Behind the business: SUSTAINER CONTAINER

June 3, 2020

Sustainable gifts for students

Although Maya Vertigans’ business launched during lockdown, the idea came to her last September. Maya and her parents were searching for a gift for her sister, who was leaving home to start university. Nothing they could find was quite right. 

“Because my sister is a self-proclaimed eco-warrior we wanted to give her something that would help her to live sustainably at university. However, we were unable to find any affordable eco-friendly gift sets that were aimed at students or young professionals.”

And with that, the concept of SUSTAINER CONTAINER was born.

A warm welcome to a new Edinburgh entrepreneur

Since then Maya has been working on bringing the business to life - alongside completing her sociology degree at the University of Edinburgh. The SUSTAINER CONTAINER website launched in April, just after her 21st birthday.

“We provide affordable boxes of sustainable alternatives to everyday products, with our boxes being sold for less than it would cost to buy the contents individually.” The combinations of bathroom essentials, kitchenware and stationary are perfect for students. 

Maya Vertigans of Sustainer Container
Maya holding a SUSTAINER CONTAINER gift box

Spreading sustainable joy

Although launching during a pandemic has brought additional challenges, Maya remains optimistic.

“We adapted by providing free handmade personalised cards for all gifts purchased, helping people to stay connected during this difficult time. We also offer free homemade seed paper with all orders, encouraging people to give gardening a go.”

A great initiative that has positive mental health connotations, the seed paper makes gardening possible even for those with very little space. It’s handmade using recycled egg boxes and when planted grows beautiful bee-friendly wildflowers. 

Finding positivity in the unexpected

It seems that launching her business during lockdown has been a positive experience for Maya. Despite being new to the scene, she’s felt welcomed by the Edinburgh community as everyone is coming together to support local businesses.

There’s also the chance to reflect: lockdown has provided a pause, to look around and consider what the new normal will look like.

“I’m hopeful that people will use lockdown as an opportunity to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and as a country Scotland will leave lockdown a more environmentally-friendly place.”

Post-lockdown life? Local lattés!

When it comes to recommending other local businesses, Maya has some go-to favourites. “I love Union of Genius soup and also Hendersons cafe. I’m delighted they’re both still trading during lockdown.”

And although it’s harder to choose exactly where she’ll go first once lockdown is over, Maya knows what she’ll do. “I will definitely be going for a latté and a piece of cake in a local cafe!” We’ll drink frothy milk to that.


Find out more about SUSTAINER CONTAINER’s plastic free products or follow them on Instagram.

Ideal for gifts, SUSTAINER CONTAINER'S beautiful packaging is also reusable, recyclable or compostable. Send a box to someone else and claim a FREE handmade personalised card, as well as the seed paper sent with all orders.


Article by

Amy B

Content marketer by day, drummer by night. Full time foodie, travel enthusiast and master of withering wit. Former Londoner turned long-time supporter of Edinburgh businesses.

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