Sustainable Souvenirs – The Symphony of Chamomile

The Current Situation

Some souvenirs, offered in Alpine touristic centers, are not very sustainable and could harm the environment, especially when made out of synthetic textiles, plastics. Traditional souvenirs in the Slovenian Alpine area are:

Our Initiative

We are Manca, Eva, Katja, Iza, Tina and Klementina. Our initiative was also presented in the project Alps4nats.

We planned to produce salve from alpine plant extracts and pack it in environmentally friendly packaging, but COVID-19 has slightly changed our plans. Consequently, we used
just ordinary chamomile plant (Chamomilla Matricaria), which is not typical for the Alpine
area but was easily accessible in lowlands in times of quarantine

At first, we explored terms and conditions for selling homemade products, produced from natural ingredients. We were interested in:

  • natural ingredients of salve, their max. quantity in % and function (plant drugs affects our skin – healing, hydration, nutrition, solidity, and aromaticity of products)
  • production process
  • labeling requirements for cosmetics products
  • quality certificates

We created a recipe for chamomile salve with the help of the DIY cosmetic experts (company BeeBeauty), compared the prices of ingredients on the market, and calculated their needed quantity.

Ingredients for chamomile salve are apricot kernel oil, dried chamomile flowers, shea butter, bee-wax pellets, essential oils – Immortelle (Helichyrsicum italicum), sweet orange, and vitamin E oil.

Recipe

We have prepared an oily extract out of apricot kernel oil and dried chamomile flowers. The mix was put in a warm place with indirect sunlight for 14 days. In the end, it was strained through a sponge gauze pad.

Before the working process, we had to disinfect the working surface, our hands, all bowls and pots, and all cosmetic jars, where we packaged our salve. For disinfection purposes, we used 70% alcohol.
We put oily extract, shea butter, and beeswax pellets in a double
boiler and gently warmed the mixture on low heat until butter and
wax were melted. Once melted, we removed the mixture from heat and added essential oils and vitamin E oil. The chamomile salve was ready.

We quickly poured the warm salve into prepared jars (15 ml) and allowed them to cool
completely. In the end, we chose glass packaging, which has a lower environmental footprint than plastic and is validated by EU cosmetic legislation. After that, we prepared labels with the logo of our company, titled The Alpine Symphony of silk. We named the salve “The symphony of chamomile”. We put all the required information on the label: ingredients and their possible allergens, date of production and expiring date, volume.

Herbal Salves as an Entrepreneurial Idea

We presented our products at the final conference of the Erasmus+ project, where they emphasized the role of women in urban areas. Herbal saves could be one of the entrepreneurial opportunities for those women. Our product was sent as a promotional gift to all participants of the conference.