Sustainability & the Environment
Category: From the Cat Perch | Published on: April 22, 2020
CharmCat is all about the love of paper products, but that doesn't mean I don't also love the environment. Every day, I strive to product beautiful paper products in sustainable ways.
Nearly every CharmCat product is printed on FSC Certified papers. Manufacturers have to meet rigorous sustainability criteria in order to receive certification. What does that mean? FSC certified papers were created from managed forests, which are maintained with sustainability and forest conservation in mind.
The other papers I use that aren't FSC certified is because it's 100% tree free! Options include cotton paper (made from factory scraps), bamboo paper, and even hemp paper.
A note on recycled paper
While CharmCat does offer recycled stocks, I don't usually recommend them. Recycled papers are great, but not for printing bright, vibrant colors. Although recycling reduces the number of trees being cut down, it doesn't offset the environmental impact of processing, cleaning, and bleaching recycled paper in order to achieve the bright whites ideal for fine art printing.
Through the FSC certification program, paper manufacturers actually plant more trees than they cut down. By supporting manufacturers in the FSC program, CharmCat supports planting new forests.
CharmCat works with several small printing companies to most products, all of whom have their own sustainability programs.
Products that are produced in-house are printed using archival dye-based inks. Due to the 8 cartridge system, ink tanks are only replaced when they are completely empty and are always recycled through ink recycling programs.
Single greeting cards are packaged in no-flap recyclable plastic sleeves to keep them with their envelopes and protect them from damage, but wholesale accounts can choose to forgo the individual plastic sleeves. If you order multiple cards, the entire card order will still be sealed in one single plastic bag as a precaution against water damage during shipment.
Art prints are packaged with a recyclable plastic sleeve and a 100% recycled acid-free backing board.
Card sets are packaged in a recyclable clear plastic box. This allows the cards and envelopes to be completely seen through the packaging while eliminating the need for additional labeling. Unfortunately, I haven't found a plastic-free or compostable option that I'm happy with.
Orders ship in reused boxes whenever possible, and are always packed with repurposed padding from incoming shipments or, when my stockpile is empty, recycled paper fill.
Smaller orders are shipped in rigid envelopes that are made from 100% recycled materials with cellulose-based compostable tape.
Notes on "Compostable Packaging"
In recent years some companies have started making compostable/biodegradable cellophane sleeves, but these alternatives are still plastic and not necessarily better for the environment. They can't be recycled, and in most cases, they have to be industrially composted because a home compost can't create the extreme conditions necessary. (Source: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2017-6-november-december/ask-mr-green/cellophane-better-plastic)
That said, many companies are coming out with new alternatives and I can't wait to see how they improve.
Whenever possible, I place bulk orders at one time in order to reduce the amount of packages coming into the office.
Keeping It Local
All of my products are produced either in-house or with a production partner located in the USA. Through sourcing locally whenever possible, CharmCat contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while supporting the local economy.
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