Bar None is a company known for its zero-waste, plastic-free, and cruelty-free products. Currently, the company is selling biodegradable hair ties for only $5. While it is at a pretty reasonable price, and it feels good to support a company that seems to care about zero waste practices and sustainability, I expected to give this company a solid 3 earth rating. Unfortunately, a pattern that many of us at Voiz have seen with companies is their complete lack of transparency. Bar None has fallen short through their lack of clarity on how and where the products are made, also who exactly is making them. Rather than leading with assumptions, I can only review what I know for sure about the company's practices. Hopefully, in the future, Bar None will soon be able to highlight their sustainable practices within the company (especially in the manufacturing process), but for now, the review stands as follows.
The two ingredients that make these hair ties are Natural rubber and cotton. Now when I first read this, I wondered, what the heck is “natural rubber?” Well, Natural rubber comes from the process of tapping plants. The sap is released from rubber trees which regenerate over time, making this a renewable resource. On the other hand, Cotton is a bit tricky to produce sustainably because of the excess water and pesticides needed to harvest the product. Cotton is known for being the largest user of water among all agricultural goods. Both surface and groundwater are used in order to irrigate fields that grow cotton. This leads to loss of freshwater through evaporation and just a flat-out lack of efficiency when it comes to managing water; it is also worth mentioning that bugs LOVE cotton. In order to deter the bugs, farmers have to use pesticides. The issue with the use of pesticides is that it can damage the soil quality and also the health of biodiversity in the farm and surrounding runoff areas.
Natural rubber is known for being pretty sustainable; sap is released from rubber trees which regenerate over time.
While there is no issue with the product itself, the problem lies in keeping up with demand. This is why transparency with suppliers is helpful because when managing rubber tree farms and harvesting the sap, depending on how its done, it can be a massive contributor to issues such as deforestation by making more room to plant more rubber trees and/or an increase in carbon emissions through both harvesting and transporting the product. The same can be said for Bar None's cotton supplier. While Bar None does not disclose their manufacturing process, making hair ties is a reasonably simple procedure. The fabric made from cotton surrounds a layer of elastic made from rubber. Since the company is known for its zero waste practices, it is safe to believe that no materials are being wasted in the manufacturing process. Companies like Bar None have to make sure that their suppliers are transparent about their practices and that they are not impacting the surrounding environment in order to make up for the excess demand. While Bar None has not disclosed their suppliers, one can only hope that they are following their motto of making products that won't harm the environment.
Bar None has not disclosed any information on who is manufacturing the product or even the facility the product is being manufactured in. While the company does have a blog in which they encourage readers to practice sustainable methods, they fail to elaborate on how they are playing their part in sustainability during the manufacturing process.