tomas) we have one employee who was found through a disability employment service. After seeing a programme on SBS called 'employable me' we contacted our local services providers to find a suitable candidate for a position that we needed filled at the warehouse. We believe everyone has an ability and skill and we welcome them and allow them to shine.