A Conversation With LüSa Organics
Photo courtesy LüSa Organics.
Here in the Driftless region, we have our very own champions for plastic alternatives! These wonderful people are working behind the scenes, starting businesses, and doing what they can to combat plastic pollution. We're so pleased to present this series of conversations with our local plastic-free advocates, and tickled that our first conversation is with LüSa Organics!
After starting their business in 2002, Viroqua-based LüSa became a big name in the local zero waste movement. They handcraft sustainable skincare, baby products, facial care, zero-waste deodorants, dish soap, and so much more! VPF member Philothea Bezin had a conversation with Rachel from LüSa about the successes and struggles of running a low waste business.
Philothea: When building your business, did you always have a goal of reducing waste?
Rachel: Since our business's inception in 2002, we've strived to reduce waste and operate as sustainably as possible. That's been a living journey, and every year we strive to do more than we did the years before. Recent sustainability goals include going 100% palm oil-free, reducing our use of essential oils, reducing plastic usage by 96%, and planting a tree for every order placed. Who knows what next year will bring...
Philothea: What pitfalls have you run into when working to reduce your waste?
Rachel: As a small manufacturer, we struggled with buying packaging that was made with postconsumer recycled materials. We simply don't have the buying power to pick up millions of pieces at a time, the minimum required for some sustainable packaging. Our solution? Less packaging in general, and getting rid of nearly all of our plastic unilaterally.)
Philothea: What do you wish your customers knew about your efforts?
Rachel: We're human, we're imperfect, and we're always learning. That means that sometimes we'll pivot what we do or how we do it in order to be more sustainable. It also means that when we don't offer something (like liquid soap or conditioning bars) there's probably a reason that involves toxicity or sustainability.
Philothea: Have there been any changes you made that were easier than you expected? Did anything surprise you?
Rachel: Convincing our customers to try some wild sustainable solutions has really been a breeze! So many are ready to break up with plastic, so they're game to try things like lip balms in biodegradable tubes or solid, organic dish soap. We're so happy to have them join us on this journey and their enthusiasm feeds our souls.
Thanks, Rachel, for helping Viroqua be a Choose to Reuse community!