Sustainability is moving to the forefront of most businesses’ modus operandi these days, but can any truly claim that what they do does no harm?

The cosmetic industries are certainly aware that both economic and environmental survival now depends on their use of recycled materials, recyclable packaging, less water and no polluting chemicals, but there are also noble efforts being made towards zero impact.

Wellness brand Haeckels, which is building a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem around seaweed, recently posted a picture on Instagram of a footprint in the sand representing the only trace left by the company’s regular seaweed harvest in its hometown of Margate, Kent. ‘In terms of waste produced, industry should be contributing to the system, ideally enhancing it, or simply evaporating, leaving nothing there is no time for in between.’

In this spirit, Haeckels is overhauling the packaging for all its products, making protective boxes for its glass-enclosed products out of fungal matter mycelium, with product information printed on a card stuffed with seeds. ‘It’s like a seed bomb,’ says founder Dom Bridges. ‘You can just throw the whole thing out of the window.’

Using mycelium for packaging is not new, but unusually Haeckels refuses to hide its organic appearance. ‘It has a beautiful, tactile surface,’ says Bridges. ‘It’s a 100 per cent biodegradable and the paper wraparound contains seeds that relate to the product inside.’ It’s a bold move which shows that even a brand with strong design aesthetics can keep its looks while fully respecting the environment. §

As originally featured in the September 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*246) – on newsstands now