If there's one thing that gives us the ick, it's businesses using single use plastic packaging. We are so lucky to live in a world where sustainable alternatives to plastic are abundant, and becoming more and more affordable all the time. We are spilling the beans on our entire packaging process and sharing direct links to our suppliers!
We choose to use Hero Packaging for our post bags- they've got a range of colours and sizes as well as different varieties of padded bags. If Hero isn't for you, don't you worry. There are a bunch of different brands that offer biodegradable bags too!
The satchels we use are GREAT because:
⋒ they're made with cornstarch, as well as some ingredients that are derived from petrochemicals (basically, some of the ingredients come from oil, which is a bit of a no-no for our environment). It's less than ideal, but it is the BEST technology available right now, and the bags will still biodegrade over time.
⋒ They're reusable - yep, the satchels have a second sticky strip at the top. When you receive your order, cut along the line as per the instructions on the bag, then you can reuse the satchel for the next parcel you need to post.
⋒ After living a good life getting your parcels from A to B, the satchels can go into your home compost. If you don't have a home compost, that's a-okay. If the satchels end up in landfill they'll still break down over time!
Using cardboard can be great because it's a recyclable material, and it's made with what is *technically* a renewable resource - trees. While a lot of tree plantations can actually be to the detriment of our environment (due to deforestation and land clearing for tree plantations, removing habitat for native animals and replacing it with non-native trees, for example), using cardboard is still heaps better than packaging derived from a non-renewable source like oil - plastic, we're looking at you.
The good news about the cardboard we use here at Willow's Way is that it is a RECYCLED cardboard product (that's right, our boxes aren't virgins). Finding recycled alternatives for paper products is a great way to be more sustainable as a business - cardboard can be recycled multiple times, so why buy un-recycled cardboard or paper when you can get an equally great option that is better for our earth.
All of our boxes from from The Box Man, here in Perth.
Just like our cardboard boxes, our business cards are recycled too. It's becoming more and more commonly available at the big businesses who create things like business cards and thank you cards, and it's super affordable too.
We use business called Sustainable Printing Co, a sustainable printer who uses vegetable based inks, and incorporates a bunch of other really cool protocols for the way they run their business in terms of waste management and the power they use too.
Sometimes using a sustainable service like this *seems* to be a touch more expensive than other less sustainable brands, but the more business they get, the cheaper their prices will get, and the more accessible it will become to use sustainable printers! But in our experience, the quality of service and product is worth the already reasonable price they charge.
We can't stop and we won't stop talking about recycled materials, especially when it comes to our protective packaging - we're talking tape, tissue paper and padding.
We've found an amazing Aussie business called NoIssue, who create custom printed tape and tissue paper - yep, you get to have your own, exclusive designs on your tissue paper and tape. It's great branding for your business, and it's also super sustainable. Our tissue paper is 100% recyclable, compostable and made from recycled materials. It's also printed with acid-free, soy-based inks, much like our tape which is water activated (meaning it isn't made with any weird toxic ingredients to make it sticky).
When it comes to our more delicate orders, we pad out our products with 100% recycled bubble wrap and other padding material. Even as a sustainable business, we can't control everything, including how others send materials to us. Sometimes things we have ordered do arrive with plastic packaging including bubble wrap, so we make the most of it and reuse it in our own packaging. To this day, Willow's Way has never purchased a single packaging material made from plastic.
And we never will.
Transporting orders can expend a lot of energy and be responsible for emitting a bunch of CO2 into the atmosphere. Fortunately, more postal services are going carbon neutral, and we have been sure to check that the service we use is too.
In simple terms, being carbon neutral means that a postal service calculates how much carbon is emitted in the process of getting a parcel from A to B (for example, how much carbon is produced by cars, planes, trains and boats), and then, generally working with another company, pay for an equivalent number of trees to be planted, for example. Trees soak up carbon from the air, and so the postal service will pay for enough trees to soak up the amount of carbon they have emitted.
Obviously it would be great if these postal services never produced that much carbon in the first place, and transport industries are constantly working to be more sustainable with electric vehicles, for example. But in the meantime, going carbon neutral is the best option.
We use Australia Post, who are in fact Carbon Neutral, despite not many businesses knowing about it. There's a really cool article here from Sendle, another sustainable postal service about how it happened. We have used Sendle to post out orders too!
Do you know of any sustainable packaging businesses we should know about? Shoot us an email at email@example.com and let us know!
And if you know a business who could take a more sustainable approach to their packaging, be sure to send them the link to this article so they can see how easy it could be to make the switch!