A quest to eliminate plastic and virgin paper pulp from shipping materials and supply chain.
Since our inception in 2013, we have worked to source – and to continue seeking – greener shipping materials. We do not use materials from ancient and endangered forests anywhere in our warehouse, and we are working toward zero plastic by 2024. We acknowledge that we're not perfect, but each year we've been able to make progress that we're proud of. Here are some of the things we're doing:
We have eliminated the use of apparel poly-bags and plastic/foam padding materials in our product packaging, opting instead for paper ties and recycled corrugate fluting.
We have minimized the amount of paper we use in our warehouse, and all of the paper we do use is 100% recycled. Our corrugate boxes are 55-70% PCW recycled and SFI certified.
Our paper mailers are 100% recycled pulp, and the few items that ship in plastic mailers come in the 100% recycled variety, courtesy of our friends at EcoEnclose. These recycled plastic mailers can be recycled again at any grocery store plastic bag pickup point if the shipping label is removed.
Things we're still working on:
- We still use USPS flat-rate padded envelopes to ship some products because it is the only way we have found at the moment to keep the shipping costs on those products from going through the roof. (USPS rates have gone up more than 30% since we started).
- Sometimes we still have to use (a very small amount of) plastic tape. We try not to, and we use paper tape for almost everything, but in a few select applications, the paper tape just doesn't stick securely. We're working on alternate solutions.
- We'd like to be using 100% PCW recycled boxes, but we need to be able to order in extremely large volumes and we're not quite there yet.
- We still use some pallet wrap in our warehouse, but we're working on purchasing reusable wraps for internal use.
- We've switched everything we can from the 100% recycled plastic mailers to 100% recycled paper mailers, but there are still a couple products that arrive safely more often when shipped in the recycled plastic. We are continuing to test alternative solutions.
- Our notebooks still get shrink wrapped in case packs of 6 from our manufacturer. We're actively working to eliminate this need, but so far all the alternatives have resulted in the books being damaged either on their way to us or in transit to our stockists. For all the case packs that get opened within our warehouse, the plastic film is collected and recycled into weatherproof decking through our partnership with Trex, but we know this isn't a perfect solution.
- An extremely small handful of international orders still ship in bubble mailers. This is an ongoing source of struggle for us – international shipments take WAY more abuse than our domestic shipments, and no one likes to wait for an international shipment to arrive only to find that it's been damaged in transit. Sometimes the only way we have found to ensure products arrive safely at a shipping cost that doesn't require a second mortgage is to ship in these mailers. The good news here is that we've just opened up our EU warehouse and we're working on getting inventory of our whole line over there. Within the year, we are hoping to have 80% of our line up on our European website so that orders shipping to Europe will only have to travel from the Netherlands and won't require any plastic shipping materials ever!
As always, all our shipments are carbon neutral through a partnership with Carbonfund.org
- Tags: Sustainability