You'd think that with all this talk about using less plastic in our lives, there would be lots of great alternatives out there. In lots of cases there are of course (think how ubiquitous reusable coffee cups have become), but sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult to find. Recently I was coming close to the end of my supply of small, plastic prepaid courier satchels. The company I was using already had a larger size available in a nice sturdy cardboard envelope. This was great, as not only was it more environmentally friendly – it could be easily recycled, and was made from recycled paper – but it worked better for my decals as it was more sturdy.
I had seen the smaller size in a cardboard envelope from another company, and thought that it wouldn't be difficult to find a suitable replacement. This turned out to be a very optimistic outlook. The current company didn't have any plans to add the size I required to the cardboard range. The other company wasn't even aware that they had made them, as they were no longer available. At this point, the notion of buying a prepaid cardboard satchel in this size was dashed.
Another option that had been suggested to me was buying cardboard envelopes and printing my own courier labels. This also turned out to be easier said than done, as it involved buying a special printer and wasn't really aimed at smaller businesses like mine. Then I had another company recommended to me that could do everything I needed, and I could print the labels on my existing printer. So I was finally able to remove the last plastic packaging option I had for posting, and move entirely to cardboard! I am quite a fan of cardboard, so this made me very happy. Not only is it recyclable, it is such a versatile product.
Now I just need to find a biodegradable alternative to the plastic sleeves I use for the medium and large decals. I use biodegradable cellophane bags for the tiny and small decals, but they don't make them in the larger sizes as well. I am still looking, and rest assured when I do find a suitable alternative I will make the switch.