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Eco Friendly Options For The Earth Conscious Entrepreneur

I've found eco friendly packaging to be a huge gray area. I've left many hours of research with un-answered questions. I'm still learning. here's what I know, now. 

1. It's more sustainable to use what already exists, than to buy new.

I'm a consumer, and an entrepreneur, so for anything I consume - I try to extend it's life and ensure that it's reused over and over. here are some practical ways to apply this to your business...

- ask friends & family in your area to save their mailers, boxes, bubble wrap & other supplies from their online purchases that they may have otherwise thrown away. collect & reuse them. encourage your customers to keep the cycle going.

- access websites like facebook marketplace, ebay, craigslist, or nextdoor to see if you can find high quality, secondhand supplies for free. even strangers are happy to share the wealth if it means keeping plastic out of landfills (at least if you live in oregon)

*local tip: I find supplies from a local craftstore called MECCA that sells exclusively secondhand. you may have something like this in your area. 

 

2. of course, this model doesn't work for larger businesses. as yours grows, you'll have to start purchasing supplies like mailers, tape, & boxes. 

I find most of these products on ecoenclose 

they offer their customers a 20% off referral discount.

here's mine: https://go.referralcandy.com/share/LXGF3VX

the supplies I use, love & trust:

-water activated paper tape: more affordable than plastic tape & better for the earth, too.

  • -zero waste shipping labels: these are 100% recycled and curbside recyclable. but if you use these...you need a thermal label printer - my recommendations below. 
  • thermal label printer: I'd rather use this in conjunction with zero waste labels, than use plastic tape to adhere each shipping label. 

     

    my printer: Rollo Label Printer - Direct Thermal High Speed

    you may also need: Thermal Label Holder for Rolls

    similar choice: DYMO 1755120 LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer

    if you don't want to invest in a thermal label printer right now, that's okay! There are other shipping labels made specifically for regular ol' printers. 

    pro tip: eco enclose also offers free samples on many of their supplies, just pay shipping.

    3. biodegradable is better than recycled/recyclable

    some examples of biodegradable swaps you can make:

    packing peanuts: if you're going to use them, always always go with biodegradable ones made of vegetable cornstarch. they dissolve in contact with water instead of floating around for thousands of years.

    find them here: Biodegrable Packing Peanuts  (I haven't personally needed to purchase these, so please do your research before buying)
    100% compostable mailers: find them here. I'm still working through my reused mailers & eco enclose recycled poly mailers, but I'd love to invest in these eventually.

     

     4. consider carbon neutral shipping & offset your emissions. 

    etsy offsets 100% of carbon emissions from shipping on every sale. 

    shopify options: carbon checkout app integrates a give-back program that allows your customers to donate to renewable energy projects that reduce global climate emissions. consider matching donations as a part of your promise, or offering contribution match periods in place of sales/promotions.

    I use the give & grow app to donate 10% of sun under sales to labour behind the label, but you can choose a cause more related to climate change/sustainability if that speaks to you.

    you can also do this through ups, where you pay a small fee for a carbon neutral shipment. start here & learn more here

     

     

    additional resources/research: I recommend watching these videos to give you a better understanding of the additional factors related to shipping (like transit, packing space, and the time frame in which your orders are shipped)

    corny, but informative: click here.

    video: does it recycle?

     

    I hope this blog post can be used as a resource, and starting point: I'm giving you what I know, with the hopes that other people will contribute to this conversation.

    Have any tips for eco friendly packaging? Leave them below!

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