PLASTIC PACKAGING POLLUTION AND MY PREDICAMENT

We all share the responsibility to look after our environment. The tremendous, widespread force from the wake up call of the Blue Planet 2 series, continues to unite many of us in a wave of action against single use plastics.

We can make a conscious effort as individual consumers by saying no to plastic straws, taking refillable water bottles when we’re out and about, and buying locally to help reduce our carbon footprint, but I wonder, as a small business, how much more should I be doing?

Like many solopreneurs I work from home, so the environmental choices I make are an intertwined way of living and working. I recycle, I compost my leftovers, I don’t have the heating on very often, opting for a blanket instead. When I order online, where possible I’ll choose the option that’s closest to my home so it doesn’t have far to travel. I really like to hear how other small businesses are helping their environment.

As a designer who’s often worked with packaging, I’m interested in smart solutions that help the environment, where form works alongside function. There’s some wonderfully innovative packaging out there that is set to benefit our tomorrows; such as Ooho’s edible water, and the biodegradable 6 pack ring. It’s an exciting time to be a packaging designer, and the responsibility for us to help our environment should not be taken lightly. Did you also see that the supermarket Iceland have vowed to ditch their plastic packaging?!

Speaking of responsibility…

Glitter. Is it evil?

The seemingly harmless, sparkly dust loved by so many is actually a microplastic, meaning it can be easily ingested by marine life if it ends up in the sea.

jellyfish glitter ocean plastic pollution

Part of what I do involves designing wedding stationery. Invitations that use glitter; where it’s either impregnated within the paper, or is glued on top, are loved by so many; and here’s my quandry: do I remove my offering of glitter invites completely, or do I educate my couples about its environmental impact; allowing them to make an informed choice? I know that the long term solution for me, is to stop using plastic-based glitter altogether. I do feel a bit uncomfortable about interfering with the wedding wishes of my couples, but the message has to start somewhere, right?

There are biodegradable glitters on the market; read the lovely Moral Fibre’s blog post here. This is a glittering step in the right direction, and if you know of these environmentally friendly alternatives being offered impregnated within biodegradable card or paper, I’d love to know!

One interesting and alternative type of paper I am very happy to use is the recycled ‘Ellie Poo Paper’. Yes, that’s right – it contains elephant poo! I use it for a ‘Save the Date‘ card design, and you’ll appreciate that although the audience is very niche, the paper is obviously a real talking point! The company also make ‘Rhino Poo Paper’ and recycled paper from jeans! Check them out here: The Paper Trail

I’d love to hear how your business is helping the environment. Please share your thoughts, advice and ideas in the reply box at the botttom.

#goodbyeplastic

Further reading/viewing:

Edible cutlery

Coffee recycling

Video captures moment plastic enters food chain

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