Sustainability

Sustainability is really important to me, and it’s difficult as a product based business to create an alignment with selling something when I’m actually trying to rebel against our over consumerist behaviours.
So I’ve spent many months (and continue to) seeking out the most sustainable way to keep making beautiful things. I’m compiling a list here so that either you as a customer can see the impact my products are having, or as a directory for any other creators who’d like to make a beautiful little impact.

I really don’t want to be ‘green washing’ my products. There are currently still a lot of flaws that I’m working through. This list will constantly grow and please do get in touch if you know of other ways I can help look after this lovely planet of ours.

I have recently started drop shipping my prints from dStudio. They’re fantastic and lovely people, however I do have less control over the use of materials. This decision was based on quality. I think it’s better to put something of higher quality into the world and my printing at home wasn’t quite cutting it, also I was having a few fights with my printer that resulted in quite a few misprints and therefore more waste. Studio don’t use any plastic except for a little sellotape that I’m hoping that I can convince them to swap to paper tape.

I would also like to start offering prints on their lovely bamboo paper too.

Original work and limited edition prints are still sent from me and here are the items I’m using to aim to make my packaging have as little impact as possible.

Packaging:

  • Recycled Greyboard – I use this as backing to protect prints in the post and when stocked in shops, available here. I have started drawing on these when posting them so they are hopefully kept and framed or inspire reuse – perhaps something for a child to paint onto.
  • Recycled unbleached tissue paper. I get mine usually from eBay but it’s also available here.. I did start using recycled brown paper as I thought it would be more likely to be reused. I decided to go back to tissue paper because it’s lighter and therefore if it does end up in landfill it has less of an impact. And secondly, brown paper was just a bit of a paint to be honest, and by the time I’d wrapped the prints it was probably too crinkly for reuse. I have also recently had my own tissue paper printed by No Issue who have a very good sustainability ethos.
  • Thank you notes are printed on paper made by Frogmore paper mill in the UK. The blue paper uses recycled denim that could have ended up in the landfill. I print an illustration on the other side so that hopefully it can be kept as a print, either framed or gifted. Edit: I now use postcards printed on recycled paper from banana print for postal orders.
  • Board Backed Envelopes. The best ones I’ve found are from here. They have A5 and A4 sizes and are made from 100% post consumer waste and you can select to offset your delivery carbon.
  • Glassine Envelopes. I use this to protect my prints in shop displays. I haven’t yet found ones that perfectly fit A4 paper though, so fix the larger sizes with a strip of washi tape. They are less transparent than cello. Available here.
  • Biodegradable Cello. Some people just prefer the clarity of cello, but I’ve read it’s not a great solution, but surely better than the proper plastic stuff. Available here.
  • Washi Tape. Made from paper instead of plastic, super cute for packaging things but not as strong as sellotape. I have my own designed 🙂 available here.
  • Gum Backed Paper Tape. I’ve not found I’ve needed this yet but if you use plastic brown packing tape and need something stronger than washi. Available here.
  • I’ve started making my own paper from misprints and old sketches. Keep your eyes peeled for a video on how to make your own paper coming soon (or google it – it’s actually quite easy).
  • For my printer I use HP instant ink where they post the ink cartridges when mine are running low, and they include a return package so you can send back your spent cartridges for them to recycle.

I’d highly recommend listening to this podcast episode by Ruth Poundwhite, she had me thinking about the other impacts that we can have, not just from our products but how we do business. I had in mind that I would eventually set up a shop on Amazon Handmade but I’ve heard criticisms of the ethics of the company.

Etsy on the other hand is working to offset all their carbon emissions from shipping and run their offices on green energy. I know they’re still a big company but I feel that they’re the best in terms of a sustainable platform to sell from.

Ruth also points out a few other areas that have got me thinking and planning for the future of making my business as sustainable as possible, from the bank I use to my website provider.

To be continued….