In 2019 there was a major flood on the West Coast of New Zealand that ripped open the Fox Glacier landfill on the edge of the very popular tourist town. The beaches were strewn with rubbish and the floodwaters were pushing it into the ocean. Whilst the clean-up teams were hard at work, they noticed that the majority of the rubbish came from the hotels in the area and some of it was 30 to 40 years old. This monumental issue that occurred in New Zealand really sparked the desire to want to make a change for Melissa Parker Bentley as she invested her time into researching the problem further and discovered that over 70 million bottles of hotel toiletries got to landfills each year in New Zealand alone. Being the keen traveller and outdoor enthusiast that she is, Melissa found this hugely concerning so she got to work on building Spire NZ to address the issue. Spire NZ produces plastic-free guest size toiletries in the way of biodegradable solid shampoo and conditioner bars. If one of her bars were to end up in landfill it would have biodegraded within three months, which is incredible!
Currently Spire NZ’s target market is hotels and consumers in New Zealand, however Melissa explained that they have found manufacturing partners in Europe and the US, which has led to the intended expansion into these regions within the next year. They also have some sample stock in the UK and are looking for boutique hotels that would like to trial the amazing Spire NZ products.
I asked Melissa about her short and longterm goals but as I thought, it is an overall goal to reduce plastic waste. The more establishments that they can convert to using plastic-free products, the better for the environment. Not only this, but because the emphasis is so prominent on making sustainable changes, guests tend to be more appreciative of businesses making these changes to their eco-credibility. Spire NZ is a social enterprise that creates their products to solve a problem rather than create one. Whereas most hotel toiletries are not recycled and therefore it typically takes over 400 years for one plastic bottle to decompose.
One of Spire NZ’s most popular products is their multi-tasking All in ONE Shampoo & Conditioner Bar and is a perfect gift for guests. It works as a 2in1 shampoo & conditioner, face and body wash and can be used as a shaving bar. It is formulated with very gentle coconut-based cleansers and is soap-free and PH balanced. It leaves your hair and skin feeling soft, silky and nourished. I personally think this is a fantastic solution for hotel guests, and if we all continue to make small changes we could make a big impact!