SHC Call to action: Glass shortages now affecting Farmers Market Vendors and Local Small Business
This topic seemed too important to wait until the February Newsletter! We are doing a call to action in hopes to receive the same response we received when the community came together to save the bees with political signs. Now it is time to come together help save local small businesses. Due to the pandemic,there is a national glass shortage that is now effecting local small businesses. Many of these business owners you will find at your local farmers markets.
Our Queen Bee gave me tasks of seeking out more local vendors to fill our honey store with local goods. I was surprised to hear many were not able to provide us with inventory for reasons beyond their control...they cannot get bottles for their products! We were unaware of the severity of the problem because when everyone else was buying toilet paper in March our Queen bee was loading up on bottles, caps, chickens, and seeds. I contacted the local bottle company SHC uses
and then other bottle companies located around the USA and the answers were the same. "We are out of stock and don't know when it will be back in stock" Below is what I learned when I asked why and for more details:
When the bars closed, beer company's demand for beer in kegs went down and the demand for bottled beer for retail increased significantly. Moreover, glass manufacturers are receiving up to 65% less glass bottles for recycling. There was a steady number of glass that was being recycled by bars and restaurants that they could count on.
With and increase interest in homesteading more and more households on holding on to their glass bottles or buy more bottles to preserve food.
A good part of bottles in the USA are imported from China and there is much less coming into the US due to the pandemic. Although US glass companies are increasing production it still cannot make up the numbers brought in by China... at China prices. These companies are also dealing with a shortage raw materials and manpower due to the pandemic. This is why the prices many of bottles have DOUBLED in price. Moreover they are restructuring their production line from making the glass for canning/bottling to making the special glass needed to make vials for the vaccines should they be called to action by Defense Production Act. The 1950 law gives the government more control during emergencies to direct industrial production.
All of the above compiled does not look good for the small businesses. So how can you help? Three ways: First: Recycle glass. Second: Ask your local vendor if they can recycle the bottles after you used their yummy product. Third: Be Understanding. Some vendors may have to pass over all or 1/2 the cost increase to their customers. The pandemic has created shortages in raw ingredients and available manpower in all industries. So please be understanding and empathic. A lot of the farmers market vendors are 100% dependent on those markets and when the markets were put on hold they really felt it financially....many vendors did not make it. Those that are left feel blessed but the struggle and reality of going out of business is still very real as I'm sure it is for everyone. When I asked our Queen Bee about a potential price increase in our products she said, "We are still well stocked on bottles, the caps have been the issue because they come from overseas. SHC can eat the costs of the caps."
I know there are many posts out there that wear out the saying "share with friends". I personally feel its tacky and if a post really touches someone they will automatically do so and don't need to be told. However, because we are soo interconnected as a community... as a local economy this one is worth sharing as it effects everyone. Just as we came together to save the bees with recycling political signs....lets come together to save each other by recycling glass and showing kindness, understanding and love.