Where there’s a will. . .

The Green Goddess, a Peace River area company, is making hand sanitizer to meet local demand. Above is her product.

Natural cosmetics company switches to making hand sanitizer

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

A Peace River area handcrafted cosmetics company has begun making hand sanitizer to meet an increased local demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Keates, owner of The Green Goddess, normally makes bath scrubs, lip balms, deodorants and other cruelty-free organic locally sourced products, but says she decided to embark on a “stressful journey” to switch her production over to make sanitizer.

To make the new product, she had to search out the ingredients and packaging, which Keates says was difficult.

Unlike local distilleries in Grande Prairie that have switched to making sanitizer, she wasn’t already making alcohol.

“I’m using isopropyl alcohol whereas they would be using ethanol, so there is the added stress of sourcing that. I can use isopropyl or ethanol so I’m just going with what I can find and in my case, it was IPA,” Keates says.

The sanitizer meets Government of Canada and World Health Organization requirements that hand sanitizers must be between 60-75 per cent strength to be effective.

Besides alcohol, the Green Goddess sanitizer contains glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and distilled water. It can be used to disinfect either hands or surfaces.

Keates had to go through a government approval process to get permission to make the product.

“There was red tape and hoops to jump through with the government because it’s a product that makes a ‘claim’,” Keates says.

“In the case of hand sanitizer, we are making a claim that the product sanitizes the hands, therefore it falls under the jurisdiction of a Natural Product [or a drug, depending on the active medicinal ingredients that are in the formula].”

The Green Goddess applied for and got a product license, which gives the product its official government-approved Natural Product Number [NPN], and a site license.

“The process normally takes months [maybe longer] but the government expedited all applications from makers and creators who were able to manufacture sanitizer given the circumstances,” Keates says.

“The license I have been granted is temporary, though, and will dissolve [I believe] when the COVID crisis is no longer deemed a threat.”

Keates was pouring the first batch of sanitizer at press time, which she is selling through her website.

Nampa and Peace River residents can get home delivery of the sanitizer or pick it up in Peace River at Mint Health + Drugs with no delivery charge.

Keates says making the first batch has stretched her resources to the limit and cost her thousands of dollars, but she will do her best to continue to make sanitizer as long as its needed.

“I know people are feeling desperate for sanitizer and I do want to be able to help. I will continue to search for and order ingredients and packaging for as long as our community demands it.”

The experience has also opened up new possibilities for the future of her small business.

“For me, there are more products I want to obtain a NPN for in The Green Goddess product line so this was a good exercise for us! Now we know the ropes a bit more and will actively pursue more NPN’s in the future,” Keates says.

Besides sanitizer, the Green Goddess is selling homemade cloth masks made by a seamstress in Kamloops, although Keates says finding the best designs is still a bit of a work in progress as more research on materials is done. Cloth masks are now recommended by government health officials to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A batch being made. Product photos courtesy of Sarah Keates.

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