I’ve written about how my training as a botanist influences the way I see plants, but I haven’t shared much about how my work in environmental science influences my decisions at Bottle Branch. As someone who once studied carbon dynamics in forests and taught environmental science, I can’t ignore issues of sustainability.
So, here are four ways I try to reduce the environmental impacts of Bottle Branch:
(1) Biodegradable card wrappers
In packaging my cards, sticky notes, stickers, gift tags and notepads, I use clear wrappers that are made from compostable material. They work like plastic and look like plastic, but the clear wrappers I use are made from PLA (polylactic acid) which is derived from plants, not petroleum. They’re a bit more brittle that petroleum-derived plastic, and far from perfect, but they’re biodegradable and renewable. You can read more pros and cons of PLA here and about the biodegradability of PLA here.
(2) Recycled Card Stock
All my cards are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified card stock with between 30% and 100% recycled content. What does FSC certification mean? In short, it means the pulp used to make these papers comes from responsibly managed forests. You can read more about Forest Stewardship Council ceritfication here. In choosing these card stocks, I hope to support both responsible foresty practices and the market for recycled products.
(3) Home grown, pesticide free plant material.
Its no secret that I like to garden and to use those homegrown plants and flowers for my art work, because, well, it’s fun! But homegrown plants are also a more sustainable choice – no pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers or long distance transport. When I do buy flowers, I prefer to buy from local, sustainable flower farms like Five Fork Farms.
(4) Recycled Paper bags, mailers, and tissue paper.
Every order I pack is wrapped in tissue paper made from 100% recycled fibers and shipped in a recycled kraft paper mailer that is made in the USA. Or, if its a local purchase, its delivered in a recycled paper bag. It helps that they’re appleaing to the touch and the tissue paper is pretty!
I wish I could write more. I wish I could say all the printing was done using wind or solar power. Or deliveries would be done only in electric vehicles. But in trying not to dwell on all of the other things I could/should be doing to be greener, I’ll remind myself “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” and keep on finding little things to do to keep my business fresh and green.