In honor of Earth Month, we wanted to share a bit about our journey to improve the sustainability of our packaging.
From the beginning, we’ve packed each of our felt ornaments in a cute little pouch – making them ready to gift and also adding some protection for the ornament as it makes its way to you. Using a reusable gift pouch rather than disposable packaging means that our customers can also use the pouches for storing their ornaments year after year. We’ve heard that some of our customers also love and use the pouches for all kinds of creative purposes – storing crafting materials, jewelry, little treasures from nature, etc. Some local customers also stop by the store to return their pouches, so they can be re-used.
We first started with organza pouches, which are elegant and sheer to reveal the ornament inside. But synthetic organza is unfortunately made of polyester or nylon, which are oil-derived materials. We didn’t want to have this petroleum-based packaging as part of our product. We also learned that our pouch vendor was not paying its staff correctly and had other issues that were not aligned with our values.
So, in 2019 it seemed obvious that we needed to make a switch. It so happened that at that time one of our artisans in Kyrgyzstan was also looking for additional work and income – so we switched to 100% cotton pouches, that were sewn by our artisan in Kyrgyzstan. It seemed like a win-win for the environment and our artisans. These were also more aligned with our natural aesthetic and sustainability values. We wanted to support the livelihoods of artisans rather than a large company.
How we usually ship your products: Each ornament is placed in a cotton drawstring bag, along with a cute little postcard printed on forest stewardship paper, shipped in a recycled paper mailer. To combine your ornaments into one cotton drawstring bag, and omit the postcard. Please select "Reduced Packaging."
But cotton can also be resource-intensive to grow, and the cotton fabric they used was heavy and opaque. Because these were made in Kyrgyzstan, we also had to ship them by air, which was both expensive and carbon-use heavy.
Our next iteration was to make the cotton pouches lighter and to partner with a small artisan workshop in India – from where we could also ship the pouches by sea. We wanted to support the livelihoods of artisans rather than a large company, and we were also able to work with this Indian workshop on a customized lighter pouch design.
With our artisan partner, we were able to make our cotton pouches significantly lighter, which also meant we were using significantly less cotton. Together, with this workshop we have now gone through two re-design iterations with them, and this year our newest pouches will use about 35% less cotton than our original cotton bags!
How we Ship Our Products with Reduced Packaging: When you choose "Reduced Packaging" at check out, we consolidate all your ornaments into one cotton drawstring bag, and omit the postcard.
What is Light-Weighting?
“Light-weighting” is a sustainable design strategy that makes a bigger difference than you might initially think. Unlike some other strategies that reduce the environmental impact of one part of the product life cycle, light-weighting reduces the environmental impact of the entire product life cycle. By using less cotton per pouch, fewer resources are needed to plant, grow, and harvest the cotton for our pouches. Because they are lighter, less fuel is needed to ship the pouches from the artisans to us and from us to you. We are sending out more than 150,000 gift pouches a year, so this reduction in impact is no small thing!
You, our dear customers, can help us reduce our environmental impact even further! We offer a Reduced Packaging option at checkout, which you can add to any order. If you select Reduced Packaging, we will consolidate your ornaments into one cloth gift pouch rather than individual gift pouches. If your order is large, we will consolidate your ornaments into as few cloth pouches as possible, while still lovingly packing your ornaments so they don’t get squished!
We consider our environmental impact in every aspect of our business. We want to bring beautiful and joyful items into your homes and lives, but we want to do that in a way that supports responsible and renewable processes. We are not perfect, but we’re continuously improving!
We deeply appreciate that our customers embrace and champion our dedication to fair-trade and environmental sustainability practices just as much as we do. If you ever have questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com. And Happy Earth Month!