By supporting Kooshoo, you are indirectly supporting a small business, the environment, and developing communities overseas. For $15 for 5 hair ties, that is around $3 per hair tie, which seems quite expensive. However, for what Kooshoo stands for and their intentions of designing a product to last forever (but being biodegradable of course), I would definitely recommend this sustainable alternative if you have the extra money to do so. Every year, 20,000 pounds of hair ties just accumulate in our landfills, taking centuries to break down. If you add up the total amount and cost of conventional hair ties a person may regularly use in a year, it would be no surprise that it is likely more expensive and wasteful than these 5 hair ties that are designed to last, while being the most sustainable. Kooshoo calls out the technique of ‘planned obsolescence’ where companies purposely design a product to be cheaply made and only functional for a certain amount of time, causing the consumer to purchase more and drive that cycle. What the consumers don’t see is the massive mounds of trash in landfills or the pollution in our waterways and atmosphere that are extremely harmful for numerous reasons. Kooshoo encourages minimalist shopping habits of buying less items that are made to last. This shows they are committed to making an impact as they are encouraging their customers to buy less items. I mean what kind of business is trying to drive away their sales? (Sustainable ones that are trying to get across the message of needing to be environmentally conscious by changing our lifestyles.)
Kooshoo’s organic hair ties contain only two ingredients: 70% GOTS certified organic cotton and 30% natural rubber. This basically means the organic cotton was grown in an ethical and sustainable way that is way more eco-friendly than conventional cotton by reducing the amount of water used and skipping out on the pesticides. The hair tie is 100% biodegradable (in a composting facility). The hair ties are also dyed using GOTS and Oeko-Tex dyes, which certify that there were no harmful chemicals involved, which are healthy for us and also the planet. As for packaging, they use 100% recycled Forest Stewardship Council certified paper. This means the entire supply chain involved in producing and processing that paper has been responsibly sourced. However, this exact certification is involved in a greenwashing scandal where they were actually acquiring timber illegally and not really having an effect on deforestation as they claim. This makes me a bit wary as to whether Kooshoo is not really staying up to date or did not bother to search for better options since a quick Google search of ‘Forest Stewardship Council’ automatically presents the article discussing the scandal a few lines down on the first page. Nonetheless, the main material of the actual hair ties can’t be beat as they are the most sustainable you can get.
Kooshoo ensures their products are made in a Fair Trade certified facility located in India. In order to reduce their environmental footprint, they grow the organic cotton and natural rubber nearby their facilities to limit the amount of transportation needed during the production process. You can really tell Kooshoo has every detail planned out as this greatly reduces carbon emissions (and costs) by minimizing air travel to other countries for production. It also supports local businesses that will benefit the economy, all around being a huge win win for the environment and business. Based off the Fair Rubber certification, the way they produce the rubber is first extracting the ‘latex milk’ from latex trees. It goes through a process similar to producing milk. They wait for the latex sap to curdle and squeeze out the liquid, which leaves you with the rubber sheet. It also goes through more additional steps like smoking them for preservation. For the GOTS Certified cotton, the certification ensures the cotton is grown and processed under a strict social and ecological standard. Organic cotton is simply better for the environment and farmers by having a lower carbon footprint and eliminating any exposure to harmful pesticides.
Additionally, their dye warehouse is not only Oeko-Tex and GOTS certified, but they recycle the waste water into drinking quality water. It is treated in a 5 stage process to clean the water to a certain drinkable standard. This is madly impressive! Kooshoo is also exploring vegetable dyes and how they can incorporate that into their products. Their elastic has also been updated to provide 20% more stretch to be comfortable for all hair types. How they are accomplishing this is not stated, which is a little strange. Although I am not familiar with exact rubber production processes, I would assume additives would be incorporated to make something more stretchy so, I would like to see a more transparent production process as to how Kooshoo makes this happen.
Kooshoo’s Fair Trade facility is in India, specifically the state of Tamil Nadu, where it is run by nuns. The photos uploaded on their website are the real deal showcasing the actual workers, the setting, and the founders physically being there. They emphasized how much they valued being a sustainable and socially responsible company from the start. This shows Kooshoo had these intentions from their inception and made it apart of their business model, rather than trying to be trendy by being sustainable. Seeing the actual photos made me trust Kooshoo and respect how they were searching for the best options, rather than settling for subpar circumstances that sacrifice the environment and people’s safety. The facility’s multiple certifications ensure that they are closely audited to guarantee they are adhering to the social and environmental rules. They also work with small family farms to supply their natural rubber and sustainable certifications. Kooshoo shows they are really dedicated to ethically sourcing and making their products. There seems to be no greenwashing (from what I was able to find) as they personally emphasize transparency and accountability in their supply chain. The facility itself donates their profits to fund humanitarian causes. Currently, they are being used for a cancer treatment center in the state of Kerala where many don’t have access to proper medical care. I wish companies would normalize this more, especially large corporations. It is awesome to see how they are willing to share their profits with organizations who are only benefitting the community. If a small startup company has the means to support other organizations with their funds, there should be absolutely no excuse for larger companies who have greater profits to do the same and even more.