Friday, September 12, 2008

Being Green!

"What She Becomes," 2008 by Lea Keohane. All Rights Reserved.

I have always been passionate about taking care of the environment. At the same time, I love cute packaging, and I want every one of my customers to know, when they receive their order, that it was packaged with care and that I am grateful for their business! There are some things--like bubble envelopes, for example--that simply can't be replaced for the safety of shipping my items. I wanted to make my business more green-friendly, however, so there are some simple steps that I have taken. Some of them I have always done, others are more recent changes:

*Rather than using the plastic baggies that have a sticky flap, as often as possible I use zip-lock bags. I keep more than one size on hand at all times, and always try to use the smallest one possible for the order it contains. That way I can use as little plastic as possible, and my customers can find ways to re-use them!

*When I receive orders in plastic bags, I store them away and re-use them whenever I can.

*I rarely need to use packing peanuts, but when I do need them, I NEVER buy new ones! I save the ones I receive from the orders I place and just use those. In the rare cases in the past when I have needed to buy them, I went to a fantastic local store--Carton Services--which sells secondhand shipping supplies. I can buy a 6 foot tall bag of them for around $20! Which saves me money and keeps them out of the landfill.

*I used to print out every single transaction receipt. I felt bad about using so much paper (although I do buy recycled printer paper), but I thought it was easier to track and ship my orders, and double-check Etsy vs. PayPal addresses. Then I did a test-run without printing. I found it just as easy to keep track of everything and it stopped me from getting a cramp in my back from being hunched over my orders on the floor for hours on end (now I have to get up and down on a regular basis--yay for my back!). To keep track of packages and correct addresses, I now write my customer's names and the 1st line of their address and zip code to double check agains PayPal when I go to ship. Now I hardly ever have to buy printer paper, and I have saved myself so much filing space! I just print out a CSV file of all of my Etsy transactions at the end of the month--3 or 4 pages versus 2-300!

*My washi sample packs are one of my most popular items. One of the best things about these is that I can save great washi scraps from otherwise hitting the landfills. After I cut all of the best, most usable scraps up for the packs, I donate the rest to SCRAP--an awesome local non-profit that re-sells used craft supplies. I also have a box set aside to bring to them whenever I gather enough un-needed supplies that I can't re-sell. I LOVE that place!

I know there are other things that I do, but they are not coming to mind at the moment :) I always try to keep Mother Nature in mind, though, in business and in the rest of my life. If you have any great tips, ideas, or suggestions for greening your business, post them here!


judy said...

I also have tried to be as "green" as possible, which is a little tough when you work with paper....I do save most of my scraps and find uses for them. I also have quit printing out receipts!

Paper Girl Productions said...

Great green ideas!

maoiliosa said...

i do the same things with baggies, and i use shipping popcorn from orders i've received instead of buying new popcorn, too! great minds think alike, huh? ;) and by the way, i LOVE that you send the little ziplock bags with orders... i'm always needing that small size for things, so yay!

let's see, what else do i do... well as you know i am definately no pack rat, so i donate supplies and things i'm not using to people who can find a better use for them, instead of tossing them ;), and i also do the etsy printout at the end of the month to save paper.

oh! and when i get down to the end of a washi sheet (basically tiny scraps), i keep them in a stack and use them for pendants instead of throwing them away, if the scraps have plenty of pretty design on them still :). this also saves me a ton of money versus tossing those scraps and buying a whole new sheet of washi to use!

but yes, there definately should be a place that makes eco-friendly bubble mailers or something like that.

Anonymous said...

I am all for re-using envelopes. They may not look as pretty with a label stuck on the front, but they are 'greener'. I always save boxes and packaging too - cluttering up my workroom! Your washi paper packs are just a FAB idea - and it would be perfect for my sorts of projects. So I shall be sauntering over to your shop sometime soon...