s The more plastic I see being collected off our local beaches, the more determined I am to reduce my own reliance on plastic products in my home and in my business. I am co-leader for our local Beach Patrol group, organising monthly beach clean-ups in our area. By using a Keep cup (if a café won't accept reusable then find one that does) and remembering to shop with your own sustainable carry bags is a start in reducing the plastic that is clogging up our landfills and waterways.
As business owners, we can also be pro-active in reducing plastic pollution by selecting products and packaging that contain minimal or zero plastic. When we first launched Lucky Little Penguins, there were not as many plastic-free alternatives around, but over time, we have sourced out like-minded businesses which supply products and services with a zero waste focus. If your manufacturer sends products heavily wrapped in plastic packaging then why not ask if an alternative can be used. One of my manufacturers now tissue wraps my charms in groups of 10 instead of each charm being packaged individually in a plastic bag.
We also found a like -minded business for printing our greeting cards and display cards. Print Together only stocks 100% post consumer recycled cardstock and prints with non-fossil fuel inks. The cards are posted to me in a cardboard box packed in paper not plastic. It was also important that our cards had plastic-free cellophane slipcovers made from compostable cellulose. Even better, our greeting cards can also be supplied without packaging Any glitter used on a greeting card is Bio-Glitter, a certified biodegradable product made from the leaves of plantation grown eucalyptus trees. When you purchase Bio-Glitter from the Glitter Tribe, a tree is planted in a bushfire ravaged area.
Lucky Little Penguins uses 100% recycled paper and envelopes. Cards with Bio- Glitter are best recycled with cardboard.
Pens have always been problematic but there are refillable pens around and we recently started using bamboo pens. The tape used to secure our paper packaging is also made from paper. This means that the tape and wrap can all go in the recycle bin. We stay clear of any plastic post bags when posting our products out to customers.
Getting rid of all wasteful plastic in a business is a challenge and we at Lucky Little Penguins are far from perfect. But just being mindful of the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and wildlife is a step in the right direction. Also, beware of greenwashing by some businesses that claim to care for the environment. Thicker plastic bags are now being used by many retailers since the thinner plastic bags were banned in some Australian states. Remember, just because a plastic bag is thicker doesn't make it better. More often the so called 'reusable' plastic bags are not reused. Thicker bags just take longer to degrade in the environment into microplastics. Scientists are reporting microplastics are entering food chains and being ingested by not only animals but by humans as well.
Why not conduct your own plastic stocktake at home or at work to assess what plastic product can be substituted with a sustainable alternative for a better, healthier planet.
The Boomerang Alliance is a go to for information on green washing: Are You Being Green Washed? Avoid False Packaging Claims
A plastic bag is still a plastic bag. no matter what you say.