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All environmental, eco and good green things cost more - FACT !

The crazy thing I find is that all the eco, green, planet-friendly, biodegradable, recyclable, non-toxic packaging things costs more than the traditional packaging, so where is the incentive for shops to "GO GREEN"?

The answer for us was simple - "it is the right thing to do for our planet and it makes us feel good about what we we are doing. But it comes at a cost, which is fundementally and very wrong".

Green bubble wrap costs up to 35% more than traditional wrap. Volumised paper (the stuff Amazon use in their giagantic boxes used to deliver a tiny item) is so cost prohibative for small stores to buy, Green Air Bags cost more than 50% more than the traditional ones.

People are more buying online than ever before - the pandemic made this happen. Whilst there will be many people drifting back to high street stores, the old shopping mould has been broken. Online shopping will continue to increase but what are big stores doing to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce one-time plastic use packaging or facilitating returns of packaging?

It's World Earth Day - and I say, small things DO make a difference.....

The EARTHSTORE is located inside the Urban Wellness Hub and we take our sustainability, environmental and climate impact, and carbon footprint seriously. We do everything we can do, to look after Mother Earth, even if it is small things we do.

We spent a long time trying to source environmentally friendly packaging options. The Kraft-style bags took us around 5 months to locate exactly what we needed. Thousands of heat-seal bags on the market and and we did our research and due diligence to ensure what we were purchasing was genuinely 100% biodegradable. Sadly, the price has increased by 320% since lockdown started, forcing us to revert back to recyclable bags as a cheaper alternative for our customers.

We have many products that we individually package such as Palo Sant sticks, incense sticks, Shungite drinking water packs, necklace, jewellery and all packages have to be sealed. Each package needs a description label. We put price stickers onto thousands of crystal and mineral items.

We sell various weight sizes of Epsom Salts in Kraft-style bags and in heat seal bags.

So how do we play our part?

All our Cellophane bags are 100% biodgradable and can be recycled. We use a thermal tranfer printer to print packaging labels, whilst not as attractive nor as pretty as coloured lables, it means no inks, dyes nor toner used = no chemicals, and no speciality film-coated paper is used.

Our Kraft Style bags and heat-sealed bags (for larger quantities of Epsom Salts), are 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Even the resealable ziplock is biodegradable. The heat seal bags are 100% biodegradable and can be recycled too.

More recently, we have been buying Royal Mail small - large postage boxes, which are made out of recycled paper and cardboard.

Our pricing stickers and product description labels use ultra-low-tack adhesive. So they dissolve off with water = no vinyl acetate, polyvinyl acetate, homologues, Isomers, urethane prepolymer, diphenylmethane-diisocyanate nor others synthetic emulstions

If customers collect from the EARTHSTORE, we use paper lunch bags instead of plastic bags. This makes ALL our entire packaging bags & labels 100% biodegradable.

For shipping, we reuse ALL cardboard boxes and packaging from our suppliers. We even cut down large boxes to make smaller boxes. Family members and "Friends of the Hub" collect and provide me with their small cardboard boxes to reuse for shipping, for which I am grateful.

In our household, we get boxes delivered which are disproportionate to the item being delivered. Suppliers don't care enough to scale their packaging, because it would mean more work and probably cost them more. But it MUST CHANGE.

Consumers pay twice for packaging. Firstly when they buy the item online and again as part of their council tax, paying for recycling centres.

Maybe its time for Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, online retailers and local Council authorities to:

  • Create store-specific recycling points for people to return their discarded packaging. To recycle and reuse.

  • Incentivise the reuse of packaging.

  • Put pressure on packaging manufacturers to increase production of eco and green packaging, to help lower the sale price and increase the uptake.

  • Start a campaign to convert ALL protective packaging to green by 2025

  • Local councils can make discarded packaging available for reuse.

Written by Nigel Ross, EARTHSTORE.CO.UK, Aberdeen, UK

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