Over the year since we last caught up with Stream2Sea, they’ve been struggling . . . to keep up with demand! It’s a problem that’s good to have because the more people are using eco-friendly products, the more our delicate environments are being protected. And boy are people using them!
At the time of this writing, they’re flooded with partnerships with the likes of Nautilus liveaboards where their shampoo/body wash and leave-in conditioner is being stocked in all the cabins and on the dive decks, and the Aggressors which have been using Stream2Sea’s mineral sunscreens for years as part of the Green the Fleet Initiative, and are now using the shampoo as well. They’ve even found a foothold in a new market with huge implications — the cruising industry. All of this is especially exciting because, of all the body products we use that affect the environment, shampoo is usually the most toxic.
Stream2Sea products are appearing other places as well. Rainbow Reef Dive Center, who have earned the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary’s Blue Star rating for their commitment to education and conservation, provide the sunscreen free to all of their divers. In fact, most operators in the Keys are stocking Stream2Sea. It’s cropping up in health food stores, paddle boarding shops, even in a lumber yard! The day of our interview, company Founder Autumn Blum was thrilled to report that she’s partnered with Fourth Element to distribute her products in the UK!
With business booming as it is, Stream2Sea has had to expand their production capabilities. This part of the story has a satisfying symmetry, as the new facility is actually the one Blum gave up when she left the cosmetic industry in 2009 to develop the eco-friendly products that have become Stream2Sea. The new digs, located in Wauchula, Florida, have the capacity to be five times more productive, and the first batches made in there came out in July.
New product-wise, Stream2Sea’s freshest offering isn’t really a body care product at all, but a majority of divers never leave shore without it: a mask defogger. The new formula was born out of necessity, as Autumn is apparently a very foggy diver. As John Nussbaum, her biggest fan and right-hand man, tells it, she couldn’t find anything that worked:
“She’s the foggiest diver you’ve ever met! Finally she said, ‘I’m going to make my own.'”
And she did. The problem with most of the defogs on the market is that since they’re non-cosmetic, they aren’t required to list their ingredients on their packaging. This makes it difficult for conscious consumers to judge what effects they may have on the environment. In addition to believing in total transparency, Autumn stresses that with eco-friendly products, it’s not enough just to be safe — they have to perform as well as, or better than the harmful alternatives.
The next product in development is one she’s been asked for over and over: a sunscreen stick for those that don’t want to slather on their SPF in liquid form. She’s got the formula down and the testing done, but has hit a snag with the packaging. Storing it in a tin would require users to dip their fingers in it which would essentially be little different than applying regular sunscreen. Traditional, deodorant-type packages requires too much plastic and paperboard tubes can’t withstand the wet-and-tumble life inside a dive bag. She’s putting out the call, and wants to know: Does anyone out there have any suggestions?
Responding to feedback and requests from users, Autumn thinks eco-friendly boat/car wash could be in her future, as well as a wetsuit wash. She encourages everyone to read the labels on the products they use and be aware of what they’re putting into the environment around them. Don’t feel bad if you’re late to the party though — guilt over past sins is a wasted emotion when it comes to conservation. You can’t know everything, and when you know better, you’ll do better.
If you’re ready to do better with the body products you’re using, you can head over to the Stream2Sea website to find eco-friendly alternatives.