Oh yes, yes it can.
I know what you’re thinking “Fi, that’s what you are meant to tell us at the end of the post,” hang on kids before you go anywhere hear me out.
I’m a true lover of the world’s natural beauty, from it’s adorable animals to it’s stunning sceneries. I’m a girl who could easily pass up on a trip to New York but would love to see New Zealand’s breath-taking landscapes. So you can see why this is a topic which I felt needs to be kept in the forefront of our minds. The way we are going about our plastic consumption means that going to visit a beach covered in plastic instead of sand has become an all too much of a reality. The amount of waste that washes up onto little islands miles away from civilisation, blows my mind. The amount of crap the contestants on ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ manage to salvage, surprises me every year. I really don’t want this to become the norm.
There has been some movement in the right direction though, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you would’ve seen a big movement towards shops and businesses starting to use environmentally friendly packaging to do their bit to save our environment. From Tesco removing polystyrene from their fish packaging and replacing their two layer plastic trays with a single layer plastic (this has helped them to remove 92 tonnes of plastic!) to Sainsbury’s who have committed to remove all plastic cotton buds, a major source of ocean plastic pollution. If you’d like to read up more about this click here.
What have I changed?
Over the last few months I have been taking steps to reduce my plastic consumption. I am a stickler for branding, so in truth I was quite picky with what I switched to. I didn’t want to alter my customers experience when receiving a FICH piece in the post, their excitement to receive and open their parcel means a lot to me. I already have matt business cards and use recycled boxes but I knew I could take it further.
With that in mind, I have now switched to;
100% recyclable bubble wrap
…in replace of the standard plastic bubble wrap. I personally thought it would be rubbish and weak, but I was pleasantly surprised! In all honesty, I sometimes struggle to see which one is standard or recyclable. You can buy some here.
…in replace of polystyrene pellets. Yep that’s right, I am now using the same paper as a chip shop (aka newspaper offcuts). It may feel like I’m wrapping up bags of chips but I don’t mind if it prevents me from using polystyrene. In fact, I quite I prefer the paper to the pellets (… it’s also a lot cheaper!). You can buy some here.
…in replace of standard packing tape. Kite packaging have made it so you can order in big batches with the idea that you order enough to see you through the year. They’ve also made it so the tape has a small core, therefore you get more for your buck while reducing CO2 transport emissions. You can buy some here.
Here’s what my packaging looks like now, I think you’ll agree that that changes I’ve made haven’t affected my branding.
Truthfully, I haven’t really shopped around that much. Kite packaging was probably one of the first hits on google so there are probably way more companies that specialise in eco/environmentally friendly packaging. Their prices were reasonable and I liked what I saw. I am still using my branded stickers and at the moment these are the only items in my packaging which aren’t easily recyclable. I have done research into finding some which are but I haven’t been able to find a suitable substitute… yet. Any recommendations in the comments section will be highly appreciated!
Tips and Tricks
I was interested to see what my fellow small business owners have done to reduce plastic in their packaging and in their day to day lives. I asked in a few different groups that I’m a member of and here are the results. If you’re after ways in how you can reduce your plastic consumption, look no further!
…for your home
- Bar soaps and solid shampoos ( a lot of positive reviews of these )
- Switched to ‘whogivesacrap‘ toilet paper (100% recycled toilet paper and 50% of their profits go to help build toilets for people in need)
- Delivery of organic fruits & veggies in a recyclable box every week
- We store food and prepped meals in mason jars & reusable plastic ware… or a big glass bowl with a plate on top of it.
- We food swap, I *try* not to eat so mindlessly.
- Reuse brown paper bags for under-the-sink kitchen garbage
- Use own shopping bags
- Order things in bulk
- Bamboo toothbrush
- I use a menstrual cup and reusable cloth pads instead of tampons and disposable pads
- We use bar shampoo and products from lush and return the pots and bottles for them to be recycled and reused.
- Use a cotton face cloth and coconut oil for make up removal
- Bringing lunch boxes to work
- Beeswax wraps to replace clingfilm 
…for out and about;
- I bring a water bottle with me to work. I also bring my own coffee mug to work so I am not throwing out cups everyday.
- I buy the eco-friendly poop bags for my doggies
- I carry reusable straws / or no straw altogether
- Avoid eating out
- Paper lunch bags
- Make my own cleaners when I can if not try to find ones with biodegradable packaging
- Silicon food coverings to cut down on plastic wrap use
- Use paper bags for shopping
- Cotton bags for food shop
…for small businesses;
- Compostable cello bags from Eco-Craft a must!
- I only ever use paper based packaging (and if I do use plastic tape it’s 100% recycled)
- I use recycled paper for printing packing slips
- I’ve switched to a safety razor instead of using disposable razors
- We are a fully virtual accounting firm which means that we have eliminated paper receipts, statements and documents. We have found that going virtual is not only more secure but we are saving the trees!
- I make shampoo bars, soaps and body scrubs that require no packaging and I’ve adapted my recipe to accommodate this. Link to shop here.
- Less glossed paper items and business cards
- Recycled paper packaging and boxes
- Wrapping cards in tissue instead of cello bags
- Recycled/recyclable paper and card for envelopes/packaging rather than any plastic packaging
- Minimal packaging
- Recycled paper card blanks
- Sustainable wood for frames
- Researching ethical/eco suppliers for a more eco friendly chain.
- Also adding a note into every package asking people to recycle where possible.
After reading the responses to my question, my eyes have been opened to the amount of ways I can continue to reduce my plastic consumption even further. Truth is, we could all be doing a hell of a lot more but we’ve got to start somewhere and I hope this has given you a few ideas.
Thank you to everyone who contributed ❤
Links I think you may find interesting;
 How to make beeswax wraps; organic cotton in a baking tray, sprinkle beeswax pellets on top, cook at 150c for 5 mins until melted, painted wax over any missed bits with a brush, then hang to dry. Can be used for cheese, sandwiches, etc. just scrub clean with cold soapy water. Thank you for sharing your tips Nikki (@dwyryd_ceramics on Instagram).
Sir David Attenborough (you can’t have a blog post about the environment without a mention of the king of wildlife Documentaries) gave a powerful plea at the end of the Blue Planet 2 to urge us to stop using so much plastic. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can find it here. If this doesn’t persuade you, nothing will!
Doodlepeople make badges raising awareness of the problems with single use plastic, etc. if you’d like more information click here.
Lawyer cleans up 5 million kg of plastic off of a beach near his hometown in Mumbai. You can read full story here. I have used a photo from this beach clean up in the featured image link to this photo is here.
A company who are using milk protein for packaging food and detergents. you can find more information here.