Every drop in the ocean counts. – Yoko Ono
As a small business owner I feel a huge responsibility to make sure that what I’m adding to the world has as little environmental impact as possible. It can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes, especially when we feel like such small fish in a big (plastic filled) ocean, but really every little effort helps. So I’ve been working hard to source products that are as eco friendly as possible. I’ve aimed to have zero plastic in my products, and use recycled paper products where possible as well as thinking about the transportation impacts of any products.
I thought I’d share below the products I’m currently using or have experimented with. I’ll come back and update when I find something new, and please get in touch if you know of anything that can make more of a difference.
- Paper. I hadn’t even thought of my paper and it’s impact or where it comes from. I discovered something called Lokta Paper which is fantastic and I could buy from a local shop, but someone pointed out to me the impacts of importing paper from Nepal so I’m now working through a sample pack that I got from a UK based paper mill: Frogmore Paper Mill. The paper is beautiful and made from 50% recycled materials. There’s lots of lovely pieces to choose from with sparkly silver additions or pressed flowers. I tried their simple cartridge paper and unfortunately it doesn’t make as quality a print as my current paper. But I’d love to find a way to use them, maybe with a separate collection of prints.
- Display packaging. I had been using biodegradable plastic cello to display my prints in shops and thought that was all good. However I have since read that it’s not really a viable solution to plastic waste. A friend pointed me in the direction of glassine, a glossy paper that is water, air and grease resistant and I’m in love with it! It’s not 100% opaque but feels quite luxurious. You can order from them here, there not exact matches for paper sizes but pretty close.
- Washi Tape. I love it because you can get it in beautiful patterns but it’s also a paper alternative to cellotape. I buy mine from Majasbok because I love her work, but you can find it in most craft stores, Etsy, Ebay etc. I’m currently in the process of getting my own printed! If you need something stronger I’ve heard about gum backed paper but never used it myself.
- Cardboard. I use this to protect my prints, either as backing to the glassine envelopes or to protect them in the post. I buy greyboard from Ebay as it’s made from low grade recycled fibres. My only issue is that the paper sizes are always a couple of mm smaller than my paper.
- Envelopes. I buy board backed recycled ones online from ebay or green stationary.
- Tissue Paper. When sending prints out in the post I tend to wrap them in recycled tissue paper that I buy from eBay.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to talk about eco friendly business ideas. I’m now looking into how to make my art practice more eco friendly, with the pens and paper I use to create my drawings, so feel free to send me recommendations.