Much of our time goes to thinking about how to efficiently and effectively make soap, lip balm, neck pillows and all the other goodies that we sell. We put a lot of effort into developing recipes, sourcing ingredients, managing inventory and of course, production. As is always the case, we ask ourselves how we can make each of these elements more sustainable, natural and beautiful. In the past year we've spent some time focusing on the outbound portion of our business, specifically packaging and shipping materials.
When thinking about this process we broke it down into three parts: the boxes we ship in, the padding and filler within the boxes and finally the cushioning we use for wrapping our products before they go in the box.
The Boxes: If you've received an order from us recently it has likely come in a box with our name and logo on the side. We were getting plain boxes from Uline, a huge company with facilities across the country. Uline is amazing in a lot of ways but the cost of shipping the boxes to us was quite expensive and of course not very eco-friendly.
A fellow small business owner recommended we talk to Packaging Unlimited, a company that makes a wide variety of boxes and packaging solutions. We were thrilled to discover that they have a manufacturing facility in Lincolnton, less than 10 minutes from us. After figuring out the details we placed our box order, they ordered the paper and a week or so later our custom printed boxes were ready. I was able to drive over and pick up boxes. It felt great knowing that our boxes weren't traveling hundreds or thousands of miles and we were supporting folks in our local community.
Filler & Padding: We wanted to get away from using bubble wrap, plastic pillows, and foam peanuts as filler for our shipments. We scoured the internet and found a company called EcoEnclose.
EcoEnclose provides us with the corrugated bubble wrap (above) and other lighter weight paper filler that we use for padding within the boxes. These materials are made with 100% recycled materials and are completely recyclable and even compostable.
Product Wrap: Since many of our containers are glass we have to be really careful to make sure they are individually wrapped to prevent damage in transit. Bubble wrap is effective and is tons of fun to use to make popping sounds, but it broke our hearts every time we used it. Fortunately, EcoEnclose has an amazing solution. GreenWrap (below) is a paper-based product that creates a three-dimensional honeycomb pattern that brilliantly cushions our bottles as they make their way to you. Like the corrugated bubble above, GreenWrap is made 100% recycled materials, is both recyclable and compostable and is SFI certified.
These products have helped us create a more eco-friendly shipping solution that keeps your goodies safe in transit and doesn't clutter landfills or the Pacific ocean with mountains of plastic.
As a note, on rare occasions, you may find that darn plastic bubble wrap or pillows or maybe even peanuts in your package. These are materials that our suppliers sometimes use. Rather than toss them we reuse them in outgoing parcels. We encourage you to reuse or recycle them if you can. If you can't, ask the folks at your local UPS or FedEx store if they can use them. I have given a lot of peanuts to my local UPS store and they are always happy to take them.
I hope this has provided a behind the scenes view of how we process your orders and how we are trying to do our part to make the world a better place.