This is a post I have been meaning to write for AGES. It is something I have become quite passionate about and it has helped me push myself to try to make even more eco friendly changes to my every day life!
I predominantly use ebay so any items I link to may not always be available but these things can usually be bought from a multitude of sellers. If you do decide to use ebay a fair amount and are in the UK, then I highly suggest getting a NECTAR card and linking it with your ebay account. You can collect points on every purchase and can turn the points into vouchers to use in a variety of places. (Not sponsored)
Using ebay means I can still support small businesses and can do so more directly. I can search for people that send things the way I want them sent etc. I don’t like using amazon if I can help it and to be honest I have yet to find my packaging at a better price on there anyways. It is ALWAYS worth shopping around though!
None of the links in this post are affiliated with any companies nor is any of this post sponsored content. I do not get anything from you clicking on the links or shopping at these places. They are companies/people I genuinely shop with.
So without further ago, let’s get to it!
Once I have got everything together for a shop order, I put them onto backing cards (if they require them!) These simple and clean backing cards were printed for me by Banana Print, a small UK based printing company. Their options are not as wide as some of the more common UK printing companies BUT they offer a much better price overall for their products printed on recycled paper. All my backing cards and thank you cards are 55mm x 55mm and made with 350gsm recycled paper with no coating. They are not super heavy duty but they hold up perfectly well with a pin on. (I just noticed they now do bookmarks printed on recycled paper which makes me very excited to look in to!)
Next step is to package them into little paper bags. I use purple/white ones, sometimes swapping between spots and stripes. They are usually available in multiple sizes, 5 x 7 & 7 x 9 are the most common. When looking for paper bags I would advise AGAINST getting any with metallic elements or coatings. It can make it more difficult for them to be recycled.
Here is a link to the specific bags I bought most recently on ebay. I tend to have to buy my bags from a different seller each time as I don’t buy them often so the last seller may not have stock of what I need at the time. Most of the time you won’t really know how the bags will be shipped to you. I often find they come in plastic packaging 95% of the time. When I have checked it over though, I usually find the outer packaging is PET 4 plastic which, in the UK anyways, can put in the carrier bag/bread bag recycling in large supermarkets.
Now how do I go about keeping these little bags closed I hear you ask? WASHI TAPE OF COURSE! I adore washi tape and over the last year and a bit, I have used many different kinds and designs. Again I recently learn’t that metallic on paper (washi tape included) can mean they can’t always been recycled. I currently use the plain lilac MT brand washi tape. The MT washi tape brand is quite easy to find in the UK. The kind of adhesive used on washi tape is very mild so it doesn’t usually cause much of an issue in terms of if it can be recycled with paper/cardboard (thought please check your area, recycling around the world is different!)
Once the bags are sealed and ready to go, I get a box. I used to use jiffy green mailers (made of recycled material and can be recycled) but I found that sometimes they were popping open during transit which is never good. Some extra paper tape does solve that issue though. My other issue is the best price I got for them (they are SUPER affordable by the way) did mean they came in boxes of 200. I do not have the storage space for that many envelopes. Anyways, you can get 200 size 0 jiffy green bags (and they come in a huge cardboard box so easy to recycle that packaging too!) for £26.49 so it really is no excuse to keep using plastic bubble mailers. You can also get them in a huge range of sizes! Here is a link to the last ebay shop I bought green jiffy mailers from.
As I said, I now use boxes! Sometimes referred to as PiP Parcel Box or Large Letter boxes, they are great if you want to buy in slightly smaller quantities & in multiple sizes. It means I can store them flat and build when I want, either as I go if I have the time or build a bulk number of them every now and again. I have enough built right now to fill a drawer and some space in a cupboard (in 2 different sizes!) I have bought almost all my boxes from the same ebay seller ParcelPack. I most commonly use the A5 & A6 sizes. I know you can buy coloured boxes and recently learned that you can get them in SO MANY COLOURS! I always assumed they had a coating on them that made them not recyclable but from what I have researched that isn’t the case and they can be recycled! (Guess who is going to look into purple shipping boxes in 2020!)
Once I have a box ready to go, I grab a sheet ( or half of, the sheets are HUGE) of my white eco-friendly tissue paper. This helps fill some of the space in the box and keep the items inside in place.
Did you know, not all tissue paper is made equally? Seriously, google it. Not all tissue paper can be recycled (but it sure as heck can be reused if you are careful though!) So I have switched from a regular lilac tissue paper (though I still have some as a back up!) to Eco-crafts 100% Recycled White Tissue Paper which is made in the UK and is recyclable, biodegradable & compostable! It is a touch more expensive (and you do have to pay shipping) but I am happy to pay a bit more for something from a company I know I can trust. I also buy my paper tape rolls from Eco-crafts too. I have tried buying some from ebay and it was about the same price and nowhere near as good!
I currently use regular labels on my boxes. The adhesive on labels again tends to be quite mild so not a huge issue when recycling packaging. As always though, check and do your own research too, there may be something I have missed!
I don’t know how many of you will have found this useful but I wanted to help anyone who was looking at ways to change their business towards being more eco friendly.
Thanks for reading!