I'm sharing our recent changes to our packaging following our commitment to sustainability and zero waste goal. This is something we've been working on for a while, and I hope this inspires you to start looking for sustainable practices in brands you love.
WHERE IT STARTED
As a consumer, I began my sustainability journey from reducing and eliminating waste in my household. Reading and researching about sustainability fuelled my desire to veer Trendy Street Jewelry towards a better path. I began with assessing how we can better our processes to become more sustainable.
When we first started, our jewellery collections were sourced all over the world. Now, we have consciously made the transition towards ethical jewellery, that are not only unique in styles but are kinder to its makers. We educate others about buying less, but buy better quality, through our Stainless Steel Jewels, which are ethically made.
ELIMINATING SINGLE-USE IN PACKAGING
While our jewellery pieces are the biggest area of 'physical' matter, our packaging was the biggest area of 'physical waste' that we recognised. Our raw materials arrive in individual cellulose bags, padded bubble wrap, and lots of tape. These, we recycle, by reusing within the business to store jewellery, or send back to our factory to use elsewhere in their business as well. Upon our request for greener packaging, our ethical factory now packs our jewellery in newspaper instead of bubble wrap.
The single-use mentality is a dangerous mentality, and we wanted to eliminate this entirely within our packaging system. Previously, our orders were packed in plastic poly bags, with our jewellery stored in our signature gift box and protected by thick plastic sleeves and padded with bubble wrap for safe passage. Nonetheless, we recognised how much single-use plastic was present, seeing that most, if not all customers, throw their packaging away once they open the package.
We went out to look for an alternative system, which is when we stumbled upon HERO PACKAGING. They are made from home-compostable materials, mainly corn starch and PBAT (a compostable ingredient which bonds the renewable ingredients together)
To compost them at home, remove any labels, cut them up and place in your compost bin as “brown” materials. These will completely break down within 90-120 days in a home-compostable environment - sometimes even sooner! They are water resistant but if they are placed in water for a long time, they will break down there too. It takes much longer to break down in water because of the cooler temperatures.
We’re so delighted with them, we started using these satchels to replace our poly bags.
Our second step was removing our padded bubble wrap. We decided to check out eco-friendly tissue paper that we could use instead.
We made the switch when we came across PPS Tissue Paper, which is an acid free paper, It's also FSC certified, so you can be sure your purchase supports healthy forests and protects wildlife, that is much kinder to the environment.
The good news is that tissue paper is biodegradable, meaning it will break down. It is also compostable, and you can add it to your home compost. We now package all our jewellery in PPS Tissue Paper.
Our black gift boxes are still used in our packaging, however we decided to keep this aspect as it is part of our signature branding; and when asked, our customers prefer a gift box for storing jewellery. It can also be reused to house small gifts!
The next step to our zero-waste journey at Trendy Street Jewelry is focused on a holistic view to reduce, reuse, and recycle. That can include anything, from buying second-hand props to potentially producing all our jewellery in recycled materials.
Some of our future goals include:
Being carbon-neutral, including off-setting carbon emissions for every order & delivery we make.
Moving towards 100% ethical jewellery and 100% recycled materials.
Plant a minimum of 5 Trees a week. We support Carbon Neutral by planting trees to support reforestation.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS A CONSUMER?
Our journey to sustainability is a choice that I made as a consumer, as well as a business owner. I practice the 3 R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - as much as I can in my own household and lifestyle. I encourage you to do the same.
At home we started by collecting all recyclable plastic in our household and taking it to REDcycle drop off point at Coles. You can do the same with little effort on your part. You can check out what plastic can and can't be recycled here.
Beside changing your habits, consumers have a voice towards businesses. Start asking your favourite maker, local store, retail shops, brands you love, etc. on how they are making a change. Not only does it shine light on the current practices, it may inspire and invoke change towards a lighter earth. Not only that, do support those businesses that are making a change! It's the best way to put the resources where it could be making the best progress.