Bee-yond the Wrap

Bee Our Guest

4. Quality Education 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water

Overview

Bee Our Guest wraps are beeswax-coated cloths specially designed a produced to be reusable food wraps. They help to solve SDGs 13 (Climate Action), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 14 (Life Below Water), and 4 (Quality Education). They did so by reducing the need for single-use plastic, educating the community, supporting local economies, and being conscious consumers. Their wraps also help reduce food waste by keeping food fresh longer and are 100% compostable at the end of their life cycle.

Authors

Mackenzie Macchiarulo

Mackenzie Macchiarulo

Holly Reidinger

Holly Reidinger

Erin Sutter

Erin Sutter

Juliette Joseph

Juliette Joseph

School

Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph's University

Professor

Ron Dufresne

Ron Dufresne

Innovation

With food waste and single-use plastic pollution becoming much too commonplace, Adriana and Peter Fitzgerald wanted to make a difference. Bee Our Guest’s reusable wraps made of cloth coated with beeswax hit on both issues, while also saving the bees.

Beeswax is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal, therefore when used to coat the cloth wraps, they create a natural protective barrier for food to stay fresher longer. A typical head of lettuce keeps for 5 to 8 days without beeswax, it can last closer to 12 to 15 days inside a beeswax food wrap. This is crucial for limiting the amount of food waste we produce, as one-third of all food produced is wasted, according to https://letstalkscience.ca/educational-resources/stem-in-context/environmental-impact-wasted-food. This also helps reduce the water wasted in the food production process, which is equivalent to about 45 trillion gallons of water per year. Bee Our Guest wraps are not only reducing food waste but reducing water waste, which is making more water available to people all around the world.

Bee Our Guest uses exclusively local beeswax from several beekeepers they have relationships with near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The cloth, also locally sourced, is scraps from fabric stores that would normally be thrown away. The raw materials that go into the wraps, along with the purpose for them, are all centered around sustainability and protecting the planet. Bee Our Guest’s innovation not only focuses on a natural solution to man-made problems, but it also creates a local circular economy. This return to simplicity focuses on the homegrown nature of their wraps and the mini culture they are aiming to create within their customer base. They focus on intentionality and changing the way people think about their food and waste production, in hopes to ultimately change their habits.


Bee-yond the Wrap

Inspiration

Adriana and Peter, founders of Bee Our Guest and lifelong partners, were inspired by their honeymoon trip to Australia. Upon arrival, Adriana and Peter noticed that the gas station they stopped at only sold single-use plastic products. It was at this moment that Peter and Adriana made a "pinky promise to one another to avoid single use plastics for the entire trip.

They made conscious decisions to refill bottles or use glass, which is more efficient and clean in production and recycling. Rather than complain about the excessive use of plastic, Peter and Adriana wanted to do something about it. The inspiration they had when creating the company continues to persist throughout their business today; “Everyday is an inspiration, I still can't believe we’re doing this and I feel so grateful to be able to keep doing this. It’s invigorating.” They understand that “changing our habits is one of the hardest things we do as humans,” but we have to start if we wish to see change and create a more sustainable world for future generations.

Adriana grew up in Mexico, going to fairs and festivals where different communities would specialize in natural hand crafts. But as she got older she started seeing plastic overtake these fairs: “plastic balloons, plastic toys, everything wrapped in plastic.” She wanted Bee Our Guest to not only encompass the idea of a local community, but also work against this plastic overhaul. She hopes to not only bring the art of hand crafts to Bee Our Guest, but also ultimately bring Bee Our Guest to some matriarchal communities throughout Mexico; teach them how to collect the beeswax and then create the wraps, lotions, or candles, and sell them. This way a new circular economy can be created.


Overall impact

The couple’s dream came into fruition in 2019, and they started to populate farmer’s markets throughout the area. The wraps themselves took a lot of trial and error to perfect, but once they started selling they saw tangible results. Not only were they hearing verbal affirmations from customers, but also they saw the other vendors at the markets using their wraps to transfer produce, and overall using less single use plastic after hearing about Bee Our Guest. This culture of intentionality and responsibility was already spreading.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and all in-person activities were shut down, they had to completely change their business model. Their main goal was to “recreate that farmer’s market magic online.” And that’s what they did. They upped their e-commerce presence and signed up for virtual farmer’s markets online.

Now that farmer’s markets are back in swing they are back to their traditional business model, but also bolstered by their website. A modest estimate is that they sell to at least 20-25 families/households every week. This is roughly 1,000-3,000 families a year that are not only using less single use plastic but also transferring this mindset of sustainability and intentionality to other sectors of their lives, like the fellow vendors at the markets. They are, as Peter and Adriana said, “Showing people there are other options to single use plastic... We hope people are learning from us in the way that they are shopping.”


Business benefit

Every large scale change must start small, and that is where Bee Our Guest operates. A small local business run by a passionate couple aiming to make a difference; a difference in their local economy and ultimately their global community.

Bee Our Guest's business model is genius in that it encompasses sustainability on all levels. They have very low costs of goods, as they use scraps, saving cloth that would have originally ended up in landfills. Furthermore, as they are focused on creating a circular economy they have also developed deep customer loyalty. People buy one wrap, and realize the versatility and either come back to buy more, or further instill Bee Our Guest's mission in their everyday life.

The business model of low costs of goods, high customer loyalty, and strong mission all benefit the business in that there is only growth in their future. They believe that their business model is easily replicable in other communities and one day hope to expand to towns throughout Mexico. This focuses on SDGs 11 and 12, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Responsible Consumption and Production.


Social and environmental benefit

Every large scale change must start small, and that is where Bee Our Guest operates. A small local business run by a passionate couple aiming to make a difference; a difference in their local economy and ultimately their global community.

One weekend at one of their markets a father came up to them and told them his testimonial. He would always pack a cut up apple for his young daughter to take to lunch, but she would not want to eat them because by the time she opened her lunch box they had gone “brown and ugly.” But when he started sending her with the apples packaged in Adriana and Peter’s wraps, she finally wanted to eat them. This small example is representative of the change that Bee Our Guest is instilling. Now that family, and the young daughter, is recognizing not only the everyday utility of reusable beeswax wraps, but they are also becoming more cognizant of food waste and single use plastic.

Ultimately, Bee Our Guest is focused on SDG 13, Climate Action. The only way to save this earth is to change our habits, and Peter and Adriana are helping people do that. As they say, "bees are everywhere, and everyone needs them." Reusable beeswax wraps can be the answer to the problem of food waste and single use plastic. Bee Our Guest is hitting these two major issues while also encouraging people to change their habits. Their business provides major benefits to both the environment and society

Interviews

Peter Fitzgerald, Owner

Adriana Fitzgerald, Owner

Photo of interviewee

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Bee Our Guest

Bee Our Guest

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, US

Business Website: https://beeourguest.com

Year Founded: 2019

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Bee Our Guest is a local business striving to reduce the use of single use plastics in our everyday life. They are dedicated to helping the environment and promote being intentional consumers. Through the use of their reusable food wraps, they aim to reduce the amount of plastic in our environment, keep food fresh longer, and help people live better lives.