Part of being a sustainable business entails making sure as many elements of the supply chain are sustainable, from source materials to ethical production to packaging to shipping options. Here we will discuss sustainable packaging options that are available and what we use at this is willow.
Recyclable or Compostable Packaging?
A sustainable business will likely choose a more environmentally friendly packaging option to send out your purchase in. This could include fully recyclable bags or boxes, boxes or bags that are comprised of recycled components, and or compostable options.
At this is willow, we chose compostable bags from Noissue. We went with compostable bags because compostable bags have been designed to break down (biodegrade) in compost, whereas recyclable products can only be recycled a few times, each time it's downcycled (essentially less valuable), and a lot of jurisdictions lack recycling facilities (this makes me sad), or if recycling is contaminated with too much non-recyclable content, it all goes to landfill (this makes me sad too). So if no city composting program is available, a this is willow customer has the opportunity to place the Noissue compostable mailer in their garden compost.
How to compost compostable packaging
1. First, take off the shipping label. That goes in the garbage.
2. Second, place the remaining bag in the compost.
3. That's all there is to it!
What about the tissue and card stock?
Our tissue paper is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified, which means it came with a FSC label. From FSC, the certifying body:
"The FSC labels provide assurance that the material or product comes from verified and responsible sources that have met FSC’s strict environmental and social requirements."
An FSC label means that the wood material used in a product comes from well managed forests or was made with recycled sources, or a mix of both.
Soy inks trump petroleum inks in environmental footprint
Our thank you cards and brand stickers are printed on Noissue FSC paper using soy ink. Most inks are derived from petroleum these days, a non-renewable resource with huge environmental costs from extraction and processing. In short, petroleum based inks are bad for the planet.
Soy ink is derived from soya beans, a renewable resource. Side note - responsible farming practices are critical here, and there is concern over land use for biobased materials instead of food. Though soy tends to require less fertilizer (soy, like other legumes, naturally fix nitrogen from the air) and carries pigment better compared to some plant based ink sources. Soy ink also gives off fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and requires less harsh cleaners for the print shops compared to petroleum based inks. VOCs are a serious indoor air pollutant.
After harvest and processing into soy oil, the soy oil is then refined, then pigments and other materials are added to make the ink. The resulting product is biodegradable, and it makes it easier to recycle the paper that is printed with soy inks.
We are continuously learning about best practices when it comes to sustainable packaging. Sign up for our newsletter to receive more blog posts to your inbox. Read more this is willow blog posts here.