Behind the scenes: sustainable packaging
I tried much harder in 2018 to run String Harvest with a lower environmental footprint and I wanted to share some what and why info about our packaging - a dry topic for sure, but these are the small factors which make our business impact...well, less overall. That's a good thing.
I initially wrote this article in the lead up to Christmas, when packing waste is at its absurd peak. I've since edited it to add more info and insight. PS - none of this is sponsored, just taking a quick moment to share the love for some companies and products that more people should know about!
As a small business that is trying not to be bad, it had bothered me for years that we couldn't escape our plastic satchel dependency without increasing our freight costs by a third. Read on below... And if you want to know more, let me know!
- x Cass
Satchels, oh satchels
We began phasing out plastic satchels and switched to compostable 'dirt bags' from betterpackagingco as soon as they entered the Australian market, less than 6 months ago - and we haven't looked back. High fives to this company, I truly wish them world domination! We use couriers as well as Australia Post, and since the get-go had struggled to find a way to ship your orders (which vary in size from tiny to huge) without blowing our costs out by heart-attack-inducing margins - just to use something that's not a prepaid plastic satchel. It shouldn't have to be so hard! For PO boxes and rural areas we still have to use some prepaid plastic satchels.
But at least now, we don't use any prepaid plastic 500g satchels, so that all parcels under 500g are either dirt bags or paper-based. It's our hope that the #auspost powers-that-be get with the new plastics economy in 2019. Imagine the difference a company sending millions and millions of parcels could make.
All of our thick wrapping paper comes from Ecocern and is 100% Australian post-consumer waste. Love them! Our shopping bags are from Buy Eco Green and are made with 60% FSC-certified recycled paper and 40% FSC-certified kraft paper. The tissue paper is also 100% recycled, however it comes from the United States, which isn't ideal. One other thing we get asked about often is our bubble wrap substitute - we don't use a lot of it but for those interested, its called Geami paper and you can get it from Signet. This is also where we get our cartons, FYI.
Edit: I feel like I should add, that we were never outrageously bad in the plastics department. I've never purchased bubble wrap for the business. Rarely, we have the occasion to reuse it on an order but otherwise we have a small stockpile I can't throw out. We've always used paper for wrapping but there is basically only one company in Australia making 100% post consumer waste paper. The good thing is it's very thick stuff and largely suffices for our needs.
We design and print many of our product labels in-house, and you may have noticed that our paper is a bit nice, a bit unusual ;) Yes? Good. It comes from Maximus - a Sri Lankan fair trade company. The paper is actually made from elephant dung - a naturally rich source of cellulose and the result is a beautifully textured, thick paper. We love it so much we now sell their notebooks ;) Supporting this business in turn supports a village, leaves trees in the ground (ha! pun), and a percentage of their profits go to Millenium Elephant Foundation, who look after rescued and orphaned elephants. Win, win, win.
For large parcels, we usually use Sendle, who offset all their shipping and are carbon neutral.
Environmental Cause Contributions