As a person who loves wildlife and our planet, it is important to me that my business has as little of a carbon footprint as possible. This can be challenging to balance in the retail and merch industry, but I do my best and I’m constantly working to improve.
I use high-quality and long-lasting materials for all my products: hard enamel, polished metal, sturdy backing cards for back post protection, thick cotton canvas to protect pin banners when they’re poked by pins, and thick paper for my coloring books to prevent dents and color bleeds.
My designs do not follow short-term trends. My goal is for my designs to be timeless, so that they can be reused across trends and throughout the years.
Planting trees and doing nice things
Since starting my small business, I have created over 20 charity enamel pins. All of these do good things, and you can learn more on my Charity Enamel Pins page. I also raised over $3000 for wildlife aid during the 2019 Australia wildfires, and frequently donate products to charity fundraisers.
There are two species that have a little bit of extra space in my heart, as frankly, they face more threats than most endangered species. Those two animals are the pangolin and the rhinoceros. So for them, I have designated charity pins that raise donations specifically for them.
Reusability and recyclability
- My paper products, like coloring books, notepads and bookmarks, are curb-side recyclable as paper/cardboard.
- My backing cards and paper packaging are all plastic free, and can be recycled as paper/cardboard.
- My clear bags may look like plastic, but they’re actually plant-based! They’re made from a bi-product of corn production, and you can safely dispose of them in your compost bin.
- My postal boxes are made with fully recyclable and compostable cardboard. I recently made the change to un-dyed boxes, and am phasing my colored ones out.
- My parcel tape is made with kraft paper and natural gum adhesive.
- All my packaging is sourced in the UK
- My wooden pins are made from responsibly harvested and sustainably grown wood.
- My coloring books are made with FSC-certified paper.
- A selection of my waterproof stickers are made with pvc-free paper. I hope to transition fully to this when production allows for it.
Steps towards earth-friendlier production
- I source all my packaging from UK suppliers, and I work with small suppliers whenever this is possible (which is almost always).
- I order both products and packaging in bulk so that less packaging and emissions can be used when delivering my stock.
- I print illustrations and sticker packs at home using an Epson Eco Tank printer
- For bulky items (like my Lotl plushies) I use rail shipping. This takes nearly 10 times as long to arrive, but uses less emissions than air freight.
- I do not request remakes for faulty products (unless they’re really bad). Instead, I accept the loss and offer the faulty products to my customers at a discount.
A special note on enamel pins:
Enamel pins are my main products, and it’s challenging to lower the impact of their production process. But here are some small things I’ve done:
- I place my project orders in bulk to lower packaging and avoid multiple air miles per shipment (i.e. I order Kickstarter pins, Patreon pins and restocks together).
- My manufacturer wraps my pins in recyclable tissue paper rather than the industry standard plastic baggies. This saves thousands of tiny plastic bags per order, and I also reuse the tissue paper to pack my wholesale orders.
- To lower the emissions caused by my shipments, I order all my products without packaging (packaging adds a lot of extra weight, which in turn requires more emissions to transport). I then source my packaging from local suppliers here in the UK, and wrap each product myself (with assistance from whatever unfortunate soul who decides to visit me on packing day).
While I admit this doesn’t fix everything, I firmly believe that it’s much better than turning a blind eye.
- I pack and ship all rewards myself
- My mail gets collected by Royal Mail twice per week (rather than their standard daily service).
- I have a strict recycling system in my studio and regularly review my processes, to see if there are areas where I can improve.