When I bought the Matakana Village Health Shop 3 years ago (now Tea & Tonic), I noticed how many of the products were housed in plastic.
They would arrive in boxes with plastic packages to protect them, plastic bags to post them and plastic tape to seal it all up. With 8 million metric tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year (on top of the titanic 150 million metric tonnes already circulating our marine environments), we certainly don’t need to be contributing to the mass!
After our first year in business we wanted to find balance in meeting our customers needs and finding ways to be more sustainable at the same time. We began communicating with our suppliers. Over the year ahead we would be phasing out all products packaged in plastic, with a zero tolerance for soft plastic. We made it clear that if they could not re-think and work towards changing to glass or home-compostable packaging, that we could no longer stock their product lines. While some lines we did have to let go, it was really inspiring to see other businesses re-design and re-package their products. Some of the newer businesses shared similar values and already met our criteria! Within the year, we were proud to reveal a carefully curated collection of products that are free of all soft plastics (and plastic in general although it is an ongoing process to phase out all plastic lids). We are also mindful when we send out our online orders to use up-cycled card and paper along with paper tape. Along with these changes, the stores ranges have expanded to include products that help people practice sustainability in their everyday lives. That includes bamboo toothbrushes, reusable straws, woven market baskets, glass jars, locally made keep cups and beeswax wraps, and MONNI - a range of sustainable New Zealand made clothing!
The reason I bought Tea & Tonic in the first place was because I had a lifelong dream to create my own clothing label using fabric waste of all natural fibres. It had grown to a point where I needed a space where my story could be told and the customer could learn about and connect with what I had to share. It became apparent to me that I could create this space not only for myself, but for a myriad of creators, all with a vision to make the world a better place - for themselves, their families, the wider community and the environment we all live in.
Tea & Tonic has always been a place where their creations can be found, but we all have incredible stories behind what we do, and I'm excited to start sharing it all with you.
Love Moni x