We have been looking at ways to make our business more sustainable for many years, so when we moved to our new studio last year we had the perfect opportunity to change some of our systems.
The logical place to start was with our day to day waste. We have always separated recyclable from non-recyclable in house so we expected to be able to find a recycler down here who could take our segregated waste , Alas during a conversation with the truck driver on our first collection, we were told that the separated recyclables would go the same way as the general waste and that we were wasting our time (and money) separating! Hopefully a new supplier is starting collections locally in January so we very much hope we can solve this problem then.
In the meantime, we’ve turned our attention to other areas and you'll find below a listing of the changes we’ve been making which will all be implemented by the end of this month. We’ve also given some handy tips for what you can do at home to help.
We have moved from a printed vinyl (plastic) tape to a printed paper tape. We are delighted to say that we love our new tape it is easier to handle than the vinyl tape we had previously and looks great – which we feel justifies the extra cost.
At home: please recycle our paper tape with your other paper recycling – if the paper tape is attached to paper/ card already, then please put it all in your recycling, if it’s loose then just attach it to some paper/ card as it makes it easier to go through the system.
2. Bubble Wrap
We've looked at alternatives to bubble wrap but unfortunately we don't feel any of them give the same immediate protection bubble wrap gives. So, we’ve moved from a standard Polythene product to a bio-degradable version that is treated with raw materials that do not contain heavy metals and therefore breaks down when exposed to sunlight, stress, microbes and heat. Eventually becoming basic elements of carbon dioxide water and biomass. Woohoo!
At home: the reality is that if you put this in your food waste bin with other compostables, it would likely be rejected on arrival at the compost facility so please don’t. The best thing you can do is try and reuse it – either yourselves or why not offer it up on a local free-cycle site, people are always moving home or posting things they’ve sold on Ebay that they need bubble wrap for.
We have used wonderful silver tubes for our maps for many years now. Referred to as ‘disco tubes’ by a good friend they do indeed put a smile on your face. We do though feel that the environment is more important than the additional feel good factor and we are moving to basic craft brown tubes with plastic white end caps.
Plastic end caps? I hear you ask! We did some research and at the moment there is no environmentally friendly alternative on the marketplace in the UK. Having spoken to a few manufacturers we have been told that they’re looking at it but, as yet, there is not a big enough market. Our own research for an alternative to the single use plastic were these recycled paper end caps below but alas they do not fit tightly enough on the end of the tube or give enough protection.
At home: the best thing to do is keep the tube in case you move house and need to move your lovely map! If not, why not do one off these amazing crafts with your tube?
4. Sticker for tube
When we first started our business some 17 years ago there was no online shopping and our maps were mainly sold in bricks and mortar stores. We now sell mainly online and in only a few stores.
When selling maps rolled in tubes in store we needed a quality sticker that gave a good idea of what was on the inside of the tube so we produced high quality lithographic stickers with a plastic finish that cannot be recycled. We have now swapped for a basic paper sticker (that can be re-cycled) – it’s so important to us to always re-assess where our business is at, and how we can do things differently as we grow and develop.
5. Documents Enclosed Wallets
If like us, these plastic wallets drive you mad on the packages you get at home, we've moved to new wallets that are made from 100% Paper with a solvent free self-adhesive glue – they’re great quality and do the job really well so we’re really happy with the switch.
It’s definitely much more work to be sustainable but something we feel really strongly about as a business so we’ll keep doing what we can. If anyone has any suggestions or companies we can try, please do let us know!