I suppose I should be careful when using the term bath salts these days. I could have said lip balm or sugar scrub or herbal soap, which are all products you can learn to make yourself and at the same time help homeless women learn job skills. My friend Karen Lee–captain of the Eco-Etsy team and the author of the blog EcoKaren–and her business partner Mary Kearns of Herban Lifestyle have created a brand new for-profit social enterprise called Herban Crafts, which offers DIY personal care craft kits as part of job training program to empower homeless women living in transitional housing. In addition to putting together the kits, the women will learn skills to help them gain employment in the future.
It’s a cool idea. And what is even cooler is that Karen is committed to creating kits that are as green as possible. All the ingredients in Herban Crafts Kits are certified organic, fair trade and/or ethically wild-harvested. And nearly all of the packaging materials in the kits is plastic-free. With the exception of the tiny plastic caps on some glass bottles, the packaging is either 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard, certified home compostable cellulose baggies (from renewable wood pulp sustainably harvested from FSC managed forests), and metal or glass containers.
Who Is Karen Lee?
For those who don’t know her, Karen Lee is a force to be reckoned with. I first met her in person at the BlogHer conference in New York City a couple of years ago, and since then have come to realize how passionate she is about reducing waste and living responsibly. I loved her article “Green Crafting: A Justifiable Means to an End?” so much, I excerpted it in my book. Karen worries that some craft projects can actually encourage consumption if people rationalize buying bottled drinks or juice pouches because they might make some funky planters or purses out of them some day. She’s a woman after my own heart, and she has her heart in the right place.