Recently we read an article written by the lovely Monica Wilcox about being green. While a lot of it "trined" with us, it brought up many things that we hadn't even thought of (which is always good!) We're currently about to start packaging up another order for the store and a thought occurred to us that we felt we should share!
If you don't already, try to work towards making you business green! There are several simple ways to do this and it is rewarding for both you and your consumers. (Also don't forget to share ways to be green with them too when you package things!)
As a handmade artist you may be already being green with your works - recycling old sweaters for yarn, recycling or upcycling things (like this artist and stripper shoes!), or even just being green-er by supporting local artists and businesses yourself (buying supplies, bartering time or services, etc). But there's more to it than just that (although we're not knocking it and encourage you to keep up the good work!)
One easy way to be green is through your packaging! Sure it may be nice to buy that pretty new, never used, decorated box. But think about it this way. That box was created, time and energy were spent that can't be retrieved to create that box. Sure it's nice to look at, but ultimately what is likely to happen to that box after it gets sent? Trashed. Not recycled, not reused, it's just most likely to be turned into trash. Trash that we don't need any more of. So instead of doing that, try to re-use a box. Do you have an old shoebox that will work? If you don't have any lying about (likely because you threw them away or are using them) try this. Go to a local grocery story, liquor store, or other retailer - like Michaels (and we can give you this tip having worked there before!) and ask if you can have some boxes. It's worth a shot. A number of the boxes that we have on hand for our store come from Michaels and we're not even half way through them. Granted if you don't sell a lot or have limited space (like we do) you may not wish to grab a ton. But even a few is helpful. Because many stores are only going to trash them and throw them out. Not even recycle themselves!
So now that you have a box, thinking about what else you need. If it's fragile, or just don't fill the box completely (and rarely does anything it seems) you will likely need packaging materials. Instead of that fancy tissue paper that you use half of try old newspapers. You don't even have to buy it - you can grab some of the free ones that are usually for local stuff. Then there is the wrapping you may have received for anything you've bought. And don't forget....plastic bags - you know the kind your groceries come in. For us around here (and much to the chagrin of my other half) I'm always saving things like newspaper and plastic bags. But in this tight economy and with the advent of everything humanity has done to poison the planet reuse and recycling is a really good (and economic) way to help out.
So next time you're in the post office noting people purchasing fancy boxes and rolls of bubble wrap you can smile to yourself knowing that even if it's only one package every so often, you're helping!