There have been huge strides in the worlds of eco lip balm over the past decade. It used to be tough to find products that did not contain petrolatum and paraffin (yukky thought these sound, they are standard in products such as Blistex) and/or did not go rancid in short order.
Now we are spoiled for choice in health and green stores and can chose between beeswax, shea butter and other more tasty-sounding things to slather on our lips. All seem to be pretty shelf stable and can be flavoured with delicious natural oils.
Even when we are strapped for time and in the super-market or mainstream drug store there is usually a Bert’s Bees product that will lubricate without the use of hydrocarbons.
Despite all this progress, one annoyance still remains. It’s the plastic that is used to package and dispense all those nice-sounding oils and waxes. If you look at the bottom of your purse or on the pocket of your winter coat, you will surely find one or two dying lip balms, just waiting to be cast into the land fill where they will wait ….and wait ….for several thousand years.
How happy was I, then, when I found Sweet Leaf Bath Co., an Ontario company that sells its lovely fair-trade beeswax lip balm in compostable paper tubes. Though these might sounds less than robust, I can assure you that they hold up really well. But they also feel like they really will decompose (apparently within 15 days), unlike some ostensibly compostable products.
The one thing that you can’t easily do with the paper tube is the equivalent of `winding down’ the lip balm in the plastic tube. Once it has been squeezed out, it stays out (unless you manually push it back in, which can get a bit messy). But, on the plus side, it is not that easy to over-extend the lip balm in the first place. I can assure you of that since my kids help themselves to my balm whenever they pass my desk and they have not yet caused any damage.
The lip balm comes in 3 lush flavours: peppermint, chocoberry and pomegranate. I like the mint best but the fruity pomegranate is also nice. I have not tried the chocomint. The website gives full details of all the ingredients.
The lip balms are available from the Sweet Leaf site at $5.50 each (payment through Paypal). Unfortunately because these are small items, the shipping and handling costs seem high relative to the item cost if you buy just one balm ($5 will cover between one and six balms). But you could purchase other Sweet Leaf products (they have a bath line too) to offset the shipping costs. However, I can’t vouch for these, having never tried them.
Another option is to buy them through one of my current favourite eco merchants, Jess’s Crunchy Shop where you can combine your order with other items and get free shipping if you exceed C$79. Or hope that you live near one of the Canadian retail locations listed under the our Company tab on the website.
And if you are feeling sore about the shipping cost, don’t forget the good news: a paper tube holds about 30% more product than a standard plastic tube. We are talking long-lasting lubrication.
(I should mention that I was sent samples of this lip balm by Sweet Leaf, but I am reviewing the product because I love it.)