Plastic not fantastic: improving our packaging

Plastic not fantastic: improving our packaging

We recently published a blog about the frightening amount of landfill created by returned products. We are trying, in our own small way, to reduce our environmental impact here at BTR, and have been exploring ways to do this.

If you’ve ever ordered from us, you will have noticed that all our items come in polythene bags. Over the last few months we have been looking at how we can move to using some recyclable packaging. Easier said than done!

Strangely, and somewhat tellingly given the sheer amount of products manufactured there, our first hurdle was getting our message over to our Chinese suppliers. They just don’t seem to appreciate what we (and many others, presumably) are trying to achieve. They cannot understand why we would want to consider packaging that is, financially, more expensive! The environmental impact isn’t even a factor for them, just the bottom line.

We’ve established that our options are either cardboard boxes, followed by cardboard envelopes and, finally, paper bags. A couple of examples of the sort of thing are pictured below.

 


As a business - and one that we do hope to sustain! - it is likely we will opt for the cheapest option, which are the bags. These will still cost us between 20-50 cents per unit which, proportionally, is quite a considerable cost. For some businesses, although not necessarily in our case, this may then see an increased cost to the consumer. Is this an extra cost you would be willing to pay?


There are other factors to consider such as the aesthetics. When we buy something online, especially a new product, we do want some aspect of it feeling special when it arrives. Would basic-looking packaging ie paper bags or cardboard envelopes, make for an underwhelming experience?


Would either route that we could take - ie sticking with plastic packaging, or opting for paper-based less pretty packaging - affect whether you might buy from us, or any other supplier in a similar position?


As with many aspects of our business and products, we’d love to hear your thoughts on sustainable packaging, how you feel about it, whether you’d be willing to pay extra for or if the plain packaging would put you off buying a product?


For us, this is something we will be moving forward with and, in the immediate future, we plan to take on the cost ourselves rather than pass it onto the customer (ie we won’t suddenly be increasing our prices!). Without wanting to sound too cheesy, we are aware of the responsibility of running a business and its impact on the environment, both locally and globally. And not least because we sell products designed to help people enjoy the beautiful environment they live in, so it would be a little hypocritical to then foul it up for the sake of a little effort and a few pence.

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