As a small, one-person business, I try to be cognizant of the environmental impact of the goods that I create and sell. In an effort to reduce this, I've chosen to operate my shop with as much recyclable, reusable or compostable materials as sustainably possible. The shop is far from being 100% "eco-friendly", but hopefully I can continue taking steps in this direction with these changes in addition to minimal packaging, high quality goods and carbon offsetting of all shipping and postage.
Keep scrolling for more information on this shop's sustainability efforts, including what is and is not recyclable in your package! Updated 01/19/2023
- Packaging and shipping materials
- Carbon offsetting
- Where can I recycle this stuff?
Shipping and Packaging Materials
I recommend reusing all materials if they're in sufficient enough shape, but I also understand that not everyone has things to ship! Here is a guide to everything recyclable and not recyclable that you may have received from my shop.
A - This box is what most orders ship in. Made of B-flute cardboard, these are 100% curbside recyclable.
B - Some untracked orders (stickers, small prints, enamel pins in Canada) ship in these envelopes. Also 100% curbside recyclable.
C - Glassine bags! I use these for enamel pins, stickers, small prints and polaroids. Often mistaken for wax paper, glassine paper has a smooth surface created through a process called supercalendering. Unlike wax paper, it is uncoated, free from parrafins and is 100% curbside recyclable and biodegradable.
D - These will most often be used for small enamel pin orders shipping within Canada. They're made from cardboard with 45-60% recycled content, and is 100% curbside recyclable.
E - These large flat mailers are used to ship print and foil print orders. They're made from 100% recycled content, 70% of which post-consumer. Again, 100% curbside recyclable.
F - These smaller flat mailers are for medium sized prints. I'm planning on swapping them with medium sized versions of the above flat mailers once I run out. Made from 70% recycled content and 100% curbside recyclable (just not the sticky strip!).
G - These are on their way out, but I use them occasionally still for suitable orders. As they say, they are biodegradable, but will do so best under industrial conditions that are hard to achieve at home or in the wild. These will go best in the compost bin.
A - These are also being discontinued. They're actually seed bags! Kraft paper with plant-based adhesive, they are 100% curbside recyclable and biodegradable.
B - I mostly give these out at conventions with prints. 100% curbside recyclable.
C - Backing board. I buy large sheets in bulk and cut down to my needs, so you'll see them in envelopes of small sticker orders to large foil print orders. They're made of 100% recycled paste board and are 100% curbside recyclable.
D - Like the above kraft bags, just small! 100% curbside recyclable and biodegradable.
A - I'm phasing these out as well. Bubble mailers are notoriously difficult to recycle and overall pretty bad for the environment, but they are durable and I encourage you to reuse it if you can. I'm pretty low on my stock of these and will not be using them anymore once I run out.
B - Plastic print sleeves! I use these for protecting prints from scratches and moisture during transit and more giving out at conventions. Although they don't contain any recycled material, polyethylene is 100% curbside recyclable. They just need to be sorted into the proper bin. I'm looking into more sustainably sourced alternative for these, but alas, I bought a box of 1000 quite a while ago :^ (
C - All void fill used in my shop is reused from my suppliers, manufacturers and personal online shopping. This includes all bubble wrap, foam sheeting, paper fill, crinkle paper, and whatever else I receive in my mail that can be reused. I highly believe that reuse is the most important (and often easiest!) change we can make in our daily lives to reduce are carbon footprint, so I never let this stuff go to waste. Maybe you can use it again too!
All orders shipped through my personal storefront are carbon neutral, provided by Shopify Planet. How it works is that a portion of all orders goes directly towards funding companies that recapture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it.
Carbon costs are calculated on a per-order basis using the package weight, distance travelled and method of transportation required, and translated into a monetary amount that is meant to roughly represent the cost required to recapture the generated carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This cost is not added to customer order totals and is solely deducted from my end as part of the costs required to operate my shop through Shopify.
To learn more about the companies and organizations this benefits, read about Shopify's climate initiative here.
Where Can I Recycle This Stuff?
The most accurate information on recycling programs for you will be from your local municipal government. All cities and counties have their own way of dealing with recycling and each plant will have slightly different modes of operation.
For the most part, paper recyclables can go in the blue bin. Plastics and glass go in black bins, sometimes separately and sometimes not.
Look into your local government's guidelines for sorting trash and start recycling today!