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More Sustainable Packaging, More Sales

We have a guest post today about the benefits of using more sustainable packaging for your online retail orders written by friend of the Ink Kitchen, Brandon Lennart of Inferno Screen Printing in New Orleans.

Hello fellow decorators. I spent a few months thinking on how to approach this article and in the meantime I have learned a few things as well. But first let me tell you what this article is not about. This article is not going to tell you to recycle and compost at work or at home. This article is also not going to tell you how wonderful recycling is and that it will save the world. It will not. This article is also not going to tell you to do anything you want except make some additional revenue and look good doing it.

Here’s the back end of the story. Like a lot of people reading this, I own an apparel decorating company. A couple of years ago we dove into online stores for the bands that we work with. That was a learning experience that we’re still working on and we learn something new all the time. Including the shipping aspect. After shipping a ton of individual shirts and hoodies the sheer amount of plastic poly bags going out the door was staggering. And we are not Amazon or even close. I honestly was disgusted and thought this is just wrong. That bag is only going to be used this one time and then go straight to a landfill to be buried and sit for thousands of years. I thought there has to be a better way that doesn’t break the bank or at least that costs the same as the industry standard poly bag.
It turns out there are options. There are now companies that specialize in biodegradable and compostable packaging. (Those are two different things by the way and a whole other article.) But put it this way – if you were to use it in your compost bin for soil would you want to eat the veggies you grew there? Either choice, biodegradable or compostable, while better for the environment still has a footprint that is going to last a long, long time. Not thousands of years like standard plastic poly bags, but they are still going to be here for hundreds of years.
We went ahead and decided to test in our own little compost bin a brown biodegradable mailer, a black compostable mailer, and the industry standard white plastic poly bag for the control.
A standard white poly mailer, a compostable mailer and a biodegradable paper mailer in the compost bin at the start of the experiment.
After only 4 weeks the brown biodegradable mailer was almost completely gone. The black compostable mailer was gone around the four month mark even though the manufacturer company said longer. However to be fair we did this in the heat of summer in New Orleans where we are located. And the white plastic mailer of course nothing happened. Still here.
Brown biodegradable mailer doing what it’s meant to do- biodegrading.


Black compostable mailer was broken down after about 4 months.
So do you want to spend the same amount of money on shipping materials that while not perfect do help a bit and also will bring you new customers based on that alone? We get emails and messages all the time telling us just that and those turn into orders and repeat customers. It is a win-win situation for the planet and also your sales team.
If you’re interested here are the two companies we used in our experiment and also in day to day retail shipping. Please note purchasing in bulk will bring about the same costs as standard mailers. So if you’re pushing some apparel the online retail way, give it a shot. You will look cool and also help out a little.


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