So, you set up a lovely little yarn shop with a good friend, and you know the sort of yarns you want to sell, and so you set about selling them. What nobody tells you is how quickly you can get caught up in a minefield of plastic avoidance, and how this can be managed. in the last blog post I talked about how we chose the yarns we sell, that is one hell of a can of worms, but this month its all about packaging.
As you know, we do online sales. This of course means that goods need to packed up robustly so that they can go through the post and arrive at their destination in the same condition. We receive goods through the mail, and they are also packaged. A lot of this is plastic, and plastic is something we just don't like. We don't like how long it stays around, we don't like what it does to the soil and we really don't like what it does in the seas. So we try to avoid it as far as possible. A lot of our yarns arrive in boxes full of kilo bags of balls or skeins. We continually reuse these wrappers to make sure yarns and fibres bought in the shop get home in the same condition. We notice how many people are prepared and have a multitude of shopping bags with them (I sometimes wonder if there is a higher percentage of reusable bags amongst market shoppers), so we don't give out carrier bags that frequently, although ours are compostable brown paper, so there's no shame in having one.
It's the postal packing that's an issue. so far we have used recyclable plastic mailing bags, but a very brief sojourn through the available research throws a load of issues with these. They have to be in the right sort of environment to degrade, and a lot of them will only break down into tiny pieces which then stay in the soil for who knows how long. Another issue is that I don't want to become an expert in biodegradeable plastics, I just want to post things, and not have the packaging on my conscience!
We think we have a solution, that fits our budget (we can't afford to buy 100's of envelopes at a time, and anyone who has visited the shop knows we couldn't store them),and our ethos. As of this month, all our mail order goods will first be wrapped in recycled tissue paper for protection, then one of the reused yarn wrappers for protection, and then given a brown paper jacket (using a minimum of tape and a bit of natural string) that we can add the address to. And we've got a rubber stamp to add our details with - no more stickers from plastic-backed sheets. So, from now on you'll be getting....
Brown paper packages, tied up with strings.
I apologise, you'll be singing that for weeks, but if you get a parcel from us you will know that we have tried hard to limit the impact on the earth,and that's a whole 'nuther reason to enjoy your yarn fiddling :)