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Nature Manipulated (NM) creates visual, wearable and practical art that reflects upon nature and all of its elements. At NM, we believe that everything is a part of nature, some things are just "nature manipulated."

NM specializes in one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry, handmade greeting cards, nature photography and other unique accessories.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Packaging with Recycled Materials

Do your customers appreciate recycled packaging? I always wonder about that. I used recycled materials to package my photographs and always wonder whether it's not packaged nicely enough. Whether it looks cheap, unprofessional, and whether it will deter my customers from coming back .

I was searching through the Etsy forums today and came across a thread called, "Don't spend a penny on packaging." I sifted through the recycling ideas and came across a bunch of good ones that could either make your recycled packaging look good, as well as things you can do to make your customers comfortable with (and not put off by) your recycled packaging.


Here are some of the things you can do:

- Save and reuse shipping boxes
- Use paper grocery bags to wrap your boxes
- Use egg cartons as box fillers (not recommended for international shipping - items from plant and animal products may be destroyed)
- Reuse bubble wrap and peanuts that come with packages you or your place of work receive
- Reuse tissue paper from gifts and shopping
- Use shredded newspaper and magazines for box filler (not recommended for fragile items unless used with other forms of protection)
- Reuse pieces of cardboard as stiffners (great for sending cards and photographs)


Things to consider when packaging with recycled materials:

- Make sure the items you are recycling are in good condition.
-Make sure the items you are recycling can withstand being tossed around in the post office without arriving dented and with damaged goods.
- Explain to customers how you package your goods in your shop policies section, as well as your shop announcement. It is also good to send a little note with your items explaining your recycling habits.
- Packaging that contained products that may be an allergen to some folks should be avoided, e.g. eggs, nuts.
- When reusing packaging from orders you have received you might want to check for odors.
- Exercise caution when using shoeboxes as shipping boxes- most of them are not rated for shipping and can be easily crushed/destroyed during shipping...The same goes for gift boxes from a store.
- Make sure your wrapping still looks professional, not like you've been digging through the trash for packaging materials.
-Shredded newspaper and magazines tend to bleed so they should be used with caution.

All in all, I think it is great to recycle items. You don't want your customer to think you are cheap. Re-use clean boxes only. Do not reuse packaging from food items. It can attract bugs even if you don't think it smells. Some noses are more sensitive than others. Reuse tissue paper that looks as if it is untouched. If you are reusing cardboard to place photos in between, cut them nicely and write recycled on the outer parts. I write "Recycled: Please reuse" on everything recycled. Use your best judgement as to what should and should not be recycled and vamp up your package with other niceties, e.g. promotional items, recycled ribbons or fabric. Remember, even if you do not reuse a piece of cardboard for packaging, it can still be recycled in other ways.

Please share your thoughts on recycled packaging with us in the comments section.

10 comments:

Wende said...

I'm a HUGE fan of using recycled materials. Typically, my items ship via Priority, but I use as much recycled stuff as possible! We have a paper shredder and using a flat rate Priority box means I can stuff TONS of filling in it and make sure everything is really well packed.

SwimmingInFountains said...

I am an insane recycler...ask my family and friends. I love the idea of using the shredded paper. Paper can always be recycled on the other end too.

I get concerned about reusing the styrofoam peanuts in my packaging... I never know if the person on the other end is as "green" (for lack of a better word) as I am. I tend to collect the peanuts and do nothing with them. Thank goodness I don't get them very often anymore.

I would love to use the StarchTech peanuts that dissolve, but I would probably have to pay for them.

Amanda said...

Some really great ideas in this post! I use recycled packaging as much as possible ~ except for the padded envelopes i use. I keep all my tissue paper (if you press it out and fold it, it looks just like new!), ribbon bits and bubble wrap. I recycle all my cardboard into my notebooks and art pieces.

I don't mind at all getting recycled packaging in the mail, as long as it stands up to the trip. I find recycled packaging can be just as beautiful as not.

~Marge~ said...

I love to recycle shipping supplies! I do wrap my items in nice tissue and put a bow around. Then I slip a little card under the bow telling them that I used recycled items for their shipment and hope they will do the same.

Blue & White Wear said...

Good tips! I recycle as much as possible! I like the idea of sending a note saying the packaging is recycled. Thanks.

Lily - Tulip's Talking from the said...

Excellent, informative, as well as confirming details.

I once received a package from an etsy seller. The used bubble wrap looked and felt dingy and filthy, and smelled like cig. smoke. There was nothing nice about receiving this package w/the exception of the item itself.

We have a shredder, reuse peanuts, tissue paper, ribbons, string, boxes, padded envelopes (pull off the label, usually comes off easily and you can cover the space w/yours), bubble wrap, packaging tape (when the sender uses it to wrap around bubble wrap, it can usually be pulled off and reused), and cardboard. Maybe more, just not thinking to well at 1:30 a.m. (can't sleep).

Never thought of including a "passing it on" note. Me to them, them to another...will use from now on.

~Lily

storybeader said...

I love to recycle! I'm shipping only little items, but reuse my padded envelopes, and stick my label over the original. That is, unless the envelope looks real bad, or has a lot of writing on it.

I think we should all consider the person receiving OUR packages,and don't write on our envelopes if it's not needed.

LaMia Designs said...

thank you for the great info!
www.lamiadesigns.blogspot.com

roseworksjewelry said...

Great article! I always try to save my envelopes from purchases and reuse tissue paper as well :)

BlossomingTree said...

Good tips. I use recycled material. I really hate bubble wrap and packing peanuts but I will reuse them since they are already here lol.

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