Lilly Pilly Loft and the Environment

Hello and thanks for taking the time to stop by and read this post! I am long overdue with writing about this topic! What with launching and sending orders and generally trying to get word out about my business, it's taking me a while to update my blog!

So, I have started a business producing a throw away paper product. But it's not all bad news. I would like to outline what I am doing to reduce the impact on the environment, what future plans are to further improve my business's impact, and what else I do within the business to have positive impacts on this country. 

Paper Type and Quality.

My gift cards are printed on 100% post consumer recycled card, or when this is not available, FSC card. My wrapping paper is printed on FSC paper. FSC certification guarantees that the paper originates from forests that are managed responsibly, considering both environmental and social aspects.

Why don't I do all printing on 100% recycled paper? Given that I will only print my products in Australia, and I want to keep my paper at an affordable price, my options are limited. Quality and affordability are just as important to me as the paper source. I have spent many many hours researching Australian printers that could provide the large sheet size and paper quality I was after. It is something I revisit often just in case a more eco friendly and affordable option becomes available. I am always open to investigating other options if someone hears of one, so please keep your ear out!

What to do with the used paper.

Did you know that you can not recycle all types of wrapping paper and cards? Some have coatings applied to the final print, some use metallic inks, or add foil finishes. These can not be recycled. While I do like a bit of bling on paper and cards, it really is not the best choice for the environment, plus if I were to make these, the prices to have it printed in Australia are just so high that it is just not feasible.

Yes I did print a couple of gift tags last year with some metallic ink. Once sold out, I will need to decide if I continue with these or not. So what do I suggest you do with the gift tags if I continue with these metallic designs? You should be able to split the tag in two and recycle the plain side. The printed side will have to be placed in the rubbish. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter, so please DM me on Instagram or send me an email.

Environmentally friendly inks.

The printing process for both gift cards and wrapping paper uses environmentally friendly inks and toners, which are quite often based on vegetable oils. And as mentioned, I do not use any foiling, and am now reconsidering the use of metallic ink (which was only used on two gift tag designs last Christmas). 

Is the packaging recyclable? 

Yes. I use cardboard mailing tubes (or boxes) which should be used for storing the paper in. But when you no longer need it, see if local pre-schools or kindergartens would like the tubes for craft and imagination play, or pop it in the recycling bin. The cardboard sleeve that is around the rolls of paper are also recyclable, even the sticker on it is! Recycle the tissue paper, the packing slip (which is printed on 100% recycled unbleached paper) and any shredded paper. If there is bubble wrap in the order, go crazy and pop it all, then add it to you REDCYCLE soft plastic recycling pile and take it to Woolworths or Coles. Sometimes I may use rice packing noodles, which these can be dissolved in water in your garden bed. I will also mention that where possible, I try and re-use packaging material, or source clean, used materials from locals who have received deliveries from other business, or who have moved house. Rest assured I make sure all is clean and acceptable. I just enjoy being able to save these materials from being thrown in the bin. 

Packing tape I have used in the past has been fully compostable. I will soon be swapping to a more friendly option once I have used up other tapes. 

What more can I do?

I would love to be able to print my wrapping paper on 100% recycled paper. At this stage it is just too expensive. What will bring the cost down, and open up more printing options is when I can sell significantly larger quantities of stock. This means I can place very large printing orders which brings wholesale prices down. I will also phase out packing slips in orders. I would love to hear any other suggestions on where I can do better.

As I operate this business out of my home, our plan (in the next 1-2 years) is to install solar panels on our roof, which will then help with running the computer, lights and air conditioning during the day as I work. Mind you, I am pretty mean when it comes to using the air conditioner anyway, so that's not a big use item for us!

What else do I do for the community?

In regards to the small business side of things, I quite often collaborate with other Australian artists to develop designs for my collections. I like to support them where I can, and in doing so, it also brings a different style option for my customers. And as mentioned, I support small Australian printing businesses. For me, it just doesn't make sense to print an Australian themed product off shore. 

I try to support small business where possible, whether it be through purchasing products or services, or simply sharing their Instagram posts. Every little bit truly does help (I appreciate this help too!).

Personally, I have contributed many years to community volunteering. Starting this solo business has seen the need for me to step back from this, but I am hopeful that as normality returns to life after Covid, I can get involved with community once more. 

 

I hope this has shed some light on how I am trying to make my business and the environment work together, and show my dedication to doing more as time progresses.

And like I mentioned, if you have any other suggestions or anything at all, please let me know. I'm all ears!

 

~ Penny xoxo