Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do here at Tata Harper Skincare. We’ve always worked to make products that not only make people's lives better — but are better for our planet, too. Through every step of production — from ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, shipping, partnerships, and beyond — this is our top priority. In honor of Earth Month, Tata is answering your questions about our sustainability practices year-round. Let’s break down our green roots!
Q&A With Tata Harper
Q: What is the most important thing that you do to be sustainable?
To me, the most important thing that we do to be sustainable is create a sustainable product. Our formulas are 100% natural and completely biodegradable. This means they don’t pollute the water, the earth, the air — or people’s bodies. A lot of brands claim to be sustainable because they use eco-friendly packaging. But to me, those positive efforts are offset (or even negated) if what’s inside is damaging the earth. In order to call yourself sustainable, I believe you have to make a sustainable product — and that’s really what we strive to do.
Q: What's next for Tata Harper in terms of your sustainability initiatives?
We’re always looking for new ways to be sustainable. I really believe that refillable products are the way of the future, and we are going to be launching our first refillable and reusable product late this spring. Most beauty is throwaway, and these single-use products are just polluting landfills and the ocean. I wanted to move towards refillable products to extend the lifespan of our product and reduce overall waste.
Q: What does natural mean to Tata Harper Skincare?
Unfortunately, there’s no regulation or set standards around the word “natural.” That term has really been abused and sometimes misused by our industry. For us, “natural” means that everything in the product is derived from the earth, and was grown in the earth. Some brands use one or two natural ingredients and call the product natural, but we take it to the extreme. Every single ingredient in a formula (including our emulsifiers and preservatives) is natural and that has always been our standard.
Q: How do you choose your packaging? Is it recyclable?
Almost all of our products come in glass, which is infinitely recyclable. The small number of products that come in tubes are made with 100% recyclable bio-based sugarcane plastic. Our cartons are made with certified paper from sustainably managed forests. We also use biodegradable soy ink to reduce the toxicity of our cartons.
Our glass bottles and jars and our bio-plastic tubes are 100% recyclable. Unfortunately, our pumps and caps aren’t right now, but we’re constantly searching for new eco-friendly solutions to integrate. While we may not be perfect, we are always trying to improve and adapt to have our packaging be as sustainable as possible.
Q: Can you tell us about your manufacturing process?
We make everything ourselves on our farm in Vermont from start to finish. There’s no outsourcing or unnecessary shipping between multiple facilities across the country or world. Since all of our ingredients are natural, we don’t create toxic byproducts that pollute water or end up in landfills. Our products are made-to-order in small batches, so there is no overproducing or excess inventory that ends up in a landfill. Most importantly, this means that we ship everything directly to you from Vermont so the products are as fresh and potent as possible.
Q: How do you compare to other beauty brands?
It’s really rare to find a fully integrated company like ours.The fact that we make everything ourselves, with our own people, all under one roof is definitely not the norm. When I first started, people thought to do it this way was crazy– but I didn’t want to be beholden to the financial and quantity demands of subcontractors. I get why other companies do it, but I knew it wasn’t right for my company. I wanted to have full visibility of the formulation and manufacturing process so I could control the quality of our products.
Q: What is your POV on brand transparency?
For us, transparency is about our environmental, ethical, and moral standards. I built the company this way because I believe that customers deserve to know what’s inside the products they use and how those products are made.
Our customers deserve to know that the product they are using is 100% natural and non-toxic, cruelty-free, fair-trade materials and everything is made sustainably.
Q: What environmental causes or organizations do you support?
I have such a deep respect and appreciation for nature, so I like to do my part and support like-minded organizations. Some of my favorites are Trees for the Future, Climate Reality Project, Sunrise Movement, and Zero Hour. I encourage all of you to check out their sites to see how you can get involved and give back.
Q: What are your favorite Earth-friendly habits?
I think that it’s really about the small actions of individuals that cumulatively have a large impact. It can be as simple as mini-minimizing your single-use plastic intake, go to the store with reusable bags, use reusable water bottles, don’t take plastic silverware, little things like that. I believe that it’s when we all do our own part, however big or small.