During the pandemic I have been using my time and energy to positively adapt my life, stay well and focus my time on my eco creations, whilst I'm furloughed from my charity job. I created my eco website when I was signed off work a couple of years ago so for me this weird shift in existence feels a bit like regression. Difference is this time I have my health and something positive to offer. Times are tough, adapting is hard and change isn't always favorable but this is life and I've learnt to roll with it. (Chuck on Oasis, you know you want to!)
We are all going through personal traumas as humans and as a whole, the World is trying to get through this absolutely unique situation. I've been getting well deep and occasionally maudlin but have spent much time channeling my energy into making stuff and considering my 'whole' process as an eco friendly online shop woman.
It is super important to me to be holistic and stay true to my principles and I'd be a pretty cruddy eco warrior if I wrapped my eco friendly creations in dreaded landfill fodder so I thought it time to share my ways of packaging using reused and recyclable materials which are reusable or recyclable thereafter.
- Salvage - I save envelopes, bubble wrap and packaging that is sent to me and I reuse it again adding a 'please reuse' note inside the package to inspire further reuse. When it comes to reusing secondhand materials like this don't worry too much about the look of the parcel as it is whats inside that counts. Save string and ribbon from anything you're gifted or use old shoe laces as a decorative tie and bow.
- Newspaper - This is my favourite thing to reuse and I would recommend using a double layer as wrapping so it's a little thicker. Other things you can do with it are colour it in to make a bright and colourful package or choose an interesting story for the front (or equally make sure there isn't something awful on the front). Newspaper can also be shredded or folded if you need padding. I love taking newspaper wrapped parcels to the Post Office as it often results in a chat about reuse and also the historical wrapping of chips!
- Cardboard - If you have any large cardboard boxes these are really easy to cut and recreate into smaller boxes. I like to store large boxes flat and make new boxes from them as required.
- Cards - Save your old greetings cards as they make fab labels! Cut them, stick them face down with the plain side up and write the address on.
- Tins - I save coffee tins or bean tins (with soft edges) to send smaller items in. They are so easy to reuse and have much reuse value thereafter, such as food storage or as a pen pot.
- Old Material - When I send items made from recycled materials such as cushions and bags I often make a small bag out of more recycled materials to pop the item in. I see it as an extra gift, something to reuse again and a way to inspire reusing materials for another purpose.
- Kraft Tape - I use recycled brown kraft paper tape to seal my parcels, it's recyclable along with the card or paper you attach it to and it's biodegradable, which isn't THE best thing ever but it is far superior to plastic sellotape.
- Recycled Brown Kraft Paper - If you don't have newspaper or fancy something a bit plush, brown paper is great, it's quite strong especially with the recycled tape and you can stamp it too so it looks professional.
- Kraft cards and envelopes - For card making I always use these type of recycled cards and envelopes as they are born from recycling and can be easily recycled thereafter. I don't add any plastic to my cards as this interrupts the waste stream as paper and plastic are recycled using different processes. You can easily pop these in your recycling bin creating a circular process or reuse in many different ways such as making labels as mentioned above or you could create a nice reusable pulp by shredding, mixing with water and reforming.
- Kraft business Cards - I was highly against business cards for a long time until I discovered blank recycled kraft cards. I hated the idea of ordering zillions of business cards for events but found myself scribbling details on scrap paper too often to ignore a need for something to give out. These cards are fab as I can stamp as I go using my sustainably made stamp and ink for events. I also use them to label my products and for everything I send I use them to make a little info card (as seen above) so you are connected to the materials of the product you've bought. They are unique, ethical and great to reuse, recycle or even keep.
Ethical ways of packaging and posting are not exhausted here, there are so many more ideas out there and I'm sure many more to come. The opportunities available in the reuse and recycling of materials is endless and hopeful and the creative space this offers to folk like me is enlightening and I hope I've enlightened you to some more sustainable choices.
Take care, stay safe and as always, sending love, Saz xx